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Criticwatch 2005 - The First-Half Recap

by Erik Childress

Last week on the radio, going over the mid-year point of 2005, I was asked by a colleague to come up with the movie title that best summed up the year so far. They were many obvious choices like Alone in the Dark or Cursed. Nick Digilio at WGN said it was Bewitched, a film about remaking a remake that reflected the current climate of unoriginality out there in Hollywood. But my own personal choice was Because of Winn-Dixie. Sounds like an odd choice, I know, but considering the influx of horrendous kids flicks we’ve had to endure (Are We There Yet?, Son of the Mask, The Pacifier) not only was it a reminder, but I thought in its title, the perfect reflection of where we are in 2005. Here was a title that actually blamed its cinematic events on the poor dog. Not the screenwriters, not the filmmakers, but the poor, helpless dog. We are in the middle of a blame game, folks, punctuated by ceaseless, rambling talks of a box office slump by thickheaded journalists, whistling Dixie, too busy looking at the negatives instead of the positives, and forgetting that last year’s rise in box office (at this point) was due to sequels to two of the most popular films of all time (Shrek 2, Spider-Man 2) and an early phenomenon based on the most popular book of all time (The Passion of the Christ). It must be all Because of Winn-Dixie. Oh yeah, and did you notice that most of the movies really suck this year? And with crappy movies, you all know what that breeds by now. Crappy critics.

If you haven’t figured out how to recognize a crappy movie by this point, then you just aren’t reading Criticwatch enough (or even our fine lineup of true professional critics.) January and February are good months for you to take practice. Months #1 & #2 are truly the dumping grounds. They don’t even have an official name for anyone to do a full-blown preview like Summer, Holiday, Spring & Fall. This is when the quote whores thrive, and they get off to a fresh start each year with the studios, banging out praise like a power-hitter -- and we’ve got our eye on every one of them. Our Whore of the Year race is shaping up to be a tough one this year, so let’s see how our Whorses our doing in 2005.

PETER TRAVERS
Our Quote Whore of the Year Award is named after him -- and slow starts be damned -- the once highly-respected critic from Rolling Stone is always in it for the long haul. Only Roger Ebert gets quoted more often than Petey. Last year he only had 18 quotes by midyear, and went out with an unholy record of 61! That means, by average, that you were guaranteed to see his name on a new poster/ad opening each week. In 2005, he already has 23 and is on pace for 77! OK, maybe that’s exaggerating just a bit. But the math computes and you can’t put it past the guyto hit that number.

EARL DITTMAN (Odds: EVEN)
Our Peter Travers Whore of the Year Award winner for 2004 looked to be unstoppable this year, blazing a breakneck pace to 16 quotes in just 4 short months. Slowed a bit in May & June, but he’s still got 20 quotes (only 3 less than his entire whore-cashing total of last year) and looks like a betting favorite.

SHAWN EDWARDS (Odds: 6/5)
Shawn looks to be gunning for his moment in the shade. A two-time nominee for the Whore of the Year and Kevin Thomas Sloppy Seconds Award and 3-years running Top 10 Whore Candidate, is picking up where Dittman has been slacking of late, registering 9 of his 20 quotes in May and June (5 more than 2004 at the midpoint and 5 less than his total.) This could be Shawn’s year, and it’s about time he walked away a winner, isn’t it? After all, the TV station he works for doesn’t pay him a dime (junket budgets notwithstanding) except for the junkets he flies out to.

JEFFREY LYONS (Odds: 4-1)
Jeffrey seems to have never met a film he didn’t like. You can find him on the loveliest of arthouse films -- right down to the bottom of the garbage chute. So yeah, you’ll see him recommend an occasional good film ... but what does it matter if he loves Downfall, if he’s off spinning the praises of The Longest Yard and Racing Stripes as well. He’s a bit behind last year’s pace (16-to-18) and he’ll need 30 more quotes to nail last year’s rampant 46. But he’s liable to show up anywhere.

KEVIN THOMAS
Our Sloppy Seconds Whore Award remains named after Mr. Thomas, who hasn’t been quite as prevalent of late. But that still leaves him with 15 quotes (last year: 20) and he may be falling off the radar a little if he can’t crank out 30 in 2005 after a full 40 in 2004.

CLAY SMITH (Odds: 5-2)
Clay-Dough was our out-of-nowhere Whore of the Year in 2003, but saw his production cut in half last year; a true and welcome slump if ever there was one. Clay is getting back into the game this year, leaving him with the potential to compete for a Top Ten slot after being denied in 2004. He had 13 at this time last year and limped home with only 22. He’s got 12 this year and by recommending The Pacifier, A Lot Like Love and House of Wax, we could be looking at a return to disgrace for Clay.

LEAH ROZEN (Odds: 15-1)
People Magazine may be the (somewhat) respectable US Weekly, but that doesn’t exactly mean its a shimmering wellspring of astute film criticism. That being said, Miss Rozen may have been a Top Ten runner-up in 2003, but she’s been getting quoted on some respectable titles, so the likelihood of measuring up to Dittman, Edwards, Clayhead is very small. Still, with 11 quotes in the bag, she may not have trouble reaching 25, so there is an outside chance that some less-than-respectable titles will creep out.

GENE SHALIT (Odds: 8-1)
Walrus-faced hyperbole king Gene Shalit, was also a runner-up in 2003 and threw out 30 quotes last year, but still didn’t upset the Whore Gods as much as some of the others. 30 might be out of his reach this year; with only 11 so far and his last few quoted recommendations haven’t been as infuriating, plus he’s an easy target and we can do better.

MARK S. ALLEN (Odds: 5-1)
A runner-up in 2002 and a two-time Top Ten finisher in ’03 & ’04, Allen looks destined for another Top Ten finish. Anyone who recommends Miss Congeniality 2 almost has to by default. He’s got 9 so far, looking to top his hefty 19 of ’04 or even his Criticwatch record of 20 in ’03. Basically, Mark S-Hole Allen is a textbook quote whore.

PAUL FISCHER (Odds: 3-1)
Big, sweaty Paul Fischer. Oh how we love him here. After registering 8 quotes in 2003, he doubled it plus one to 17 in ’04 and already has 9 in ’05. Can he grab a Top Ten slot? With recommendations on Man of the House and XXX: State of the Union, The Fish may be looking at a Whore-of-the-Year nomination.

MOSE PERSICO (Odds: 12-1)
Mose got that nomination last year, but his output is, thankfully, down this year. WAY down! With only 5 quotes in six months, Mose may be looking at his weakest year, and we applaud him for it. From 15 in '03 to 19 in '04 down to a chart-dropping estimate in '05, we would be happy to take him off our radar. Couldn’t happen to a bigger whore. Except maybe Fischer.

GREG RUSSELL (Odds: 10-1)
AKA the poor man's Shawn Edwards, (if such a thing is even possible) was an incoming Freshman in 2004 and managed the #3 slot on the Whore list last year. Greg only has 5 quotes this year which is nothing compared to his total of 18 in 2004. Thank God, because he needed to be cut off at the knees before he became just another worthless whore.

JIM FERGUSON (Odds: 6-1)
Now here's a pleasant surprise. Jimmyboy was all over the plate in 2004 with 27 quotes -- and the result was him being honored with the Kevin Thomas Sloppy Seconds Award. That was thanks to a strong 2nd half, to be sure, but he still had 11 quotes at the whore-star break. He has only 7 in 2005, with classics like Hitch, The Pacifier and Racing Stripes to his credit. Is he in for the Clay Smith slump? Pray to God he is.

***THE WILDCARD***
TODD DAVID SCHWARTZ (Odds: 7-2)
Beware! In 2003 it was Clay Smith as the one-to-watch -- and he went on to win the whole shebang. Last year it was Greg Russell, and he finished 3rd with just a nomination. The Schwartz is the call for 2005, and he is the underdog to watch. He’s been quietly racking up quotes and already has 10, which is on the same pace that Russell was last year and I’ve got money on him flying past 20 for the year. Hostage, House of Wax, Herbie and Dark Water are just a few of his samples. Don’t count him out for a Top Ten slot, and maybe even an outside chance at a nomination for Whore of the Year.

Those are just a smattering of the whores out there masquerading as critics, and they use the same language as many of the respected ones. And the marketing machine is counting on you to not recognize the difference. Keep your eyes open, everyone. One piece of hyperbole never means the same as the next (even if they are the same.)

Example:
PETE HAMMOND FROM MAXIM SAYS:
“Bow down to the master and accept no substitutions. Star Wars, Batman and the others better watch out! This is the movie we've been waiting for! One of the year's most purely entertaining films.” (Land of the Dead)

But then says two weeks later:
“The year's first genuinely frightening edge-of-your-seat chiller.” (Dark Water)

Um – EXCUSE ME??? Here’s what else you have been sold in 2005:



HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MOVIE YET?
“A must-see!” (Crash) – Lisa Schwarzbaum
“A must see.” (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants) – Jim Ferguson
“A must see!” (The Boys & Girl from County Clare) – Jeffrey Lyons
“A must-see” (The Longest Yard) - Michelle Yu, NY-1
“A must-see debut!” (Heights) - Peter Debruge, Miami Herald

“The must-see event of the year” (Sin City) – Earl Dittman
“Not only the must-see movie of the summer, it's the film of the year!” (Batman Begins) – Shawn Edwards
“The must-see animated movie of the summer!” (Howl's Moving Castle) - Graham Fuller, NY Daily News
“The must-see movie of the summer.” (Madagascar) - In Touch
“The must-see movie of the summer.” (Cinderella Man) - Andrea Vecchio, NBC-TV
“The must-see family movie.” (Herbie: Fully Loaded) - Janice Bangs, ABC-TV Portland
“A must-see for a family looking for a night of belly laughs.” (Son of the Mask) - Kidsday-Newsday

“The funniest and most outrageous film of the year!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) - Dann Dunn, Metro
“The most hysterical comedy you'll see this year.” (Beauty Shop) – Earl Dittman
“The Comedy of the Year.” (Hitch) – Shawn Edwards
“The best action film of the year.” (XXX: State of the Union) – Paul Fischer
“The most important documentary you'll see this year.” (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) – Todd David Schwartz
“Perhaps the most evocative movie of the year.” (Off the Map) - Jack Mathews, NY Daily News
“The most magical movie of the year.” (Bewitched) - Tony Toscano
“This year's best family film by a mile.” (Herbie: Fully Loaded) - Janice Bangs, ABC-TV
“The most terrifying movie of the year!” (Cursed) - Staci Layne Wilson, Horror.com
“The best American horror film of the year.” (House of Wax) – Todd David Schwartz
“This is the scariest movie - ever!” (Boogeyman) - Phil Boatwright, The Movie Republic

“This film is one of the year's biggest surprises. One of the best films of the year.” (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants) – Jim Ferguson
“One of the best movies of the year!” (Lords of Dogtown) - Jeff K. Howard
“Easily among the best of the year.” (Oldboy) - Harry Knowles
“The best movie I've seen this year!” (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants) - Melanie Moon, KPLR-TV
“The best film of the year.” (Cinderella Man) - Jan Wahl
“Absolutely the best movie of the year so far. By far.” (Cinderella Man) - Gene Shalit

“You won't have a better time at the movies this year!” (Kung Fu Hustle) - Jeff Craig
“The most fun you'll have at the movies this year!” (Bride & Prejudice) - Scott Patrick, Hollywood One On One
“The most fun you'll have at the movies this year.” (Be Cool) – Chuck “The Movie Guy” Thomas



HOW FUNNY IS IT?
“Funny” (Robots) – Mose Persico
“Funny” (Fever Pitch) – Leah Rozen
“Funny...marvelous ad-libbing.” (The Honeymooners) – A.O. Scott
“Delightfully funny” (Pooh's Heffalump Movie) – Clay Smith
“Joyously funny.” (Millions) – Joe Morgenstern
“Fantastically funny!” (Racing Stripes) – Chuck Thomas
“Surprisingly funny!” (Nina's Tragedies) - Barbara Hoffman, New York Post
“Fiercely funny” (The Upside of Anger) – Peter Travers
“Disarmingly funny.” (Mysterious Skin) – A.O. Scott
“Mercilessly funny.” (Land of the Dead) - Scott Foundas
“Outrageously funny!” (Guess Who) – Earl Dittman
“Tremendously funny.” (The Wedding Date) – Shawn Edwards
“Uproariously funny.” (The Longest Yard) - Pat Collins, UPN News
“Genuinely funny...audiences will lap it up!” (Unscrewed) - Derek Elley, Variety
“Laugh-Out-Loud Funny!” (Hitch) – Shawn Edwards
“Laugh-out-loud funny...” (Madagascar) - Edith Alderette, The San Francisco Examiner
“A laugh-out-loud comedy” (Man of the House) – Paul Fischer

“Funny and profoundly affecting. (Rory O'Shea Was Here) – Claudia Puig
“...audacious and funny (Rory O'Shea Was Here) – Gene Shalit
“Touching and funny.” (Me and You and Everyone We Know) – A.O. Scott
“Touching & funny.” (Dear Frankie) – Peter Travers
“Funny and touching in nearly equal measure.” (The Talent Given Us) - Scott Foundas, Variety
“Fresh and funny.” (Inside Deep Throat) – Peter Travers
“Sexy and ferociously funny!” (Sin City) – Peter Travers
“Rousing and funny.” (The Longest Yard)- Gene Seymour, Newsday

“Sly, funny and deliciously unexpected!” (Apres Vous) - Todd David Schwartz
“Smart, funny and edgy!” (A Lot Like Love) – Jim Svejda
“A magical and funny tour across the universe!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) – Greg Russell
“Charming, magical and funny.” (Because of Winn-Dixie) – Earl Dittman
“Clever, funny and original.” (Bewitched) - Francine Brokaw, LA Family Magazine
“Raw, intimate and improbably funny!” (Gunner Palace) – A.O. Scott
“Fascinating, funny and relentlessly awe-inspiring.” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) – Mark S Allen
“Fast, funny, furious fun.” (The Longest Yard) - David Sheehan, Hollywood Close-Ups

“A wonderful, warm and funny family film.” (Because of Winn-Dixie) – Clay Smith
“Warm, funny, empowering…” (Beauty Shop) – Lou Lumenick
“A funny, warm-hearted surprise.” (The Pacifier) – Jim Svejda
“A timeless, touching, funny and whimsical family film.” (Because of Winn-Dixie) – Claudia Puig
“Funny for all!” (Racing Stripes) - Jim Ferguson
“A feast so funny that one hour later, I couldn't wait to see it again!” (Kung Fu Hustle) – Gene Shalit
“Action, explosions, romance but most of all, it's funny.” (Sahara) - Jim Ferguson



FRESH & ORIGINAL
“Excellent...refreshing...stellar...a real winner.” (The Last Place On Earth) - Houston Weekly
“Fresh and funny.” (Inside Deep Throat) – Peter Travers
“…fresh, dazzling and often hilarious!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) – Paul Fischer
“A fresh family film with high-octane fun.” (The Pacifier) – Guy Farris
“Fun, fresh, confidently original and engrossing.” (Batman Begins) – Lisa Schwarzbaum
“A smart, touching and original film.” (The Ballad of Jack and Rose) – David Ansen
“Clever, funny and original.” (Bewitched) - Francine Brokaw, LA Family Magazine
“Moving. Funny. Original.” (Me and You and Everyone We Know) – Thelma Adams
“A wonderful offbeat and original comedy.” (Me and You and Everyone We Know) - Carina Chocano
“It's original, complex, delicate, tender, poetic, daring! (Me and You and Everyone We Know) – Roger Ebert
“One of the most original, daring, intriguing and honest films of the year.” (The Talent Given Us) – Roger Ebert
“The most original film in years!” (Sin City) – Dean Richards
“Original. Classic.” (Constantine) – Shawn Edwards

“Totally original.” (Mail Order Wife) - Russell Scott Smith, NY Post
“Totally original and exhilarating, fresh, dazzling and often hilarious!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) – Paul Fischer
“Utterly original from top to bottom.” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) - Sam Hallenbeck
“The most wondrously original, most outrageously entertaining cinematic spectacle of the year!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) – Todd David Schwartz

“A movie unlike any other.” (Sin City) - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“Unlike anything you have seen before” (Sin City) – Todd David Schwartz
“A movie that demands to be seen because it's like nothing you've seen before!” (Palindromes) - Owen Gliberman
“Unlike so many super-heroic summer spectacles, this one actually has a soul behind the special effects.” (Batman Begins) – David Ansen
“Unlike any action film you have ever seen!” (Unleashed) – Jeffrey Lyons



“THE BEST WAY TO CRITICIZE A MOVIE IS TO MAKE ANOTHER MOVIE” - GODARD
“This year's Sideways!” (Me and You and Everyone We Know) – Roger Ebert
“This year's Whale Rider” (Her Majesty) - Arizona Republic
“This year's Memento.” (Dot the I) – AICN
“Like Bagdad Cafe!” (Schultze Gets the Blues) – Stephen Holden
“Like Ordinary People!” (Winter Solstice) - Stephen Farber
“Like Finding Nemo, this is a movie that is...a joy to behold.” (Robots) - Roger Ebert
“Easily the strongest American film since Mystic River” (Crash) - David Denby
“One of the best war movies ever made!...on par with Saving Private Ryan and Das Boot in every regard.” (Downfall) - Hollywood Reporter

“Sisterhood is Stand By Me for girls.” (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) - Carrie Rickey
“Madison joins Breaking Away, Hoosiers and Rudy as an inspiring movie about small-town dreamers.” (Madison) - Roger Ebert
“In the tradition of Breaking Away, I highly recommend it for the whole family.” (Madison) – Jeffrey Lyons
“Sahara is the most enjoyable, thrilling and entertaining action-adventure since the heyday of Indiana Jones.” (Sahara) – Jeffrey Lyons
“One of the most absorbing, compelling family dramas since Terms of Endearment.” (The Upside of Anger) – Jeffrey Lyons
“Not since Jerry Maguire has there been a date movie guaranteed to leave both sexes satisfied.” (Fever Pitch) - Matt Sullivan, In Touch Weekly
“Superb...like Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally” (Fever Pitch) – Richard Roeper
“It's this generation's When Harry Met Sally.” (A Lot Like Love) – Jim Svejda
“A Lot Like Love is a lot more special than the usual romantic comedy.” (A Lot Like Love) – Joel Siegel
“Smarter and more classically dramatic than most modern shoot-'em-ups.” (Assault on Precinct 13) – Bob Strauss
“A splendiferous fantasy more imaginative than the new Star Wars.” (The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl In 3-D) - Kyle Smith, New York Post

“There's both eye and mind candy in this cleverly berserk spawn of Blade Runner.” (Constantine) – Richard Corliss
“A dazzling animated film reminiscent of Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell.” (Sky Blue) - Los Angeles Times
“Brilliantly combines Tarantino & Hitchcock!” (Hostage)- Andy Jones, AMC
“Brilliant! Like Psycho or The Shining” (Hide and Seek) – Michael Wilmington
“Like The Sixth Sense, The Others and even Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho” (White Noise) - Forrest Hartman, Reno Gazette-Journal
“The year's first genuinely frightening edge-of-your-seat chiller. Even Hitchcock could not have done better.” (Dark Water) – Pete Hammond, Maxim
“A terrific, dark and gripping film...reminiscent of Altered States and Twelve Monkeys.” (The Jacket) - Edward Goldberger, The New York Sun

“A kind of Spellbound crossed with Strictly Ballroom!” (Mad Hot Ballroom) – Kenneth Turan
“A little bit of Lost Boys & a whole lot of Scream.” (Cursed) – Premiere
“A sassy she-spy satire of Clueless and Charlie's Angels.” (D.E.B.S.) - Jonny Leahan, IndieWIre
“A mix of Heathers wit and Batman TV-show camp.” (D.E.B.S.) - Laura Sinagra, The Village Voice

“Better than Gladiator.” (Kingdom of Heaven) - Roger Ebert
“More entertaining than the first with potent scares!” (The Ring Two) – Claudia Puig
“Better, scarier, more intense than the first.” (The Ring Two) – Bill Bregoli
“Sandra Bullock's more hilarious and loveable than ever.” (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous) – Jeanne Wolf
“Charming, funny and even better than the original” (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous) – Mark S. Allen
“The Longest Yard outscores the original.” (The Longest Yard) – Joel Siegel
“The best zombie movie since Night of the Living Dead!” (Undead) - Dark Horizons
“The best comedy since Meet the Parents.” (Monster-in-Law) - Jess Cagle, WCBS-TV/People Magazine
“The best family fun since the original Home Alone” (Are We There Yet?) – Mike Sargent
“The best film...since Finding Nemo” (Robots) – Maria Salas
“Even more fun than Babe.” (Racing Stripes) – Jeanne Wolf
“More incredible than The Incredibles.” (Robots) – Earl Dittman
“More electrifying than Die Hard!” (Hostage) – Earl Dittman
“The best romantic comedy since 50 First Dates!” (Fever Pitch) – Earl Dittman

“Recaptures a time and place when people were more friendly, things were more positive, and life was more fun.” (House of D) – Rex Reed



GUESS THE SURPRISE
“It constantly surprises...” Howl's Moving Castle - Richard Corliss
“A family film of limitless imagination and surprising joy…” (Millions) – Roger Ebert
“This movie is just about perfect for teenagers, and it's a surprise that even their parents are allowed to have minds of their own.” (Ice Princess) – Roger Ebert
“Surprisingly delightful” (Bewitched) - Jan Stuart, Newsday
“Sunny and surprisingly soulful...” Hollywood Buddha - Arianna Huffington, SYndicated Columnist
“Shocking and even surprising!” (Assault on Precinct 13) – Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News
“A delicious funny romp loaded with surprises!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) - Mose Persico
“A big adventure full of major league action and clever surprises.” (Sahara) – Shawn Edwards
“Full of surprises, suspense and unexpected twists!” (Assault on Precinct 13) – Kevin Thomas
“Hostage packs plenty of surprises.” (Hostage) – Kevin Thomas

“One of the year's biggest surprises.” (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants) – Jim Ferguson
“A funny, warm-hearted surprise.” (The Pacifier) – Jim Svejda
“This Honeymooners is a surprise and a delight...” (The Honeymooners) – Roger Ebert

“Succeeds as both a guessing game and a gripping movie.” (Hide and Seek) - Betsy Pickle, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“It will keep you guessing from start to finish.” (Hide and Seek) – Earl Dittman
“You’ll never guess the ending. A first-rate thriller that keeps you guessing 'til the end!” (Mindhunters) – Earl Dittman



WELCOME TO SIX FLAGS AND ENJOY THE RIDE
“Spielberg sends Tom Cruise through one blood-chilling roller-coaster ride after another.” (War of the Worlds) - Michael Wilmington
“Get the BIG popcorn and enjoy the ride!” (Sahara) - Jim O'Brien, Newschannel 5

“An amazing ride!” (Dust To Glory) – Variety
“It's a smart ride.” (Constantine) – Richard Corliss
“A bracing ride.” (Melinda and Melinda) – Peter Travers
“A wild ride!” (Murderball) - New York Magazine
“A wild and radical ride.” (Lords of Dogtown) – Shawn Edwards
“A marvelous mind-bending ride.” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) - Gary Schendel, ABC-TV/San Diego

“A fun ride for the whole family!” (Herbie: Fully Loaded) - Tony Toscano
“A fun ride you won't want to miss.” (Sahara) – Maria Salas
“The ride of your life.” (Robots) – Unidentified Critic

“Batman Begins is the thrill ride of the summer!” (Batman Begins) – Clay Smith
“A thrill ride!” (Kung Fu Hustle) – A.O. Scott
“A sleek thrill ride!” (Sahara) - Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor
“An amazingly original thrill ride.” (Constantine) – Greg Russell
“A nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride!” (Hostage) – Todd David Schwartz
“A smart, wildly entertaining thrill ride.” (Constantine) - Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Daily News
“A thrill ride with all the twists and turns you'd expect in any racing movie, but with hundreds more.” (Dust To Glory) – Jeffrey Lyons
“The arthouse equivalent of a blockbuster thrill ride!” (Kings & Queen) - Dennis Lim, The Village Voice



DON’T HURT YOURSELF
“The one summer movie that will make you stand up and cheer!” (Cinderella Man) – Clay Smith
“An inspiring crowd-pleaser that will make you stand up and cheer!” (Coach Carter) - Kyle Osborune, News Channel 8, Washington DC
“Makes you stand up and cheer out loud!” (Mad Hot Ballroom) – Leonard Maltin

“A knockout!” (Kung Fu Hustle) – Jeff Craig
“A knockout!” (Crash) – Peter Travers
“A knockout! A visual miracle!” (Rize) – Peter Travers
“Cinderella Man hits you right in the heart.” (Cinderella Man) – Peter Travers
“Campbell Scott has built a movie that sneaks up and knocks you flat.” (Off the Map) – Peter Travers
“A terrific scare show packing plenty of jolts” (The Amityville Horror) – Kevin Thomas
“Jump-in-your-seat horror film.” (The Amityville Horror) - Walt Belcher, The Tampa Tribune
“Sends a chill up your spine.” (House of Wax) – Clay Smith
“It will scare the living hell out of you!” (High Tension) - Dennis Dermody, Paper
“A breathtaking supernatural thriller!” (Cursed) – Earl Dittman
“Electrifying. Bone-chilling” (Constantine) – Earl Dittman
“Bone-chilling. Heart-stopping. Panic-filled. A provocative nail-biter! It'll raise your heart rate!” (Hide and Seek) – Earl Dittman

“You'll laugh till it hurts.” (Melinda and Melinda) – Peter Travers
“Side-splittingly funny.” (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous) – Jeanne Wolf
“A laugh-a-minute, side-splitting comedy.” (Guess Who) – Earl Dittman
“A gut-busting and sidesplitting comedy!” (King's Ransom) – Earl Dittman
“A throw your hands in the air, knee-slapping, gut-busting crowd pleaser!” (Diary of a Mad Black Woman) – Shawn Edwards

“Jaw-Dropping” (Assault on Precinct 13) – Earl Dittman
“Eye-opening and jaw-dropping!” (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) – Todd David Schwartz
“Eye-popping fantasy!” (Howl's Moving Castle) - Rich Dorment, Giant Magazine
“An eye-popping, action-packed masterpiece!” (The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl In 3-D) – Earl Dittman

“Mind-blowing...A gripping thriller!” (Mindhunters) - Prairie Miller, WBAI Radio
“A razor-sharp, mind-blowing thriller!” (The Jacket) – Paul Fischer
“Action-packed and mind-blowing.” (Constantine) – Shawn Edwards
“Mind-blowingly brilliant!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) – Mark S. Allen
“Will absolutely blow you away!” (Mindhunters) – Earl Dittman



MASTERPIECE & PERFECTION
“A masterpiece!” (Batman Begins) – Mark S. Allen
“A masterpiece.” (Land of the Dead) - Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter
“A masterpiece!” (Robots) - Lee Thomas, FOX 2 Detroit
“A brilliant masterpiece.” (Oldboy) – AICN
“A genuine masterpiece!” (A Tout De Suite) - David Fear, Time Out New York
“Just $?*%#@& Genius! A masterpiece!” (Kung Fu Hustle) - Harry Knowles

“A 100% certified masterpiece.” (Sin City) – Shawn Edwards
“A masterpiece!” (Crash) – Shawn Edwards
“A masterpiece destined to become a timeless classic.” (Cinderella Man) – Shawn Edwards

“A gorgeous heart-tugging masterpiece.” (Cinderella Man) - Michael Medved
“A masterpiece of filmmaking!” (Nobody Knows) - Elle Magazine
“A small comic masterpiece!” (Schultze Gets the Blues) - Peter Rainer, NPR
“A masterpiece! Coach Carter is a big winner!” (Coach Carter) – Fred Saxon
“A cinematic masterpiece.” (Deep Blue) – Todd David Schwartz
“An eye-popping, action-packed masterpiece!” (The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl In 3-D) – Earl Dittman

“A perfect way to start the new year with a great film that is both entertaining and inspiring.” (Coach Carter) – Sara Edwards
“A life enhancing, practically pin-point perfect picture.” (Rory O'Shea Was Here) – Gene Shalit
“An Irish comedy graced with the perfect balance of chuckles and bittersweet heartache.” (The Boys & Girl from County Clare) - Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune
“A family-friendly, jaunt with a perfect Wizard of Oz finale!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) - Kyle Smith, New York Post
“A pitch-perfect thriller!” (Hostage) - Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman
“The perfect E-Ticket.” (Howl's Moving Castle) – Richard Corliss

“Ron Howard's direction is picture perfect.” (Cinderella Man) – Larry King
“Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell are perfect together.” (Bewitched) - Steve Oldfield
“Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet are perfect together.” (A Lot Like Love) – Lisa Stanley, Infinity Broadcasting
“This Honeymooners cast is comic perfection.” (The Honeymooners) - Stephen Schaefer, Boston Herald
“Absolute comic perfection!” (Guess Who) - Earl Dittman

“The perfect date movie.” (Fever Pitch) – Earl Dittman
“The perfect summer comedy.” (Herbie: Fully Loaded) – Paul Fischer
“Perfect family comedy.” (Herbie: Fully Loaded) – Mark S. Allen
“This movie is just about perfect for teenagers” (Ice Princess) – Roger Ebert
“The perfect movie for mothers and daughters.” (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants) – Leonard Maltin
“Perfect for the whole family.” (Ice Princess) – Guy Farris
“A thoughtful and thrilling story that's perfect for the whole family.” (Madison) – Dean Richards
“Perfect entertainment for the whole family!” (The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl In 3-D) - Ari Offer, Movieguru.com
“This comedy is perfect for the entire family!” (Kicking and Screaming) – Shawn Edwards
“A family film that's perfect for everyone.” (Are We There Yet?) – Shawn Edwards



FEEL LIKE EATING A MOVIE TONIGHT?
“A delicious funny romp loaded with surprises!” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) – Mose Persico
“A deliciously explosive thrill seeker's delight!” (XXX: State of the Union) – Shawn Edwards
“A deliciously opaque and soulful tragicomedy.” (Nina's Tragedies) - Elle Taylor, LA Weekly
“Thrilling and deliciously charged!” (My Summer of Love) - Bruce Handy
“Sly, funny and deliciously unexpected!” (Apres Vous) – Todd David Schwartz
“Stirs up a delicious mixture of Alfred Hitchcock-style suspense, hard-boiled action and exquisite musical reflection!” (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) – Stephen Holden
“A delicious blend of fun and fright that's truly scary!” (Cursed) - Sean Chavel, Cinemaconfidential.com
“That rare meal that adolescent girls and their mothers will be able to agree on.” (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) - Ty Burr



HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR FLICK? COOL OR HOT?
“Cool” (Constantine) - Tim Wassberg, Inside Reel
“Enormously satisfying and cool.” (Batman Begins) – Leah Rozen
“Hilarious and genuninely cool!” (Layer Cake) – Glenn Kenny
“An old-fashioned romantic comedy with a cool contemporary vibe!” (The Wedding Date) – Shawn Edwards
“Herbie is hot and fully entertaining!” (Herbie: Fully Loaded) – Mark S. Allen
“The D.E.B.S. are TOTALLY HOT!” (D.E.B.S.) - Maxim

“Red Hot!” (Be Cool) – Bill Zwecker
“Travolta is the ultimate in cool.” (Be Cool) – Guy Farris
“The hottest comedy of the year!” (Be Cool) – Clay Smith
“The coolest movie of the year!” (Be Cool) – Shawn Edwards
“The coolest!” (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) – Shawn Edwards
“Very hot!” (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) – Mark S. Allen
“The hottest movie of the summer.” (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) – Maria Salas
“If this were any hotter, the screen would ignite!” (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) – Sara Edwards



SCCCCCCOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRE!
“D.E.B.S. scores!” (D.E.B.S.) - Laura Sinagra, The Village Voice
“Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz score in this high-spirited romantic adventure.” (Sahara) – Gene Shalit
“Everybody on screen scores.” (Coach Carter) – Gene Shalit

“A grand slam comedy.” (Fever Pitch) – Gene Shalit
“The Longest Yard outscores the original.” (The Longest Yard)– Joel Siegel
“Scores with laugh after laugh. Touchdown!” (The Longest Yard) – Shawn Edwards
“Kicking and Screaming scores!” (Kicking and Screaming) – Bob Strauss
“Will Ferrell scores again” (Kicking and Screaming) – Guy Farris
“Scores a bulls-eye!” (Assault on Precinct 13) – Leah Rozen


THINGS YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU’D HEAR
“Imagine a film in which Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton meet Quentin Tarantino and Bugs Bunny” (Kung Fu Hustle) – Roger Ebert
“It's as if Ingmar Bergman, William Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss had collaborated on a project.” (Yes) - Desson Thomson, The Washington Post
“Nora Ephron (co-screenwriter with Delia Ephron) spins out some of her funniest lines since Meg Ryan faked out Billy Crystal at the deli in When Harry Met Sally.” (Bewitched) - Jan Stuart, Newsday

“Chris Rock gives his best, most hilarious screen performance.” (The Longest Yard) – Jeffrey Lyons
“This is Cedric the Entertainer's best performance.” (The Honeymooners) – Roger Ebert
“Christian Slater gives a riveting performance!” (The Deal)– Jeffrey Lyons
“Vin Diesel's best movie ever!” (The Pacifier) – Jim Svejda

“Matthew McConaughey is the new Indiana Jones!” (Sahara) – Chuck “The Movie Guy” Thomas
“Matthew McConaughey is the Errol Flynn of his generation” (Sahara) – Clay Smith
“Finally, a movie worthy of Dirk Pitt!” (Sahara) – Stephen Whitty, The Star Ledger


HAVE YOU EVER HEARD SUCH STUPIDITY?
“The Super Bowl of comedy.” (The Longest Yard) - Pat Collins, UPN News
“This smoothly crafted Yard has the zip of a 96-yard punt return!” (The Longest Yard) - Mike Clark
“You don't have to wiggle your nose to be enchanted - Just see Nicole Kidman in Bewitched.” (Bewitched) - Jeanne Wolf
“A Lot Like Love looks a lot like GOOD COMEDY!” (A Lot Like Love) - USA Today
“It's James Bond meets Mary Poppins.” (The Pacifier) – Clay Smith
“This film is a can't-miss!” (Lords of Dogtown) - Eric Gillin, Maxim

“Simply fabulous” (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous) - Boston Herald
“Wax drips with tension” (House of Wax) - Chicago Sun-Times
“The movie's stars and Stripes are a winning combination.” (Racing Stripes) – Gene Shalit
“You'll be Kicking and Screaming with laughter from beginning to end.” (Kicking and Screaming) – Shawn Edwards
“Herbie is fully loaded with laughs and a whole lot of fun!” (Herbie: Fully Loaded) – Clay Smith
“Rich layers of suspense, satire and snickering humor make this cake rise.” (Layer Cake) - Ken Tucker

“Inside Deep Throat is a wickedly probing documentary” (Inside Deep Throat) – Peter Travers
“Will Ferrell is a hoot” (Melinda and Melinda) – Peter Travers
“It's a hoot to watch Fonda cut loose and mix it up with Lopez.” (Monster-in-Law) – Peter Travers
“Batman delivers the dazzle. Fans can now feel free to go batty.” (Batman Begins) – Peter Travers
“Bark if you love kids' movies that respect your intelligence.” (Because of Winn-Dixie) - Entertainment Weekly
“2 Hooves...No 4 Hooves Up!” (Racing Stripes) - Cheryl Barber, Good News TV
“The fur flies - and so do the laughs.” (Madagascar) – Kenneth Turan
“David Spade and Steve Harvey are the new "Fly" comedy team of the year.” (Racing Stripes) - Jim McFarlin, WDWB-TV
“Stripes is the Seabiscuit of all zebras!” (Racing Stripes) – Jim Ferguson
“A wonderfull-of-fun film...Madagascar is Zooperlative.” (Madagascar) – Gene Shalit


Stay tuned to Criticwatch. We will continue to bring you weekly updates on which critics and which movies you should be avoiding. In the meantime – just say NO to Earl Dittman, Shawn Edwards and all the rest.

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link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1547
originally posted: 07/09/05 08:59:22
last updated: 12/09/05 21:41:48
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