The Corner

Abusing The Privilege At The Times

If you think the politics of the New York Times are lousy, you should check out the movie criticism. The paper’s lead critic is A.O. “Tony” Scott, who achieved a kind of reverse immortality when he chose Steven Spielberg’s alternately boring and sadistic A.I. as the best movie of its year. Now he has outdone even himself with a review of the new Star Wars.

“This is by far the best film in the more recent trilogy, and also the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed,” Scott writes. “That’s right (and my inner 11-year-old shudders as I type this): it’s better than ‘Star Wars’….It comes closer than any of the other episodes to realizing Mr. Lucas’s frequently reiterated dream of bringing the combination of vigorous spectacle and mythic resonance he found in the films of Akira Kurosawa into American commercial cinema.”

Look, you may not hate this movie as much as I did, but trust me — saying that the new one is better than the original is like saying Godfather III is better than The Godfather. This ludicrous judgment puts me in mind of the only funny thing Trotsky ever said. (It’s even funnier that he was talking about the pompous windbag of a critic named Dwight McDonald.) “Everyone has a right to be stupid,” he growled, “but Comrade McDonald abuses the privilege.” Comrade McDonald, meet Comrade A.O. Scott.

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