Coup de cinema?

I have muttered and complained to my friends about Cranky Hanke's movie reviews for a long time. He really frustrates me. I recently read the letter from Hannah Clarkson (age 10)[“Young Movie Reviewer is Ready to Help,” Aug. 25 Xpress]. [She] rightly calls out Hank for not understanding the roll of a movie critic.

A movie ought to be judged by what it seeks to accomplish. For example, if I am going to read a movie review about an action flick, i.e. Arnold Schwarzenegger, I want to know if there are good explosions, car chases, non-stop action, etc. I don't need to hear that his acting ability is lacking, the plot was too simple and [that the movie was] a waste of time to see. I like all types of films; I loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (foreign subtitled) and I love Will Ferrell movies (stupid humor). It all depends on what mood I am in for. I want to know if the story line is coherent and does the movie deliver what it promises. That is key: does the movie deliver. What it is delivering is what ought to be reviewed. Cranky Hanke, Hannah Clarkson and [I] all have different tastes. All three of us are going to enjoy different types of movies. I think that a movie reviewer has a duty to view a movie from the perspective of the intended audience. Will a ten year old girl enjoy the latest Hannah Montana film? If you like Jackie Chan, was The Karate Kid a good flick? I am tired of listening to Cranky Hanke rant about what a terrible movie he saw when I actually enjoyed the same movie. I have gotten to the point that I rarely read his reviews before seeing a film because I don't want his perspective to make me frustrated.

Hank, just relax and watch the film from the intended perspective. If you can't do that then pass the job onto someone who can. Hannah and I would be happy to take your job.

— Cody Kelly
Asheville

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6 thoughts on “Coup de cinema?

  1. Justin Souther

    That is key: does the movie deliver. What it is delivering is what ought to be reviewed.

    Isn’t this what we’ve been doing? Examples of how we’ve failed in this capacity are certainly welcome.

    I am tired of listening to Cranky Hanke rant about what a terrible movie he saw when I actually enjoyed the same movie.

    So are you saying if his opinion coalesced with yours, you’d have no issue?

    And I use “opinion,” because really, that’s the actually role of a film critic, to give a subjective, analytical view of a movie. It’s solely the point-of-view of the critic, though there are any number of times that we’ve commented on the aims of films and their target demographics. The idea that you can whittle films down to one notion — like calling The Karate Kid (which, for the record, Ken never even reviewed) a movie just for people who like Jackie Chan — reduces movies down to their most simplistic terms and robs them of so much. There’s much more to film than that, which is what we, as critics, strive to point out — among other things — in some capacity.

  2. Dionysis

    “I want to know if there are good explosions, car chases, non-stop action, etc.”

    There’s nothing more irritating than going to a movie expecting good explosions, car chases and non-stop action and getting bad explosions, lame car chases and action punctuated by diversionary dialogue and character development.

  3. Ken Hanke

    I have muttered and complained to my friends about Cranky Hanke’s movie reviews for a long time.

    Yes, and they’re getting pretty darn sick of it. Oh, well, as Oscar Wilde once noted the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

    [She] rightly calls out Hank for not understanding the roll of a movie critic.

    Is that a kaiser roll or a poppy seed roll? Actually, she never said a word about me not understanding the role of a critic. And my name isn’t “Hank.” I’ll answer to Ken, Hanke, Mr. Hanke or Hey you, but not Hank.

    What it is delivering is what ought to be reviewed. Cranky Hanke, Hannah Clarkson and [I] all have different tastes.

    Which means that we’d all be judging what it delivered from a particular point of view.

    I think that a movie reviewer has a duty to view a movie from the perspective of the intended audience. Will a ten year old girl enjoy the latest Hannah Montana film?

    Unless you are a ten-year-old girl, you really don’t know the answer to that. You’re only supposing you do.

    I am tired of listening to Cranky Hanke rant about what a terrible movie he saw when I actually enjoyed the same movie.

    In other words, the whole issue is that my taste has to match yours in order for the review to be valid. That’s not going to happen with any critic or reviewer on a constant basis. If you were doing reviews, your tastes would not reflect every demographic or every viewer. And if you tried to achieve something like that, you’d end up with the old “for people who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they will like” — a concept that is not only uninformative, but it’s a little presumptuous to speak for anyone other than yourself. In the end, that’s who you’re speaking for anyway.

    The fact is that the things cited that the reviews need to address are generally addressed. Justin’s review of The Karate Kid did indeed address the aspect — which was only one aspect of the movie — of Jackie Chan’s performance. My review of The Expendables did indeed address the questions of action and explosions. I am guessing that the objection is that my response to them — that the action was amusingly over-the-top and the explosions were often bad CGI — differed from yours. If that’s the case, it’s perhaps worth noting that the film got a 39 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes — 99 bad reviews to 64 positive ones. In other words, a significantly larger number of reviewers thought it was a bad or at least disappointing movie.

  4. brebro

    To be fair, his nickname IS “Cranky” after all, so you should have known, going in, what to expect. From that kind of full disclosure, one could only assume that said reviewer was either not likely to be fond of many of the films he was exposed to, or that the editors needed an adjective that rhymed with “Hanke. ”

    I think, therefore, that your demand for a new critic should be limited to only people whose last names rhyme with “affable.”

  5. Scotty_Mack

    If one can watch any old drek ‘for what it is’ (like will farrell movies) and enjoy it then what does one need movie reviews for in the first place? How can any movie be anything but ‘what it is’? Not all of us are entertained by explosions or buffoonery. For those of us with taste who would prefer not to waste an unrecoverable two hours of our limited lifespan on an uninspired piece of crap film, Ken Hanke is incredibly helpful for negotiating the cesspool of modern cinema. Personally I like a reviewer to sit through all garbage for me, take the bullets without being able to walk out, and tell me which ones were actually art and which are half-assed attempts at movies supported by great ad campaigns. And that’s what the Hankmeister does. He’ll surprise you, too, from time to time, and he has pointed me towards movies I thought I would hate but wound up enjoying quite a bit. Sort of a ‘Yes most every Arnold Schwarzenegger film is total crap for the easily amused but his latest work was a surprising enjoyment.’ Keep it up, Ken!

  6. TokyoTaos

    Even though when it comes to movies Ken and I have very different tastes (except we probably agree on the really bad ones) without fail the first section I turn to each week on picking up the Mountain X is the movie reviews. I read them not because I will agree with them but because they’re extremely well written, educated and witty. Give me one Ken Hanke over 100 mediocre movie reviewers I agree with any old time!

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