Requested List: Reasons I Love Armond White
I listed about losing my draft of this list. @donnie requested that I rewrite it - "because he cares." Armond White is a controversial film critic, often described as a "troll." Here's why I love him.
- •I love that Armond is a gay, black "conservative" - not exactly the most widely-represented voice in our media culture.And I put "conservative" in quotes because Armond may "fit the profile," but the word carries a lot of baggage that I don't believe applies to him.
- •I have a soft spot for cerebral gay men who challenge the audience to question their "progressive" values, rather than just blindly follow them.Oscar Wilde, Jean Genet, Pier Paolo Pasolini, John Waters, Morrissey... All big-time icons to me.
- •I love that Armond didn't like "The Dark Knight," and said so.This got him a lot of rage and death threats from nerds online, which kind of only made Armond's point about the intolerant rage behind the movie's philosophy.
- •Then Armond didn't like "District 9," and said so.That's when shit really exploded. Armond wrote the one and only negative review of the film on Rotten Tomatoes - which meant "District 9" was robbed of a "100% Fresh" rating. Now the nerds not only hit Armond with slurs and death threats, but also aggressively petitioned to end his writing career. At first, Roger Ebert came to Armond's defense. Then, after actually reading Armond's stuff, Roger dismissed him with the "contrarian"/ "troll" label.
- •THEN, when everyone saw "Toy Story 3" and loved it and cried their eyes out, Armond didn't like it and said so.Even I thought he was being a bit knee-jerk with this one - like maybe this was his "I wanted to destroy something beautiful" moment. But given the hostility he'd been subjected to, I couldn't help but love his level of FTW defiance.
- •I love that, despite the "contrarian" accusations, Armond really does have a thought-out aesthetic; he doesn't just attack films because they're popular.He loved "The Lego Movie," considers Spielberg one of the greatest directors of all time, and loves the "Fast and Furious" franchise. He (in)famously praised the "Transformers" movies; Armie and I will just have to agree to disagree on that one.
- •I love that Armond will be totally honest and say he loved a movie because it made him laugh, even if it's not "respectable."No one has ever written more intelligent pieces about the work of Adam Sandler, the Jackass guys or Eddie Murphy's performance in "Norbit." The shit made Armond laugh, and that was that. He also loved "Hot Fuzz," so you know he's down.
- •I love the way Armond calls out Hollywood on unconscious (and sometimes conscious) racism, in ways that I hadn't thought about before.In particular, Armond's provocative take on "Django Unchained" and "12 Years a Slave." He points out ways in which these movies come from an ahistorical perspective, causing the audience to smugly declare, "How horrible. If I had been alive, I would've seen through all that." Which leads viewers to feel self-satisfied, and never truly question the racist paradigms they take part in each day.
- •I love that Armond goes on at length about his love of Michael Jackson, Morrissey, Jay Z and (especially) Kanye West.And I really wish Armond was my Spotify pal.
- •I love that Armond introduced me to "You, the Living," a Swedish comedy that instantly rocketed to the upper echelons of my All-Time Favorite Comedies list.For this alone, Armond would have my undying admiration. Seriously, check it out if you're so inclined. No one I've recommended it to has come away less than giddy.
- •I love the idea that I may someday get a movie produced, which Armond then savages!And I pray he accuses me of "hipster nihilism!"
- •BONUS "I LOVE": I love that @donnie was curious enough to ask for all this. If we ever meet, I will awkwardly hug you!