In 2011, I saw more than 60 movies. I paid for four. The only price I pay for advance screenings is having to follow the rules set up by the studios’ PR people, who, at least in D.C., tend to be young women with genuinely perky personalities and the ability to walk in truly staggering high heels.
I RSVP. I surrender my cell phone when asked. And I do not break “embargoes,” which forbid critics from publishing a review before the film’s release date.
On Monday, the New Yorker’s film critic, David Denby, ran his (positive) review of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which comes out Dec. 21. This upset Sony, the film’s studio. Denby argued that the magazine had no space in the issue nearest the film’s release date. Not only is that a weak excuse (review the movie later, Denby, not earlier), but it shows a sense of entitlement I find profoundly disappointing. Look, I’m spoiled, too, when it comes to movies: Seeing a film as a civilian, when I have to deal with 17 trailers, people texting and not being able to sit in “my seat” (halfway up, on the left-hand aisle), makes me long to be back in the world of free tickets and attentive audiences.
The point is, you get used to special treatment, and it’s easy to believe the rules don’t apply to you. I’m a huge fan of Denby’s work, but I think he forgot that making a living in the dark doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want when the lights come up.