Leonard Maltin: “If you’ve never seen silent films, or foreign language films, if your education with film begins with Star Wars then you’re handicapped.''

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Legendary US film critic Leonard Maltin, whose movie yearbook was an annual buy for me way back in the day, says that there is an increasing lack of interest in film criticism because, well, now anybody or everybody can become a "film critic" thanks to the internet and social media. 

"I do think something has been lost. I don’t want to sound like an old fogey, but I remember how much it meant to me when I was first published, as a kid, it meant I’d reached a certain goal or status… you are good enough to be published. But now you can publish yourself."

Agreed, but how about this little tidbit:

“When people ask me what qualities critics should have I have a stock answer, it should be equal parts passion and knowledge, and the knowledge comes from experience. If you’ve never seen silent films, or foreign language films, if your education with film begins with Star Wars then you’re handicapped.”

I do think that this is where the problem really begins. A lot of the younger critics I've met in recent years have barely scraped the history of film, hell some have never even seen a silent movie and their lack of knowledge of cinema, even from the 50s, 60s and 70s, is an empty wasteland. I've always been disturbed by that. If you decide to concentrate your life on writing about movies, why dishonor its history and the founding fathers that built its language. Blasphemous as far as I'm concerned.

“None of the studios are financing… or backing intelligent, adult material for the big screen [though] there are exceptions here and there. They’ve done this to themselves. They’ve driven people towards high-end television. TV outlets are giving [filmmakers] the opportunity to do something creatively rewarding, so how can they not jump at the chance at that, no matter where it ends up?”

There's definitely something to this. Nowadays there's not as much established credibility between, say, The New York Times and the average person with a blogspot account. That being said, some of the most thoughtful criticism can be found on blogs or websites, so there's that. All this to say, I really miss Roger Ebert.