Formal film criticism is certainly not common among our generation. The terms “movie buff” and “film critic” imply many years of experience that young people inherently lack. Our young age immediately disqualifies us despite the fact that movies are a massive part of our social culture. I believe that part of the reason there is such a sparse number of young film critics is because movies are often seen simply as entertainment. We go to the movies, enjoy a passable film, and briefly talk about it with friends. These conversations rarely progress beyond statements of expressing like or dislike regarding the movie and its actors.
I do believe that movies unfortunately have lost their association with art on some level. This is, of course, a gross generalization. Every year there are movies that are artistic masterpieces, but there is also a sea of “bad” movies with thoughtless writing, merely functional cinematography, and subpar acting. Films of this caliber have created a gap between movies and art; many of these “bad” films are comedies and action flicks that are geared towards our generation. I believe the scarcity of young film critics stems from two primary issues: the intimidation of the title of “film critic,” and the fact that many of the movies aimed at our generation are frankly not worthy of intelligent discussion. While the second factor itself may be out of our hands, I believe that influencing the first factor may remedy the second. If the number of young folks interested in criticizing films increases, they may then take a greater interest in movies belonging to the more artistic category.
I believe that a great step towards garnering interest in film criticism would be to advocate for film classes in high school. If movies are provided a treatment similar to that of literature, their value will increase exponentially. Many of the techniques and easter eggs that directors and writers include are completely overlooked due to audience ignorance. Subconsciously, many of these techniques still find their way home, but providing students with the lexicon to discuss and understand films will encourage analysis and discussions. We should understand why we like or dislike a film and be able to discuss our opinions with others. Movies are distinctly personal to our generation, yet we are surprisingly out of touch with the film world.
Platforms like Gen Z Critics will also help encourage young individuals to step forward and publish their opinions. Besides creating a personal blog or website, there are very few sites that would allow for a young, inexperienced writer to publish a film review: those sites are usually reserved for journalists and professional critics. Quite honestly, merely increasing exposure to the art of film criticism could increase participation in our generation.