The Critic’s Real Job

The Critic’s Real Job

Nothing pisses me off more than coming in Second.

If I take third place, I’m still unhappy but I’m also calm and resigned. Show, was clearly going to happen long before I got to the end.  The game didn’t develop right.  I threw the dice on a play that didn’t work out.  The opportunity to pull ahead was never there.  And plain old bad luck is a genuine factor.  Like I said, unhappy but calm and resigned. I knew what was coming.

Second place leaves me seething.  I was absolutely in the running.  I had made the right plays. I had pushed past the rest of the losers to include the resigned chump who was clearly going to come in third. I had thrown the dice and they came up sevens and elevens.  The win was almost there, but I didn’t get across the line before the son of a bitch who did. 

And there are few things more ecstatic than the come from behind win.  The one where you think you were blocked out and you are staring at third place Show but then you get that one little opening and that was all you needed to slip the knife in.  All you needed to push past the other two guys and come out on top.  

Triumph. Victory. Success. Conquest.

There is no better feeling in the world.  I get the guy who really wants to win.

And Ford Versus Ferrari really speaks to me.  It was a fantastic film.  They did everything right, and everyone did their level best to bring their A-Game. 

For those who have never watched Top Gear or who just don’t like cars. Ford versus Ferrari is about the legendary grudge match between the David and Goliath of 1960s motor racing. Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II (grandson of Henry Ford).  

Enzo Ferrari absolutely felt the bone-deep drive to come in First.  He was a professional racer himself with a record of eleven wins in forty-one races.   He knew that competition was what would drive a man past his limits and he frequently pitted his drivers against one another.  He was a man chasing perfection and by 1962 he had caught it. But the price had been laid too high. Ferrari Motors was bankrupt. Worse still, this was on the heels of a massive walkout by some of his top talent.  The only thing Enzo could do was sell his company. Being Italian he looked for an Italian buyer. Someone who understood at an instinctive level, how he needed to do business. Fiat was indeed interested, and they were serious.  Fiat would own the Ferrari Motors, but Ferrari Racing would be a separate company controlled by Enzo. It all looked good.  It was everything he wanted.

Except that Fiat wanted to pay him a lot less than what Enzo wanted for his company. 

Then as luck would have it another buyer showed up. One, that Enzo would have no trouble pitting against Fiat. 

Ford Motors was having its own problems at the time. Men of the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation had reached the point in their lives where they wanted to drive something a lot sexier than a four-door sedan. GM beat Ford to the marketplace with the Chevelle. Lee Iacocca was pushing the Mustang forward however it wouldn’t be on the road for a few years. Ford needed something now, so the idea was floated to just buy a sports car company in Europe and build Americanized versions of it immediately.

The offer was made, and Ferrari seemed quite serious about it.  Months of negotiations proceeded forward with a view towards merger.

There is no doubt in my mind that Enzo Ferrari had no intention of ever selling his company to Ford. Not if he could help it.  Enzo built race cars, that was his driving passion. He only sold cars to fund his racing team. I strongly suspect he was deeply revolted and utterly disgusted by the idea of his beautiful handmade, one at a time, cars being ground out like sausages on a Detroit assembly line. 

In fact, I’m certain of it given the things he said to Ford’s representatives after Fiat finally made the offer, he had wanted all along.  It must have been boiling inside of him for months, gnawing at his guts constantly, wondering if he was actually going to have to go through with it.  The deal that would turn Ferrari Motors into everything he didn’t want it to be.

At the last minute, he didn’t just reject Ford’s offer, he exploded.  Ferrari heaped as much humiliation as he could on the Ugly Americans who had come to buy his company.

Enzo Ferrari was reported to have said, that Fords were ugly little cars, made in an ugly factory and that Henry “The Deuce” Ford II was not the man his grandfather was. That he was no Henry Ford.

The Deuce was incensed. Revenge would be had, and it would come for that thing that Enzo Ferrari prized the most.  Victory at Le Mans. 

Ford Motors needed this to be an American win, so they went to the only American who had ever won Le Mans, Carrol Shelby.   Shelby had his own boutique sports car company and he put together a team whose job it was to win at Le Mans.  The first time out at Le Mans was a failure but then Shelby brought in British driver Ken Miles who led Ford’s team to victory.  Six months later Miles was in a fatal crash while testing out a new version of the Ford GT40.

Those are the events.  But events aren’t a story, and a story succeeds or fails by the style of its telling, and Ford Versus Ferrari succeeded magnificently.  It was Christian Bale’s best performance ever as Ken Miles, a man who was absolutely driven by his need to win. He almost couldn’t function in any other way.   His drive to achieve victory was fundamental to his existence. Matt Damon brought the goods as Carrol Shelby, who was just as driven by the need to win but had been taken out of the driver’s seat by a heart condition. Jon Bernthal managed a surprisingly worthy job in his role of Lee Iacocca, the sympathetic figure at the Ford Company man who was backing Shelby Racing but was up against Ford bureaucracy as represented by the reptilian Leo Beebe portrayed by Josh Lucas.  

Beebe probably wasn’t all that evil, but he unquestionably made the decision that cost Ken Miles the victory he had fought tooth and nail to get at Le Mans.  Regardless, every story needs an antagonist. Finally, we have Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II, the very entitled lesser grandson of a great man, and deep down inside he knows it.  In the end, Enzo Ferrari came across as the better of the two men.

This was a great film about men who have a drive to come in first and the cost that comes with it.  It’s a fantastic movie.

This was a complex and personal story that completed succeeded.

And critics absolutely hated the style of its telling. This isn’t the tale they wanted to be told at all.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it 92% positive review but if you actually read the reviews most of them are either damning with faint praise or just getting the good things, they have to say out the way before they start bitching.

And what they are bitching about is a film about White Men.  They couldn’t stand how many white men were in this story.  Where were the disenfranchised blacks? Where were the oppressed women?  The only woman in it was a housewife who was happy to be in her home.

They knew they had to do something about that.  

What is the modern critic’s function, after all?

From Phillip Greenspun’s blog:  (Don’t click on it)

He brings an intersectional lens grounded in social justice praxis to the classroom and is passionate about racial, gender and LGBTQ justice and issues of representation in film. Brad believes that the Western film canon is essentially a survey of what bell hooks calls “the imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” Any creative work that we do must reckon with this history of oppression, extract from it what serves us, and dismantle and discard what does not.

So, after you’ve fired up the bulldozer and plowed your way through the SJW word-salad, you are left with a clear mission statement: The job of the modern film critic is to be a propagandist. 

That’s why critics do what they do now. It is why you can’t trust them in the least. Their job is no longer to try and tell you if a movie is good or not. It is inform you of whether or not you should see it. Please note this is not the same as speaking to the quality of a movie because its quality doesn’t matter in the least to today’s critics.

It is why good movies are getting routinely trashed these days when they aren’t trying to advance SJWism. And while critics have so far had indifferent success with promoting godawful films that are rated NPC. They have had a great deal of success in damaging good movies.

Thanks to their efforts Ford Vs Ferrari bombed on its opening weekend and didn’t make much more than $200 million against a budget of $100 million.  It deserved to win as much as Ken Miles did and was just as cheated by the little men who know that they are little men.

But there is just a little light on the horizon. Critics can’t seem to do anything to stop a good superhero movie. They tried their damnedest to trash Joker and it made better than a billion dollars on a budget of seventy million.

I’m quite looking forward to Rebel’s Run.

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Comments (10)

  • ElRojo Reply

    It was a good movie.

    But for me even as an American, Ferrari has always come across as the company with the real racer’s soul.

    American car companies are quitters when it comes to racing internationally. They are not in it for the long haul year after year. They come out with a splash of cash, a great car, and win a bunch, then when they start to fade and it’s time to get a new racecar out there, they quit. *cough*Ford GT*cough*

    They got their publicity shot and they walk away for the next 20 odd years until they feel a need for cool photo ops again…

    But hey, they are all in NASCAR.

    February 8, 2021 at 11:45 pm
  • Crew Reply

    It is a shame that all modern science fiction novels have to have lots of men with tits, and I expect it is the same with movies, however, I don’t watch many movies.

    So many authors simply cannot understand the strength differences and speed differences between men and women. Sure, they will likely claim that with powered armor those won’t make any difference. Except, when the shit hits the fan and the armor breaks down, you are back to basics. In addition, none of them bother to deal with the cost of having two types of powered armor, one for men and another for women.

    I too am looking forward to Rebel’s Run.

    February 9, 2021 at 1:24 am
  • furor kek tonicus Reply

    i’m not really trying to disagree with you, most of your points here are excellent but

    racing movies tend to not do very well.
    .
    with much of the problem arising from the fact that most people in Entertainment and video production just can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that racing ( especially DURING the race ) is about making passes. being able to watch a pair of cars jockeying for position side by side for 5 or more laps is what racing is *about*.
    .
    this doesn’t go well with the modern MTV editing style in which we’ve got to change camera / angle every 5 seconds or the kids might change the channel …
    .
    just watch any NASCAR broadcast to see what i’m talking about. F1 doesn’t have enough passing to worry about it.
    .
    .

    ElRojo Reply
    But hey, they are all in NASCAR.

    .
    Dodge / Chrysler hasn’t been in NASCAR for years.
    .
    and there’s noise about Honda trying to join Toyota in the series.
    .
    .
    ElRojo Reply
    American car companies are quitters when it comes to racing internationally.

    .

    if that makes you feel better, keep telling yourself that.
    .
    the truth be told though, pretty much every car manufacturer hopes to at least break even on their racing endeavors as a marketing tool. Ferrari might be the singular exception worldwide and all they care about nowadays is F1. and back in the 60s and 70s, probably 80% of the big 3 auto sales were in the US. so what’s the incentive for Ford to stay at Le Mans?
    .
    did Ferrari “quit” when they gave up on Le Mans? you know, it’s been 1965 since Ferrari won that … which means they gave up on Le Mans longer ago than Ford did. and Ford ran their sorry asses out of it.
    .
    and how long has Ford had a WRC team? since the first season in 1973 and taking their most recent championship in 2017. yarp, international quitters, that’s Ford.
    .
    Ford was at Le Mans to beat Ferrari like a drum. once they accomplished their goal, they left.

    February 9, 2021 at 2:01 am
  • MrUNIVAC Reply

    The Last Jedi cemented once and for all the ability to tell the quality of a movie by its critic reviews:

    High audience score + High critic score = Good movie (A Quiet Place)
    High audience score + Low critic score = Good movie that is anti-Woke (Bright)
    Low audience score + High critic score = Bad movie that is Woke (The Last Jedi, which is the ur-example)
    Low audience score + Low critic score = Bad movie (take your pick)

    February 9, 2021 at 2:41 am
  • Desert Fox Reply

    Those *&@#$)%!** critics destroyed one of the greatest films ever made – “The Death of Stalin”. It makes me so mad to think they’re trying the same thing on “Ford v. Ferrari”.

    I console myself that so many film fans have stopped listening to critics we now automatically do the opposite of what they tell us to do. (“Critics don’t want me to buy this film? Here’s my credit card!”) Nonetheless, those *&@#$)%!** critics still have enough clout to harm good films and that still makes me mad.

    February 9, 2021 at 2:42 am
  • nick chopper Reply

    Critics have their own agenda. Is there a projected release date for Rebels Run?

    February 9, 2021 at 2:38 pm
  • Silent Draco Reply

    “Rated NPC” – great phrase, applicable a lot of places.

    February 9, 2021 at 2:44 pm
    • L. Beau Macaroni Reply

      I agree. Once I read the phrase “rated NPC”, I thought, “I’m gonna steal that.”

      February 9, 2021 at 9:36 pm
  • Codex Reply

    ….Adds to the list of birthday and Christmas gifts for brothers and nephews.

    Thanks!

    February 13, 2021 at 2:08 am

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