Film Title: Iron Man
Released by: Paramount
Tomatometer: 94% (as of May 3, 2008)
So, Paramount, you have this film cranking a whopping 94% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. They could be mostly 3-star/solid “B” ratings, but no matter – the positive reviews are flowing. 144-to-9 positive-to-negative by this writing. Those are Pixar-like numbers. It currently is the FIFTH-best reviewed film of the year and SECOND-best (behind only 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) with films sporting over 100 reviews at the site. And, yet, these are the people you choose to hype your product in the ads:
“Spectacular…Iron Man kicks off summer on a blazing high note and practically dares the competition to measure up. It’s been years since a movie superhero was this fierce and this funny.” – Peter Travers
“A thrill-a-minute blockbuster!” – Jeffrey Lyons
“It’s a blast!” – Gene Shalit
“One of the best superhero movies ever!” – Scott Mantz
Couldn’t find anyone better than that, Paramount, seriously? You may not wanted to associate your superhero flick with the online geek sites, but at least some of them write more than just dumb-dumb phrases like Lyons and Shalit. I suppose that’s why Saturday you prefaced the ad with the big “TOP CRITICS AGREE” and replaced them with A.O. Scott (“An unusually good superhero picture”), Joe Morgenstern (“Hugely entertaining!”) and the Saturday ad’s best friend, Claudia Puig (“Entertaining and fun!”). Last week you attributed “A lot of fun” to one Mr. Roeper, but now it’s been given to his current partner, Michael Phillips and Richard was left with “Robert Downey Jr. gives a blazing performance!” Thank you for not saying “iron-clad”, Richard. But still in that “top critic” list remains Peter Travers, which remains one of the few negatives associated with Iron Man this weekend. It may have been "years since a movie superhero was this fierce and this funny," according to Travers. But just one year ago Travers said:
"This mischievous blend of The Office and Friday the 13th keeps things fierce and funny enough to give Steve Carell ideas." (Severance)
"Michael Moore isn’t the only filmmaker packing enough heat to bust out of the documentary ghetto. A shockingly fierce and funny spell-binder that leaves your head spinning." (Crazy Love)
"A radically fierce & funny fireball. "(Sicko)
"Fierce and fiendishly funny." (No Country for Old Men)
"Fiercely funny!" (Delirious)
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.