Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

It’s now 2020, a year that a lot of people in my generation and those before me usually referred to in a science fiction-like tone, usually reserved for futuristic utopias or post-apocalyptic wastelands but hooray we made it and the world is still teetering towards madness. So, how can we make this a better place? Well, for a guy like myself who has a platform to review movies to a wide audience I know of one way that I can try and make my own mark and I feel like a good amount of my colleagues would do the same.

Look, I’m guilty of this as much as the next guy, spending energy year after year figuring out lists of movies for each year, breaking down the good, the bad and the ugly, inevitably taking aim at the films we deemed to have “suffered through” to give it an extra kick in the belly as the year comes to a close. Take that, time waster! It’s a time honored tradition for us it seems and it’s something that publications like Variety, NPR and The Hollywood Reporter seem to still take a little glee in producing. This year though, with all of the negativity that flows through social media in all of its various forms making this type of list this year has really weighed on me. Are there bad movies this year? Yes, of course, but forcing me to relive these and then walking it out to the stocks to have rotten fruit and vegetables thrown at it seems repulsive to me this year.

This year is a first for me as I’ve opted not to make a “worst of the year” or “disappointment of the year” list as more division in our opinions, especially when it comes to something as subjective as art, feels limiting to what could be created in the future. This feels ironic in the face of my incessant anger over It Chapter Two just a few months ago but what have I personally taken away from someone who possibly had an excited feeling toward seeing this movie and perhaps would have enjoyed said movie if I hadn’t seeded their minds with my negative thoughts before they had a chance to form their own idea. I know this seems to negate what a critic’s purpose is but I feel like there has to be a better way in which we impart our criticisms.

We are all human and we are all fallible. We can write stories that don’t translate, make movies that fail to connect with an audience but what we shouldn’t do anymore is belittle things that people have put their blood and sweat, hearts and souls and their mental wellbeing on the line for. As a critic, I feel like we need to strive for the positives in our initial outlooks on these films especially in their debuts while being less jaded on what didn’t work in our minds. This type of thinking could help repair the bridge that has been severely damaged between entertainment media and the artists that create it.

Making lists that focus on the great things in cinema could actually be a fantastic weight off of our shoulders as the world around us mental health-wise as we don’t need to dwell on what makes us unhappy and impart that knowledge to affect other’s moods. What if one of my readers really loved It Chapter Two and now because of my rants I have soured that person’s view of my work going forward? This is always bound to happen but I’d rather it be over something I’m proud to put out into the ether rather than me throwing mud because I’m having a cinematic temper tantrum. I saw a quick tweet the other day and it sums it up eloquently, stating “Dear Film Twitter, Cinema owes you nothing.” I have to say this is true and one of the biggest catalysts of my entry here. Let’s be better for each other in 2020 when it comes it cinema because we all love it, we just need to remember that.

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