Putting a movie actor on stage with a critic to discuss the value of film criticism figures to make for a lively discussion, and Saturdays Macon Arts Alliance Symposium did not disappoint.
Matthew Modine, best known as Private Joker in Full Metal Jacket, shared the stage with Karina Longworth, an award-winning film critic based in Los Angeles. They voiced some sharp differences of opinion about movie criticism at the Macon Film Festival event.
Modine wasted no time in letting it be known that he didnt have a high opinion of the profession.
Ive seen colleagues careers destroyed by film criticism, he said. Its an emotional conversation for me to have.
Although today Full Metal Jacket is considered a classic, Modine noted that when it came out in 1987, Roger Ebert gave it the dreaded thumbs down. Ebert at the time co-hosted Sneak Previews with Gene Siskel.
Those two men had the power and potential to destroy a films opening weekend, Modine said.
Longworth said her aim is to not so much to give her opinion about a movie, but a report on the experience of watching it.
It has less to do with my opinion for me than it does to explain this object that you spend two hours in a room with, she said.
One point they agreed on was that film criticism has changed dramatically in the past few years with the explosion of Internet-based movie critics.
Modine said a beef he has with critics is that they seem to lean toward negativity because that gets more attention.
I think the strongest thing I can say is that if you dont have something nice to say, dont say anything, he said.
Longworth disagreed with the point that critics would be negative just because it might make for better reading.
Film criticism has been important to me as a reader and a person who loves movies because it helps me understand movies, she said. I would rather read a positive review because I love movies, but sometimes reviews need to be negative.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.