Mad Max As One More Reason Why the NYT is Going Bankrupt

So in the wake of mulling over Mad Max, I dug out the NYT’s initial review of the movie in 1979; reviewer Tom Buckley wrote that the movie “is ugly and incoherent, and aimed, probably accurately, at the most uncritical of moviegoers.” But then 25 years later, a NEW review of Buckley’s appeared on a DVD: “With this stunning, post apocalyptic action thriller…Mad Max is tremendously exciting…one of the most tense scenes of the decade.”


In Buckley’s defense, the first version was the one with the lame dubbed American voices, and a reasonable person could certainly claim that this ruined the movie completely. And maybe after a quarter century, Buckley had finally figured out what the word cool means. But I think there’s something more going on here. The Big News Rags—Time, NYT, the Wash. Post, etc.—used to pull this kind of shit all the time: crap on something, and then once they saw how completely they’d misjudged the popular mood, revamp their opinion and hail it as a classic. But now with the World Wide Web as 24-7 street theater/reaction, that’s impossible. So there was a time that Rolling Stone could get away with dissing Led Zeppelin’s first albums in the 1970s (to say nothing of Black Sabbath’s), only to subsequently decide that these were, in fact, Legendary Rock Albums. But now the gulf between Traditional Media’s dinner parties and the zeitgeist is there for all to see. And it ain’t a pretty sight.*

*Sure, I know:  I’m probably reading way too much into this one reviewer’s change of heart. But I think my overall assessment is accurate.  And how Buckley failed to dig that initial chase scene is beyond me.

2 Responses to “Mad Max As One More Reason Why the NYT is Going Bankrupt”

  1. Robert W. Leonard Says:

    I completely agree. I think this happens to everyone, but it’s especially annoying when reviewers do it. People find fault with everything that comes out. When Watchmen came out not too long ago I even read complaints that it was “too much like the graphic novel.” They said the director failed to add a personal touch. I’m glad there is now some accountability online. People can find old reviews like you did.

  2. David Williams Says:

    This kind of transparency is what I love the most about the web.