Adam Graham named Detroit News’ film critic
I wrote my first movie review for The Detroit News in 2006. It was for the forgotten Lindsay Lohan comedy “Just My Luck,” and I opened the review by quoting the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger.
I was trying hard to impress. Writing a movie review for the newspaper was a major deal to me, and I wanted to prove that I was worthy and that I knew what I was talking about.
Ten years and around 200 reviews later, it’s still a major deal to me. And today I am honored to be named The Detroit News’ film critic.
I take over the position from Tom Long, who retired in 2015 after 19 years at The News, 12 of those as our film critic. Tom has been a mentor and a guide to me, both in approach and execution, and I continue to look up to him as a critic. (He will continue to review art films and television for the newspaper.)
I have always had a deep love and appreciation for the movies. Going back to fourth grade, I remember doing movie reviews for my class, recapping whatever I had seen over the weekend, show-and-tell style. My first printed review was of “From Dusk Till Dawn” for my high school newspaper, and when I went to college at Central Michigan University, I answered an ad to review movies for the school newspaper, CM Life, on the first day I arrived on campus.
I wrote reviews for CM Life for four years (my first: “A Very Brady Sequel”), my entry into the newspaper business.
I joined The Detroit News in 2002 and have been writing about pop music and pop culture ever since, and will continue to cover both.
To me, the film critic job has always been a crucial and defining position at a newspaper. It is the first place I turn when I read a paper, and I identify a paper’s personality through its film critic.
As the newspaper business has shifted in recent years, many papers have eliminated their film critic positions, but I find it tremendously inspiring that The Detroit News continues to value the position and the service it provides to readers.
About that service: Film critics get a bum rap for being snobby, high-minded and out-of-touch with readers. Snobby is not my approach. I love a good explosion as much as the next person, and I even get excited for every “Transformers” movie (though those movies find new ways to let me down each time).
My favorite movies of all-time are “Goodfellas,” “Point Break” (the original, not the recent bummer remake) and “True Romance”; I saw all three of them when I was in my early teens, which I think is when you start to identify and define your tastes. My favorite movie last year was “Spotlight,” which was named the year’s best film by the Detroit Film Critics Society (I became a founding member in 2007). And last year I drove to Ann Arbor to see a midnight screening of “Spice World,” which was my seventh time seeing it in the theater. Just thought you should know that.
As a reader, you will disagree with me at times, and (hopefully) agree with me at others. I hope my reviews are jumping off points or discussion starters, and I welcome the chance to continue the dialogue. They’re movies, and they’re supposed to be fun. So let’s have some fun.
Oh, and in that “Just My Luck” review, the quote I used from Seneca was, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” That wisdom may apply to me being named The Detroit News’ film critic. No matter what, I feel pretty lucky.