“The two best movies I've seen this summer, District 9 (which I reviewed for Reason here) and The Hurt Locker are both smart, inventive, relatively low budget action films. Both are clearly products of directors with strong, clear, and unusual visions that somehow snuck through the Hollywood production pipeline largely intact. That this is a rarity in American studio filmmaking and even more so in summer action films hardly needs to be said. And as a sometime-critic, regular moviegoer, and devotee of summer movies, both small and large, I rather obviously wish that this weren't true.
Yet I can't agree with Roger Ebert's contention that, essentially, dumb Americans—and in particular, dumb teenagers—are ruining the U.S. film industry. His evidence basically boils down to the box office scores for three films—Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe, which critics hated but made big bucks, and The Hurt Locker, which critics loved but has been comparatively little seen.
Granted, he also complains about the dearth of good satire, the general lack of interest in old media, and the perception of movie critics as an out-of-touch elite (which he agrees they are, but doesn't think that's a bad thing). But all in all, it's pretty thin stuff.
Take, for example, his primary gripe, the relative box office failure of The Hurt Locker: Critically beloved films fall through the cracks all the time, and it's not as if audiences are going out of their way to irritate the nation's critics…” — Peter Suderman
I have to agree with him about the two best films of the summer…