Who’s viewing the reviewer?

Whenever friends and colleagues introduce me to a new acquaintance as a film critic, I often take the introduction back and reintroduce myself as a movie reviewer. I’ve been asked if there was a difference, and I believe there is so. But that will be the subject of a future entry.

I have been wondering how seriously film reviews and criticism are taken here in the Philippines, particularly cineplex-ridden Metro Manila. Personally I have had my share of reactions to my reviews both fierce and flat – so, in a way, I know Pinoys do read reviews. But why? What for?

Academically these questions are an excercise in validity. Recently during the forum section of the Young Critics’ Circle 2007 film citations at the University of the Philippines, my former teacher Nick Deocampo practically challenged the point of group’s annual excercise. I maybe wrong in reading what Nick was saying, but he was asking why, in stressing the achievements of digital/indie productions vis-a-vis mainstream fare, YCC was essentially giving out citations that are mere variations of Industry awards to narrative film, instead of affirming its academic base and give citations that encompass the breadth of the definition.

I was struck by this observation. If this is true, YCC is no different from the average Pinoy with enough shrewdness to distinguish the Best Perfomance of the Year. Buti na lang Criticine.com from Univeristy of Asia and the Pacific prof Alexis Tioseco doesn’t carry annual awards. That’ll be the day. (Or have you, Alexis?)

So: do film reviews matter to the average Pinoy viewer (outside the Academic)? My interest is in setting up a Pinoy version of Rottentomatoes, and not in pursuing a journal on Pinoy film.

To the few readers who stumble on this site, particularly Filipinos, I inquire: Is there a  need for a Pinoy version of Rottentomatoes? Would the common Internet-active moviegoing Pinoy benefit from a compilation of published film reviews from regular Filipino film reviewers (obviously I hesitate to use the term critic)? Should I care? (Oops, the last one came from my good twin.)

I have a few answers of my own, but if this shout to address my attention deficiency falls on deaf ears, the answer becomes obvious.

I plead for comments. Thanks.

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3 thoughts on “Who’s viewing the reviewer?

  1. I don’t think there is an ACTUAL NEED for it in the same sense that we need reviewers. Hehe. I think I will support a local rottentomatoes because it localfilm101 for everyone. we know too many Pinoys who’ve seen too few Pinoy movies, good Pinoy movies. This will be an instant film list.

    So why not? But watch your back! Pinoys are so balatsibuyas! Get ready…

  2. 1. GP – yun na nga, ayokong magsayang ng effort. 🙂

    2. monster – precisely. i agree that there’s no actual need. tell that to advertisers… (wink, wink). this is a plea for validation.

    there’s an ongoing debate on the future of film criticism, as a consequence of the erosion of paper readership versus the pervasion of electronic “journalism” (blogs) in view of recent observations that a) the critics have lost touch with the audience and b) reviews are nothing more than 4-star point-system consumer guides to commercial cinema. and here lies the rub – probably the true crux of the my question – what will it (the site) be for? if you want a film list, then why not just a list? or let IMDB do the job.

    as i posted above, i’ve had my share of reactions to my reviews, and i know Pinoys are balatsibuyas. that’s why i got into thinking that a tomatometer-type of score can diffuse negativity. plus, such a site can make it easier for netizens to read what pinoy “critics” are writing about pinoy films. then again, who cares?

    WHAT the “critics” are saying is a different ballgame. but again, who cares?

    It seems, in the 15 days that this post has been online, the answer is already obvious.

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