I will never be a successful movie critic, nor do I really want to be. On average, I agree with about 20 percent of the reviews I read.
Each time I see a movie and think to myself, “wow, now there’s a great movie,” I discover the next day that most of the critic world abhors the movie, thinks it’s a reincarnation of “Ishtar” and should be banned from being shown on the screen.
My heart is with the folks who produce films only to have them panned. I know a bit about that, having been a newspaper editor for a number of years. You produce what you think is a terrific edition, only to have someone find a misspelled word on the last page and in their mind, it invalidates the 99.99 percent that is letter-perfect.
I’m one of the few who remembers reading “Les Misérables,” the Victor Hugo classic novel. The copy in our high school library was tattered and torn. It was required reading for a number of courses, yet there was only one copy. I always found that rather odd.
I enjoyed the story and admired the writing style. The plot line is about someone trying to do the right thing while some obnoxious self-appointed guardian of all things makes his life miserable. I don’t know of anyone who has read it and sided with the Javert character.
Then it became a Broadway play. I have yet to see a Broadway production actually on Broadway in New York City, so I have little in the way of comparison there.
So when I heard “Les Misérables” was coming to the big screen, I had trepidation about how it would stack up against the original novel. I was also concerned that turning it into a musical would bring out the musical haters among the critics, who would shoot it down before it had a chance.
Turns out, the reviews have mostly been good, and I’m told it may be in line for some hefty awards. Maybe this time I will actually see a movie and agree with the critics.
A Texas review had this to say: When “Les Misérables” is good, it is very, very good, and when it is bad, it’s usually because Russell Crowe has opened his mouth.
The other big gripe seems to be that the movie commits the venal sin of moralizing. There’s a clear “good guy” and an equally clear “bad guy” and somehow in our politically correct world today, they should both be “good guys,” just with different perspectives on life.
I’m hoping I get to see “Les Misérables” sometime before it comes to the cheap theatres.