Douglas MacKinnon

I confess to being one of the millions of Americans who have seen Paul Blart: Mall Cop since it opened on January 16th. More than that, I confess to having thoroughly enjoyed the film.

Having made that now public confession, Nathan Lee of The New York Times and Brian Lowry of Variety would have you believe that I am but a sad and unfortunate example as to why the unwashed masses should not be allowed to think for ourselves. How dare we derive pleasure from a movie elitist reviewers writing for a minute collection of fellow elitists have deemed prosaic, unimaginative, and beneath them.

In the world of writing -- not unlike that of sports or other businesses -- those who can, do, and those that can’t, become film reviewers who take perverse pleasure in tearing down the efforts of those willing to put their names, talent, and oftentimes, hard-earned money, on the line to create movies crafted to elicit any number of emotions out of the viewing public. How easy it is to never step into that arena and take potshots at those who do.

While the furthest thing from being an accomplished writer, I have authored a few successful books and novels (two of which have been optioned for films), by-lined a few hundred columns that have run in all of the major papers, and even have a couple of screenplays bouncing around Hollywood. Given that meager collection of work, I thought I knew enough to at least understand a bit of the written word. I thought I knew enough to understand and appreciate when a film was actually giving me a couple of hours of needed escape from the pervasive doom and gloom spread by most of the media in a desperate attempt to stabilize circulation or attract enough viewers to bring in the ad money needed to pay the salaries of the management who just fired some of their own unwashed masses.

I thought my life experience gave me the ability to not only think for myself, but to decide which films were worthwhile and enjoyable. One look at the reviews by Lee, Lowry, and most of the others posted on Rotten Tomatoes shows there is a serious disconnect between them, me and the millions of other Americans who have already seen the film. As I write this, Paul Blart: Mall Cop has been the number one movie in the country for two weeks in a row. Horrors. Clearly a sign of the Apocalypse.

Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of The Secessionist States of America. (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014)

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