When I studied acting, my teacher didn't really enjoy going to plays. She went, but not very often. And it wasn't because she hated plays. She loved them. She's worked with American greats like Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, and several members of New York City's Group Theater. But her work, her job analyzing students, whether they were acting well or not, had become second nature. An example, one scene I did required me to enter the stage.
As I walked on, she said in her frog like voice, "Jimmy. What are you doing?"
"What? I didn't even say anything, yet," I said.
"You didn't have to. Your energy wasn't there. You weren't present."
She was right. It was one of the coolest things that I remember about her.
So when she goes to theatrical performances, she can't help but analyze everyone's performances.
When I go to movies, watch TV or plays, read books, or listen to a story, I can't help but see certain techniques used to create emotion, depth, the setup, etc. I can, however, turn it off. That's how good I am. Or maybe that's how incompetent I am.
Before I went to see Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron, I saw the viewers’ reviews on Fandango. It had a green cartoon bubble with a plus sign inside, meaning, go see this movie unless you're a loser. Not wanting to be a loser, I went to see it. One of the things I noticed, just off handedly, there weren't a lot of disaster. I caught myself looking for it.It seemed pollyannaish.
I think what saved the movie, aside from being heartwarming, is thehumor.It's not Will Ferrell kind of humor. That can and does get annoying. Absurdity upon absurdity isn't absurd anymore. It's kinda like trying to find a black dot on a black screen. It was the kind of humor that helps contrast Bullock's confidence and Aaron's low key performance.
Even though this movie broke a huge rule in compelling story telling, it worked for the general audience. Because no matter what a professional critic may say, it's the fans that determines the success of any work.
In saying that, reading what professional critics say can teach any storyteller some intricacies of the art, especially when they begin to say the same thing over and over again. If, however, the list of complaints is so varied, then it is just their ownopinions.And we know what that smells like.