David Stratton: how to be a film critic

1) Don’t enter the cinema with preconceptions
“It can be hard, especially if it’s a sequel or remake, but you try to go in with an open mind. Reviews are always very subjective, but I try to bear in mind the audience the film is aimed at.”

2) Get a wing-woman
“When Margaret and I started on TV, we looked to [American double-act] Siskel and Ebert. We went with that model but improved it by having a male-female combination, which I think makes it more interesting. Margaret and I disagree a lot less than people think and we don’t manufacture disagreements for the sake of it.”

3) Keep it together when interviewing your idols
“You have to play it cool but I’ve always found those whose work I most admire to be very decent people. Clint Eastwood, whose films I like very much, is an incredibly nice person to hang out with.”

4) Be prepared to sit through crap films
“This is a wonderful job but the downside is you have to see all the films that open and most of them are not very good. American films used to be much better, but now you’re lucky if you get three studio films a year that are worth seeing.”

5) And get groped by fans
“I was walking up the street and a very attractive young woman pinched me on the bum and said, ‘Oh, I just love you, David.’ I was so startled, I didn’t know how to react. That kind of thing happens when you’re in the public eye.

Margaret and David: 25 Years Talking Movies is exhibited at ACMI from 17 Aug until 4 Dec. At The Movies 25 year anniversary episode screens 26 Oct. acmi.net.au, abc.net.au

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