Am I Too Nice!?
The entertainment editor for the newspaper for which I write, The Colorado Springs Gazette, just posted the following on the paper's film blog:
"I've been getting lots of letters praising our film critic, Brandon Fibbs. But we just received his first hate letter. (Hey, Brandon, it was bound to happen.) It's anonymous, of course.
Dear Mr. Epstein,
Is Brandon Fibbs your nephew of something? (He's not, just a former intern and former student) Or has he been sent to your newspaper by the major Hollywood studios to work for free? (No, but he'll tell you he's nearly working for free.)
Your reviews used to be sanguine enough (glad people still remember) -- but this guy has never met a movie he doesn't LOVE -- as his A and A- ratings for every film he reviews shows.
Personally, I prefer the more down-to-earth reviews of Roger Moore. At least he tends to see films as they ARE -- especially the mostly-junk now turned out by the hideous people presently controlling Hollywood.
Oh for the days of Frank Capra, William Wyler and John Ford!
(I can understand why this person feels that way. Brandon has given out lots of As and Bs lately. But it's really be a great time for Hollywood and off-Hollywood films. The end of the year is when all the Oscar contenders bunch up. I'm guessing this letter-writer hasn't gotten out to the movies since 1960.)"
Here was my response to that post:
“Anonymous” might be interested to know that I agree with him or her wholeheartedly!
I was making the exact same observation just today. While strolling past the Times Square theaters, I remarked to my wife that I’ve had a run of positive reviews lately and need a real stinker to maintain my street cred.
Warren makes an extremely good point. It’s finally the fall season. After a summer of banality, this is the time during which the studios are pushing their best films. And my reviews reflect that. So do those of the other critics.
There is an additional reason, however. With so many films out there from which to pick, I am able to be selective in what I see. While it may seem rather snobbish, when something like “The Assassination of Jesse James” conflicts with “Good Luck Chuck,” or “Eastern Promises” runs into “Mr. Woodcock” and “Balls of Fury,” I almost always choose the film I think will have greater overall cinematic value. It’s better for you and me!
Keep checking back “Anonymous.” There are some less than stellar assessments coming down the pike. (Check out my review of “Death Sentence” on this blog, for a review of a truly abominable film that wasn’t able to run in the paper because it wasn’t screened for critics until the night before its release.)
By the way, I also write for other publications that prohibit me to share with The Gazette. Oddly enough, I have been accused of writing mostly negative reviews for them! You can read all my (nasty) reviews at my blog, The Film Snob, including the aforementioned “Death Sentence,” “Shoot ‘Em Up” and “Transformers,” among others.
For now, enjoy the fact that there’s actually some good stuff out there. It won’t last long.