Film Title: Street Kings
Released by: Fox Searchlight
Tomatometer: 30% (as of Apr. 11, 2008)
Seen On Newspaper Ads:
“An intense, riveting thriller! Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker give powerhouse performances.” – Steve Oldfield, FOX-TV
“The best cop movie since Training Day.” – Jeffrey K. Howard, KCLV-TV
“A full-throttle thrill ride.” – Chloe Houser, KPOX-TV
What I Said:
"Despite only sharing credit as a co-writer, the story has Ellroy’s fingerprints all over it and those familiar smudges become a detriment to an otherwise well-made film by director David Ayer." – Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com
I was half-expecting not to add an update to Criticwatch today. Prom Night went unscreened for critics (and Bloody-Disgusting) so nothing to pull from that. Smart People got a nod from Paul Fischer this week ("Pitch-perfect. A comic gem") but so what? And if I was playing the game that Mr. Scott Weinberg and I frequently guess about on the Rotten Tomatoes percentages I would have dumped a low 60s number on Street Kings. Wow - was I off. 30% at the time of this writing. That’s less than The Ruins and the latest Tyler Perry film. Truth is I probably wouldn’t argue with most of the criticism of the film, but I suppose I’m as guilty as the next person who liked Street Kings this week. It’s a tempered recommendation for sure and at least I can say I wrote something to explain my position. More than I can for Steve Oldfield, Jeffrey K. Howard and Chloe Houser.
Oldfield is becoming a fast riser in the quote game. I ranked him #10 last year. He’s now nearly midway to 2007’s total and recycling his quick-lipped prose in-between throat gags. "An intense, riveting thriller! Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker give powerhouse performances," says Oldfield about Street Kings. Here’s a taste from last year:
"An intense captivating film. Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe give powerhouse performances." (Breach)
"…a smart, compelling film with powerhouse performances." (Black Snake Moan)
"An intense…riveting…adventure." (28 Weeks Later)
"Powerhouse performances!" (Georgia Rule)
"A powerful film! A riveting story, expertly directed by Peter Berg." (The Kingdom)
How DO you wash that taste out of your mouth, Steve? Does Universal give you a special cocktail of Listerine, salt and vinegar you douchebag?!!! We won’t pick on Chloe Houser too much. She’s a first-timer, admittedly using some whorish cliches, but hey sister I like the film too. But Jeffrey K. Howard - you couldn’t come up with a better quote than that? This is the phenomenon known as Memento Whory where a "critic" needs to make a comparison to make his point but only does so with his limited memory. The classic example is saying that Fierce Creatures is the "funniest comedy since A Fish Called Wanda." I don’t need to explain this to the cheap seats further, do I? David Ayer, director of Street Kings, wrote Training Day. Howard had many choices for his Memento Whory including L.A. Confidential, which is way back in that time known as 1997. What about Dark Blue? James Ellroy (co-writer of Street Kings) also penned that film. Have you ever heard of these films?
Hell, the Denzel Washington connection alone could have led you to TWO of those films. Maybe Howard really does believe Training Day to be the end-all, be-all of cop films - better than any of those five films - but that would also mean that he believes Street Kings to be better than The Departed. Do you really want to stand by that statement, Jeff? Or do you want to tap your memory a bit further? Go ahead, we’ll give you some time. Go hit your head really hard and get back to us.
The last supper?
Film Title: Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins
Released by: Universal
Tomatometer: 36% (as of Feb. 8, 2008)
Respected Critics Say:
"A rancid, unfunny disaster full of embarrassing performances and shamefully simple-minded comic notions." - Eric D. Snider
"If the idea of watching Martin Lawrence getting used and abused appeals to you, then Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins is the movie for you." - James Berardinelli
"One of the absolute worst movies ever produced by the hands of humans…." - MaryAnn Johanson
Definite Quotewhore Sightings: (3)
"Totally hilarious!" - Shawn Edwards
"Hilarious. Laugh out loud funny." - Steve Oldfield
"A family affair." - Greg Russell
Geez, whaddya know; Shawn Edwards liked a film with an entirely African-American cast. Ice Cube, Tyler Perry, The Wayans Bros. - don’t matter, Edwards is there to lend his support. I don’t even know what the hell his one-time co-host, Greg Russell, is saying with his quote that’s splashed on the commercials. Does Universal really think that "a family affair" is going to see people rush out for a ticket?
"Oh my god! It’s a family affair! No, seriously Cindy, the guy in the paper said it’s a family affair! I’m not going to miss THAT on a big screen!"
Steve Oldfield becomes the token white guy at the party, reminding us that laughter is an audible occasion and not the kind of event shared by Seinfeld’s wannabe menage-a-trois partner and Mandy Moore’s guest appearance on Scrubs.
Memo to Shawn Edwards… does having your name on this ad make you proud? When people come out of it saying, "that sucked ASS!", and they walk past the poster and see your name there next to "Totally hilarious!", do you feel honored that they’ll think you a giant douchebag and blame you for their wasted $11?
August Rush: It's, like, ginchy!
Movie Title: August Rush
Released by: Warner Bros
Respected Critics say: "An aggressively bad movie. There are times when it tips the scales of absurdity and becomes almost comical." - James Berardinelli
Potential Quotewhore Sightings: (1)
"Sheer movie magic." – Michael Faust, Artvoice
Definite Quotewhore Sightings: (5)
"The must-see film of the year." – Tony Toscano
"A modern day musical fairytale." – Greg Russell
"Phenomenal." – Janet Stokes
"A rare film that’s both a great date movie and the perfect family film." – Steve Oldfield
"A captivating fantasy full of suspense, emotional surprises and the most original music if the year." – Jeanne Wolf
Give credit where it’s due to the Warner Bros marketing boneheads - they went to the second tier of quotewhores for this one. No Pete Hammond? No Paul Fischer? Why, I do believe there’s an absence of Peter Travers, even!
Still, the movie blows and these quotes are so over the top they could be performed on stage by Daniel Day Lewis.