So it looks like Pete Hammond is back full-time. Thanks a lot, Hollywood.com. We can’t go off so much on the movies he’s being quoted on (no matter how drunk I feel everyone is about Wanted), but we can at least go off on his quotes. Simply put, Hammond doesn’t quite have the grasp on the English language. That and the marketers and/or editors of the paper aren’t quite picking up on it. Granted, you go through a lot of writers’ stuff (including mine) and you’ll find the occasional missed edit or twisty sentence. But look at his quote on the very enjoyable Diminished Capacity and play English teacher for a moment.
“This is the sleeper surprise discovery of the summer. Smart, witty and genuinely human comedy…The entire cast is wonderful.” – Pete Hammond
Catch that? Did you see it? Better yet, did you hear it? Read it out loud again. Smart. Witty. And GenuineLY human comedy. Like Hammond’s recommendations, that’s one more LY the world could go without. But the coup de grace was this catch by our own Rob Gonsalves last week on Hammond’s quote for Wanted:
“The most visually inventive, trailblazing film of its kind in light years. The heart-stopping, extreme summer action movie of your dreams.” – Pete Hammond
“Light years measure distance, not time, you fucking clown shoe.” – Rob Gonsalves
Criticwatch hasn’t had much to report recently and that’s probably a good thing. Pete Hammond and Shawn Edwards have popped up a couple times. (Disney honestly couldn’t find anyone to go early on the masterpiece WALL-E better than Easy Petey?) But nothing too crazy. WB used a bunch of whores on the ads for the decently reviewed Get Smart. But if you haven’t already, check out the latest piece on the recent glut of whore interviews and the continued (and unnecessary) war between print and online critics.
Film Title: Deception
Released by: 20th Century Fox
Tomatometer: 11% (as of Apr. 26, 2008)
Respected Critics Say:
"Can a movie title be so unthinkably bad that it single-handedly ruins the viewing experience? As it turns out, yes.." - Dustin Putman, TheMovieBoy.com
"A would-be erotic thriller with no heat and zero chills, Deception has the kind of glassy, glossy sheen and risible story that mean to suggest Basic Instinct but instead invoke lesser laughers like Jade and Sliver.." - Manohla Dargis
"If the filmmakers were expecting to dupe their audience with Hitchcock-like twists, then they severely underestimated the intelligence of the average moviegoer." - David Kaplan
What I Said:
"Wolverines and Cougars aside, there are more than one strokes responsible for violating their own rules and putting a name on the film that is only an introduction to what’s wrong with it.." – Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com
While I continued to monitor Rotten Tomatoes to see who would be the first critic to post something positive about the poker film, Deal, currently in an 0-for-25 slump (0% RT rating) I saw that the initial numbers for Fox’s Deception had risen from 6% to 11%. Despite having gone to “the next level” as Howie would say on Deal or No Deal, I didn’t give it much thought. Fox still wasn’t running any positive quotes on the ads and I wasn’t going to trouble myself worrying about some internet whackjob with really bad taste. Saturday morning when a colleague clued me that this wasn’t just any whackjob, the link to his review said it all.
Yep, Pete Hammond, posting reviews for whomever would have him at this point gave a positive review to Deception. In all fairness, Hammond isn’t the only critic to like it. (And he did contributed to Deal’s 0-for-25.) There are six other positive reviews (including Orlando Sentinel’s Roger Moore) at Rotten Tomatoes for Deception – if you can find them buried within the other 55 negative ones. His quote at the site reads:
“THe kind of edge-of-your-seat sexual thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go.”
The director’s cut extended quote over at Hollywood.com says, “Deception is the kind of state-of-the-art, edge-of-your-seat sexual thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go. It’s actually the kind of movie Hitchcock might have made.”
That’s true. Hitchcock might have made a film like Deception. Only it wouldn’t have sucked. At least not if he made it in the ‘50s or ‘60s. But that’s the kind of pull quote that grabs you doesn’t it? Like these from Hammond over the years.
Akeelah and the Bee - Grabs you by the heart in unexpected and wonderful ways.
Jet Li’s Fearless - Fearless grabs you with its epic scope and richly human story.
Apocalypto - Once again, Mel Gibson proves why he is one of the best filmmakers around. Clearly a fearless director who knows how to grab an audience and not let go for even a minute.
Fracture - A sleek, surprising and surefire thriller that will grab you by the throat.
Dark Water - The year’s first genuinely frightening edge-of-your-seat chiller. Even Hitchcock could not have done better.
No, only Pete Hammond could not have done better.
Film Title: Drillbit Taylor
Released by: Paramount
Tomatometer: 24% (as of Mar. 22, 2008)
Respected Critics Say:
“Because the filmmakers plant their laugh-generating derrick over the same comic well that’s been pumped out twice before, Drillbit Taylor hits a dry hole.” – Larry Ratliff, San Antonio Express-News
“With ‘Drillbit Taylor,’ however, Apatow hands the reins over to his protégés and replaces his delicate balancing act with a steep, sudden fall.” – Dan Lybarger, eFilmCritic
“I’d call it a pointless endeavor, except now we might finally be able to pinpoint the source of Wilson’s recent depression.” – Pete Vonder Haar, Film Threat
What Roger Moore said at Rotten Tomatoes:
“Movies such as this remind us that Owen Wilson is nothing less than a national treasure.” - Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
But we’re not here to talk about Roger Moore. Although that quote at RT was too precious to ignore from that tool. It actually began with seeing Shawn Edwards as the sole quote provider on Friday’s newspaper ads for Drillbit. "Awesome! The freshest and funniest comedy in a long time," said 2007’s Whore of the Year taking in his 8th quote of the year. (His 9th is right around the corner with next week’s Stop-Loss which he calls "honest and brave." Currently 76% of quoted critics are in direct opposition with the guy who called another Owen Wilson film "refreshingly funny." (That would be 2004’s Starsky & Hutch.) But there was something far more disturbing in store for us on Saturday’s ads.
"Big laughs with a lot of heart." – Pete Hammond, Boxoffice.com
PETE HAMMOND IS BACK??? You can almost here Harry Potter saying those words at the end of the Goblet of Fire. Sure, he’s already been quoted on two other ads this year. One, for Charlie Bartlett, could be attributed to that film being screened for him when he was pimped out by Maxim last August when it was originally supposed to open. But forget all that. Boxoffice.com? Most websites would want to up their profile as opposed to inviting national scorn from respected critics and net-savvy bloggers. Why in Sam Hell would you want to invite this guy to be writing film reviews for you? From what I can tell you have a pretty decent set of critics over there. Certainly a lot more objective than the cash prospective reviews of Variety, which Hammond already blogs for.
A quick look at the films of March you have reviewed on your front page and Hammond already has two four-star (out of five) reviews for Drillbit and Horton Hears a Who? but also a three-star review for the unscreened Doomsday (which I will also admit a certain guilty pleasure for.) But one guilty pleasure doesn’t make up for three-and-a-half years of fluffer quotes for all films good and bad. To the editors of BoxOffice.com - save yourself now before Hammond grows out of control again. We’ve had a good thing for the first three months of 2008 with only three Easy Petey sightings. We need to get our focus back on Shawn Edwards and shame him out of existence.
Apparently Nicole's rack points due east.
Film Title: The Golden Compass
Released by: New Line
Tomatometer: 41% (as of 4 Feb 2008)
Respected critics say: "The worst crime of a film like this is that not only is it retarded, it expects its audience to be retarded as well." - Walter Chaw
Suspected Quotewhore Sightings: (2)
"A stunning epic. State-of-the-art special effects make this gripping odyssey unforgettable." – Jeanne Wolf
"A visual knockout, extremely captivating and a sci-fi feast." – Roger Friedman
Definite Quotewhore Sightings: (2)
"Beyond spectacular! Transports you to an alternate world of jaw-dropping awe and unforgettable adventure." – Pete Hammond
"The Golden Compass takes its place amongst the great fantasy films of all time. In the tradition of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia" – Ben Lyons
While most press in the country have already seen The Golden Compass thanks to screenings Monday night, or in some cases even earlier than the national sneak preview on Saturday, New Line somehow allowed the majority of the Chicago press to be relegated to a screening as late as this Wednesday evening, way past most print deadlines and up against other necessary screenings that qualify for Chicago Film Critics Association awards. Real smart, though it didn’t seem to stop the Whores of Quotetania from seeing the film early and giving their big fat thumbs up.
While Pete Hammond was picking his jaw up off the floor, Ben Lyons was creaking open the superlative vault with a ridiculous claim that this is among "the greatest fantasy films of all time."
We suspect maybe Ben hasn’t actually seen any other fantasy films, if he honestly thinks that’s the case. Either that or he’s genuinely insane. Or very, very stupid. Like, ‘walking into walls’ stupid.
Either way, New Line gets a mention in the Hall of Shame for using a couple of hacks like Lyin’ Lyons and Pete "the walking erection" Hammond.
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.
At a recent press conference with director Frank Darabont for his adaptation of The Mist, Stephen King said that "there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last 5 minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead."
This week on the ads we have Pete Hammond from Maxim saying…
"A masterpiece! One of the most shocking movie endings ever! It will send chills down your spine. Stephen King and Director Frank Darabont have already given us The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. With The Mist they have created another winner!"
I know he didn’t strictly speaking give away the ending, but is it close enough, Mr. King? I’ve got some rope and there are any number of appropriate trees out here in the Chicago suburbs…
Hammond’s praise obviously means nothing. His adjectives hold all the weight of the Olsen Twins in zero gravity. Look at his ’shocking’ praise for less-than-stellar films over this past year and see if maybe you think the marketers for The Mist might have been better served finding a quote from someone with, like, dignity.
Alpha Dog - "A fiercely original shocker."
Crazy Love - "A shockingly fierce and funny spell-binder that leaves your head spinning."
Hannibal Rising - "An absolute shocker in every way imaginable."
1408 - "Ranks with The Shining as one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever! A smart, highly entertaining non-stop shocker!"
The Brave One - "A true shocker that will shatter your nerves and get you talking."
Go out into The Mist, Pete. And don’t worry about the rope. We don’t care if you make it 300 feet.