Opinion: Picking favorites is important when you write reviews

By Jeremy Brown, Arts & Entertainment Editor

When a friend suggests to you that you need to watch a movie, or need to binge a show, you might immediately agree to do so because you trust their recommendations.

You might also refuse their suggestions because you know that their tastes are stupid and bad, completely different from your really intellectual ones.

You need to have favorites in entertainment to find a concrete baseline for any of your reviews and criticisms of said entertainment.


To avoid a lot of vague nouns, I’m going to use Aquaman as our example. Love it, hate it or anywhere in between, Warner Bros.’ Aquaman was a tidal wave at the box office.

We’re on the first article and I use that pun? Kill me, now.

Everyone is entitled to any opinion they want on Aquaman, but when making a review, they need to back up their opinion with evidence from the movie itself.

As an example, I think Aquaman plays to its strengths by leaning heavily on large-scale, detail oriented action and an equivalent dose of cheese. It feels like it knows the script is just a weak excuse to see Jason Momoa punch and stab his way into making Aquaman less of a dweeb.

To prove my point, there are five conversations in Aquaman that are interrupted by an explosion or ambush. The expositional dialogue is cut short and shoved out of the way by some bombastic underwater set piece. The movie knows that both you, the audience, and itself doesn’t want to waste time on people talking, and the movie is better for it.

But, here’s the important part- you might totally disagree with this. You might think this makes the movie worse because characters don’t develop. You might say my entire argument is stupid from the start.

For most readers, this is where you’d stop reading and tell a friend how moronic my writing is. You wouldn’t be wrong in doing so.


But to be able to make this assessment on why I enjoy Aquaman, it’s important that I know my own tastes before making these judgments.

Movies like Die Hard, The Lego Movie and Ocean’s Eleven are all some of my favorite movies of all time. They know how to keep a story moving quick enough so you have no choice but to strap in and enjoy.

I find their high quality as, in broad terms, “action” movies to be based in their ability to show something that any action movie can do but in a new perspective without slowing down unnecessarily.

Die Hard never skips ahead in time, constantly moving in real time; The Lego Movie hits you with jokes anytime it can; Ocean’s Eleven splices scenes of planning and execution together to move through each of the more mundane section twice as fast.

Aquaman fits this subjective standard of quality I’ve set for my critiques as a moviegoer- and for a movie that’s about two and a half hours long, it damn well should.

I had my complaints- half of the jokes don’t land and the Pitbull song didn’t need to be in there at all- but because I had that concrete viewpoint of what I wanted to see to enjoy it, Aquaman succeeds much more than it fails.

By having a specific viewpoint, you don’t limit your enjoyment watching a movie. It helps to know what you like and why you like it. You’ll have a better understanding of why you think any entertainment succeeds or fails. If you don’t, it’s much harder for anyone listening, or reading, to trust your reviews.

Now I can go back to raging at the Golden Globe winners. Bohemian Rhapsody? Seriously?

Arts & Entertainment Editor Jeremy Brown can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter at @JeremyBrown_DE.