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Wesley Morris on Criticism and the Oscars 3 min read
Wesley Morris

Wesley Morris on Criticism and the Oscars

One of my favorite podcast interviews in a while.

By Cary Littlejohn

Wesley Morris is one of my favorite minds. I love the way he can write about 20 or 30 different cultural artifacts in a single film review. The way his mind works is a thing to behold.

I was barely aware of the fact that he's the only writer to win the Pulitzer for criticism two separate times.

His podcast with appearance with Pablo Torre, himself a wildly intelligent guy, was everything I look for in a podcast interview.

The New New Tastemakers: An Edible Oscars Preview, with Wesley Morris - Pablo Torre Finds Out
Award-winning journalist/gasbag Pablo Torre is finally free to f*** around. Follow him down the rabbit hole as he seeks big answers to urgent questions. Each week will entail in-depth reporting, plus heady conversation on the juiciest stories in sports and news — all with a cast of curious friends, including Dan Le Batard (aka Pablo’s boss). Watch and listen to new episodes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday — and follow us on every conceivable platform (YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, Facebook) at @PabloTorreFindsOut ... and on whatever Twitter is now at @PabloFindsOut ... and sign up for Pablo’s free (!!!) newsletter at WWW.PABLO.SHOW

Some highlights:

7:00—What is the role of a critic these days?: Wesley doesn't believe in the "Siskel and Ebert, thumbs up or thumbs down, customer service aspect" of criticism. "I really just want to work through my feelings. That's all it starts off as being for me. Like, how do I feel? Well I'm not really going to know until I sit down, alone, and work through my feelings through words. And once it's clear where I'm going as I'm writing, then you can start to do all the magical things you really don't have any control over, like language, the sort of words connections— I mean, there's a conscious part but there's an unconscious part..."

11:25—What should I do if I want to do what you do (Pablo: podcaster; Wesley: culture critic)?: Pablo says it's all about developing a taste, a definable style, and stick with it, and know how to defend it, which leads into a broader conversation about taste.

17:20—Stephen A. Smith as camp: Just so many gems in this section.

21:30—How in demand is the job of a professional film critic in this day and age?: Wesley isn't concerned about the rise of algorithms dictating what we watch and draws comparisons to how it's come almost full circle back to a time when we didn't have any control over what we watched.

23:30—The tragedy of adverbs: Pablo and Wesley reminisce on how their earlier selves overused adverbs, mistakenly thinking it made their writing better.

26:00—Lululemonade: Morris compares J. Lo's new This Is Me...Now to Beyonce's Lemonade, and he delivers some wisdom on the art of joke writing.

Plus this year's Oscars, Barbenheimer, and the future of movies. It's just a great episode. Don't miss out.