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Criticwatch 2007 (UPDATED 12/9/07)

by Erik Childress

Over the years at Criticwatch, we have kept a watchful eye on the critical community. Sure, there are several critics we don't agree with, but its not taste that makes you a whore. Well, sometimes it does. We can disagree seven ways from Sunday, but from the beginning this has always been about who you can trust. Some of the critics on our list are junket whores or scoop sluts; instantly untrustworthy if the label means anything. Others like Peter Travers & reigning 2006 Whore of the Year Pete Hammond) seem to like just about everything and get their names in the papers more than the President. And we've named our awards appropriately (“The Peter Travers Whore of the Year Award”, “The Kevin Thomas Sloppy Seconds” and "The Michael Medved Bag of Douche Award")

SIGN THE PETITION - BOYCOTT THE QUOTE WHORES
Top to Clockwise and Spiraling In: Peter Travers, Jeffrey Lyons, Mark S. Allen, Jim Ferguson, Leonard Maltin, Mose Persico, Jim Svejda, Thelma Adams, Maria Salas, Clay Smith, Joel Siegel, Greg Russell, Shawn Edwards, Harry Knowles, Tony Toscano, Gene Shalit

CRITICWATCH NOTES THIS WEEK

12/9/07 - I AM WHORE!!!!! So I'm watching television the other day, being inundated with whores getting their licks in two weeks early on P.S. I Love You and Walk Hard (How does Pete Hammond call it "The comedy smash of the holiday season" when it hasn't even opened yet?) when I see the following words splashed across the first ad for WB's I Am Legend:

"Explosive "- Kirk Vanderbeek, Real Detroit Weekly
"Magnificent." - Earl Dittman
"Unbelievable. Remarkable." - Ben Lyons
"Dynamic. Exhilarating. Exciting. Entertaining." - Shawn Edwards
"Suspenseful. Gripping. Oscar worthy" - Kelli Gillespie, FOX-TV
"Intense" - Bonnie Laufer, Tribute-TV Canada
"Moving" - Gebbad Hall, Reelz Channel
"Stunning." - David Sheehan

Those adjectives were spread out a little more. Imagine seeing Shawn Edwards' name interspersed four times over the course of an ad. That's four times as much as Will Smith's. But the classic line was uttered by the trailer's editor at the end of the whore praise:

"There are not enough words to describe the power of I Am Legend."

You'll see more of my own words this Friday, or so I thought until I saw the full-page spread in Sunday's NY Times:
Shawn Edwards calling I Am Legend "the best film of the year" is unfathomable enough - but look at that quote across the top by Ben Lyons, son of erstwhile granny-in-disguise Jeffrey Lyons.

"ONE OF THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE!"??????


Do you get out much, Ben? Maybe to the video store or even to your computer to update your Netflix queue. EVER MADE??? Are you out of your FUCKING MIND??? I'm sorry, but you have to turn in your credentials...I'm sorry, I just made myself laugh there since you've never established any cred whatsoever...you need to shut the fuck up immediately. You have no business talking about movies - especially on TV - if you think I Am Legend is one of the greatest movies ever made. I understand you're on E! the "Entertainment Network" so maybe they have you on as a little monkey to make all of us serious moviegoers chuckle because that's all you are now with that quote - a fucking joke! You have crossed the line officially into becoming a full-blown whore for the studios. So bend over and take it you fancy little fuck.

12/6/07 - It doesn't open until Dec. 21, but the TV ads already boast a couple whores for P.S. I Love You.

"Tis the joy of the season." - Joanna Langfield
"The best romantic comedy in a very long time." - Bill Bregoli

This from the man who recommended The Heartbreak Kid, No Reservations and Failure To Launch.

12/4/07 - 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, past most of the deadlines and against other necessary screenings qualifying for awards from the Chicago Film Critics Association. Real smart. At least these whores got to see it early:

"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
"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

11/30/07 - No press screenings. Opening cold everywhere. Even PETE HAMMOND disliked it! And yet The Weinstein Company's Awake have gone to one of their favorite wells - Earl Dittman - to grab a quote.

"The year’s best psychological thriller. Intense & edgy…It will leave you breathless! Jessica Alba is stunning!"

Remember what he said about that other Alba masterpiece, Into the Blue?

"A heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Jessica Alba gives a knockout performance. It will leave you breathless."

Or these fine films?

"A shocking nail-biting thriller! It will leave you breathless." (Derailed)

"A shocking psychological thriller. Samuel L. Jackson is brilliant. He will leave you breathless." (Freedomland)

Dittman loves the Weinstein's so much he's breaking out the greatest hits. And the studio loves him oh so much.

"Exhilarating!" (Grindhouse)
"Terrifying. A tour de force. A worthy companion piece to the original. A shocking masterpiece with twists and turns around every corner!" (Halloween)
"Startling and intense. A terrifying masterpiece." (1408)
"Intense. The scariest film of the year!" (Stephen King’s The Mist)

11/25/07- As this is the week for Thanksgiving, I'd like to give out my own thanks to a couple of outlets that were in touch with me regarding my work here at Criticwatch. The first would be Dann Gire, film critic for the Chicago Daily Herald and President of the Chicago Film Critics Association. He did an interview with me this week regarding the quote whores which was published as his top story for the weekend in the paper. An online version of the story can be read HERE along with Dann's "10 easy ways to become a quote whore". You know, for the up and comers out there. Dann has been a great supporter of my work over the years and I was honored that he asked me to be a board member of the CFCA, which I've proudly served on.

Secondly, I'd like to give a great big thanks...for nothing...to TV's Inside Edition. For several months I have been working behind the scenes with them (under the veil of secrecy) on a news report they were going to do about the various blurbmeisters you see week-in-and-out here at Criticwatch. The piece finally aired the day before Thanksgiving, wedged around travel secrets and the story of the oh-so-brave runner who broke her leg with about 25 feet left in a race and then crawled through the finish line. And who was their quote whore expert? Richard Roeper. Whatever, I'm cool with that. They need "one of the most respected critics" (their words) to balance the piece. Kinda shitty that they had their cameras in Chicago and couldn't even give me a call, but blah, to be upset about that would probably make me no better than Shawn Edwards.

But where was Shawn? Why wasn't HE being profiled? What about Dittman? What about all the info sent their way about Pete Hammond and all these other guys? No, instead they went after the small fish - a guy on Sirius radio who has recorded all of one quote to date on Good Luck Chuck and Mike Sargent, who looked like a deer in the headlights after being called out for naming License To Wed "the funniest comedy of the year" and then pausing a bit too long when asked if he'd ever given a blurb for a film he hadn't seen. Nice catch. But its the only revealing bit in the entire piece. Seriously though, you think that along with their travel secrets they would have given viewers a true heads up on where they can get this info. A 10-second shout-out to either myself, Criticwatch or eFilmCritic isn't much to ask. Nope. Instead, after months of me doing the bulk of their work for not a shred of compensation, the piece aired with no mention of any of us and offered less information about the quote whores than the "no comment" they got from the studios. This was just flat-out sloppy reporting which, ironically, is supposed to be the whole point of your story in the first place. My sincerest apologies to everyone I made watch the show on Wednesday.

If you want to read a better story (despite it getting the name of our website wrong), check out Paul Farhi's "The Feel-Good Movie Blurb Credit of the Year" from the Washington Post last month.

So, let's say you work with Walt Disney Studios. You've got a big holiday movie opening. Buzz is strong and your lead actress is actually garnering consideration for a Best Actress nomination. Your Sunday ads sell themselves with big colorful art. Not a wasted word plastered outside of the credits. You are staring down a 90%+ approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. And what do you do? You open on Wednesday and your Friday ad ignores all that positivity and uses THESE douchebags:

"****" - 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

On Saturday most of them are replaced with Kenneth Turan, Leah Rozen, Claudia Puig and Manohla Dargis. But on Sunday, right back to the douchebags. Allow me to again do your jobs for you and come up with five fresh quotes from Rotten Tomatoes that would be perfectly appropriate and far more enticing to the regular moviegoing Joe.

- "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

- "Amy Adams is every Disney princess in one ebullient package." - Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

- "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 I'm guilty of choosing one guy from our website and two from my hometown of Chicago. And yet I still looked at the quote first and the name second, just like the studio wants you to.




2007 Top Rankings

1. Shawn Edwards
(Notable Recommendations: Arthur and the Invisibles, Stomp the Yard, Ghost Rider, I Think I Love My Wife, Are We Done Yet?, The Reaping, Georgia Rule, Evan Almighty, The Nanny Diaries, Resident Evil: Extinction)
2. Bill Bregoli
(Notable Recommendations: Factory Girl, Hannibal Rising, The Ex, Rush Hour 3, The Nanny Diaries, The Heartbreak Kid)
3. Earl Dittman
(Notable Recommendations: Arthur and the Invisibles, Stomp the Yard, Premonition, The Reaping, Daddy Day Camp, Halloween, Music Within)
4. Jim Ferguson
(Notable Recommendations: Wild Hogs, The Reaping, Evan Almighty, Evening, Rush Hour 3, Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
5. Jeffrey Lyons
(Notable Recommendations: Blood and Chocolate, The Number 23, Even Money, Goya's Ghosts, September Dawn, The Good Night, The Final Season, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, O Jerusalem, Martian Child, Fred Claus, Lions for Lambs)
6. Mark S. Allen

(Notable Recommendations: Smokin' Aces, Premonition, Evan Almighty, Underdog, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, August Rush)
7. Janet Stokes/Film Advisory Board (Notable Recommendations: Firehouse Dog, Daddy Day Camp, The Final Season, Fred Claus)
8. Bill Zwecker
(Notable Recommendations: The Ex, Georgia Rule, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Game Plan, The Heartbreak Kid, Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
9. Steve Oldfield
(Notable Recommendations: Gray Matters, Georgia Rule, Evan Almighty, Evening, Reservation Road, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, August Rush)
10. (tie)Jeffrey K. Howard
(Notable Recommendations: Who's Your Caddy?, Rush Hour 3, The Brother Solomon, Martian Child, Fred Claus])
10. (tie)Pete Hammond
(Notable Recommendations: Stomp the Yard, Smokin' Aces, Hannibal Rising, The Number 23, Wild Hogs, Premonition, The Condemned, Even Money, Evan Almighty, El Cantante, September Dawn, The Game Plan, The Heartbreak Kid, Reservation Road, Rails & Ties)


2007 Quote Totals

86 - Pete Hammond
74 - Peter Travers
56 - Jeffrey Lyons & Claudia Puig
49 - A.O. Scott
42 - Roger Ebert & Richard Roeper
39 - Stephen Holden
38 - Manohla Dargis & Kenneth Turan
37 - Ain’t It Cool News/Harry Knowles & Variety
34 - Owen Gleiberman
32 - David Ansen & Shawn Edwards
30 - Thelma Adams, Joe Morgenstern & Rex Reed
28 - David Edelstein & Lisa Schwarzbaum
27 - Leah Rozen
25 - Marshall Fine, Jack Mathews & Jan Stuart
24 - Richard Corliss
23 - Gene Shalit
22 - Lou Lumenick
21 - Karen Durbin & Andrew O'Hehir
20 - John Anderson, The Hollywood Reporter & Andrew Sarris
19 - Earl Dittman, Ben Lyons & Leonard Maltin
18 - Christy Lemire
17 - Scott Mantz
16 - Dennis Dermody, Jim Ferguson & Scott Foundas
15 - Mark S. Allen & Bill Bregoli
14 - Paul Fischer, Larry King & Mick LaSalle
13 - Carina Chocano, Jeff Craig, David Denby, Steve Oldfield, Joshua Rothkopf, Richard Schickel, Elizabeth Weitzman & Michael Wilmington
12 - Jeannette Catsoulis, Stephen Farber, Stephen Schaefer, Matt Zoller Seitz & Bill Zwecker
11 - Ty Burr, David Fear, Roger Friedman, Logan Hill & Stephen Hunter
10 - J. Hoberman & Greg Russell
9 - Bill Diehl, Jeffrey K. Howard, Dan Jewel, Michael Phillips, John Powers & Chuck Thomas
8 - Avi Offer, Carrie Rickey, Maria Salas, Clay Smith, Kyle Smith & Robert Wilonsky
7 - Cinematical, Prairie Miller, Troy Patterson, Mose Persico, Joel Siegel, Ella Taylor & Jeanne Wolf
6 - Karen Berg, Bloody-Disgusting, Film Threat, Glenn Kenny, Nathan Lee, Roger Moore, Stephen Rebello, Dean Richards, Jim Ridley, Neil Rosen, Mike Sargent, Rachel Smith, Ruthe Stein, Janet Stokes/Film Advisory Board, Bob Strauss & Jan Wahl
5 - Ted Baehr, Pat Collins, eFilmCritic.com, Bruce Handy,Bonnie Laufer, Bill McCuddy, Rebecca Rothbaum, David Sheehan, Kevin Steincross, Patrick Stoner, Kevin Thomas & Armond White
4 - Alison Bailes,Steven Chupnick, Bryan Erdy, Tim Estiloz, Fangoria, Kelli Gillespie, Stuart Lee,
Liz Smith, Lisa Stanley, Jim Svejda, Tony Toscano
3 - Sara Edwards, Michael Medved, Melanie Moon & Jim O'Brien
2 - Fred Topel & Sarah Zapp
1 - In Touch Magazine



READ THE LATEST IN CRITICWATCH
Criticwatch 2007 - Know Your Shit, Period!
- The Vindication of Awards?
- 2006 Whores of the Year
- The Whores of Summer and the Embargoes They Break
- Critics vs. Whores: Where Is The Sky Falling?

Read All The Articles In The Criticwatch Series - HERE

ARTICLES WRITTEN ABOUT CRITICWATCH

CNN Visits Criticwatch & (Sidebar)
The Best Movie Article This Summer!"* (*And you can quote me on that!) by John Larsen, Ventura County Reporter







CRITIC LIST

THE BIG 2 (& OUR AWARD NAMES)
Peter Travers (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Kevin Thomas (Los Angeles Times) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)

THE WHORES
Byron Allen
Mark S. Allen (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Bill Bregoli (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Steven Chupnick
Pat Collins
Jeff Craig (2003)
Bill Diehl (2005) (2006)
Earl Dittman (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Shawn Edwards (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Bryan Erdy
Guy Farris (2005)
Paul Fischer (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Jim Ferguson (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Roger Friedman (2006)
Jeffrey K. Howard (2003) (2006)
Joanna Langfield
Bonnie Laufer
Stuart Lee
Scott Mantz (2005) (2006)
Bill McCuddy
Melanie Moon
Steve Oldfield (2005) (2006)
Mose Persico (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Richard Reid
Greg Russell (2004) (2005) (2006)
Maria Salas (2005) (2006)
Mike Sargent (2003)
(2005)
J.P. Sarni (Sirius Satellite Radio)
Fred Saxon (2003) (2004)
Todd David Schwartz (CBS Radio)
David Sheehan (2003) (2004) (2006)
Clay Smith (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Lisa Stanley (2006)
Kevin Steincross
Jim Svejda (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Chuck “The Movie Guy” Thomas (2005) (2006)
Fred Topel
Tony Toscano (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Jeanne Wolf (2003) (2005) (2005)

TELEVISION

Alison Bailes (Reel Talk)
Paul Clinton (CNN) (2003)
Roger Ebert (Ebert & Roeper) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Sara Edwards (CN8 – The Comcast Network) (2005)
Tim Estiloz (CN8 – The Comcast Network)
Kelli Gillespie (XETV-TV San Diego)
Sam Hallenbeck (NBC-TV/Tampa)
Larry King (Larry King Live) (2003) (2005) (2006)
Joyce Kulhawik (Hot Ticket!) (2003)
Ben Lyons (E!) (2006)
Jeffrey Lyons (WNBC-TV) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Jim O'Brien (News Channel 5)
Richard Roeper (Ebert & Roeper) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Neil Rosen (NY-1) (2006)
Gene Shalit (The Today Show) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Joel Siegel (Good Morning America) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Rachel Smith (KVVU Las Vegas)
Patrick Stoner ("Flicks" PBS)
"Two Thumbs Up" (Ebert & Roeper) (2003)
Sarah Zapp (The Comcast Network)
Bill Zwecker (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)

OTHER TV

THE MAGAZINES
Thelma Adams (US Weekly) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
John Anderson (Newsday) (2006)
David Ansen (Newsweek) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Karen Berg (OK!)
Jess Cagle (People) (2005)
Richard Corliss (Time) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Julia Dahl (Marie Claire)
David Denby (The New Yorker) (2006)
Dennis Dermody (Paper) (2005) (2006)
Karen Durbin (Elle) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
David Edelstein (Slate / New York Magazine) (2006)
Stephen Farber (Movieline / Hollywood Life) (2006)
David Fear (Time Out New York) (2006)
Marshall Fine (Star) (2006)
Aaron Gell ("O")
Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Pete Hammond (Maxim) (2005) (2006)
Bruce Handy (Vanity Fair)
Logan Hill (New York Magazine) (2006)
The Hollywood Reporter
In Touch Magazine (2006)
Dan Jewel (Life & Style Weekly) (2005) (2006)
Glenn Kenny (Premiere) (2003) (2005) (2006)
Andrew O'Hehir (Salon)
Troy Patterson (Spin)
John Powers (Vogue)
Stephen Rebello (Playboy)
Rebecca Rothbaum (O)
Leah Rozen (People) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Richard Schickel (Time) (2003)
Gene Seymour (Newsday)
Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Jan Stuart (Newsday) (2005)
Ken Tucker (New York Magazine)
Variety


THE NEWSPAPERS
Jami Bernard (New York Daily News)
John Black (Boston Metro)
Ty Burr (The Boston Globe)
Jeannette Catsoulis (The New York Times)
Carina Chocano (Los Angeles Times) (2005) (2006)
Mike Clark (USA Today)
Kevin Crust (Los Angeles Times)
Manohla Dargis (Los Angeles Times) (2003) (2005) (2006)
Scott Foundas (L.A. Weekly)
J. Hoberman (Village Voice)
Stephen Holden (The New York Times) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Stephen Hunter (The Washington Post)
Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle) (2006)
Nathan Lee (The New York Times) (2006)
Lou Lumenick (New York Post) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Jack Mathews (NY Daily News) (2005)
Elvis Mitchell (The New York Times) (2003)
Roger Moore (The Orlando Sentinel)
Joe Morgenstern (The Wall Street Journal) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Rob Nelson (The Village Voice)
Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)
Claudia Puig (USA Today) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Rex Reed (The New York Observer) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Carrie Rickey (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Jim Ridley (The Village Voice)
Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York)
Andrew Sarris (The New York Observer) (2003)
Stephen Schaefer (Boston Herald)
A.O. Scott (The New York Times) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Liz Smith (New York Post)
Ella Taylor (L.A. Weekly)
Matt Zoller Seitz (The New York Times)
Kyle Smith (The New York Post) (2006)
Ruthe Stein (San Francisco Chronicle)
David Sterritt (The Christian Science Monitor)
Bob Strauss (Los Angeles Daily News) (2005)
Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Elizabeth Weitzman (NY Daily News)
Armond White (NY Press)
Stephen Whitty (The Star Ledger)
Michael Wilmington (Chicago Tribune) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Robert Wilonsky (Dallas Observer)

ASSOCIATED PRESS
David Germain (2005)
Christy Lemire (2005) (2006)

RADIO
Michael Medved
Prairie Miller
Dean Richards (WGN Radio Chicago) (2003) (2004) (2005)
Jan Wahl

THE WEB
Ain’t It Cool News.com / Harry Knowles (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006)
Ted Baehr (Movieguide)
Bloody-Disgusting
Chris Carle (IGN.com)
Cinematical
eFilmCritic.com (2006)
Fangoria
Film Threat (2006)
Avi Offer (The NYC Movie Guru)

ORGANIZATIONS
Janet Stokes (Film Advisory Board)
(2006)




CRITICWATCH CREEDO
Over the years at Criticwatch, we have kept a watchful eye on the critical community. Sure, there are several critics we don't agree with, but its not taste that makes you a whore. Well, sometimes it does. We can disagree seven ways from Sunday, but from the beginning this has always been about who you can trust. Some of the critics on our list are junket whores or scoop sluts; instantly untrustworthy if the label means anything. Others like Peter Travers & reigning 2006 Whore of the Year Pete Hammond) seem to like just about everything and get their names in the papers more than the President. And we've named our awards appropriately (“The Peter Travers Whore of the Year Award”, “The Kevin Thomas Sloppy Seconds” and "The Michael Medved Bag of Douche Award")

For the past few years, we've left many name-names off of the list. Not because we're being hypocritical, but due to our belief that these people were (1) not whores and (2) didn't have the most unfathomable taste imaginable. Roger Ebert is the most recognizable name in the profession, so it only makes sense that he should be the most quoted critic in the game. NOT Peter "I like everything" Travers or Pete "I'm a whore named Pete too" Hammond.

So taking into account that Roger Ebert should be your #1 and the trademark "Two Thumbs Up" is just as prevalent, see where everyone else ranks. Are we being too harsh? Or are they being too easy? (RED = The HBS/EFC Seal of Disapproval)


CRITICWATCH NOTES THIS YEAR

11/19/07 - 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 ol' 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!"

Is that close enough, Mr. King? I've got some rope and any number of trees out here in the Chicago suburbs. Hammond's praise means nothing. His adjectives hold all the weight of a scale in a black hole. Look at his praise this year and see if you want this guy hocking The Mist, which deserves much better.

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. Same goes for these August Rush whores:

"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
"Sheer movie magic." – Michael Faust, Artvoice

11/16/07 -
The whores are having a party this week and the location is Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Started last week by Shawn Edwards and Mark S. Allen, they are joined this weekend by the following support for the current 33% flick on the Tomatometer:

"A marvelous, magical tale!" – Vickie An, Time for Kids
"Don’t miss this wonderful holiday film. You’ll enjoy this film right along with the kids." – Jim Ferguson
"A great holiday film that exhibits the power of believing in yourself…It’s transcending!" – Greg Russell
"A magical world! A magical movie!" – Steve Oldfield
"Dustin Hoffman is a joy to behold…and be heard. Everything in his magical toy store is happily alive and kicking. A delight for adults, and a jubilation for kids. Imagine: A wonderful children’s movie that’s not animated." – Gene Shalit

Yeah imagine that, Gene. Seems you already forgot about The Last Mimzy ("An all-family picture in the best sense – a bracing, honey of a movie.") Too bad you didn't save that for Bee Movie.

11/12/07 - According to a report by Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere, critics at the Denver Film Festival were prohibited from attending screenings of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium by Fox representatives. Seems odd considering the film has already been screening for press (at least two have taken place in Chicago.) You can read my thoughts on the film on Friday, but the early ads are boasting some positivity from two of the biggest whores in the business. Mark S. Allen, apparently having missed the boat to say something good for one of his regular mistresses, Warner Bros., with Fred Claus, is out calling it "The perfect holiday film!" And just when we thought Maria Salas had blown the whistle on "the perfect holiday comedy" with - The Holiday! Then, for good measure, we have one of the top contenders for Criticwatch's Whore of the Year award - Shawn Edwards - who calls the Magorium Emporium, "The most magical movie of the year!" This is precisely what he called last year's Charlotte's Web. The exact same quote for a far more appropriate film. He also called Unaccompanied Minors, "a family holiday classic", so you should always take Shawn's hyperbole with a silo of salt. For those keeping track, 2005's "most magical movie of the year" was Bewitched - according to Tony Toscano.

Edwards is also out this week, acknowledging P2 as "One of the scariest movies of the year! P2 does to parking garages what Psycho did to taking a shower and what Jaws did to swimming in the ocean." Or what The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood did for whores like him.

Paramount has had to make many of us wait until tomorrow night to see Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf. Maxim Magazine yet had a write-up and a 4-star rating in the issue that hit newsstands weeks ago. How is that possible? What makes Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel so important that he was given his own private screening in Florida over a week ago while Chicago is forced to wait to see the anticipated epic until the Tuesday before it opens? They couldn't wait to use these whores and nobodies in their ads though.

"The future of filmmaking is now." – Ben Lyons
"Thrilling" – Zain Neghji, CTV E Talk
"A true cinematic experience." - Greg Russell
"Unlike any movie experience you've ever had." - David Viggiano, FOX-TV

More no names coming out in support of Fred Claus, currently at 23% on the Tomatometer.

"Vince Vaughn for the whole family. – Lynn Barker, Teen Hollywood
"A hilarious festive comedy featuring a stellar ensemble cast." – Alison Moodie, OK! Magazine
"A great holiday film that both adults and kids can enjoy." – Guliana Rancic, E! News
"Vaughn unexpectedly makes for a lovable children’s hero." – Meghan Keane, New York Sun
"A fun and heartfelt early Christmas present." – Lisa Kennedy, The Denver Post

Pete Hammond is only 26 quotes away from the magic 100, but presently he has broken the Criticwatch record for most quotes by one critic in a single calendar year. 72 was the previous record held by a little guy named Roger Ebert. Quotes for No Country for Old Men and the documentary, Sharkwater, put Easy Petey over the top this week. But how 'bout this for #74? The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. Hammond is quoted as calling it "The most wondrous film of its kind since E.T." That's 25 years worth of family entertainment we've waded through to get to this moment. Of course, you can't see it yet. But who's to say Hammond has either? The film doesn't come out until Dec. 25.

11/5/07 - HO! HO! HO! The hoes are out on Fred Claus this week.

"Sure to be a holiday classic." – Jeffrey Lyons
"Spectacular! Pure holiday magic." – Jeffrey K. Howard
"It will put you in the spirit with humor and heart!" – Sara Edwards
"Fun holiday cheer for the whole family." – Jay Towers, WJBK/FOX-TV
"Fred Claus sparkles with festive holiday excitement. Families will love it." – Janet Stokes
"One of the funniest comedies of the year." – Shawn Edwards

Did New Line perhaps allow the same pre-written quote for Martian Child to be attributed to two different "critics"? Or did both Stephanie Webb from WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) and Kevin Steincross both come up with "Magical! One of the best family films of the year!"?

10/28/07 - The Criticwatch spotlight this week shines on the spawn of one of the fluffiest critics the profession has ever seen. Jeffrey Lyons' son, Ben, whom you can see on the E! Network (as their "resident film expert") but read in this week's ads for American Gangster which he calls "A new American classic...Goodfellas for the next generation." That's pretty high praise for a pretty average crime drama. But forget about what I think. What the hell is Ben thinking?

You see, there's a documentary called Mr. Untouchable that I saw back at the CineVegas Film Festival in June. It chronicles the rise and fall of Harlem drug kingpin, Nicky Barnes, who is prominently featured in the Ridley Scott film and played by Cuba Gooding Jr. Mr. Ben Lyons is also quoted on the ads for that film saying, "It makes American Gangster look like a fairy tale. It’s the real deal, nothing Hollywood about it." Makes American Gangster look like a fairy tale? Oh, so Ben must have seen the doc after he saw Ridley's flick and immediately changed his tune. Except Mr. Untouchable opened this weekend and American Gangster opens this upcoming Friday. Now I'm no stranger to press screenings and it's very possible the order he saw them in does not reflect the natural order of their release dates. But wait one second. If American Gangster is comparable to, without argument, one of the three best mob films ever made (GoodFellas) then how can any film reduce its impact to that of a mere fairy tale? If there's nothing "Hollywood" about Mr. Untouchable then that must imply that there's something "Hollywood" (read between the lines: phony) about American Gangster. And if there's something inauthentic about Virtuosity 2, I mean, American Gangster, then how can you call it "an American classic." I think we all know who the phony one is. I'm sorry Ben, I meant "Hollywood." Speak of the devil, his dad, Jeffrey, just called Bee Movie "A hilarious honey of a movie!" How'd you like to have that sperm?

Pete Hammond only registered one quote this week (for American Gangster) thus falling behind his pace for the big 100. But how 'bout this? Around this time last year, I received a press release for the second of the straight-to-video American Pie films (The Naked Mile). Top center was a quote from whore galore Pete Hammond himself; a puntastic phrase which read "Goes the extra mile for laughs and gets them." Now, here we are one year later. Almost a year to the day. And on the artwork, well, see for yourself...

Criticwatch has a policy that while we will record straight-to-video quotes, we don't include them in the official tallies of each critic or website as they usually derive from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and sites that do their best to cover as many titles as possible. But if Hammond is at #99 by Dec. 31, you can guarantee that we will be including this quote in his tally. Since how can you ignore its outright whoriness towards a studio (Universal) that he's already provided glowing praise for seven of their films this year including: Alpha Dog, Smokin’ Aces, Breach, Evan Almighty, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Kingdom - and, its newbie, American Gangster.

10/23/07 - Spotted on the ads for Dan In Real Life this week is none other than exclusive Disney whore, Lisa Stanley calling it "The funniest comedy of the fall." That's four quotes for Lisa this year, all for Buena Vista titles (Bridge to Terabithia, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and The Game Plan)

10/22/07 - This week we'll be visiting the "what the hell are you kidding?" department starting with Las Vegas' Rachel Smith saying that "Steve Carell has never been funnier" than in his new movie, Dan In Real Life. Allow me to point out that the movie is not a full-blown comedy in any respect. More of a light dramedy than anything else - but has Rachel seen The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Anchorman, Little Miss Sunshine or a SINGLE episode of The Office? Christ, how 'bout The Daily Show for God's sake? About the only thing Dan In Real Life is funnier than on Carell's resume is Evan Almighty.

Jumping into a more well-known critic who should know better is Rex Reed who asserts that Reese Witherspoon "gives the best performance of her career" in Rendition. BEST performance of her CAREER? Without even scanning her IMDB page, I'd like to remind Rex about Election and Walk the Line, the latter of which she deservedly won the Oscar for. BEST performance of her CAREER? Rendition??? She's like the third banana in the film and gets to do NOTHING. Not her fault, the script and the movie sucks - but c'mon Rex - don't sell us such crap. Leave that to Pete Hammond.

Didn't think we'd go a week without mentioning Maxim's extraordinaire whore, did ya? Hammond hit the magic 70 this week, marking his personal Criticwatch record for quotes in a year and we're still in October. With two more quotes this week for the excruciating Rails & Ties and the pleasant Dan In Real Life, Hammond is only 30 quotes away, or three quotes a week away from hitting the magical 100. On Dan In Real Life he says "Finally, a really smart and really funny movie about the ups and downs of life, love and family." FINALLY? He isn't even a month removed from recommending The Darjeeling Limited & Lars and the Real Girl. Aren't both those films each "really smart and really funny" and about the whole ups and downs of life, love and family? How soon we forget, Pete.

10/15/07 - So anyone who has seen Ang Lee's Lust, Caution may have noticed the striking similarity in plots to Paul Verhoeven's similar beautiful-woman-turned-spy-and-engages-in-all-kinds-of-hot-sex-WWII-thriller, Black Book. Escaping my immediate radar but brought to Criticwatch's attention by colleague William Goss from this very site - is the uber-similar quotes by Rolling Stone's Peter Travers to praise the two. According to the original Easy Petey, Black Book was "Provocative and potently erotic" while Lust, Caution was "potently erotic and suspenseful." Is Travers really that subconscious?

Onto the new Easy Petey. A few days ago we noted that Maxim's quote whore extreme, Pete Hammond, needs an average of just under three quotes a week for the rest of the year to reach the magical 100. Guess what? Three quotes found for him this week. And he's getting well ahead of the game by pimping MGM's Lions for Lambs a full MONTH before it's release calling it "the most controversial and talked-about movie of the year." That's kind of like July's Talk To Me which "will have you talking long after leaving the theatre" and September's The Brave One which was "a true shocker that will shatter your nerves and get you talking." This week's quotes also include:

Rendition - "Guaranteed to get your heart racing."
Reservation Road - "Rips into you like a hurricane! Suspenseful, emotional and completely engrossing throughout! A powerful human drama that packs a strong punch. Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo are sensational. Jennifer Connelly delivers one of her best performances."

That's quotes #66, #67 & #68 for Hammond this year. He's one away from his personal best (last year's 69) and only four away from tying Ebert's charted record at Criticwatch which was 72. Seems almost prophetic that #73 would be the record here.

COUP ALERT: Jeffrey Lyons could be losing his stranglehold on the #3 quote position. USA Today's day-late quoter (i.e. her quotes tend to pop-up a lot on Saturday), Claudia Puig, has just jumped him in the tally standings 44-to-43. Eh, what's the big deal, really? Basically just swapping one vagina for another.

10/9/07 - 2006 Whore of the Year, Maxim's Pete Hammond, needs just under three quotes a week for the rest of the year to reach the unfathomable tally of 100 ad quotes. ONE HUNDRED! The highest number anyone has reached under the eye of Criticwatch was Roger Ebert with 72. This weekend, Hammond is up to 65 with the following lines:

- "The surprise movie comedy treat of the year!...Whimsical, funny and moving…Ryan Gosling is no less than astounding…This is the real deal!" (Lars and the Real Girl)

- "An exceptional film. This is one of those rare gems you must not miss." (Control)

It's hard to imagine how Hammond can call anything a "rare gem" when it seems he's out there tauting every single film out there. That hasn't stopped Easy Petey from trying to convince us he can use the term or a variation on it:

"A rare original. A real find." (Eagle vs. Shark)
"A once-in-a-lifetime movie." (In the Shadow of the Moon)
"The pitch-perfect performance by Michael Douglas is a hidden treasure." (King of California)

65 quotes and counting for Hammond. 100 would be the four-minute mile. He would almost have to win Whore of the Year by default. Although Shawn Edwards is going to claw and scratch every step of the way to win his first title. This week, Shawn gives it up again for Sony with FOUR STARS in the ads for We Own the Night.

And our dumbest quote of the week has to go to Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel who said Fox's The Seeker is "Well worth seeking." Guess those early private screenings before the other Florida press make you feel a bit generous, Roger.

10/1/07 - You want to know how big a whore Shawn Edwards is? Forget for a moment that even the biggest Milla Jovovich fan I know didn't like Resident Evil: Extinction, a film that was held from critics until the last minute. Consider that 2007 has brought us 300, 3:10 To Yuma, The Bourne Ultimatum, Grindhouse, The Kingdom, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Rescue Dawn just to name a few. But what is "the most exciting movie of the year!" according to Fawning Shawny? That's right. Maybe not the "explosive masterpiece tailor-made for those who love ultra-cool high energy action!" that Resident Evil: Apocalypse was according to him, but THE most exciting movie of the year! Ol' Shawn clearly loves those Sony titles as he gave the similarly no-screened Ghost Rider a rave as "a high-energy thrill ride!

Remember last week when Bryan Erdy (who?) was exposed as being the Disney whore that he is? He joined an obvious circle of mousy lovers including Jim Svejda and Lisa Stanley, known for their frequent (and almost exclusive) raves for Buena Vista titles. Well, look who showed up on the ads this weekend for The Game Plan and see who stands out.

"Good clean Disney fun. A real winner everyone will enjoy!" – Mose Persico
"The perfect family film." – Greg Russell
"A lot of charm and heart." – Bill Zwecker
(ahem) "Laugh-out-loud funny!" – Lisa Stanley
"A positively funny film!" – Ed Carpenter, The Dove Foundation
(COUGH) "Irresistible." – Jim Svejda
"A touchdown for the entire family!" – Roseann Rogers, NBC-TV/Houston
"A comic touchdown for The Rock!" – Pete Hammond

All too easy. Especially for Hammond who is now up to 63 quotes entering October. He had 69 last year and he's got three full months with 128 films currently slated to be released. Could he actually hit a magic 100? That's only one quote for 3-4 films. The only question is which award Criticwatch will give him in December - a repeat Peter Travers whore of the year or the Bag of Douche?

9/24/07 -
If you see the ads for Disney's Rock family spectacular, The Game Plan, this week - along with whore galore, Greg Russell ("The perfect family film") you will also see Bryan Erdy calling it "Hilarious!" and "Pure Disney entertainment." Only it's hard to use the words "pure" and "Disney" when associated with Mr. Erdy. Seems he's got a penchant for the Mousehouse, much like Jim Svejda and Lisa Stanley. While you won't find him associated with any specific source utilizing his quotable talents (despite those NBC listings), you will find Erdy going all out for not just the likes of this year's Bridge To Terabithia and The Hoax as well as last year's Deja Vu, but a cornucopia of straight-to-video Disney sequels (Bambi II, Brother Bear 2, Cinderella III & The Fox and the Hound 2). That's one serious whore. Be sure to tell him that on his MySpace page (9/25/07 UPDATE - Erdy's quotes have been expanded on the ads which now say "A winner. One of the funniest movies in years. It’s hilarious and full of heart." His expansion is now joined by what only a douchebag like Mose Persico can say - "Good clean Disney fun.")

HAMMOND WATCH - We weren't a full 24 hours removed from Maxim's Pete Hammond, on the verge of breaking the one-year Criticwatch quote record, getting his 60th quote when the ads for The Heartbreak Kid boast it as "Ben Stiller's funniest movie ever!" courtesy of Hammond nearly two weeks before some markets have even seen the film. That's 61for Hammond.

9/23/07 - The ads for Trade this week, the oft-delayed film about sex trafficking with Kevin Kline, boast an impressive quote this week from none other than his Sophie's Choice co-star, Meryl Streep.

"Beautifully rendered, bravely acted and a searing experience – an unflinching peek at the secret world of sex trafficking."

Having seen the film at Sundance this year, it's just impressive to hear anyone come out in support of it since it's pretty weak and borderline ridiculous in places. But wait, what is this? Oh, of course, it's Pete Hammond weighing in with his 60th quote of 2007.

"A bone-chilling, disturbing thriller. Vital and powerfully important. A movie that should – and must – be seen."

That's great Pete. You know what else you said "must" be seen this year? The TV Set, Starter for 10 (which is still supposed to be at the top of our list until you tell us otherwise), Reign Over Me and The Freakin' Number 23. You know what's important, Pete? That you stop being a movie critic.

9/14/07 - Many of the stats have been updated today. Travers outwhores Hammond 6-3 since the last update, cutting that lead down to single digits. Shawn Edwards goes to bat again for The Weinstein Company on The Hunting Party.

9/3/07 - The New York Post is reporting that Good Morning America is looking to fill the shoes of the late Joel Siegel with one of Criticwatch's most public enemies, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. According to the report, a rep from the show said, "Joel left very big shoes to fill, and we're looking at a lot of people. No decision has been made yet." Going from Siegel to Travers is like a size 10 up to a size 36dd. While Travers hasn't said anything about the report, Good Morning America may as well go up to size 38 and hire whore-galore, Pete Hammond from Maxim. His overly enthusiastic and blurb-ready personality would seem like a more natural fit for the morning show crowd, even if both are better suited for the after dark customers in the Red Light District.

8/28/07 - Despite reports that some markets are asking its critics to hold their reviews of Rob Zombie's Halloween until Saturday (screenings are Thursday evening), Variety printed its review yesterday and whore extraordinaire, Earl Dittman, is already in the TV ads saying "Terrifying. A tour de force. A worthy companion piece to the original." That's Dittman's fourth quote on a Weinstein Co. related release in 2007.

8/26/07 - By next week sometime we should have a complete overview of the whores of summer, a topic we're looking to cut straight through sans the usual extensive essays on industry and behavior, because it's just that irritating. In the meantime, the whore rankings of the year have been updated and the results may surprise you a little.

Continuing to flourish in the top spot is the herpes-like Shawn Edwards who seems like he's gone away permanently only to show up on some mediocre flick like The Nanny Diaries to remind his benefactors that his poor taste can still be bought. Moving into contention for the Kevin Thomas Sloppy Seconds Award is Bill Bregoli, who also liked The Nanny Diaries and continues to perpetrate the falsehood that Chris Tucker is funny and Brett Ratner makes good movies, an opinion shared by our number three, Jim Ferguson.

"See this movie, do not fail! You will leave with a wagging tail!" Those are the words of Mark S. Allen, rubbing salt into the wound that was the Underdog feature film, a project that ripped my childhood soul out and crapped on it. He's your number four. Jumping high up into the ranks thanks to a recommendation of Daddy Day Camp is yearly favorite, Earl Dittman. Down to number six, despite having a record weekly streak and a quote total of 51 that is going to challenge Roger Ebert's highest total in Criticwatch, is the unfathomably popular Pete Hammond. Even with praise for docudramas like El Cantante and September Dawn, Hammond has been getting his name out there for the likes of Hairspray, The Bourne Ultimatum and The King of Kong and diminishing his stunning whoredom for any film fed through a projector. Jeffrey Lyons comes in seventh, equally on the bad docudrama bandwagon with September Dawn and Goya's Ghosts. Mose Persico, Maria Salas and Kevin Steincross round out the top ten.....for now.

8/22/07 - WHO IN THE HELL COULD POSSIBLY BE RECOMMENDING RUSH HOUR 3?

Well, despite the usual yahoos:
"Jackie & Chris have never been funnier." – Jim Ferguson
"One of the best screen pairings ever! They will have you on the edge of your seat laughing." – Bill Bregoli
"Pick of the week. Funny, full of action and entertaining." – Leonard Maltin
"A blast!" – Bill Diehl
"Wild, funny and over-the-top action!" – Jeff Howard

Pick of the week, Leonard? With 2 Days in Paris and even the less-supported (by me, not my fellow critics), Rocket Science and Stardust opening? Wow. Regardless, there were also these two new names to Criticwatch:

"Laugh-out-loud funny." – Monica Jackson, KVVU-TV, Fox
"Action-packed!" – Odette Burton, WSVN-TV/Fox

Original lines to kick off your whoring careers with for sure, but who in the hell are you again? Thankfully we have our latest friend to Criticwatch filling us in.

Turns out Monica Jackson is a morning newsanchor who in 2002 got into an off-camera fist-a-cuffs with the female anchor who beat her out for the job in Detroit when she was just a traffic reporter. And Odette Burton - well - you be the judge.

This is who the studio needed to pimp out to us for the latest Brett Ratner craptacular.

7/29/07 - Unless he manages to get in a quote about The Simpsons Movie, No Reservations or be the sole voice of dissent on Lindsay Lohan's I Know Who Killed Me, Pete Hammond's illustrious and unprecedented quote streak comes to an end. 24 weeks straight, Hammond had recommended movies to you in film ads including such gems as Wild Hogs, Premonition and Evan Almighty. The week of July 27 so far is a no-show, but the astute studio marketers still have some time to wedge in his name and keep the streak going as he's already doubled up for next week with the excellent The Bourne Ultimatum and, well, the J.Lo/Marc Anthony joint, El Cantante, that only someone as whorish as Hammond could possibly recommend to you as "hot stuff." With 45 quotes in the bank for 2007, Hammond is on a streak to hit the magic number of 70 without blinking.

We'd also like to acknowledge Jeffrey K. Howard from Las Vegas and Lezlie Segar from, yes, Bet "n' Contrast, for taking a stand and showing that no lack of press screenings would stop them from supporting Who’s Your Caddy?.

"Big laughs! Outrageous fun! An over-the-top comedy that will leave you in stitches!" says Howard and "Absolutely hysterical from beginning to end!" preaches Segar. Bet and contrast THAT! Christ, even Shawn Edwards appeared to stay away from this thing.

Criticwatch is taking a vacation for a couple of weeks, but I'll be back with an update on Aug. 15 as well as preparing the second of the tri-annual Criticwatch articles to see how the whores did this summer.

7/22/07 - "One of the funniest movies of the year!" declares Michael Cardamone of WKYC-TV (NBC) of I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.

WHO IN THE FUCK IS MICHAEL CARDAMONE?

Thanks to an anonymous tipster, Michael is a "prettyboy AM douchebag" from Cleveland who was flown to L.A. for the Universal junket and files such hardball interviews like this one with Adam Sandler & Kevin James and a second with Jessica BIel.

After you have "managed to keep a straight face" through those interviews while you weep for the future of journalism, let's get back to the original question. Who Is Michael Cardamone?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, you would know the answer if you watched the infamous Average Joe: Hawaii. Remember Michael? He was one of the "spoilers" sent in by the show's producers to lure Larissa away from the average joes. Once a plant, always a plant I guess, and to paraphrase Lesley Ann Warren in Clue, his first quote in Criticwatch comes for a film about "big time fruits." Michael Cardamone - douchebag anytime of the day.

7/15/07 - Memo to Greg Russell: If a film is released based on a wildly popular toy line created two decades ago that spawned an animated theatrical film as well as a television series with various spinoffs - it CANNOT BE "THE MOST ORIGINAL FILM OF THE YEAR" YOU STUPID DOUCHEBAG!
7/8/07 - Here's a mystery for you amateur sleuths out there? Warner Bros. is releasing a guaranteed blockbuster this week, tied into the release of the final chapter of an incredibly popular book series. Not only is $250 million a lowball figure, but get this, its also one of the best films in the series. The reviews are going to be great. So why-oh-why would they want to cheapen it by including quotes from people even Criticwatch have never heard of before. And, trust me, we know just about everybody. Look at who is recommending Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

"The best film of the summer." – Rusty Gatenby, ABC-TV
"Pure movie magic!" – Teri Hart, Family Channel
"From start to finish, this film is fantastic!" – Lori Wilson, NBC-TV Philadelphia
"Exhilarating! Easily the summer’s best film experience!" – Mike Sargent
"Smashing magical moviemaking" – Patrick Stoner, “Flicks” PBS

How 'bout that? They got the people who recommended Pride (Wilson) and Catch & Release (Stoner) to hype up their Potter product along with newly minted WB whore, Mike Sargent, who is giving Mark S. Allen a run for the WB dollar. Look for Allen to pop up on the TV ads sometime this week.

Speaking of whores, Pete Hammond gets his 23rd straight week with a quote on the ads for Talk To Me and Interview. SOMEBODY TACKLE THIS PRICK!

7/1/07 - We at Criticwatch would like to acknowledge the passing of Joel Siegel. While we may never have pretended to be fans of the Good Morning America critic's style or taste, he was still a human being and 63 is too young to leave any profession, let alone this life. In respect for his passing, we are renaming an award that was introduced last December to "The Michael Medved Bag of Douche Award." Where one life ends, another begins.

Getting back to business though, Pete Hammond presses on for his 22nd straight week with a quote for Joshua driving his quote total on the year to 39. The New York Times didn't go with any Transformers ads on Sunday, but one colleague has told me to expect Fred Topel describing it as "better than sex." Speaking personally as someone who has actually had sex, that'd be a hard no. Actually the big quote whore parade comes this week for WB's License To Wed.

"Wildly entertaining! A laugh-out-loud hilarious romp!" – Greg Russell, Movie Show Plus
"This one will keep you laughing all summer long!" – Sarah Zapp, Comcast Network
"Robin Williams is at his best!" – Cindy Pearlman, Chicago Sun-Times
"A hilarious date movie! Couples young and old will love this movie!" – Mose Persico
"Fun and laughs from start to finish!" – Ukee Washington, CBS-TV
"The funniest comedy of the year." – Mike Sargent, WBAI-FM

Did Mike Sargent see Knocked Up or Hot Fuzz, for Christ's sake? Doesn't matter, I guess, since neither were distributed by Warner Bros. and that's who Sargent is shilling for this year with similar raves for TMNT and Music & Lyrics.

6/24/07 Criticwatch has been on vacation for a few weeks doing some actual critiquing over at the CineVegas Film Festival. But the whores just keep on...coming.

Weinstein Company buttboys Shawn Edwards and Earl Dittman provided their support for 1408, not to mention Evan Almighty and Nancy Drew, respectively. Jim Ferguson is also showing the love for Evan as well as Evening. Thanks to some backlogged quotes we found (including one for The Hitcher remake), Maria Salas has jumped up her total from 2 to 6 for 2007. Jeffrey Lyons added another 3 and Peter Travers is making a desperate run at Hammond to maintain his throne with 6 quotes in the last three weeks.

However, just as it seemed like Hammondouche had taken the week of June 8 off and busted his weekly quote streak in two, I saw one of the latest Ocean's Thirteen ads.

"The most purely entertaining film of the summer." - signed Pete Hammond.

And so the streak continues into next week where he calls Ratatouille "Disney Pixar’s funniest movie ever!" What a drunk son-of-a-bitch! Sauced up or not, Hammond now has been quoted for 21 weeks in a row. Blackjack, motherfucker! And it don't matter if you get quoted for Transformers or License To Wed cause we've already busted you.

6/3/07 - Anyone who saw the TV ads for Pirates 3 this week saw that Disney pulled the same crap and brought out the whores to sell their movie. Tony Toscano says it's "the best film of the summer." I guess he's taking June, July & August off. Good, do us all a favor. The female Jim Svejda, Lisa Stanley calls it "the greatest adventure of all time." A bold statement considering she only seems to review Disney films. And there's many more. Unfortunately my Tivo erased it before I could pull all the names. I'll find you, you fucks!

Just like I've got the tools on Surf's Up this week. Let's examine.

QUOTE: "It’s a major ocean picture event the whole family won’t want to miss…" - Bonnie Laufer
EXAMINATION: Wow, Bonnie! You incorporated the film's tagline into your quote.

QUOTE: "One of the most original animated films ever." – Mark S. Allen
EXAMINATION: According to Mark, Chicken Little was "like no other movie you’ve ever seen!" Guess he forgot about that one. Oh yeah, and HAPPY FEET!!!!!

QUOTE: "A perfect 10. The coolest movie of the summer. ****" – Shawn Edwards
EXAMINATION: In 2006, Shawn's coolest movie of the summer was Miami Vice. In '05 it was Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Starsky & Hutch was "the coolest flick you’ll see all year" in 2004. Any wonder why you're a close favorite for WHORE OF THE YEAR!

Notice who is missing from this week's discussion? Pete Hammond has nothing for next week yet. Will the streak be broken at 17? Ol' Travers is catching up on you, ya douche!

5/28/07 - I'm not going to bust too many balls this week. Anyone who wants to pledge their love for Knocked Up is OK by me. Except that douche Pete Hammond. He of the Wild Hogs recommendation is not worthy to lay eyes upon Judd Apatow's latest piece of comic brilliance. And he doesn't need it anyway. He's already secured his 17th straight week with a quote by touting Mr. Brooks as "chilling!" Yeah, OK, I like the movie a lot too, but fuck Pete Hammond.

Peter Travers may be making his annual mid-year run at the top of the quote list. He's down for Knocked Up, Mr. Brooks AND Crazy Love this week raising his total to 21 behind Hammond's 30. Oh that's right. Pete Hammond has got 30 quotes through the first five months. And don't count out Jeffrey Lyons either. He just hit the big 2-0 himself for 2007.

NEW TO CRITICWATCH!!! - Steven Chupnick from, well, you name it since he seems to throw his reviews to whomever will have him. This week he calls Mr. Brooks "Brilliant! Awesome! You’ll be on the edge of your seat!" Back in January he called Hannibal Rising - "An edge-of-your-seat thriller!" Mr. "Non-stop mayhem!" for The Condemned now has a pair of eyes on him and he has a bead on the Top 10 Whore List for 2007.

5/20/07 - Just as it looked as if Pete Hammond was going to be up against the wall to get his 16th straight movie week with a quote, I was told by colleague Rob Vaux that the following appeared in the L.A. papers:

"William Friedkin's most daring movie since The Exorcist! It will crawl under your skin!"

That would be for Bug, a film that Lions Gate is withholding until the last minute from online critics (or withholding completely despite getting fairly decent reviews during its festival runs.) The quote was nowhere to be found in the New York Times today (chalk one up for the Big Apple), but in Los Angeles, Hammond got top billing over Roger Ebert. That's right. Roger Ebert, who for the first time in weeks (and wonderfully so) he had three brand new movie reviews online and in the papers this weekend was trumped by Pete "Whore of 2006" Hammond. And what kind of shit-ass quote is that? Friedkin's most daring movie since The Exorcist? THAT is the best you could come up with? How about remaking The Wages of Fear? What about killing your hero in one of the best cop movies of the '80s? How about CRUISING for god's sake? I'd say that film was pretty daring. AND just as frightening. Anyway, this isn't Friedkin's moment. Lions Gate doesn't even want writers here seeing the damn movie in time to write reviews. Congratulations, Pete. Glad you got to see the movie so you can keep getting your name out there. 16 weeks and counting.

5/6/07 - Shawn Edwards is out in support for Garry Marshall's Georgia Rule this week - "Wonderful! The surprise of the summer. A heartfelt, moving and touching film. Jane Fonda is exceptional. Lindsay Lohan’s performance is phenomenal. Felicity Huffman continues to prove her brilliance as one of today’s best actresses." Will Shawn be the whore of the summer?

5/14/07 - There's a really terrific movie coming out this week called Once that premiered at Sundance this year. But that's not the ad that Pete Hammond continues his quote streak on. No, for his 15th straight week with a quote, he is joining Jeffrey Lyons, Larry King and Access Hollywood's Scott Mantz on Even Money. This was a film that played South by Southwest in 2006 and was not only the worst film I saw at the festival that year but people in the audience had no problem saying how much they thought it sucked as they filed past director Mark Rydell who was in attendance.

"Strong and intelligent…A winning bet at the movies." – Pete Hammond
"Powerful performances! A compelling drama." – Jeffrey Lyons
"All the performances are top-notch!" – Larry King
"Gripping and engaging! Crash by way of the gambling world!" – Scott Mantz

And we've already had the drunk critics calling Spider-Man 3 "the best of the three." This week it's Pat Collins giving the packaged quote to Shrek the Third. We'll be monitoring the summer to see who will be so bold as to say the same about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ocean's 13, Live Free or Die Hard, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Ultimatum or Rush Hour 3. It'd be nice if they all could, but highly unlikely. Gear up, Hammond. Lot of movies to continue that streak.

5/11/07 - Pete Hammond continues his quote streak. 14 straight weeks now with a mention on the ads for 28 Weeks Later. See you on Shrek next week?

- I'll give Shawn Edwards a one-week reprieve as I was actually "surprised" that I also liked Georgia Rule and we're in the same minority boat on that one. Perhaps recommending it was his way of balancing out that Tyler Perry whoring he's already doing. After all, if a domineering grandmother who takes to beating on bad husbands is good enough for the African-American crowds, it must be good enough for whitey too.

- Finally, a serious "what the hell" to Sony Pictures. Biggest opening weekend in film history with Spider-Man 3. Word-of-mouth ready to cut into those grosses big time. And despite a 60%+ fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, you're using Earl Dittman to promote your movie. There are others out there who think its the best of the series. Granted, they're all alcoholics, but why use Dittman? Either try to prove that bullshit "review-proof" theory by not using any quotes or find some real newspaper men or passionate onliners to hype the movie that fans are killing with their own tongues.

5/4/07 - I think Sony using Earl Dittman on the ads for Spider-Man 3 tells you all you need to know about the film itself. Some idiot from the London Evening Standard named Charlotte Sullivan also says "...Easily the best of the trilogy...One of the most enjoyable films of the decade." Have another drink.

Meanwhile, the latest Criticwatch feature is up and running. Be sure to read Criticwatch 2007 - Know Your Shit, Period!

4/29/07 - So, I mucked up Hammond's streak. But no harm, no foul as he's on the ads for Paris, je Ta’ime for his 13th straight quoted week. In respect for the movie, which is actually very good, I'll refrain from busting the whore's vagina anymore this week.

4/27/07- Minor apologies on a miscount, ladies and gentlemen. It seems Pete "the big stinkin' whorebag" Hammond has only been quoted 11 weeks in a row leading up to this weekend. We thought it would be hard for him to get his 13th straight week in a row with a quote with all the films going out without press screenings this week. Turns out pretty impossible since, technically, it would only be his 12th. But guess what?

Hammond found the ONE wide release this weekend that was screened, Lions Gate's The Condemned with WWE's Steve "don't call me Stone Cold" Austin and gave it that big squishy kind of money-on-the-nightstand love that Hammond is known for.

"It packs enough red-hot fiery action for six movies."

Six WWE movies maybe. Congratulations on being one of the biggest fucking whores we've ever seen, Pete. And good luck. Thanks to that quote, you can now go for your 13th straight week. Which will it be? Spider-Man 3, Lucky You or BOTH?

4/22/07 - The upcoming weekend will see the release of three releases being hidden from critics. While there's some debate over whether Paramount's Next counts officially (it's earliest screenings will be this Wednesday) it is no doubt being hidden in some markets along with Buena Vista's The Invisible and Yari's Kickin' It Old Skool. I'll be commenting more about this in a forthcoming Criticwatch article (stay tuned), but it's hard to believe that this is now the THIRD STRAIGHT NICOLAS CAGE FILM TO GO UNSCREENED FOR THE CRITICS (The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider). Did Steven Seagal ever have such a streak? Speaking of such streaks, it's going to be hard for Pete Hammond to go for his 13th straight week unless he's coming out in favor of The Condemned with Steve "don't call me Stone Cold" Austin. It's going to be a cold week for the whores. And if they want to avoid a special mention in said Criticwatch article, they better stay home like the rest of America next week. Once again, everyone, if they do NOT screen a film for critics, it is SHIT. DO NOT PAY YOUR MONEY!

4/18/07 - WHORE ALERT!!! Screen Gems, the house that Kate Beckinsale kept open, are using the classic 1-2 punch of whoredom - Earl Dittman and Shawn Edwards - on the commercials for Vacancy this week.

"...A first class thriller...It will keep you on the edge of your seat." - Earl Dittman
"Terrifying...shocking..." - Shawn Edwards

4/15/07 - We've heard all the hubbub about the Weinsteins reeling from the weak opening of Grindhouse last week. In their second weekend, the returns are down over 60%. Split the movies in two, they say. Redux what we did with Kill Bill to squeeze an extra 40-or-so million out of the endeavor. Maybe even more than that. That's just money talk though. But a strategy has to be in place. If I was part of the marketing in the second week, I'd be desperately trying to let the general public know that there are many, MANY critics out there in full support of the film as a whole. Support for Tarantino's segment, Death Proof, have been nearly unanimous in the positive reviews. 81% positive at Rotten Tomatoes. Tons of quotes to pull from. Big, juicy quotes from reputable critics of the print and online world. So, who did the Weinstein marketers put on the new ads this week?

EARL DITTMAN AND JEFF FUCKING CRAIG!

Fiercely entertaining,” says Craig and Dittman calls it “exhilarating,” the same adjective he used to describe Nick Cannon’s Underclassman. Why would you allow this to happen, Harvey? Don’t you have enough pride in your product and enough respect for filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino not to promote your film using meaningless quotes from meaningless whores. Not that your film dropped 70% because of Dittman’s quote, but reaping and sow and all that.

Speaking of meaningless whores, we had odds on Pete Hammond being the one to call Perfect Stranger a highly sexual thriller that will have you guessing until the very end”. So we lost that bet. The winner was Kevin Steincross from KTVI-TV who said it was “a sexy thriller that keeps you guessing every step of the way. The ending will blow you away.” Congratulations, Kevin. 13% at Rotten Tomatoes. Nice recommend.

Hammond made the rounds in other areas though, not just coming out in favor of Disturbia for his 12th straight week for a quote, but also for New Line’s Fracture to make it lucky number 13. Thirteen straight weeks. 22 quotes. You are a stunning, incomparable whore. Kinda makes one scratch their head why they needed Nick Leftley from Maxim to provide one of the shittiest quotes possible (“Armed, dangerous and hysterical!”) for one of the absolute best films of the year (Hot Fuzz). That’s a mystery for the ages. But back to the present where Hammond has some company on Fracture next week.

Fracture
"A mesmerizing game of cat and mouse. A sleek, surprising and surefire thriller that will grab you by the throat." - Pete Hammond
"Anthony Hopkins is at his sinister best. Riveting!" - Greg Russell
"A classic thriller in the Hitchcock tradition." - Paul Fischer
"Doesn't let go even after the final twist." - Gene Shalit
"A slick, intelligent film." – Jeffrey Lyons

4/8/07 - Pete Hammond managed to get his name on the Grindhouse ads this weekend for his 20th blurb of 2007. The ads for Perfect Stranger haven't received any quotes yet although we fully expect Petey to call it "a highly sexual thriller that will have you guessing until the very end" or "the very last frame." You take your pick. Can he make it 11 weeks in a row with a quote?

We'll wait and see on Hammond, but Shawn "never met a black film he didn't love" Edwards seems to be making his case to get back into the race. First, we confirmed that the four-star "must-see movie" quote attributed to FOX-TV for Freedom Writers could only hide Shawn's name long enough until the DVD is released this month. Coupled with his rave of The Reaping this week, me thinky someone has a little crushy on the Swankster. Edwards also continued his sucking of The Weinstein Company by calling Grindhouse "an undeniable masterpiece"; a ranking which absolutely can be denied but is forgivable. What isn't is the atypical Edwards "black power" rave of Are We There Yet?, a remake of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House that was already remade at least once as The Money Pit - that's actually a sequel to the awful Are We There Yet? which Edwards called "a family film that's perfect for everyone. It will have you laughing from beginning to end."

His thoughts on the sequel: "The funniest, craziest, wildest comedy of the year. Perfect family entertainment."

I believe I speak for everyone when I say - FUCK YOU, SHAWN!

4/2/07 - As we head into the final month before my tri-annual report here at Criticwatch, we can almost declare the race for whore of the year OVER! Just like Reagan over Mondale, Helen Mirren winning Best Actress for The Queen or my Cubs season being over by roughly the same period. Pete Hammond. Say his name. Remember it. The movie may be good. It may be as bad as Wild Hogs. It don't matter. He's going to tell you to see it. He's going to say you MUST SEE IT! Zodiac, The Number 23, Starter for Ten and Reign Over Me all brandished some version of the "must-see" tag by Hammond this year and now you can add The TV Set to your list if you're nuts enough to listen to this critical wart. Look at the stats he's piling up and tell me someone is going to beat him for "Whore of the Year." 19 Quotes. 5 Must-Sees. 10th straight week with a quote.

In fact, I'll throw down a challenge to my fellow Criticwatchers. Write into Criticwatch now (Criticwatch@HollywoodBitchslap.com) and give me your best rant against your most hated quote whore on our list (HINT: they are the ones in red) and tell us why or how they are going to possibly challenge Pete Hammond for Whore of the Year. We'll print the best responses in our next article and if the whorse (see what I did there?) you back beats out Hammond by year's end, we'll throw you a nice prize package from the vault. Could it be Shawn Edwards, who after calling The Reaping "a terrific thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat!", is certainly a legit candidate? YOU MAKE THE CALL. Give us your best whore rants today.

3/25/07 - This week we take a look at Walt Disney. The studio, not the man. But the one using his name is also getting use out of some BIG-time whore names to get the word out on their 3-D animated effort, Meet the Robinsons. Despite not having one of them listed in the Sunday papers, the TV ads were riddled with the following:

"The funniest, most original comedy in years." – Greg Russell
"Exciting" – Mark S. Allen
"Utterly hilarious." – Jim Ferguson
"Heartwarming" – Mose Persico
"Destined to be a Disney classic." – Bonnie Laufer
"It’s fun for the whole family." – Ted Baehr

That gives Mr. Ferguson his second quote of the year and second for the Mouse House after Wild Hogs, one of the worst comedies of the decade. In related news, Pete Hammond gets quoted for the ninth straight week which is no surprise. What is - it's actually for a good movie (The Lookout)

3/18/07 - We can barely update Criticwatch fast enough with one quote of Pete Hammond's before he's got another two just ready to rock. This week's assertion that First Snow is "a first-rate thriller" joins his other favorite thrill rides this year like Breach ("a spellbinding, real-life suspense thriller"), Premonition ("a gripping psychological thriller") and Hannibal Rising as either the year's most "terrifying" or "electrifying" thriller (depending on which one the Weinstein marketers deemed less offensive to Super Bowl audiences). Then the Pete-ster is out there telling you how much you have to see Zodiac ("Do not miss this film") after already calling The Number 23 "a must-see film" and then telling you to reshuffle your priorities entirely by putting Starter for Ten "at the top of your must-see list." But this week, Hammond says that Reign Over Me is "a movie you must see." I hope he's got $40 for every adult in America unfortunate enough to listen to him.

3/16/07 - Pete Hammond continues to soar, getting in a quote for the 8th straight week. That's 13 overall to date and for Premonition - that makes his 4th recommendation for a film getting less than 20% approval at Rotten Tomatoes and the 2nd to get under 10%. Whores Earl Dittman and Mark S. Allen join in on recommending the wretched Sandra Bullock thriller. Meanwhile Shawn Edwards gets his second mention of the year on, whaddya know, an African-American-themed film.

I Think I Love My Wife
"Chris Rock’s funniest movie yet. A must-see laugh-out-loud comedy. Hilariously funny." – Pat Collins, UPN9/WWOR
"Outrageously funny!" – Shawn Edwards

Premonition
"A gripping psychological thriller that will have you guessing from start to finish." - Pete Hammond
"A spectacular supernatural thriller. ****...full of shocking twists and turns." - Earl Dittman
"You've never seen anything like it." - Michelle Fizer, WSVN/Fox-Miami"Thrilling and chilling. Sandra Bullock is terrific." – Kevin Steincross, KTVI/Fox, St. Louis
"Intelligent, thought provoking and intense beyond measure. You’ll be talking about it long after the end credits…" - Mark S. Allen

The Last Mimzy
"One of the best sci-fi fantasy adventures since E.T." – Maria Salas
"A family movie that’s smart and thrilling!" – Bill Bregoli
"Rich with imagination and wonder." – Prairie Miller, Long Island Press
"An all-family picture in the best sense – a bracing, honey of a movie." – Gene Shalit

3/4/07 - So here's the flipside of whoredom. Warner Bros. has a great movie coming out on March 9 called 300. The reviews are going to be strong, but instead of using big-name critics or just those that can be trusted to separate the truly extraordinary from the hyperbolic they are using the same whores to promote the film a week in advance.

A landmark motion picture. – Pete Hammond
A true modern day epic. – Greg Russell
An epic and awesome experience. – Mark S. Allen
A masterpiece that is thrilling, sexy and totally mesmerizing. – Paul Fischer
Awesome! 300 is the most unique movie-going experience of a generation. – Ben Lyons
Heroic. A new level in filmmaking. – Don Sanchez, ABC-TV
300 is nothing short of jaw-dropping. – Sam Hallenbeck, NBC-TV (Tampa)
Brilliant and beautiful. – Taylor Johnson, MSN
Indescribable and unforgettable. – Pat Stoner, WHYY-TV (PBS)
300 percent action, 300 percent exhilarating. It’s the best movie of the last decade. – Robert Sanchez, IESB.net

If its "indescribable" how can you call it "unforgettable?" The best movie of the last DECADE? The film is great, but it wouldn't have even made last YEAR's Top 10 list.

2/25/07 - Buena Vista really had to dig deep to find support for Wild Hogs, guaranteed to rank among the worst comedies of the decade. It's an "entertainment reporter" smorgasbord. Good luck Yahoo-ing these yahoos. Hey, but look who is there amongst them. Jim Ferguson and the Whore of 2006, Pete Hammond. Quite an astute observation there, Pete. Is that what you teach in your film classes? It's Hammond's 11th quote of the year and the second week in a row (after The Number 23) that he's recommended a film to get less than 20% approval at Rotten Tomatoes.

Wild Hogs
- The first great comedy of the year! Allen, Travolta, Lawrence and Macy are a comedy dream team. Big…Big…BIG laughs! Laugh-out-loud funny! - Ross King, KTLA-TV/Los Angeles
- The comedy event of the year!Erica Land, NBC-TV/Houston
- I haven’t laughed this much in years!Marian Etoile Watson, FOX-TV/New York
- A must-see! – Bessie Tsionis, Comcast CN8 Network/Boston
- A wild ride!Ukee Washington, CBS-TV/Philadelphia
- Outrageous laughs! Mitch English, The Daily Buzz/Orlando
- Entertaining, wild fun!Jim Ferguson
- Hysterically funny! It’s City Slickers on bikes!Pete Hammond



Have something to say about Criticwatch? Let us know at Criticwatch@HollywoodBitchslap.com or Criticwatch@efilmcritic.com


link directly to this feature at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=1101
originally posted: 04/29/04 02:05:14
last updated: 12/27/07 10:42:01
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