Andy Warhol once said “there’s nothing more middle-class than being afraid to look middle-class.” By the same token, in the realm of film columnists and critics there’s…now I can’t figure the analogy. I’m trying to say that if you’re afraid to sound downmarket and/or gut-level in your opinions, you’re lacking a certain degree of integrity.

Not that anyone is obliged to sound like Oscar Madison or Rufus T. Firefly or Roger Avary after three cans of beer in discussing new films, but most of us have these guys (or aspects of them) living inside us. And yet most high-end critics accept or at least recognize that they’re all obliged to express themselves in a manner that will be deemed “aesthetically correct” by their peers.

The secret to good writing is having the brass to begin a sentence with only a half-formed notion — and certainly without knowing exactly — what you’re about to put into words, but pushing ahead and writing it down anyway, knowing or at least trusting it’ll come out right in the end.