When a film, or anything else, is as universally praised as Boyhood, there tends to be backlash at some point. Part of me wants to spout the popular phrase: “That’s why we can’t have nice things,” but the truth is: No film is perfect, nor beyond criticism. Citizen Kane is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, yet there is a flaw contained therein. I’m not going to tell you what it is for fear of causing some of you to question the film’s place in history. I am not saying that Boyhood belongs in the conversation with Citizen Kane, I’m just pointing stuff out.
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times declined to submit a review of Boyhood because he was not a fan and he didn’t want to spoil the film’s 100% rating on Metacritic. Some see this as a noble gesture, or a case of doing the right thing, much in the same way a batter doesn’t bunt in the bottom of the ninth in order to break up a no hitter. But, there are no “unwritten rules” in criticism. Or are they? I’ll never know, because I will never be a critic; I’m just another schmuck with a blog.
Some may feel that Turan is being self agrandizing, but I don’t see it that way. He has never seemed to me to be a self promoter, or someone who stirs up false contoversy just for the sake of it. I would like to think he was just being honest.
A lot of us film fans would love to be critics; mainly because you get paid to do what you love. However, there aren’t a lot of people in the world who love every type of film. I am no fan of the horror or slasher genres, yet I enjoyed the Scream movies. Go figure. Some people don’t like certain actors or directors, but it’s the job of the critic to leave their biases at the door. How many of us can do that?
The Internet is populated with individuals who hate everything. Maybe you even know someone like that in real life. There are those who just love to point out what they perceive to be flaws, especially when it comes to physical appearance. I happen to think that shallowness is an unattractive quality. It doesn’t matter if a person is attractive or not if they are a raging alcoholic, or just a garden variety jerk. That’s one of the lessons I took from Boyhood.