Until I up and quit, I had the misfortune of being a jazz critic for years. Which meant I had to meet a lot of other critics of all kinds. Turns out critics are pretty boring people, for the most part. I mean dullsville. They can’t tell jokes. They don’t get jokes. They sit around all serious because, I dunno, critics are supposed to sit around all serious. Now there were some flagrant exceptions, but not many. And of all the different kinds of critics I met, I thought that movie critics had the stuffedest shirts. In a world of pompous asses, their asses had pomp to a unique degree. I mean I think all critics are secretly wanting to be Addison DeWitt in All About Eve, it’s just that critics of the cinema have that George Sanders shtick down, man. The motherfuckers can groove on it, baby. Easier than I ever could. Plus they get to use all kinds of big words and if they’re Peter Travers and love every movie ever made they get to see their name in big gnarly letters on all the ads and even in commercials which is almost like being in a movie and their mothers must have been so proud. I know mine would have been.
But man, the cats just ain’t funny. Critics think some boring little movie is witty, while some funny shit goes right over their heads. But then such is the price of smartassery…the squares just don’t get it. And while those squares ain’t the only voters in the Oscar academy or whatever it is, these critics have a big impact because people know how much influence they have (unlike a jazz critic….) and give them respect which kinda pervades everything. The whole academy culture. Like the grotesqueries of Inside The Actors Studio, that James whatshisname grovelling before the mighty like a Byzantine eunuch and fuck, this has nothing to do with my point at all and now I just trashed that guy for nothing and is that show still even on? I remember Paul Newman playing a mean blues on a nearby piano and Dennis Hopper saying dude that was not a fake joint and Jack Lemmon saying his favorite swear word ever was ratbeep motherbeeper which made me feel good as that was my favorite swearword ever and it made me wonder what the eunuch’s deal was getting stars to talk dirty which reminds me of the gorgeous icy blonde I worked the daytime gig with who would beg me to use eff words and the like at work and she would giggle excitedly as the air tuned blue. But to undigress, I suspect film critics’ deadly seriousness kinda bleeds all over the whole industry and soon if it’s funny, well, it can’t be that good. At least not good enough.
But as the Good Lord sez, fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. Or as my wife sez, normal people, don’t ya just hate ‘em?, kinda quoting Harry Dean Stanton in Repo Man, one of the great funnier than living fuck movies back then. I would say and no Christians either!, and we’d giggle, stoned, and wander about the hills of Silver Lake getting lost, driving past homes the long dead famous once partied in and stopping to neck in the darkness and coming up for air to gaze upon the vastness of LA, sparkling like a zillion diamonds all the way to the sea. It was a beautiful ugly city then, the dead piled up in the streets, neighborhoods rotted away, everyone hated everyone. It was wonderful. We partied like mad, went to clubs, formed bands and made ungodly noise. Mistakes were made—I took on a dozen cops once, they beat the shit out of me. I wouldn’t take on a dozen cops now. I’m old and respectable and a critic. Well, was a critic. Critics know better. Though certainly no better than you or you or you or even you, who played on the fucking record or made the fucking movie or wrote the fucking book or cooked the fucking food or fucked the fucking fuck (the porno critics, ya know). Life is lived by others, we just don’t get the jokes.