Monday, August 1, 2011

Bitter Feast: A Grizzly Warning to Us Food Critics?

Joshua Leonard as food critic, J.T. Franks in Bitter Feast
Offline, I've always been a quiet person who doesn't talk very much or freely offer my input on many things, even when asked directly. Some people make the mistake of thinking that it's because I must not have any opinions to share and oh, how wrong they would be. If anything, I have the opposite problem -- too many opinions that are way too strong and (often) also very hard to hear if they happen to take the form of a critique on another person or their work. I eventually learned the hard way that I'm usually going to be better off going along to get along and keeping what I really think about people, issues, and so forth to myself.

Then... the internet happened. All of a sudden I was part of this world that allowed me to keep blogs and social networking accounts where I was completely free to say whatever the hell I wanted and get away with it more often than not. I could express every last one of my opinions if I felt like it. I could tell all sorts of stories and share artwork with what potentially amounts to the entire world. I could critique things like movies, books, or music without having to get anyone's permission to do so first. It's like I was truly free as a writer and as a person for the first time... well... ever! The good side of that is probably obvious. Suddenly I had a place I could completely be myself.  And the bad side? Uh... well... suddenly I had a place I could completely be myself.

J.T. at the point in the film where he's seen better days.
Part of that "self" is, as I've mentioned, a natural critic. Over the years and thanks to the wonders of the internet, I've discovered that there are actually practical uses to which this can trait can be put. I don't do it a lot or anything, but since I started writing professionally, I do occasionally get to collect a paycheck or pick up a few bylines for writing reviews on all sorts of products, media, and services. Quite gratifying! I not only get to express myself, but I'm basically being asked explicitly by whomever to give my unique and honest opinion of whatever I'm reviewing and really... that's something I could do all day long, little narcissist that I can be.


One of the places I regularly get to post reviews is MoreHorror, Seth's wildly popular, awesome-sauce horror movie site to which I regularly contribute reviews and such. He lets me be as snarky and blunt as I want to be when I write. Hell, he even appreciates it, which I really appreciate in return! Naturally, that is how I knew this must be the person for me. Anyone who can not only put up with my mouth and my ego, but also find a way to appreciate them both is a keeper. 

Recently, I had a chance to review a horror movie that was right up my alley. It was called Bitter Feast and it was all about -- you guessed it -- a snark-bag food critic by the name of J.T. Franks with a big mouth and a blog. However, one day he makes a grave mistake in giving a scathing review to the restaurant of a celebrity chef who turns out to also be a raving sociopath. He winds up kidnapped and tortured by way of a number of deceptively mundane cooking challenges as a result. The point? Teaching people like J.T. to check themselves before they wreck themselves when it comes to this wide, wonderful blogosphere where we can say whatever we want about whomever we want. 

Make me a perfect over-easy egg, bitch. NO RUNNY YELLOWS!
Bitter Feast was entertaining to me for all the reasons I just blabbered through above. I'm a critic. When I actually allow myself to really unleash the hounds while I'm writing a critique or giving feedback on something, I have the capacity to be every bit as harsh and dickish as J.T. Franks was in this damned movie when I'm in the wrong mood. Hopefully no one will ever decide to kick my ass for it as thoroughly and literally as J.T. got his kicked, but still. Food for thought, I suppose. There are downsides to living and working in a world where your opinion actually matters to any extent.

I know that anyone reading this is probably a foodie, but if any of you happen to be horror movie fans as well -- especially if you enjoy reviewing restaurants, chefs, or cooking shows as part of your own blogging repertoire -- you might want to give this film a try. It's kind of made for you; not gonna lie. Still not sure if you wanna? Read my Bitter Feast review on MoreHorror and watch the preview, why don't you.
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