People who never liked Pauline Kael still don't like her. Film at 11!!!
I see no evidence Kael's reputation has declined any -- again, except among those disinclined to her to begin with. That she's not actively discussed every day...well, she's been dead ten years. Agee doesn't come up that often, either; I don't think that invalidates his work.
Actually, you'd think what these series of threads would tell us above all is, consensus opinion on anything related to film (whether critics, performers, or the movies themselves) is reasonably rare. And even where it does exist, it's not necessarily grass-roots generated, but the result of specialized pleading, often elevated to near campaign level.
To wit: Bruce Lavigne mentions that Raging Bull is considered one of the great films of all time in the "real" (his self-aware quotes) film buff world. This is probably true, today. But I've been around long enough to know a time when that wasn't the prevailing view of the cognoscenti -- check out the 1980 NY critics' vote for illustration.
A friend of mine, who did the student government thing in college, once said the key to prevailing in committees was to be the one willing to hang around after everyone else got tired and went home. To me, Roger Ebert is that one. He promoted Apocalypse Now and Raging Bull as the great movies of their years -- views far from universally held. But he got himself on TV and kept arguing these points until they eventually became Accepted Wisdom. I don't see any reason why I should view that with any less skepticism than I do the initial rally around Ordinary People and Melvin and Howard -- or Kramer vs. Kramer and Breaking Away.
Similarly, I've watched for years as people who never liked Terms of Endearment/The English Patient/American Beauty proclaimed that each of these films had seen their reputations "collapse" -- by which they usually mean, all the people they knew who also didn't like them have held to their opinions and they're no longer hearing from the people who feel otherwise. You can always find people who don'ty like a given film -- we had people here (myself included) unimpressed by The Hurt Locker, despite its seeming cosmic acclaim. Were we few to get into positions with loud megaphones, we might be able to revise historic consensus...but would it make the film anything less for those who loved it?
I always loved the scene in Reds where Keaton has returned from Russia and is explaining her zeal for Communism to Jack Nicholson. Nicholson's response is, "I hear all this, and I say to myself, Eugene -- another Irish Catholicism" -- having been raised under one stringent orthodoxy, he's resistant to any other. I'm the same way about film. I find interest in many critical approaches -- Agee, Kael, Sarris, Farber -- but don't worship any of them. Sue me, I like Kael's turns of phrase (far more than I do anything I ever read of Renata Adler's -- a long-winded pedant, in my view). But I agreed with her on a very hit-and-miss level (I especially recoiled from her love for dopey comedies, like Up in Smoke or Zorro the Gay Blade). You have bigger problems with her, fine -- feel free to ignore her. That doesn't appear to be enough for her opposition, however. For many, it's still Kael delenda est.
Incidentally, I don't know where anyone gets the idea Roger Ebert was a Kael-ite. There were friendly, I presume -- I once saw them dining at the Lion's Head. But I never found their approach to films or ways of speaking of them remotely similar. Denby and Edelstein, I can see the family resemblance, but Ebert, no (nor Gleiberman, by me -- I've never responded to his style at all).
As for D'Angelo/Lange -- maybe you guys saw a different cut of Coal Miner's Daughter where D'Angelo made more of an impression. My recollection is she disappeared from the story fairly quickly. In Sweet Dreams, Lange worked against an innate prejudice I have against performances where the original singer overdubs the actor's voice -- but I thought she was so full of life she overcame all my resistance. But, you know: different strokes.