“Even The Artist‘s most vocal detractors — who would likely not be vocal at all about it under normal circumstances — would have to confess that the film is not some bloated sop to the Academy, like so many other major studio productions crafted specifically for year-end consideration,” writes AV Club‘s Scott Tobias.

“Its goals are modest, its pleasures refined — not a whiff of self-importance or middlebrow grandeur, no issues more pressing than a general appreciation of love and the cinema, and certainly no ambition to heal a nation a decade after 9/11 or credit white audiences with a behind-the-back, Ricky Rubio-style assist in ending black oppression.

“And yet the resentment is there. Late last year, in a tribute to the absurdity of cinematic riches in 2011, I expanded my Top 10 list to 20 and added another 30 Honorable Mentions. Though even I’m not quite nerdy enough to keep ranking, The Artist would likely fall somewhere toward the back half of the next 50, so quickly did it slip like sand through my fingers.

“But then, the Oscars — and to varying degrees, all awards — are not about greatness, but about consensus. And The Artist is a point of agreement, much like a bill that’s been haggled over, kicked around by powerful special interests, watered down in committee, and passed to the majority’s tempered contentment.”

  • Super Soul

    I like to pretend that’s a photo of those two listening to somebody read this post aloud.

  • Krillian

    The Artist finally came to a theater near me, and it is only featuring matinees.

  • JR

    Fuck Tobias and his endless lists.

    What a douche – his #1 is Meek’s Cutoff, and Uncle Boonmee is in his top 5. What kind of jerkoff list is that?

    He declares 2011 is the best year for movies since he started reviewing in 1998 – that is a fucking joke when you consider recent watershed years like 2007.

  • JD

    I’m convinced that detractors of The Artist are missing the point entirely. It’s not a light, fluffy film at all. (In fact, the good cheer of so much silent cinema is used to ironic effect in the film.) The movie itself deals with some rather lofty issues regarding human obsolescence and the tendency of technology to “fix” things that aren’t broken. This is one of the reasons The Artist has so much resonance with older people, particularly Oscar voters (Jeff doesn’t fit because he sees himself as being in his prime and resents the idea that someone’s success might decline through no fault of his/her own). In the film world, we’re all used to seeing perfectly talented people slip into cultural irrelevance simply because a new trend or technology has replaced what they were good at. The way The Artist dramatizes this is tremendously poignant, universal (it’s about a lot more than movies) — and cinematic.

  • Rashad

    RE his point about Gladiator’s action:

    The opening of Gladiator is one of the finest set-pieces of the decade. Same with scene where Maximus and crew fight the Barbarian chariots, and then Maximus gets on that horse with Zimmer’s pumping score (which he reused for the Pirates theme) blaring in the background. All time badass moment right there. I agree a lot of the action is cut too quickly, but for most of it, it’s good, and those prior segments (along wiht a few others) make up for the bad ones.


    In art, modesty is a vice

  • longrunner

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  • LexG

    Does Scott Tobias get paid? So that means like Noel Murray and all those AV people get PAID CASH MONEY to write? Even Tasha Robinson with her scintillating column SHIT I SHOULD’VE SEEN BY NOW BUT HAVEN’T?

    Not that I’d wanna live in fucking CHICAGO, but I could write for AV and it would rule.

  • md’a

    I write for the A.V. Club, get paid to do so, and do not live in Chicago. Noel Murray lives in Conway, Arkansas.

  • Raising_Kaned

    They get movies in Conway??

  • md’a

    No, actually. I believe he has to drive to Little Rock to see anything in a theater. For smaller films, review screeners via mail.

  • Raising_Kaned

    They get mail in Conway??

    (I keed.)

  • Jesse Crall

    @Raising_Kaned: Never been to Conway but you cracked me up.

    The AV Club is finally starting to piss me off, partially due to Tobias and a lack of appreciation for cinematic badassery. But they’re also so damned nostalgic for 90’s music. Put any 90’s group next to The Who and they’ll look like a fucking wedding band. Woody Allen needs to do a Midnight in Seattle where some modern AV Club hipster goes back to when Nirvana began and meets a hot chick who just wants to see Pink Floyd before they split up.

  • LexG

    AV CLUB should extend the Lexman a 100 THOUSAND DOLLAR A YEAR OFFER to write for them.

  • MechanicalShark

    On this, I totally agree with Lex. I would religiously read a Lex column on the AV Club, because they would reign him in a bit, and it’d be less shtick, more actual eloquent passion about the movies he loves. Shit would be beautiful. Will never happen, but it’s a lovely dream.

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