The President of the Chicago Film Critics Association (not the picture you see before you) received a fax this week regarding Prince Caspian, the adaptation of the second Narnia book (albeit chronologically the fourth of the seven stories.) This fax informed him that the chairman of the Christian Film & TV Commission (and the editor of Movieguide.org) hails it as “a fantastic epic adventure” and “a very exciting, fantastic epic that re-imagines the book’s story.” I think we all know what “book” he means has been “re-imagined.” And that “he” is Ted Baehr (yes, HIS picture right), whom you may have seen here and there on movie ads or more notably as a subject of ridicule here at Criticwatch. Back in 1988 he was at the forefront of the protests on Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ but now advocates the series where Father Christmas hands over weapons to children to do battle for the kingdom. Solid Christian message, all around, don’t you think?
While the CFCA board is receiving this fax to tell us what others think of the movie, the majority of the membership will not have a chance to see the film until the Wednesday evening (May 14). Christ, even Jesus was given three days to rest before the resurrection. The Sun-Times and Tribune got a look more than a full week earlier. So “hear me now Israel…Aren’t your ways unequal?” (Exekiel 18:25)
Bryan Erdy, after a brief separation from the Disney teat, is back calling Prince Caspian “Even better than the first. Astonishing in the every way.” And that’s just on the TV spots. In the New York Times Sunday he also called it “Extraordinary! Destined to join the original as a classic!” This from the guy who never met a straight-to-video Disney animated sequel he couldn’t blurb (Bambi II, Brother Bear 2, Cinderella III & The Fox and the Hound 2.) Last year National Treasure 2 was “spectacular, exciting fun.” Believe in Jesus or the Lord, our Father, or a talking lion all you want, but by believing in Erdy you’re putting your faith in the guy who said The Game Plan was “one of the funniest movies in years” and that College Road Trip was “the perfect family movie.” Here are some more false Gods put before the nation’s critics singing Narnia’s praises:
“****” Gorman Woodfin, CNN
“Triumphant.” Stephen McGarvey, crosswalk.com
“Brilliant! A captivating adventure that’s thrilling from start to finish. – Mose Persico
“Wildly exciting! Bigger and better, Prince Caspian hits the mark! – Bonnie Laufer
“The must-see film of 2008.” S. Choi - TLN
Psalms says that scorn is for the proud. And I’m damn proud not to be any of these people.
Film Title: Leatherheads
Released by: Universal
Tomatometer: 56% (as of Apr. 4, 2008)
Respected Critics Say:
“Leatherheads is laid-back, amiable and terminally tepid.” – David Ansen, Newsweek
“Leatherheads labors so strenuously to approximate some of the old screwball spirit of the ’30s and ’40s that it winds up in traction.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“There’s a flatness about the whole enterprise — like drinking champagne, but from an old house slipper.” – John Anderson, Washington Post
What I said:
“It seems as if the MPAA unfairly upped a clear "PG" movie into a "PG-13". But adding numbers can’t even the score on the edge that Leatherheads lacks in the sharpness of its humor delivery and the hits on the field.” - Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com
Seen On Newspaper Ads:
"Clooney throws us a rowdy party of a movie." – Peter Travers
"Smart!" – Sandie Newton
"Charming!" – Andrea Vecchio, NBC-TV (WKYC)
"A real treat." – Jim O’Brien, ABC-TV
"Witty!" – Rusty Gatenby, ABC-TV
"Original. Pure fun!" – Rachel Smith
"Funny! A winner!" – Mose Persico
Leatherheads certainly isn’t getting horribly reviewed. It’s pretty close to split right down the middle. Just not enough to hit the "fresh" mark on Rotten Tomatoes (which is 60%.) Universal clearly had a tough time getting the cream of the crop to say anything nice about the film though and they had to go into their daisy chain of whoredom to throw out such insightful comments on the ads today.
There’s ol’ Travers on his two-quote-a-week minimum (he’s also the solo performer on Shine a Light Friday). I don’t know how a film that purports to be "screwball" and yet is so lethargically passive can be described as a "rowdy party." But I guess "lethargically passive" wouldn’t really get your name in the papers. There’s Sandie Newton & Andrea Vecchio, who among their brief appearances in 2007 dropped their panties for Universal’s Evan Almighty. Welcome to the 2008 party Mose Persico! It’s your first quote of the year!!! Took you longer than it did last year when you whored up for Universal in January for Smokin’ Aces. The last film Mose called "a winner" by the way - The Game Plan.
Amy Adams deserves better than to be sold with the words of Ted Baehr, don't you think?
Movie Title: Enchanted
Released by: Disney
Tomatometer: A solid 90+%
Respected Critics say: "Amy Adams is every Disney princess in one ebullient package." - Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Definite Quotewhore Sightings: (9)
"****" - Bill Diehl
"A must-see!" – Jim Ferguson
"Outstanding!" – Mark S. Allen
"Delightful." – Ted Baehr
"Hilarious and lots of fun for everyone." – Pete Hammond
"Amy Adams is the wish your heart makes…she’s wicked good." – Peter Travers
"A wonderful film for the holidays!" – Greg Russell
"An uplifting and magical movie!" – Mose Persico
"A very funny comedy that has something for everyone!" – Scott Mantz
So let’s play a game.
Let’s say you work in the marketing department of Walt Disney Studios. You’ve got a big holiday movie opening, the buzz is strong, and your lead actress is actually garnering consideration for a Best Actress nomination. Nice!
But now you have to put together your print ads for the film, and of course you want some nice big fluffy blurbs from respected critics to go with your big colorful art. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? I mean, everyone loves the film, the big name critics are falling over themselves to give you mad props, and you’re looking at a 90%+ approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
So what do you do? Oh, you use blurbs from the biggest quotewhore douchebags in the business, that’s what.
Jim Ferguson? Peter Travers? Pete Hammond? Mark S. Allen? Mose "even the Quebecois hate my guts" Persico?
Look, I liked Enchanted too. It’s a great flick, and none of the whores are wrong about it, but why on earth would you use a quote from Pete Hammond unless you absolutely had no other option? Why would you feel like Mose bloody Persico’s opinion would hold weight with Joe and Jane Sixpack when he’s not seen outside of Montreal? Why, if the movie you’re releasing is actually good, would you go to the Jim Ferguson well o’critical prostitution?
Of course, by the Saturday, most of those names had been replaced with others, such as Kenneth Turan, Leah Rozen, Claudia Puig and Manohla Dargis, but one day later, and the ad has switched right back to the douchebags!
Allow me to again do your jobs for you, Disney Marketeers, and come up with five fresh quotes that would be perfectly appropriate and far more enticing to the regular moviegoing Joe, if you only bothered cracking your Rolodex past the ‘Escorts’ page.
- "As a way to pass a couple hours in sheer movie-movie bliss, you can’t go wrong." - MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher
- "Disney’s gloriously tongue-in-cheek parody of its own princess genre is notable for how it’s G-rated heroine makes us realize how far a bit of innocence and optimism can uplift our outlook in today’s untrusting world." - Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
- "It’s Amy Adams who lends the role a heart bigger than the frame can contain. I defy anyone to watch this movie and not fall hopelessly in love with this performance." - Brian Orndorf, eFilmCritic.com
- "Adams’ performance is the kind that deserves an Academy Award nomination yet seldom gets one." - Jeffrey Westhoff, Northwest Herald
There; now, what’s wrong with those?
Yeah, so we chose one guy from our own website and two from my hometown of Chicago, so sue me. But in my defense, I looked at the quote first and the name second… just like the studio wants you to.
Anyways, Enchanted, great movie though it is, will now forever more be found in the Movie Marketing Hall of Shame. Well done, Disney.