Bah humblog

Bah humblog

: The Washington Post’s Jennifer Frey reviews Polar Express and says, “To not adore it is to feel like a scrooge.”

Meet Scrooge:

In the NY Times, unknown critic Manohla Dargis tries to show off in a most obnoxious way about a children’s movie (my emphasis added):

It’s likely, I imagine, that most moviegoers will be more concerned by the eerie listlessness of those characters’ faces and the grim vision of Santa Claus’s North Pole compound, with interiors that look like a munitions factory and facades that seem conceived along the same oppressive lines as Coketown, the red-brick town of “machinery and tall chimneys” in Dickens’s “Hard Times.” Tots surely won’t recognize that Santa’s big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler’s Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will.” But their parents may marvel that when Santa’s big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum.

Oh, come on. I haven’t seen the movie; plan to. But this kind of look-at-me-I’m-wearing-a-thong writerly exhibitionism is just plain obnoxious. Has The Times no editors? Did no one read this and say, “Come on, you went a mile too far, try again”? Santa and Hitler? Santa and scrotoms? No one?

  • Chris J


  • Perhaps the Times should change it’s motto to “all the pseudo-intellectual gasbaggery that’s fit to print”.

  • Well, Bush is Hitler, Santa is Hitler. Anything that represents a world you don’t understand and don’t want is now Hitler.

  • Seems the critic should seek private therapy rather than share publicly these, er, rather personal freudian revelations. Only a shrink can help him get to the bottom of why he sees an “airborne scrotum” when the rest of the world sees Santa’s toy bag.

  • Sal M

    Meh. Manohla Dargis (a she, by the by) has been peddling this type of stuff on anything mainstream since her days at the LA Weekly (local “alternative” paper). Nothing to see, Citizen.

  • Mumblix Grumph

    This sounds like a Southpark/Team America type of spoof:
    I see Hilter HERE!
    I see Hitler
    He’s behind each tree, behind you and me!
    He’s on the land, he’s on the sea!
    If you disagree, then you’re a Nazi!
    Hitler! He’s all I see!

  • Manohla is known well (or as well as film critics are known) in Los Angeles, where her reviews were the first worth reading in the L.A. Times for ages. I’ll take her over Elvis Mitchell any day.

  • HA

    Anybody care to guess who Ms. Dargis voted for?

  • paladin

    The Dargis review is what Pinch would call “urban”.

  • James Stephenson

    Dargis, look behind you. That’s the line.

  • washerdreyer

    Most NY film fans I know were quite happy when the Times get Dargis to come over from LA. She is almost certainly the best critic on their staff. While this review does look fairly bizarre to me, I’m not really sure it deserves this criticism. Is the problem that it’s hard to believe she is writing her real reactions, or that even if she really thinks everything she is saying is true, it’s inappropriate to write such things in a review?

  • Ryan

    Who says the NYT is out of touch…geez

  • She’s not the only one making this comparison–at least two other critics have drawn the Leni Riefenstahl comparison.
    Another critic compared Santa’s elves to . . .
    Orcs from Moria.
    Avoiding this one at all costs . . .

  • Bob

    Dude, you said yourself, you haven’t seen the movie.
    You yourself may leave the theater with visions of scrotums dancing in your head. You don’t know yet.
    Maybe it is Christmastime with Hitler, maybe it’s not. You don’t know yet.
    It’s feature Hollywood’s most self-important actor, Tom Hanks, so maybe there’s a point to all this criticism.