Trailblazing Film Critic Judith Crist Passes Away At 90
She was a great critic, not because she created cinema movements like Kael, or praised intellectual daring like Sarris, or wrote with lofty lyricism like Ebert, but simply because she was just so often right about movies. That's kinda important, isn't it? If a film was one destined to seep into our consciousness or to add memorable icons to popular culture, Crist would be the first one to notice it. She famously told The Christian Science Monitor that a true movie lover takes James Bond as seriously as “the grand auteurism of Bergman.”
She loved Blazing Saddles, and was one of the few to recognize the genius of Spielberg as early as The Sugarland Express. Unlike some of her stuffy contemporaries who unhesitatingly praised arthouse crap while ignoring or scoffing at popular films, she had a great sense of humor and an ability to appreciate entertainment films for the pleasure they contribute to our lives, qualities which probably made her the most influential critic in one sense, defining influence in terms of audience trust. People, millions of real people who wore open collars and not turtlenecks, actually read her reviews and followed her advice.