"Anything — be it a book or a play or a poem or a movie — that encourages us to perceive the world as a complex and difficult to navigate place is bound to be a good thing. But movies aren’t really movies anymore. They came to their power in a sunny and optimistic place — California before the smog and the freeways and its prevailing post-modernist anomie. They offered, at their height, a very attractive vision of an imperfect but perfectible America, full of can-do guys and gals. They do not largely function in that way any more. They are largely a medium of improbable adventures set in worlds that bear no relationship to American reality. They are aimed primarily at adolescents and special effects addicts. Obviously a critic — a very endangered species in a nation that wants indulgence more than a criticism that questions its fatuity — is obliged to seek out and encourage anything that offers nuance. I continue to do that — not knowing any better — but I also know that the movies I generally like best are aimed at niche markets, elite markets. And that the occasional mass entertainment film — it’s often directed by nice Ron Howard — will simply offer vague (and always irony-free) inspiration. Irony is, of course, one of the great enemies of crypto-fascism. I should add, of course, that I still have my favorite movie stars. Or maybe I should say, movie performers: people like, say, Christopher Walken — people who persist in their dark, anti-inspirational ways, people who insist on mixed motives — their own, everyone else’s. I’m not at all certain many of my readers care to follow me in this eccentricity."
– Richard Schickel