Funny how George Grella is never lost for words when he shreds a movie to pieces. "Verbose" comes to mind. Yet when you give him an assignment --- to pick Oscar's winners and should-have-beens (March 20) --- his supposed vast knowledge of the world of film fails him. Nine times he had "no choice."
This confirms what I have always suspected and heard him admit to on 1370 Connection. Despite the presence of the Little Theatre, he doesn't choose to expose himself to many of the fine films that are offered each year.
If one professes to be a movie reviewer, selectively handpicking the films is limiting and unfair to the readers. I am ever so grateful for the addition of Jon Popick to your staff. He seems to truly enjoy the challenge of reviewing a film without making the reader feel like an under-educated idiot. I appreciate his knowledge, his respect for our intelligence, and his more adventurous approach.
Grella often seems to forget that movies are, after all, entertainment. And in these uncertain times, we all need an escape now and then.
Rachel Miller, Rochester
George Grella replies: I am most puzzled by Ms. Miller’s apparently angry letter. I don’t understand the connection between my “supposed vast knowledge of the world of film” and the Oscars. I confess that I did misunderstand the editor’s template for that article, which accounts for most of the blanks (and also, alas, for extra work he had to do).
In addition, though it is often interesting to write about the Academy Awards, unlike most film critics I regard them as a fix, a scam, a sham, and a shame, not something to be taken entirely seriously. Again, I usually only review one movie a week and have another career, so I don’t see everything, and I do “expose myself” to many films shown at the Little --- I do not “choose” to ignore pictures and wish I had the time and opportunity to see more.
Whatever Ms. Miller believes, I don’t think a weekly reviewer has any choice but to be selective, and even daily reviewers don’t see every movie. I am sorry that Ms. Miller feels such hostility toward me, but I guess that goes with the territory; I am happy, however, that she is grateful for the presence of Mr. Popick.