Criticism is my favorite form of writing, firmly established when I lived in Washington DC and got to read Tom Shales in the Washington Post daily. His reviews of Kathie Lee Gifford’s Christmas specials are legendary (here’s a little taste, with a comment posted by the man himself!!) But we do ok here in Boston with James Verniere, Ty Burr and Wesley Morris on movies; Sebastian Smee on art; and Don Aucoin on theater.
One of my favorite reviews was the Globe’s Burr on the horror movie “Frozen” which included gems like, “Frozen” is an effective, no-frills gruel-a-thon if that’s your cup of Swiss Miss, and it explores such burning questions as: What happens if you’re dumb enough to leave your bare hand on a metal safety bar overnight? What does frostbite look like if you scratch it? Is it possible to shimmy along a lift cable without severing your fingers? And – a crucial one – when did wolves come back to New England?”
The Herald’s Verniere recently assessed the new Joss Whedon film “Cabin in the Woods” with, “The results are cheesy, occasionally amusing and even hilarious and finally too clever by half. This movie has its tongue so firmly in its cheek, it’s poking through and making a really nasty hole.” HA! And also eeeeewwwwww.
I love The New Yorker’s Joan Acocella, although I have never been to the ballet, and John Lahr, though I don’t get to Broadway very much. I never make anything from Epicurious unless I have first sorted the recipes by star rating, and never continuing past four stars (why would you?) When I go to our local bookstore, I look at what local book clubs are reading, or at staff recommendations. Food critics? Don’t get me started. I once paid to watch Ruth Reichl drink with Jaques Pepin!
I guess that’s another reason I love social media. I can find out about good movies, books, TV shows, stores and products, on Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare, from folks I know and whose opinion I trust. Companies and brands that get that are making good use of these connections and communities. Target, the Standard, L’espalier, American Express and Kimpton do.