Kill yr idols, right? I can’t face this book, don’t want to. This is probably not the first time I’ve bashed David Thomson here, and I’ve not got round to the long and hard work of finding what’s gone wrong and how, but even positive reviews of this book aren’t going to bring me round, this time. What would have struck me as elegant — key quotation: it’s “not just the history of American movies, but the history of America in the time of movies” — now strike me as dumb. Is his book really a history of the States 1895-2005?
There’s something odd about being ‘the world’s greatest movie critic’ — no-one ever makes that kind of claim for literary critics — and perhaps it’s this I find wearisome. It’s not exactly the pessimism Thomson has about Hollywood that I find grinding, more the self-satisfaction that accompanies it.
If cinema really is dead (and it is, kind of), then we ought to be dancing on its grave, not cursing it for its lapses. Recently I used a digital camera for the first time — it cost about £60 and has a moving-image function. I don’t want to sound Lutheran, but there is something last-ditch and scorched-earth about Thomson’s decision to give up on the movies at the very point when they’re going to get interesting.