Letter: Missing ‘Cranky Hanke’

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I am not an expert on movies, but I do enjoy seeing a good movie. I have always enjoyed reading — always the first thing I read in Mountain Xpress each week — the reviews of our local offerings.

Is it just me, or are the reviews offered since the passing of Cranky Hanke more difficult to understand and most of them with a negative twist? What’s with all the strange words? I need a dictionary close by to figure out what is being said sometimes.

I really do not care how big the reviewer’s vocabulary is, I just want to know if the movie is worth seeing or not.

— Joe Mason

Editor’s note: Movie critic Scott Douglas responds: “Thanks for reaching out with these comments. You’re certainly not alone in missing Ken Hanke. He was utterly irreplaceable, and I’m doing the best I can to fill some very big shoes. Your primary concern seems to be a question of style, which is a highly subjective matter. I wouldn’t call myself an ‘expert on movies’ either, but I did major in film studies at one of the best programs in the country. When Ken asked me to take over for him a few months before his death, I myself questioned the accessibility of my more academic tone to a broad audience — Ken didn’t express any hesitation on that front, and I remain inclined to defer to his judgment. Is it really such a bad thing to look up a ‘strange word’ from time to time? Personally, I’d say ‘no.’ As far as negativity goes, I don’t believe I’m any more or less negative than any other critic, Ken included. They didn’t call him ‘Cranky’ for nothing, after all.”

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