Mr. Movie

Religion, politics, rudeness prompt different responses

Who writes to me and on what subject is fascinating.

My last review completely rips one of the world's most popular actors, Adam Sander and not a peep. I got a few responses from the Indiana Jones review. When I publish my best of the year list, several of you write and give me yours.

But for the most part I don't think people want to take the time to write about movies. They'll lasso me in a public place and pepper me with questions about this movie or that. It never fails. When someone recognizes me or if a person learns that I am a critic, the conversation flows to and stays on movies.

I sometimes host the evening's festivities at a Battelle Film Club showing, and those appearances always lead to many fun discussions about art films and movies of deeper than ordinary substance.

You do love movies. The Tri-Cities box office figures tell me that, and the responses and emails I have received over the years tell me that you read my column and you read what is posted on this site. But to sit down at your computer and write about them seems to take too much time.

Time I can understand. I have time limits, too.

Here are the exceptions. I'll do a review on something like Michael Moore's Sicko or his George Bush slam Fahrenheit 9/11 or on Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and I can't keep up with the responses. You are passionate about politics and religion.

With 9/11, I got emails a couple of weeks out from the film's release from both sides. The first e-mails wondered if the big corporations and powerful Republicans had put pressure on the Tri-City Herald to force me not to review the movie. They were followed by people that I assume are conservatives who demanded that I not review his treasonous movie.

Though I didn't get as many emails on this one, I had much the same response to Brokeback Mountain. My Christian friends and those who are anti-that particular topic wondered how I could review the film. Supporters of the lifestyle were mad because I didn't love "their" movie.

On my reviews of Sicko and 9/11 readers said I should stick to being a movie critic and keep my personal political opinions to myself. Apparently movie critics can't have opinions or knowledge about subjects other than movies. And few people realize that the only possible review for a political statement like Sicko or 9/11 is another political statement.

By the way, it may surprise most of you to know that I probably spend more time researching and reading about politics than I do movies.

With "Expelled" we had a wonderful debate on whether there is an intelligent designer in the universe. Responses on that one came from all over the nation. Most were from the non-intelligent designer scientist types. They scour the Internet daily looking for ways to straighten us God-believing people out.

Here's what was surprising there. A number of people sent me e-mails wondering why I didn't review Expelled the week it opened. Stein's studio decided critics are too liberal for such heady stuff so they didn't screen it in advance. The response I got for not reviewing the movie was so significant that I decided to do a review here on the blog. Then, none of the people who complained that I didn't review the movie and who had definite and intelligent opinions on the topic wrote those opinions on the blog. They said they would, but they didn't.

Politics and religion get responses.

I often complain about theater behavior and people texting and talking on their cell phones at movies. Most of you hate that type of rudeness. You tell me that when I talk to you in person. Yet, I get a few responses to an editorial on the topic.

Why is that?

What do you want to talk about?