A dissent on ‘Captain Phillips’ review

Imagine Karl Rove or Dick Cheney as a leading man in Hollywood. Now, in this frame of mind, try to imagine Justin Souther writing a coherent, perceptive review of a serious movie.

Better, go to last week’s Xpress and read Souther’s review of Captain Phillips. Now, grab your computer and head for Rotten Tomatoes and read 6-8 reviews by serious, mature and capable movie critics.

Note the difference? Probably dozens — maybe hundreds — of Asheville folks will miss a truly great film because of the hackneyed, cliche-ridden drivel in Xpress about this film.

Tom Hanks, one of the country's very finest actors, gives one of his very best performances ever (read the real critics) and this buffoon Souther reduces Hanks to “a man who once won an Academy Award for playing a mentally challenged Ping-Pong master,” suggesting that this aside is relevant to … something. Souther writes that this is a movie “that plays to his [Hanks’] worst tendencies” and goes on to push his main thesis, that Hanks grovels after Academy Awards in much of his acting. …

Like cliches? Grab a Magic Marker and coast through this gibberish to highlight them. There’s going to be a lot of color on your copy of the paper.

Like unelaborated generalizations? See what you can find.

I loved this movie. “Shallow?” If it is, then so am I. I loved Forrest Gump. Insulting that wonderful character's intelligence bears the same relationship to movie criticism that lynching does to justice. Perhaps Souther has read his Pauline Kael on this topic and wants to appear sophisticated also. Both are boors

Was this review edited? Read by Ken Hanke (who is, I presume, his “boss?”)? Read by any editor? Shame on him and on a good, readable paper for printing this kind of wrong-headed, cynical, shallow drivel.

Xpress responds: Viewers’ opinions of movies will differ, and we appreciate Voorhees’ passion for this film and his critique of Souther’s review. Critics’ opinions of movies, of course, will differ too, and our editors don’t direct our reviewers to hold certain opinions. As for this review, it was indeed edited, but not by Hanke, who is Xpress’ main movie reviewer but not Souther’s boss.

— Robert Voorhees

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One thought on “A dissent on ‘Captain Phillips’ review

  1. Ken Hanke

    Don’t be telling Justin I’m not his boss ot he’ll start saying I can’t make him review something. And actually, I did read and do a preliminary edit on the review. I haven’t seen the movie, so I’ve no opinion on his opinion, but I’ll defend his perfect right to voice it.

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