I love Roger Rabbit, also, and think it is the real Chinatown II, as opposed to that train-wreck of a movie, The Two Jakes, a movie I so wanted to be better than it was.
I might add that there’s an essay to be written–though not today–on the effects of wishful thinking on critics. I know I’ve been swayed by it many times, and up to a point I think it’s forgivable, the point in question being the second time that a favored artist lets you down hard. That’s when you need to sit up and start paying closer attention to what you’re actually seeing (as opposed to what you wish you were seeing).
No critic should ever forget that initial disappointment in a work of art not infrequently gives way to deeper understanding on closer acquaintance. In the case of an artist I really respect, I always try to take it for granted that I’m the problem, not the work of art…but not indefinitely. You can only disappoint me so many times before I lose patience–and interest.
I quoted the ever-apropos G.K. Chesterton the other day, and I’ll do it again now: “Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”
As for The Two Jakes, well, I simply couldn’t fool myself: I knew it was awful.