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If You Love Me, Criticize Me

Flowers and Film Reels

“Amid all the easily loved darlings of Charlie Brown’s circle, obstreperous Lucy holds a special place in my heart. She fusses and fumes and she carps and complains. That’s because Lucy cares. And it’s the caring that counts. When we, as youngsters, would accuse our mothers of picking on us, her wise reply was, ‘All you’ll get from strangers is surface pleasantry or indifference. Only someone who loves you will criticize you.’” —Judith Crist

Judith Crist is a woman who made her career doing something that was one of her biggest passions—going to the movies! How cool would that be to get paid to watch movies and write about them?

She grew up watching movies and used to cut class and sneak money from her mother’s purse to attend movies. “The greatest day of my life, I cut school and went to see Gone with the Wind at the Capitol for 25 cents, then across the street to the Rialto to see The Grapes of Wrath and down to 42nd Street for Grand Illusion on Broadway. And there was still 75 cents left over to sustain us with an enormous chunk of many-layered whipped cream pie at Hector’s!”

Wow, three movies in one day, with money left over for snacks; today that wouldn’t be an amazing day, it would be a miracle! I would love to spend a whole day watching movies.

Judith is known as the queen mother of critics, a brutally honest, in-your-face reporter who was described as “the critic most hated by Hollywood.” She is quoted as saying, “The most glorious epithet ever hurled at me appeared in Time magazine anonymously: ‘Snide, sarcastic, supercilious bitch!’”

She worked as a writer and film critic for the New York Herald Tribune, was the resident film critic at TV Guide and the founding film critic for New York magazine. She has published several books and has been an adjunct professor at Columbia’s School of Journalism since 1958.

And, thanks to Judith, I learned a new word today—obstreperous, which means “marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness” or “stubbornly resistant to control.” Now I will use it in a sentence. The obstreperous fans in the Dawg Pound at Cleveland Browns Stadium are the best.

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