Following up on Joe Mason’s letter to the Xpress [“Missing ‘Cranky Hanke,’” July 26], which [reviewer] Scott Douglas doesn’t really seem to get, I’ve been saying the same thing after every movie I’ve seen for the last months. I noticed right away that the new reviewers were more erudite but less accessible than ol’ Hanke was. Lots of times, I felt Hanke was leaning too far on the simplistic end of the spectrum, so thanks to the new guys for helping me appreciate him more now. I may have sometimes disagreed with him, but I never was misled by Hanke.
Fast-forward to recent times, and I can’t follow the twists and turns of unnecessarily erudite language that often comes across like a message for film academics rather than an advisory for ordinary people who like films. For example (and I honestly almost wrote you about this), I went to see The Little Hours because the review made it sound cute, if bawdy. The reviewer never mentioned that it let itself get out of hand, only that the weak script was uplifted by fine performances. The film got ugly, actually, and I finally walked out. I don’t mind bawdy, I don’t even mind porn. But cruelty and hatefulness need a warning, thank you very much.
Anyway, without belaboring the point, I’d like to echo a request for more thorough and less academic reviews that are addressed to those of us in the Asheville area who look forward to getting some good ol’ useful, if cranky, advice from reviewers at the Xpress.
— Arjuna da Silva
Editor’s note: In light of recent criticism about excessive erudition, Xpress movie reviewer Scott Douglas is considering limiting his reviews to haiku form. A sampling:
The Little Hours
Raunch-com in this black-hearted
Black Death sex satire
An Inconvenient Sequel
Al Gore does his thing.
Is he preaching to the choir?
Yes, but he’s not wrong.
Ridley Scott f***s up
But not as bad as last time
So I guess there’s that.