It has been a very strange 24 hours in terms of online viral video shenanigans and it all ties back to filmmaker Christopher Nolan.
On Wednesday night, Nolan was awarded the best director prize of the year for his work on “Oppenheimer” by the New York Film Critics Circle.
Nolan’s acceptance offered an appreciation of professional film criticism which has seemingly grown over the years, offering an anecdote about some much more amateur criticism from an average filmgoer he received unexpectedly out of the blue whilst exercising:
“I was on my Peloton. I’m dying. And the instructor started talking about one of my films and said, ‘Did anyone see this? That’s a couple hours of my life I’ll never get back again!’. When [film critic] Rex Reed takes a s— on your film he doesn’t ask you to work out!”
In the wake of that video going up, fans found the clip in question, confirming it was Peloton instructor Jenn Sherman who said the following during the class back in 2020:
“This song is from the soundtrack of a movie called ‘Tenet’… Did anybody see this besides me? Cause I need a manual. Someone’s got to explain this. I’m not kidding. Do you understand? Seriously you need to be a neuroscientist to understand. And that’s two-and-a-half hours of my life that I want back. I want it back.”
Cut to tonight and now Sherman herself has offered a video response on Instagram to the viral sensation she has suddenly found herself to be today:
“Listen. It was 2020. It was a dark time. I’m up on the platform, teaching my little class, and I’m running my mouth off like I’m known to do. And I make a random comment about a movie I had seen the night before.
What do you think the odds are that the director of said movie would take that ride some four years later? That would only happen to me.
So here’s what I want to say. I may not have understood a minute of what was going on in ‘Tenet.’ That s— went right over my head. But I have seen ‘Oppenheimer’ twice. And that’s six hours of my life that I don’t ever want to give back.
So, Mr. Nolan, I’m inviting you to come for a ride with me in the Peloton studio. You can critique my class. You’ll have a great time. You’ll sit in the front row. And I promise you it’ll be insult-free.”
Meanwhile, Nolan’s subsequent comments in his speech last night go back to the topic of film criticism in this day and age. Just as he is old school with filmmaking as such, he’s the same with film criticism:
In today’s world, where opinions are everywhere, there is a sort of idea that film criticism is being democratized, but I for one think the critical appreciation of films shouldn’t be an instinct but it should be a profession.”
What we have here tonight is a group of professionals who attempt objectivity, Obviously writing about cinema objectively is a paradox, but the aspirations of objectivity is what makes criticism vital and timeless and useful to filmmakers and the filmmaking community.”
Both “Tenet” and “Oppenheimer” are on disc and digital platforms everywhere.