Re: Hot Type 1/18/2002

Michael Miner laments that David Kehr is a freelancer and not one of the staff film critics for the New York Times even though Kehr’s New York Times review is quoted in a recent two-page advertisement in the New York Times for The Royal Tenenbaums. David Kehr is a very brilliant man and possesses a vast warehouse of knowledge about the history of cinema. He displays this vast warehouse every time he writes a review. One of the major problems that I have with David Kehr’s reviews is that they are by and large unreadable.

Most of the time I can’t even remember what movie he’s writing about. On the other hand, Elvis Mitchell, a staff film critic, brings the reader into the review in such a way that you feel you are sitting next to him at the screening. I never get that feeling from David Kehr. I see David Kehr as standing in front of a class of film students who are looking at the clock wondering when will he ever stop and waiting for the bell to ring. He doesn’t seem to realize that most of the people who read his reviews are not film students. This was true for the reviews he at one time wrote for the Reader or whatever paper he wrote for after he left the Reader and before he landed at the New York Times as a freelancer.

Even though he’s not on the payroll of the New York Times, David Kehr should be damn thankful that at least he gets to be published in that paper on a regular basis. Elvis Mitchell, A.O. Scott, and the other staff movie critics for the NY Times also possess that vast warehouse of cinema knowledge but they are capable of writing interesting reviews that capture the interest of the proletariat who read them. I agree with David Kehr that The Royal Tenenbaums is a great movie (who can forget those two paintings in Richie’s living room?), but for this prole, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is my choice for the best movie of 2001.

Gene Morrissey

W. Wrightwood