Armond White and Jack and Jill

Armond White, former critic of The New York Press and now editor and critic at City Arts, has long been accused of being the worst film critic on the planet, as well as a troll and contrarian.

This is mainly because he doesn’t always fall into the critical consensus on popular movies—though as a whole, he does—like The Dark Night and Toy Story 3, which he panned. And he oftentimes ruins perfect percentages on Rotten Tomatoes, crushing fanboy hearts.

Basically, people don’t like him because he doesn’t forever agree with them. It’s that simple.

If you haven’t already seen, the internet mobs are back and bashing White again, this time for his review of Jack and Jill, the new family comedy from Adam Sandler. As a whole, critics have slammed the movie, but White gave it a positive review, and evidently that’s a crime against humanity.  Just Google “Armond White” to see what I mean. All across the internet, folks are furious because, well, how dare someone have a positive reaction to a movie which they didn’t. Right?

While I’m thankful for freedom of speech—that people can express these opinions—it’s pretty disheartening to see how mean and cutting these responses are, not to mention reviews of Jack and Jill itself.

For example, in response to White’s review, A.V. Club posted an article titled “It’s time for Armond White to explain why everyone is wrong about Jack and Jill.” In the article, the angry writer makes a whole slew of hateful statements. The worst: “We’d be willing to bet that it’s a template filled in only a few weeks after White first glimpsed the poster.”

Several other publications chimed in, as well, including New York Magazine, which called White a “reliable contrarian.” There’s also an article from Screen Junkies that refers to White as a “crazy asshole” in reaction to his views on Jack and Jill.

The real hate, however, comes in the comment section under the articles, where hundreds—nearly thousands—of readers detest White.

I don’t have the time to defend White, whom I do respect as a critic, but I will say this: It appears that the gist of all this hate and criticism derives from the fact that most of these people haven’t even seen Jack and Jill or actually read White’s review—they just know he “went against the grain.”

And that’s not fair because despite holding some peculiar views on films, here Jack and Jill, White thinks well and always makes a good argument in his reviews.

Really, though, the danger I see in this situation is the eagerness for people to demonize someone for a differing view or opinion. Isn’t that the same issue that so many of these hipsters fight against when it comes to politics and religion? I don’t see the difference here.


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