The Economics of Movie Reviews

The alternate title of this heartfelt essay from Dustin Rowles, founder of Pajiba, is “Why So Many Film Critics Continue to Lose Their Jobs.” It talks about the vagaries of a dedication to film criticism in the face of the form’s inherently terrible economics.

While the art of film criticism is still very much appreciated, and on some outlets such as The Dissolve, appreciated enough presumably to turn a profit, for many of us, film reviews are a money loser. Reviews of those smaller, independent and art films that no one watches are particularly money-losers, even though they need reviews the most because, in many cases, it’s the most promotion they will get.

It’s one of the ironies of the Internet that it has transformed certain flavors of content—like film criticism—such that they are more plentiful than ever, while also making them less viable than ever, and maybe even less meaningful than ever. This reality is particularly depressing with film criticism because I enjoy it so much. If movies are a reflection of ourselves, film criticism lets us perceive those reflections more deeply. Great writing about films is like a seamless blend of pastime and education; you can luxuriate in it as it sends you off into countless new directions.

Read Rowles’s full post at Pajiba.


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