"I've always been a print critic, but hostility to the Web was never my intention," says Peary, who features on-line heavyweight Harry Knowles of aintitcool.com and, in retrospect, wishes he had interviewed more new-school Web reviewers. "My worry about the Net is that real credibility is hard to establish, but there are always sluts, frauds, and whores everywhere. That goes for print media, too. The truth is, there are lots of terrific critics who write for the Web."
All the same, For the Love of Movies is as much a swan song as it is a celebration. Long gone are the years when cab drivers recognized and confronted critics, as New York Observer veteran Rex Reed remembers. Some movements, they say, go in cycles, but film criticism will not likely have a future peak comparable to the eras that Peary nostalgically presents. In light of that looming reality, another Sherwood gem comes to mind: "The trouble with me is, I belong to a vanishing race. I'm one of the intellectuals."
"I don't think anybody knows what's going to happen in a few years, but I do know that critics keep losing their jobs," says Peary. "There's even a Web site that keeps track of how many people were laid off, but I've been too depressed to check it out since Andrew Sarris got fired from the New York Observer. As for me, I couldn't be a first-string critic nowadays anyway, having to write about horrible and meaningless crappy action films that I think are really bad for you. I'm out in the pastures now, writing about what I should be writing about. But I did really like The Hurt Locker."
For the Love of Movies | Written and directed by Gerald Peary | playing at the MFA, Sept. 9-13, info at fortheloveofmovies.net | tickets @ http://www.mfa.org/tickets/index.asp .
, Entertainment, J. Hoberman, D.W. Griffith, More