Mailbox: 06.03.09-06.09.09

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Even before anyone could have attended an actual screening of Pixar’s new animated film Up, commenters began bashing Armond White’s review (“The Way of Pixarism,” May 29-June 2), using nasty epithets and demanding that he be “fired.” Most of it doesn’t deserve to be printed, but here’s a selection of both the positive and negative reactions.

“Excellent Armond. Like most of these thick, unsophisticated posters, I was aware of your talent for ripping into movies that use superior story writing and immorally high production values to overshadow other masterpieces like Chicken Little. I have to admit, however, that I was pleasantly surprised by your talent for writing short humor. I knew I would find a sharply written, curmudgeonly against-the-grain review here, but imagine my glee when I instead discovered the best parody of elitist reviewing ever written. Do not for a minute trouble yourself with the dullards who did not understand your intent. Did they actually think that you meant all of that? Come on! The hilarious socio-economic references; the subtle yet hilarious inclusion of every big word you could find? And the term “Pixarism”? What moron could take that seriously? Calm down people! Do you think this man would even have a job in media if he really believed any of this?”

“Hey, a cartoon message board full of blubbering man-children found your review, and right now, you’ve insulted their god.They’ve hitched up their sweatpants and sallied forth to confront you by spamming one-star ratings to your movie review in hopes of proving you wrong by way of argumentum ad populum. Thanks for the review, though. They’re adorable when they’re angry.”

“I just saw Up and Mr.White is a moron. I really hope this man does not have kids.”

“Nice to see someone else who doesn’t buy that Pixar is the be all and end all of modern filmmaking. Except for the first half hour, Wall-E was trite and boring. I have no doubt that Up is more of the same, and will be hailed by critics as the best thing since Citizen Kane.”

“Yeah, he’s often cantankerous, frustrating and seemingly contrarian, yet White’s also one of the very few film critics who responds to cinema in terms of emotions and ideas expressed by the visuals. If nothing else, I will always defend White for examining films in terms of visual poetry and not plot. While I happen to love much of Pixar’s output, why are so many people attacking White for questioning the hegemony (and cinematic/social politics) of the world’s dominant animation studio? Isn’t that what any meaningful art critic is supposed to do, whether we disagree with him or not? It’s not that he doesn’t recognize the talent involved in Up, he simply rejects what he sees as easy sentimentality. Manohla Dargis and Stephanie Zacharek have also expressed similar feelings. Plus, it’s not like White hates all of Pixar: He admires Bird’s two films and is on record as loving Toy Story 2.”

“What are you, an emotionless idiot? I understand not liking a movie, but this? You’re nuts.”

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