But film criticism, at least meaning the elite cultural institution pioneered by Manny Farber, James Agee and Pauline Kael, had a nice 50- or 60-year run, and is now a thing of the past. My opinion about whether that's a good thing or a bad thing isn't interesting to anyone, least of all me. Writing about movies requires no particular expertise or training, and as we've learned over the past decade, any idiot with an Internet connection can and will do it. Will there continue to be a market for those who can do it better than others? Probably, ultimately, over the long haul. I don't know. It depends what you mean by "better."
At the very beginning of my writing career, I learned one thing: Film criticism is a kind of performance, an adjunct form of entertainment. If it isn't funny and lively and engaging, it isn't anything at all.
An engaging, thoughtful, and very caustic message from Salon's Andrew O'Hehir to his fellow critics.