Saturday, December 22, 2007

I've (almost) Got a Secret

I'm going to reveal a secret about John and Dave's Pop Culture America.

Don't tell anybody.

Dave and I aren't really movie critics. We just play them on the internet.

I know. I know. You're shocked. You hear the weekly nationwide broadcast and marvel at how professional and well-timed it is. You see the spacious John and Dave's Pop Culture America studios on the webcam (under construction). You've no doubt read about the lucrative deal we're currently hashing out to begin appearing on Sirius satellite radio (I can't go into detail right now). You see all these things and you must think: "Goodness gracious me! Those two fine fellows must have the world by the proverbial short ones."

And we do. But not as actual official movie critics. The difference between us and the Richard Roepers and Gene Shalits of the world (besides the fact that we actually know what we're talking about) is that when Dave and I go to a movie to review it, we go to an official showing, plunk down official, hard-earned cash -- well, in my case, just cash -- and watch it with a real official audience of humans, not critics.

And it was a real audience of humans that managed to sell out the screening of National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets that I was planning on seeing this Friday so I could review it on today's show. But because I see movies the way people -- as opposed to critics -- do, sometimes these things happen. No real critic is ever turned away from the only showing of a film that his time will allow.

I've always believed that critics have a skewed perspective on movies because they get to see so many of them and do so in such rarefied air. That's just not how the average movie-goer experiences the movies. The way critics see movies has several effects on their taste.

1. Critics value novelty more than the average movie fan. Most people see a few movies in a year. A real crazy fan sees a few dozen, maybe. But critics literally see hundreds every year. They've seen every move a movie can possibly make in a matter of weeks. Naturally they grow more jaded much quicker than the rest of us. So when critics see say, something from a foreign land, or something with extreme subject matter, they are far more likely to enjoy it than the average person.

2. Critics don't have to pick and choose. Most of us don't have unlimited budgets for movies. Even those of us who are big-time movie nuts can't afford to see everything. But critics do. For free. Heck, they get paid to see everything. What is for the rest of us an occasional pleasure is for them a day-in, day-out chore. You can't work in the chocolate factory without getting a little sick of chocolate.

3. Critics are expected to be critical. It's right there in the job title. Movie fans go to a movie expecting to like it. Critics go to movies ready to criticize it. You may think one or the other approach is better or worse, but there's no denying it makes the experience different.

But not here at John and Dave's Pop Culture America, where we go to movies just like everyone else and report an experience you can relate to.

Mind you, when that Sirius deal comes down, I'll be right there with my hand out, waiting for my free tickets and looking down my long, jaded nose at everything.

I can't wait!

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