So much for impartial judges

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So much for impartial judges

Postby MovieAddict » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:00 pm

About once a year I get a documentary fix, buy a few and watch on rainy days.

With 2016 O's America newly avail on DVD, I wanted to read the review (did the DVD have any good extras?), I thought the movie was interesting, entertaining and I enjoyed it.

Quite surprised to see it got a 30. Pretty low for a DVD verdict review rating (In fact may be the lowest I have ever seen).

What disturbed me though was that the author feigns impartiality and panned the move for its 'obvious bias" . Reviews of the other big money making documentaries Fahrenheit 9/11 got a 90 and Bowling for Columbine a 97. Now mind you I think Moore is an odious demagogue and its quite apparent he hates America as evidenced by his public comments and the crude and frankly absurd bias evidenced in these two movies. But that said they are interesting movies and worthwhile watching. So no heartburn with the high marks at all.

That is no heartburn until I saw the 2016 review, a thought provoking movie regardless of which side of the political spectrum you lean upon. Fair enough I suppose that different reviewers = different opinions so I'm not calling out DVD verdict or the Moore film reviewers.

I will though callout Judge Douglas, your partiality and lack of objectivity is a writing hazard and could portend a short career or in this day and age offer you brilliant success at New York Times. Irregardless, I for one will remain skeptical of any review you have posted.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
- C. S. Lewis
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Re: So much for impartial judges

Postby mavrach » Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:39 pm

While I'll admit to not having seen the movie in question, I think it's a bit excessive to question Clark's writing ability. His contributions to DVD Verdict are many and are welcome. What I got out of the review was that the movie was ludicrous in it's presentation of exaggerated suspicions about Obama. And he grounded it by comparing it equally with Bill Maher's Religulous.

Maybe you were taken in by the movie and you disagree with Clark's assessment, but I had zero problem with his analysis and found it to be perfectly impartial. He didn't rebut the political arguments or try to get the reader to vote the other way. He questioned the creators for making a sensationalist movie that held no traction. And his review is enough to keep me away from the movie so it's done its job ;-)
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: So much for impartial judges

Postby MovieAddict » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:19 pm

Thanks mavrach you are correct, I wasn't very clear. I didn't mean to deride his writing ability, just question the veracity of his writing.

You articulated better then I Judge Douglas' bias, 'exaggerated suspicions of Obama' is a perfect example, misleads completely. The movie looks at the President's ideologic, geographic, biologic, and biographic roots along with his pre-presidential writings/speeches and extrapolates. Dinesh aims to consider where such inclinations would direct his presidency and how said presidency would affect the nation come 2016. Its not suspicious, its speculation and entertaining speculation at that. Douglas admits this and uses it to denigrate the film for ''depending on speculation'. D'souza never claims it to be anything else, it doesn't depend on speculation,it is speculation (but the background history of the President is fact, it was unknown to me prior to his election and it was fascinating stuff whether you like the man or not, the speculation is limited to looking into O's mind and future direction. There is nothing preachy or patronizing here and thus doesn't even compare to Religulous, who by the way he calls polished, because of Larry Charles direction yet 2016 was produced by the Gerald Molen, he is not polished?? The film is not polished because of shaky hand helds in Africa, well then Battlestar Galactica is 'unpolished'.

As to self important wrong headed fear mongering - pure animosity on the reviewer's part who ignores the sheer entertainment value of the film. It was riveting. To me I can see no other explanation then the review is so besotted with the President he will tolerate any form of critique, clearly his sensibilities are hurt with any portrayal short of hagiography.
OK that's bias on my part, I do not know that but I know he persuaded you to not see this film and I think that is a small injustice for the movie merits watching unless you share similar sensibilities, then I guess there is no point. But the reviewer didn't tell you to avoid the film because of sensibilities, he told you to avoid the film because it is simply bad which is a complete falsehood. Again he rated the movie a 30 on the DVD scale an unheard of score for even the truly worse movies of all time.

(I'll admit my bias, I thought this was a good movie and surprised it didn't receive an academy nomination. If Columbine got Moore an academy award for filming entertaining insults to conservative sensibilities, why not this entertaining film? Clearly the Academy bias would never tolerate any insult or even perceived insult to Liberalism, thus their bias forces me to not trust their opinions as well. I'll readily admit many will consider Judge D in good company for aligning with the Academy, but obviously I am not one of them).


Anyway I'll conclude with, Religulous got a 94. The 30 rating for 2016 quite frankly is a calumny and if you saw the movie, I think you'd agree.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
- C. S. Lewis
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Re: So much for impartial judges

Postby mavrach » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:36 am

Ok no problem.

Reviewing a politically-aimed movie has to be difficult if you don't buy into it's particular message. Personally I find it difficult to see either political side worked into such a frenzy that they begin to declare the other side to be pure evil and that they intend to destroy America. If you don't believe that mindset, how can you evenly review a movie? I have my political opinions but I'll never hate the other party because I know they're doing what they think is right for the betterment of the country. Nothing quite gets under my skin more than political arguments between well-meaning folk who disagree and instead of sharing ideas, start name-calling each other.

As for the numeric "grade" the movie gets, anybody here will tell you to essentially ignore it because the text of the review is what really matters. Those reviews were all done by different judges, not to mention at different dates. When Fahrenheit 9-11 came out, I saw it in a packed theater and was cheering along with it. Now although I'm the same politically, I think Michael Moore is an immature prankster who forgoes serious points with cheap gags. So when a Judge writes a review, they can't be expected to use every other review written by different authors over the years as a precedent. Clark's score matched his review, and if one existed without the other it would still keep me from watching the movie as intended.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: So much for impartial judges

Postby Michael Stailey » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:30 am

This assignment was a no win situation. Page through the various IMDb external reviews and you will be hard pressed to find any assessment that isn't as polarizing as the film itself. It's the nature of the source material beast. Clark was given this review as a blind assignment and turned in a critique on par with his usual high standards. Whether you agree with his take on this particular film is completely up to you, but to call into question all 1,276 of his DVD Verdict reviews because of it is ridiculous, and epitomizes the incendiary knee-jerk reactions the entire 2012 Presidential campaign elicited from conservatives and liberals alike.
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Re: So much for impartial judges

Postby MovieAddict » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:37 pm

Mavarach and Michael you both have good points:

Mav - Perhaps I'm persevorating on '30'. If he gave the movie an 88 likely I would have read the review, mentally noted my disagreement with his written review and moved on.

But that '30' sticks out, its not a rating, its a statement, an emphatic one informing me the reader, the writer didn't just find the movie bad, he emotionally disliked it. Thus serving warning to me his written words, no matter how eloquent likely is misleading as he is presenting an internal reaction and not an objective critique.

Then again it could just be a quick number he haphazardly wrote down, without thought after completing the review late at night. So whether angry diatribe (consciously or unconsciously written) or random rating I cannot know for sure as I cannot read his mind I can only speculate and call it as I see it. But alas... don't think as badly of me as Clark does of D'souza for partaking in speculation...

Michael - I agree I shouldn't 'call into question' his 1,275 other reviews yet I certainly need to keep my critical analysis antennae tuned in. Of course that should be the case for everything I read but its Clark's work here that serves as an excellent reminder we must remain ever vigilant; for its the soft bias, frequently unnoticed, that can be the most damaging.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
- C. S. Lewis
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