Appreciation: Why New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl was the last of a breed to make it as a critic Read more
The “New Yorker” still has a reputation for being a “movies and books guy”, but “movies and books guy” is not what it used to be. It used to be that the old-school New Yorker would get together and watch a movie together, or maybe spend some quiet time reading a long book together. Now, we have the New Yorker movie critic, and if you are not watching his reviews or reading his interviews, you are getting an idea of his general opinion on what he thinks of the movies.
It is not as if the New Yorker has gone into the movies cold – that’s a given, since it has been the magazine that got on board with New York as a movie-going, or non-movie-going, or even non-film-going location. It is more that the New Yorker has been, and remains, a movie-goer’s magazine. Or, rather, we should say that it has been a magazine that, rather than looking ahead to 2015, has looked back, not just to 2012, but to 2002, when it made the big bold announcement that it was in the movie business. It was followed up with a flurry of articles announcing which filmmakers were in the “movie business” and what movies deserved to be on the list, before it started to go through its periodic rebranding: “The New Yorker Movie Guide”, “The New Yorker Guide to Movies”, “The New Yorker Guide to Movies”. It is interesting, in retrospect, how much this rebranding marked the end of the print magazine’s relationship with the movies. When it was first announced, the “new” New Yorker was already on its way out. Its decision to go to all new places for the movies was only halfway through the process, and it was already being talked about, not just in theory, but in practice. You could get into the New Yorker’s offices in the morning with your camera and start shooting a movie review story, then walk out of the building and go into