There is no time I hate the world of film criticism more than when the "Best of..." end of the year lists come out. Inevitably, movies you have never heard of, let alone that played in your market, make the list of your local independent movie critics. This is when pretension and self-aggrandizing take center stage over the kind of fare their reader is actually watching. If you're lucky, this happens late in their career when they have become jaded and burnt out from the screenings of some obscure Eastern European art film or documentary. If you're less lucky, this happens early, when they're still trying to find their voice and impress the mythological powers that be that they are above whatever local rag they write for. I hate these people. In my opinion, they ruin the movie going experience.
It is for much the same reason that I don't read most movie reviews. There are a few people and places that I either trust to give me the unbiased news and reviews of the film (slashfilm.com being my favorite) or who's opinion I mostly agree with (Owen Gleiberman- Entertainment Weekly, see the blogs I follow). However, for the most part, I feel like the paid film critic has forgotten their audience. Joe Blow doesn't care how much you loved "Henri-George Clouvet's Inferno". He's never heard of it and is unlikely to seek it out. All he wants to know is whether "Tron:Legacy" is everything he wishes the original had been; or what movies do we need to have seen come awards season? We just want to win our office pool. When these types of critics do review the "popular" films, they tend to bash them as if everything is supposed to be an Antonioni or Merchant-Ivory film. There is nothing wrong with populist fare. "Get Him to the Greek" is funny. It's nice to laugh and no matter how many times you tell me "The Kids Are All Right" is a comedy, I found myself crying more than giggling! I understand your mistrust of and hatred for the Hollywood studio system, but that doesn't mean everything it produces is shit. Only some of it is.
In a perfect world, the avid movie lover would get to see all of these films before the average Joe- I know that makes my day. Instead, they have to wade through the jaded musings of a film critic, who seems to hate the medium they are supposed to love; to attempt to get to the heart of what's happening in movies today.
For shame to all the critics out there who take themselves and their press passes too seriously. Come back to reality. I beg you!