Instead, Mr. Lott appears to have phoned in a meta-review, a review of a review.
Less of an examination of the film itself, Mr. Lott chose to devote much of his column for lobbing thinly veiled barbs in the form of unsourced reviews, generalizations and his own insecurities about Mr. Allen, his reputation and his previous work as the barometer for his “review.” Mr. Lott decides to compare the apples of Mr. Allen’s previous works (“Manhattan” exclusively, which was released during the Carter administration), to the orange of his most recent picture.
His opinion turns spiteful and vague, not approving or denouncing a director whom be believes is “oft-overrated.” Becoming ever more circumspect, Mr. Lott’s opinions near the quality of those currently waged via online message boards.
To compare “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Midnight in Paris” is ridiculous, pseudo-pop-culture elitism. Your straw man, Mr. Lott, only serves your half-baked notion that the two films are “essentially” the same thing. Reductio ad absurdum vis-à-vis a Keanu Reeves film is unbecoming. To his credit, Mr. Lott is right to complain that there are some who worship at the altar of Allen (namely the French).
Nevertheless, Mr. Lott is more obsessed with snidely attacking the cult of Allen than giving any real critique of the film that he allegedly viewed. Worse, Mr. Lott considers filmgoers as a monolith and easily marginalized, effectively elevating the already highbrow nature of Allen’s work (e.g.: “Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex”? “Bananas”? “Scoop”?) to write off the entire film. Atop his populist high-horse, Mr. Lott prefers the safety of attacking audiences, “the ones who wish the rest of the theater to believe them of superior intelligence,” as a last-ditch effort to implicate the film for its “gimmickry” and to avoid making any real critique of the film itself. So leave it to the self-absorbed and Allen-esque insecure “critic” to voice his ambivalence for wellcrafted films.
Allen consistently uses the best cinematographers, actors and editors. Yet, Mr. Lott makes no mention of the technical prowess on display in “Midnight in Paris” besides his mindless tropes, irrelevant allusions to pre-existing work and his delusional disapproval of audiences who may prefer movies without superheroes or special glasses. It seems as though Mr. Lott was looking for a smoking gun of cinematic elitism, to make his poorly lettered indictment of a latter-day artist, but sadly could not find one.