I lost total respect for Rex Reed decades ago. DECADES ago, but it was three reviews that cemented it down.
I note that it was nothing as petty as him hating a movie I liked. Ebert does that all the time and I consider him a national treasure. These reviews showed an innate misunderstanding of his job so total that no redemption was possible. This was BEYOND his habitual condescension toward anything with any fantasy element, a sin that he shares with many.
One: his review of BARFLY. He snotted, "People go to the movies for glamour...they don't go to see alcoholic degenerates like the people in this film. NOBODY could care about the people in this film." There goes any film that isn't about pretty people. And, by the way: yes, people do go to dramas, they do go to films with sleazy subject matter, and a lot of people do care about the people in that movie, asshole.
Two: he reviewed David Lynch's DUNE, a movie that did separate viewers into two camps, those who loved it and those who hated it. A mere bad review would not have counted against him, but he snotted, "I've never read the sixties sci-fi movie this is based on, but after seeing the movie, I wouldn't read it on a bet! Ha, ha, ha!" The man had been a reviewer for decades and had somehow never encountered the premise, even the premise, of a movie that didn't live up to the book it was based on. He further called it "A whacked out drug manual from the 1960s." Way to dismiss a cultural phenomenon you just bragged you knew nothing about.
Third: he reviewed THE NAME OF THE ROSE, the film based on the Umberto Eco novel about murders at a medieval abbey. He complained that everything was so dirty, again that people don't go to movies to see dirt, further that the plot was too complicated for anybody to ever possibly understand, and finally -- this being the nail in the coffin -- that "audiences" would never accept the motive for the murders, a point of philosophy involving the subject matter of a book. NOBODY, he said, could possibly buy that. It was too subtle for any movie audience to possibly get.
Three and you're out. -- Adam-Troy Castro
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