While all my friends know me to be full of opinions (among other stuff), this week I published my first-ever, self-styled ‘review’ of a theme park show for ‘Theme Park University’. Sadly, on that same day, the world lost a great writer and my personal favorite reviewer, Chicago’s Roger Ebert.
I was a devoted fan of Mr. Ebert’s, particularly of the TV show he did with Gene Siskel. I loved the relationship between the two men, and the way their contrasting tastes and styles gave me a perspective on the films that were in current release.
I quickly realized that I tended to agree with Robert’s opinions more often than Gene’s. I felt Robert was more of a populist (like myself), while Gene tended to enjoy more esoteric fare. Listening to them, I could pretty accurately triangulate what films I would most enjoy seeing. And I was seldom mistaken.
Ultimately I learned that listening to critics is always a matter of triangulation; of learning over time whose tastes – in TV shows, movies, music, food – most closely reflect my own. Those are the people I seek out, listen to and use to guide the way I invest my time and money.
# # # # #
Writing my first review scared the hell out of me. Having it out there online still scares me, because I know that some people are going to think I’m being too harsh, too critical and too damn serious about what is, after all, just a couple of silly theme park shows.
But after these past couple days, filled with thoughts of Roger Ebert’s contributions to both society-in-general and my own enjoyment of the media, I can honestly say I’m ready to let (most of) that go. And to say to those who will cast stones, “Take your best shot.”
I hope that my opinions may serve as a signpost for you, as well. And, if my opinions consistently offend… if my taste differs from yours… if my direction to “See this show!” inspires you to run in the other direction…
I’ll be proud to have been of service!