I've been re-reading a number of the materials that I had first been through during film school, books, articles, reviews and academic analyses.
While much of it, probably a third, remains illuminating, most of it seems irrelevant when re-framed in the context of my professional rather than academic life. Moreover, the handful of books that have been most influential to me I discovered long after I had finished my time in university.
Mostly, I'm troubled by the critics', both academic and popular, hangups on the ephemeral ideals of 'good' versus 'bad' film making. This is a concept that I categorically reject. Film is simply too expansive, too complex, too collaborative and too polyglot a discipline for a work to simply be labeled 'good' or 'bad' or with any such attendant superlative of those words.
Evocative, boring, engaging, character driven, wordy, amateurish, frenetic, tightly composed, saccharine, anachronistic, confusing, artistically daring, intellectual, lyrical, depressing, low-brow, uneven, hackneyed, relevant, gut wrenching, colorful, languid, unique, senseless, entertaining, gory, ill-concieved and unwatchable: such words I will accept but 'good' and 'bad,' no.
Granted, in casual conversation, I'm fine with these words as a shorthand for 'I liked it / didn't like it (for any one of a myriad of reasons)' but critics and scholars, don't dare be so lazy.