He’s written more than 100 reviews for this newspaper, and he didn’t even get a f@#%ing T-shirt…
Four years and more than 100 scores ago, I took over as film critic for The Lumberjack Student Press. The then-A&E editor, Jennifer Palmer, officially appointed me to the gig, and I became the newspaper’s first staff movie critic (at least to my knowledge, though I’m sure a retraction will be in order soon enough). Eight semesters later, I have reviewed more than 100 films in print, and even more online. If you’ve read a movie review in this newspaper, and you wanted to punch the writer in the nose for bashing your latest favorite flick, that guy was (most likely) me.
That said, this is my final column as official movie critic for The Lumberjack. Next semester will (I hope) be my last here at NAU, and while you may catch me doing an Oscar-picks column or writing a filler review should somebody’s dad die, I will be stepping down in any and all official capacities. There is talk of me perhaps doing a movie review show on either KJACK or UTV62 with the new film critic, A&E section editor Matthew Vinsko, but I’m not making any promises.
Looking back, being a movie critic is sort of a weird gig. Like most jobs I love, I’ve taken this one more seriously than I probably should have. While majoring in economics at NAU, I have studied cinema and the art of studying cinema more than I have done my homework in any given semester.
In all that time, what have I learned? Nothing that hasn’t been worded better by somebody else before me. In his Book of Film, Roger Ebert wrote of being a film critic: “You attend one, two or three movies a day … taking notes or not, emerging for five minutes or an hour in between to blink in the daylight, and then you try to describe what happened to you.”
See, being a film critic has nothing much to do with the multitude of flicks one sees (though viewing and remembering well over 5,000 distinct movie-watching experiences can help), but instead one’s ability to articulate film grammar and convey one’s own opinion to a reader who probably doesn’t give much of a crap; these days, they mostly just want to see how their own opinion compares. After four years of doing this job, I can safely say I might scarcely know more than any professional, or even any moviegoer for that matter, but I’d say I know enough. So when I said Resident Evil: Afterlife sucked real bad, just go ahead and take my word for it, because it really did.
Finally, before those of you who have hated the movie reviews for the past four years begin to chime in, I have not been, to use utterly dated parlance, “kicked off the island.” I’m proud to say that after four years, I stepped down off this overstated throne of my own volition. I am the longest-running film critic this publication has ever had, and nobody ever took it away from me. Maybe that has more to do with my personality or my tenacity instead of any actual talent or expertise, but I’d like to think I was decent.
So this is Gary “GareBear” Sundt, signing off. I’m gonna go try to graduate now.