The Big Picture: Baggage

MovieBob

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Baggage

This week MovieBob critiques modern criticism, starting with Ender's Game.

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Shjade

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EVE Online for Kinect?

I dunno, Bob, I didn't see any spreadsheets on the screen.
 

walsfeo

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That wasn't where I thought this was going. Good episode though.

How do you think the concept of impure/biased criticism relates to journalism as a whole?
 

Kahani

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Well said. I think the point goes further than just criticism as well. Look at how many people get their news from one source, for example. It's not just the idea of pure, objective, unemotionless criticism that is a problem, it's the idea that any human can ever give a pure, objective and unemotionless opinion on anything. Media sources like Fox News and the Daily Mail aren't a problem in themselves, no matter how little some might think of them. They become a problem because some people believe they're actually objective sources and therefore don't listen to anything else. This is exactly why I don't just visit one news site, don't just listen to one film reviewer, don't just watch one TV channel, and so on. With films, I rarely find myself agreeing with Bob's taste, but listening to the opinion of someone I don't agree with can often be more useful than listening to someone I do.
 

Burnouts3s3

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That's unique perspective. But, sometimes I feel that bringing baggage into the review sometimes sidelines the review of the actual merits of the film and gets caught up in political agendas that may or may not be in the film.
 

Michael Brockbanks

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I have a select group of critics follow, not because they share my tastes/opinions/background/whatever, but because they entertain. Yahtzee, for example, is one of my favourite critics of *anything* and outside of disdain for generic war shooters, I rarely agree with him.

It is, however, important to me that the critics I follow have an agenda. Bob, as a monumental movie nerd, approaches a review with the eyes of one who knows the ins and outs, is obsessed with the minutia and the external & internal influences, while retaining the ability to switch off when appropriate and just enjoy the ride (see G.I. Joe). I often find him too harsh, but because I know where he's coming from, I can gauge how I'll likely feel about the movie.
 

MCerberus

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In this episode: Bob describes the history behind how CoD keeps getting good reviews.
 

Makabriel

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@Andrew: Agreed. There is a difference between a critique with a bias and a critique aimed at pushing the reviewer's own bias upon the audience.
 

Mega_Manic

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Makabriel said:
@Andrew: Agreed. There is a difference between a critique with a bias and a critique aimed at pushing the reviewer's own bias upon the audience.
What's the difference?
 

medv4380

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Feb 26, 2010
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When you make a claim against critics that they aren't behavior statisticians you're inadvertently giving credit to Rotten Tomatoes and Meta Critic. The average scores of users, and critics, is the statisticians way of removing the bias to show the "Normal", or "Objective" view. That's really the only way to do it, but I wouldn't expect a movie critic to understand the wisdom, and madness of the crowd.
 

Tturbo

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Great episode this week.
There's something that bother me though, even if I agree on the fact that honest critics are what's important, there's a point you brought up to introduce the topic (and didn't really come back to) I find equally important.
I don't think it's entirely possible to separate the art piece from it's author. taking out of french literary examples (well since I'm french) you can't really fully grasp the sense of Les Fleurs du mal without knowing Baudelaire, same Une Saison en Enfer and Rimbaud or Molière's plays, and this is why acknowledging the "elephant in the room" as you did in your Ender's game review is important. Eventhough Card might had never to do with the movie script it's still his book in the end, and what he thinks matters because it's going to transpire through the book (because complete objectivity is a myth). It shouldn't stop people from reading, seeing or admiring any sort of art piece being a book, a movie or a painting, but it should indeed be acknowledge.
 

ImmortalDrifter

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I'm pretty much disagree completely. Thrusting stuff into the review that doesn't belong there isn't mature at all. It isn't a question of thinking about things from a different perspective, as much as forcing a certain perspective on to something. Ender's Game made no attempt to have an opinion on the issues Card himself has associated with. In my opinion, boycotting because of Card's stance is just being butthurt. In the end though, I respect people's right to not see or see whatever they want. It's their opinion; they can have theirs as long as I can have mine.
 

Makabriel

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Mega_Manic said:
Makabriel said:
@Andrew: Agreed. There is a difference between a critique with a bias and a critique aimed at pushing the reviewer's own bias upon the audience.
What's the difference?
A review with a bias
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7196-Boob-Wars-and-Dragon-Crowns

A reviewer pushing their bias
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropes_vs._Women_in_Video_Games

One uses thoughtful insight on the matter, the other twists and bends what they are reviewing to try to make the audience believe that what they are saying is the truth.
 

Sejborg

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Well. At least you should know what "baggage" you are carrying around, and from that knowledge, know what your bias is.
 

Delance

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I found it funny that MovieBob at one moment claims that other views are neither best nor worse them his, and just moments later suggests that people who disagree with him are immature and need to grow up, as he once did.
 

Harker067

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medv4380 said:
When you make a claim against critics that they aren't behavior statisticians you're inadvertently giving credit to Rotten Tomatoes and Meta Critic. The average scores of users, and critics, is the statisticians way of removing the bias to show the "Normal", or "Objective" view. That's really the only way to do it, but I wouldn't expect a movie critic to understand the wisdom, and madness of the crowd.
I'd say that these still wouldn't be "normal" or "objective" as there are still a number of sampling errors and choices indicative to the methods. If you're looking at the professional reviews that might mean that its coming from the opinions of an audience with say potentially more of an arts/film education slant. Or if you're looking at the average of all the votes could have a slant for a younger tech savy group or a more affluent group with more access to the internet. Third possible bias country, the USA has more film critics and viewers then say Canada (where I live) which would also shift perceptions in the films (believe me we do in fact think about some things differently). Hopefully a good statistician would realize the limitations of such methods and not claim them "objective".
 

Grach

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Aug 31, 2012
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Well, I gotta say this was way more interesting than what I thought it was going to be.
Thanks Bob, now when someone says they want an objective review I can just point them to this video.

Finally, "How often do you think about things you don't think about?" is something that fucked my mind for a few minutes.
 

Makabriel

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Tturbo said:
Great episode this week.
Eventhough Card might had never to do with the movie script it's still his book in the end, and what he thinks matters because it's going to transpire through the book (because complete objectivity is a myth). It shouldn't stop people from reading, seeing or admiring any sort of art piece being a book, a movie or a painting, but it should indeed be acknowledge.
I disagree as none of his "elephant in the room" beliefs had anything to do with the book he created. I never knew of his beliefs when I read the book 20 years ago and in now knowing these beliefs, I don't suddenly go "Oh, that's what that meant!"

I believe most artists rely on their audience to take whatever meaning they come to find in their work. Anything else would be a work of non-fiction.
 

Cybylt

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medv4380 said:
When you make a claim against critics that they aren't behavior statisticians you're inadvertently giving credit to Rotten Tomatoes and Meta Critic. The average scores of users, and critics, is the statisticians way of removing the bias to show the "Normal", or "Objective" view. That's really the only way to do it, but I wouldn't expect a movie critic to understand the wisdom, and madness of the crowd.
Not sure if you're serious about this...

I don't follow Rotten Tomatoes but Meta Critic at least has repeatedly been shown to be incredibly vulnerable to the creators inflating their product's scores and users bombing it for little to no reason. That's far from "Objective."

Edit: It still surprises me that Card is against homosexuality. Ender's Game being a fairly recent read for me, I remember a good amount of time being devoted to describing Ender's young, muscular body rippling in the sun and his particularly close relationships with other male trainees that bordered on if not went right into romantic at some times.
 

hiei82

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Aug 10, 2011
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I can't help but feel there's room for both objective and non-objective critique of media. On the one hand, trying to view a film or read a book or play a game looking only at the quantifiable information does have value - if a movie for instance has serious technical issues or plot holes which it fails to deal with, thereby making the film "less valuable", than I sure as heck want to know about them. I don't want to pay money for a plot hole filled mess of a film.

On the other hand, it's true that every piece of art is touched upon by the lives and views of those who make them. Where would Django Unchained be without the discussion of slavery or Cloud Atlas without the in-depth analysis of discrimination and prejudice. Even more "market-focused films like Transformers are affected by the real world (hyper focus on militarism and the myth of "perfect romance" come to mind). These readings of media can help purvey perspective and understanding - the very purpose of art. Even when unintended, these readings can explain ideas and therefore have a value.

I guess in that sense, I like the idea of having both kinds of reviews - ones who try to remove bias in all its forms and ones who embrace and make known biases.

Thanks for the episode Bob; it's been another great one!