Yesterday, I answered some questions from the mailbag on The Big Picture. But that show only runs about five minutes, so let's answer some more here:

Why should we in all honestly, listen to critics in the first place?

Same reason you'd listen to anyone else, more input. Different perspectives. Maybe you'll hear a point you hadn't considered, or learn about something you otherwise might not have known existed.

What's a pitch for one of your movie ideas?

While conducting research for an upcoming review, a mild-mannered Internet Film Critic accidentally uncovers a deadly conspiracy that only he can prevent. After many, many elaborately choreographed action scenes wherein he defeats many, many enemy henchmen with his unstoppable kung-fu skills and saves the world from nuclear annihilation, a grateful nation elects him to be their new King. Also he has a flying motorcycle, and lives with various supermodels who constantly fight over him like in Tenchi SomethingOrOther.

Why is it that in a lot of movies (e.g., Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) the female's only purpose to cause a fuss and scream?

Well, in that particular case it was because Temple was deliberately imitating the jungle adventure serials of the 30's and 40's where female characters tended to act like that. More broadly, it's often because filmmakers are told to include a female character and either can't or won't think of anything for her to actually do in the movie.

What do you think of the current trend of the "realistic filming" that we see in Project X and Cloverfield?

Partially because it's cheap, partially because it's a novelty and partially because it's intermittently popular. I think some of the reason for that is that the camera phone/YouTube/Facebook generation associates that style with "realism" and immediacy, and thus those films are more affecting to them. On the other hand, Project X probably would've made money no matter how they filmed it because the trailer promised topless girls, explosions and a dog in a bouncy castle.

Do you know why My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is as popular with older men as young girls?

It's popular because it's a clever, well written show with a tremendous voice cast. I think a lot of people of all genders respond to it for the same reason Bridesmaids was a surprise hit: It's rare and unusual to see a primarily female cast where all of the characters are well rounded and smartly realized instead of just staid archetypes. For example, the Ponies are all kind of equal parts screwed up, yet well intentioned, as opposed to The Good One, The Bad One and Their Wacky Buddies. As for how it got noticed by the older male audience in the first place, I have to wonder if U.S. fans would've found it had it not been running on a cable channel that courted that audience by running retro toons like G.I. Joe and Transformers. Just a theory, though.

Why do you think that talented actors are willing to put their time and effort into bad movies when they are talented enough to do more?


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