“i read the review written by Jae-Ha Kim . it is an awful review. this is diane keaton film and whoever “Jae-Ha Kim” is, does not like anything diane keaton. i want reviews that conjure up the positive aspects of the movie. i dont want to read a personal vedetta against america’s sweetheart … diane keaton.”
Here is the review I wrote:
In Because I Said So, Diane Keaton outdoes any pushy parent trying to marry off their children. On the eve of her 60th birthday, Daphne (Keaton) decides that she will find a suitable suitor for her youngest daughter Milly (Mandy Moore). Never mind that Moore was barely into her 20′s when she shot the film and easily could pass as a high-school senior. The film asks us to believe that an otherwise smart, loving mother would push marriage on a young woman who obviously wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment.
The romantic comedy has a cute premise that grows old fast: In order to root for Daphne’s almost manic desire to see Milly walk down the aisle, the audience has to believe she’s undergoing some kind of trauma, or at least dying of an incurable disease. But because she is such an overbearing busybody whose best interests for her daughter have little to do with reality, viewers just see an obnoxious, meddling mother trying to micromanage her child’s life. That we don’t want to strangle Daphne is a credit to Keaton’s acting skills, which manage to shine through, even in the most over-the-top scenes. Lauren Graham and the always adorable Piper Perabo play Milly’s older, married sisters. Had the film revolved around the three sisters’ lives–sans mom–Because I Said So would have been a much more interesting picture.
Now I ask you…does the review really read like it has a personal vendetta against Keaton? Or does it just point out that this is not a very good movie?
Letters like hers are fairly common, regardless of the subject matter.
One director said he was going to sue me for giving his horrible film a deservedly bad review. (He never did.)
An irate mom sent me a profanity-laced email that said I should be ashamed of myself for pointing out that Clay Aiken forgot some of his lyrics and that like a lot of instant celebrities, he needed a little more time on the road before playing in arenas. Oh, and she also thought that I should only write nice things about Aiken — who, unlike “sluts” like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera — was a great role model. She obviously had no problem criticizing Aiken’s peers — or me — but she also wanted to stifle my right to have an opinion.
It’s one thing when a misguided reader says such things. But when a fellow critic has such myopic views, it’s just puzzling. One “critic” at a publication I never heard of suggested that I not write reviews for films that I didn’t like. For real. He really said this. He never pointed out how I was supposed to predict which movies I’d like. I guess he figured that the Chicago Sun-Times (where I was employed at the time) was so well staffed that it could just send its reporters out to watch movies and then come back and not write about them — because we didn’t personally like that particular picture.
He didn’t seem to understand that at the Sun-Times, editors didn’t give reporters the option of only writing about things that they liked. He thought that I could just say, “No, I don’t want to review that movie.” Apparently he had me mixed up with someone who had Roger Ebert’s clout. (And, for the record, Roger is such a workaholic that when he turned down a review, it was because he simply did not have enough time to tackle it. And if you haven’t figured it out already, the movies I was sent to review were Roger’s hand-me-downs.)
This guy argued with me about it until I finally just stopped responding to his emails.
Who was he? Honestly, I can’t even remember.
© 2011 JAE-HA KIM