The depressing difference between movie critics and "quote whores"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Weinberg, Feb 23, 2002.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Good friend and fellow critic Erik Childress has spent the last 6 weeks penning and editing what I think is a damn excellent article. Entitled "Whom Can You Trust? A Guide to Your Film Critics", this is a 2-part article that delves into the vast difference between 'legit' reviewers and 'junket monkeys' and offers over a hundred picture-perfect examples of the mindless blurbs used to dupe you into seeing crap movies.
    I hope you get a few minutes to enjoy this article, and I'd welcome any discussion on this volatile issue. (Well, it's volatile to us movie critics anyway.) [​IMG]
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Hope you enjoy it!
     
  2. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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    I thought it was a damn fine article.
    I loved Part 2 of the article with all the listing of "quote whores". [​IMG]
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Scott, I look forward to reading the article. But I wonder if anyone actually is influenced by quotes from unknown critics? Any thoughts or experience with this?
    Maybe I'm more critical than most [​IMG] but I'm not normally impressed by quotes like,
    "Amazing!" -- Joe Blow, "Nowhere Kansas Times"
    Maybe it's in your article, but I'm more bothered by quotes taken out of context. Like,
    "Amazing" -- Roger Ebert, "Chicago Sun Times"
    when the full quote was,
    "It's amazing they actually made this piece of crap!" -- R.E.
    (And I know those things happen as well)
    Now, on to the reading...
     
  4. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    Excellent article
     
  5. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've read the article. A few critical comments:
    I think the first half was interesting. The elaboration of how to get your name in print, as a critic, was interesting. And the quotes from Gire and Ebert where illuminating.
    One quibble, possibly indicative of a larger issue, was the comment about Ebert's "Little Nicky" review.
    "Ebert is a frequent target for misquote, finding sentences like ... 'Funny' slapped across ads for Adam Sandler’s Little Nicky, which was also met with negativity."
    But Ebert actually said "The movie surrounding Nicky is actually pretty good--the best Sandler movie to date." Ebert also gave it a Thumb's Up on "Ebert and Roeper at the movies." Ebert liked LN, and the ad quote was true to the spirit of his reviews. (http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_...11/111003.html)
    The conclusion that Ebert was misquoted for movie ads, seems erroneous. And so I wonder about other similar claims presented.
    Still, the first half was informative and interesting.
    However, I think the second half did not succeed. It's strongly implied that those mentioned are "Quote Whores" of some degree, by the introductory comments.
    "Some of them are the biggest offenders of quote whoring working today, and many of the others, while not exactly whores in the traditional journalism definition, are certainly involved in some form of legalized prostitution."
    But aside from the detailed info from Peter Travers, it mostly looks like a list of reviewers that the author disagrees with, or finds insufficiently critical. Failing to be a good reviewer is not necessarily indicative of farming out your reviews for quote harvesting.
    Consider the section on Roger Ebert. We are told that he liked some movies, disliked others, and the author disagrees with him in some cases. Ok. So? This just shows, at best, that Ebert has eclectic tastes (which is no surprise to anyone who's watched or read his reviews). It's even more ironic that in an article about the evils of "critics" uncritically praising bad films, criticizes Ebert for being "TOO Harsh" on some bad movies.
    I give the first half a Silver Medal, but the second half needs to head back to training for a while [​IMG]
     
  8. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    It's great to see 'Earl Dittman' get slammed, This is the same fucking guy that said of...
    -End of Days, "More chilling than The Exorcist, More Haunting than The Sixth Sense! End of Days will scare the hell out of you!"
    -Superstar, "You'll laugh, you'll cheer! A new quenn of comedy is born!"
    -Double Jeopardy. "Stylish, Sexy, Suspenseful... An exhilarating and riviting cat and mouse action thriller!"
    And here comes a real dilly
    -The Next Best Thing, "Has it all! Laughs, loves, & Tears."
     
  9. Erik Childress

    Erik Childress Auditioning

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    Dave,

    Ebert gave "Little Nicky" a thumbs down. Yes it was an average review of 2 1/2 stars, but it was still a negative review. And there were ads here in Chicago that did simply apply the quote "Funny" to Ebert in the ads for that film. Believe me, I remember it and I did the research to back it up, hence all the quotes printed in the second half of the article are 100% real.

    And the second half of the article is a guide for the reader on all these varying critics. I think you can tell from comments I made before their quotes on whom I think is truly trustworthy and who is not. Yes, many things are based on my opinion on the various movies, but a number of them I DID like myself and was just pointing out the similarities and maybe some inconsistencies in their quotes. If you remember at the end of the article - I put myself under the microscope and made a list of films that some may seem like questionable choices to recommend or dislike - not to mention how I said that I do trust and agree with Ebert on a number of titles. I'm sorry if that section of the piece didn't connect with you, but do you honestly trust any of the critics on that list other than Ebert?

    Erik
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Erik,
    Thanks for the response. I was sure Ebert, in his TV-show review, gave Nicky a thumbs-up, but I can't find any reference to it. I still think that his LN 2.5 star review (6/10, above average) is, at least, neutral. Regardless, the first half I definitely enjoyed. and found interesting.
    Looking again at the second half, I see that I misunderstood it. I thought that you were stating (or implying) that all of the critics listed were "quote whores", with extra commentary given for some. I see now that you've introduced the alleged QWs with comments, while leaving the ones you respect (Ebert) without such commentary.
    As for "trusting" the reviewers, I only follow Ebert and the local paper's primary reviewer, (Jack Garner). The local guy (Garner) I "trust", in that I agree with about 80% of his reviews. I only agree with Ebert maybe half the time, but I know how to interpret his reviews. For both of these, I've no reason to think they're skewing their reviews to curry favor with the studios.
    I'm still uncertain what to make of the latter half of the article. Consider Joel Siegel: He loved many movies that many other people loved. There's nothing obviously odd about the list; it doesn't suggest evil doings to me.
    A recent Newsweek essay struck me as very good -- witty, insightful, and amusing. My room-mate didn't really care for it; he didn't "get it" the way I did. It may just be that here; I'm not "getting" the second page of your article.
     
  11. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Mike Wilmington used to be pretty good when he was back here in Madison, but apparently he has gone quote-happy since he's been at the Tribune. Above average 67% of the time? Yikes.

    I've found that the only critics I really trust are thsoe for The Onion. 95% of the time, I agree with their assessments, which I find rather astonishing. Their no-bullshit, take-no-prisoners attitude is also refreshing in this day of the studios writing the blurbs and finding 'critics' who will attach their names to them.
     

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