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I had never heard of Guy Fieri until a few days ago, so I have no dog this fight, but I'm interested in how the media kerfuffle over a single scathing restaurant review has opened up a conversation on critical boundaries and responsibilities in all fields. The New York Times, who ran the offending review to begin with, has fed back into it with a piece by Margaret Sullivan on the necessity of what she terms the "exuberant pan" -- the review that zestily takes no prisoners in shooting down a creative endeavor, whether it's a film or a diner. Having written a few such pans myself -- I'm likely never going to be on Madonna's Christmas card list, nor Julie Taymor's -- I side with Sullivan: criticism is an artform itself, with no place for bland prose or tempered honesty, but the harshest words should be, in her words, "an arrow reached for only rarely." [New York Times]
Academy president Hawk Koch introduced a Friday screening of "Les Miserables," quoting one of the Oscar producers as predicting multiple nominations for the film -- an endorsement rival executives are dismissing as "bullshit." [The Wrap]
Oscar hopeful "Searching for Sugar Man" won the Audience Award at the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam this weekend. [Screen]
While "Rise of the Guardians" disappointed, robust numbers of "Twilight," "Skyfall," "Lincoln" and "Life of Pi" suggest Americans were thankful for the movies this weekend. [Box Office Mojo]
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