In yesterday’s thread about a Wolf of Wall Street review written by The Wire‘s 23 year-old critic Esther Zuckerman, HE commenter “Jeff” said that “[it] works within the context of other reviewers to give a different generational perspective but Millennials have a much more pronounced sensitive side and tend to be horrified by mean or fratty/bro antics (specifically someone whose background reads Harvard/Westlake, Yale, Village Voice ).”
In response to this Ray Quick/LexG posted his own similar riff about Millenials. It’s unwise to generalize too much, but is there a measure of validity to some of LexG’s observations? And if not, why or in what way?
“Late to this, but [this is an] interesting and very true point about Millennials and younger critics,” Lex G began. “This applies to the arisp/Joe conversation above too, but I think there are interesting and valid writing styles to be had from ‘younger’ critics and viewers. Hell, I bluffed my way through a film studies degree at 22 even though I summarily rejected the whole ‘movies reflecting their socio-historical time” throughline that they force upon film students, and used to spin superlatives-laden capsules for my high-school paper starting at 14. But I do find, for better or worse, a lot of the ‘young’ critics of today are this weird mix of overly cerebral/detached (explained by relative proximity to academia) AND now have this post-Armond obsession with humanism and political correctness.
“In weird ways, the Millennial film fans I know or read, you’re always between a rock or hard place. They’re more easily offended by content and nihilism than even some ‘old man’ critics….yet they also have a sociopathic resistance to any warmth or earnestness in film. It’s why places like Slant or critics like Calum Marsh or Ignatiy are a little mystifying. They’ll front like the most detached, scientific viewer…[and] then in the next review clamor for a type of redemptive humanist religiosity from movies.
“It’s a sharp contrast from when I came up, when geeks were all about nihilism and blackness and got off on the charge of the corrupt– even in the Clintonian p.c. days when I was studying film, all the beardos were down the moral ambiguity and shock value of the movies of the time, be it Boyle or QT or Spike or Lynch. In a way that seemed truer to me to the interests of young people.. It’s weird to me how the Millennial generation, from the music to the movies, doesn’t seem to really ‘get off’ on any ferocious or intense or disreputable way. And the age comes into play. Like, filmically a movie can commit a zillion different sins, but if the ‘reviewer’ has such limited life experience and such judgmental moral superiority, it comes off like they don’t have the real-life experiences and losses that shade a more thoughtful review.
“Just to pick something off the top of my head, I’m sure the Walter Mitty reviews next week will be brutal from ‘young’ reviewers, but what, really, does a 22-year-old NYU kid from academic parents and a trust fund REALLY know about middle-age ennui or living a life haunted by compromise? At 22 or 23, everyone thinks they’re fucking invincible and oh-so-fucking-wise. I hated college kids when I went to college, I damn sure don’t need to read them DROPPING THE KNOWLEDGE to me when I’m 41.”