Criticwatch 2006 - The Whores of the YearBy Erik Childress
Posted 01/03/07 15:00:15
Another year, another dollar. Don’t know if these whores keep their bucks in their boots or their g-strings, but they’re all dancing to the same tune and its time to give them a final calling out for 2006. This is the final chapter of a trilogy of articles for Criticwatch this year and we know how to end one. No lengthy lectures on critics frightened of losing their screening privileges or the Gremlin-esque embargoes that prevent legitimate writers from getting a jump on the junketeers who have carte blanche to blurb early and blurb often. Nope, this time out it’s what you want – non-stop whore action. The Las Vegas or Washington D.C. of Criticwatch pieces. Audience support has been superlative and we aim to please. But studios need to start listening to this column. I understand you can be desperate to find a silver lining in some of the crap you’re distributing. But don’t allow that desperation to bleed over into quality films. When you mix your weekend pass entertainment reporters with respectable outlets you are disrespecting titles and filmmakers who deserve praise of the highest order and audience attention. You can’t put the same blurbatrons willing to give up quotes on the 32 films not screened in advance for the press in 2006 on films like Inside Man, Apocalypto and Charlotte’s Web. We know you have a list of preference. Use Criticwatch as a guide. You want to use these idiots to write puff piece interviews, go for it. Just zipper them when it comes to the movies. That way, everyone wins – and not just the two whores who epitomize everything that continues to be wrong about movie criticism.
Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties - Non-stop fun for the whole family. Smart and witty.
Aquamarine - Terrific! Wonderful.
And recommended by Janet Stokes herself:
Flicka - Breathtaking. A winning family film.
Curious George - Buckle up for this amusing, exciting and hilarious adventure. Wonderful family entertainment, beautiful visuals and masterful animation.
Hoot - A wonderful heroic adventure! A great family film!
Doogal - Laugh-out-loud funny! An adventure that both kids and adults will love!
Eragon - Magnificent. A magical adventure for the family.
The Pink Panther - Sheer enjoyment for all the family.
Deck the Halls - A family comedy that’s a true holiday treasure.
8. Earl Dittman (14 Quotes)
Reigning two-time Whore of the Year, Earl Dittman, was not as prevalent as he’s been in year’s past. After re-posting an interview we did with an inside man into the world of trailer editing and quote fabrication, I announced 2006 as the year Dittman would be erased from our memories for good. His numbers were down a whopping 22 quotes from ’05 and they’d be down a whole lot more if Sony and the Brothers Warner and Weinstein weren’t placating him with blurbs like these:
Happy Feet - Hilarious
The Fountain - Mesmerizing.
The Lake House - **** A compelling, passion-filled love story that will touch your soul and stir your every emotion.
Superman Returns - **** One of the best films of the year. This is one movie you have to see.
Crossover - Crossover scores on every level. A slam dunk!
Actually, that quote for Crossover is false advertising. Ignore for a second the myriad of levels on which anything can score and look no further than Rotten Tomatoes to find one where Crossover didn’t. 59 reviews. Not a single one positive. Donut. Squadoosh. And yet Dittman was one of three whores out there willing to go on record that this inner-city basketball story was a slam dunk. (Greg Russell was another and we’ll get to the third guy in a minute.) Critics frequently admit how they’re in the minority (either positively or negatively) on a particular film, but a ZERO PERCENT rating even with a mere 59 critics from across the country puts you in the category of rare genetic defects. Although Dittman wasn’t quoted on the ads for Déjà vu, part of the fun of watching Dittman’s words are the way they are continually regurgitated as if he’s never said them before.
Last Holiday – Hysterical
RV - The year's best family film. RV is absolutely hysterical. It's spectacularly funny. Robin Williams is absolutely hilarious...RV is wildly original.
Scary Movie 4 - What a blast! Hysterically outrageous! Sharp as a knife! A brilliantly clever and hysterical satire!
Clerks II - ****! Brilliantly irreverent & hysterically outrageous! Hilarious! Even if you haven't seen Clerks, you'll love Clerks II
(2005) Beauty Shop - The most hysterical comedy you'll see this year. Positively hilarious! Queen Latifah is sensational! She gives a wildly hysterical and incredibly charming performance.
(2005) Bewitched - ...hysterical...
(2005) Just Friends - Get ready for a hysterically good time.
Freedomland - A shocking psychological thriller. Samuel L. Jackson is brilliant. He will leave you breathless.
(2005) Derailed - A shocking nail-biting thriller! It will leave you breathless. ****! A film for movie-goers in search of an intelligent and emotional thriller.
(2005) Into the Blue - A heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Jessica Alba gives a knockout performance. It will leave you breathless.
16 Blocks - Heart-pounding!
Lucky Number Slevin - The best thriller of the year.
Silent Hill - Truly haunting. It takes fear and terror to a whole new level.
Pulse - A terrifying, bone-chilling, horror masterpiece. Scariest movie of the year! It will feed your fear of technology! Unlike any horror film you’ve seen before or will ever see!
(2005) Venom - A spine-tingling, bone-chilling thriller.
(2005) The Cave - Spine-tingling...Heart-stopping...Terrifying...
(2005) The Exorcism of Emily Rose - The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a shocking, top-notch supernatural thriller unlike any you've seen before or will likely see again.
(2003) Paycheck – Unlike any film you’ve seen before or will likely see again!
The sad thing about Harry Knowles’ little fanboy jizzpool is that there are probably a couple legitimate writers in there. But like the whoreworld we all know, there are far too many weeds of contempt and self-promotion to bother. How do we determine an actual piece of praise on this site from the “spies” who are all too happy to get their words on something other than a message board or the plants whom the AICN editors (excuse me, but I just made myself laugh) couldn’t (or wouldn’t) distinguish from Joe Fan who won a radio ticket to Harry Potter vs. James Bond. Who knows if they’ve even seen the film or they’re just writing something based on the trailer. Or even worse, a studio plant pumping extra hyperbole into the new age of viral marketing – fake reviews. Since anything that comes out of Harry’s keyboard all sounds the same, what precisely is the difference? You have one person calling Hostel “the scariest movie in a decade” last January, the Orange Crush just goes a step further with:
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning - Brutal
Abominable - Scary, freaky and a damn helluvalot of fun!
Feast - An incredible horror extravaganza.
The Descent - One of the scariest, most claustrophobic nightmares in years.
That’s all credited to Harry. Clearly he likes the horror. But to prove he’s more than just a one-trick pony, it’s off to the arthouses:
Lady Vengeance - Hands down one of the best cinematic stories told this year.
The Notorious Bettie Page - It blew me away! This is absolutely the most subtly erotic and tantalizing movie made in at least a decade.
Tideland - A masterpiece! Absolutely blew my mind. It’s just unbelievable.
While we’re all pondering what tantalizes Harry, there are hardcore Gilliam fans still trying to get over what one of their heroes gave them with Tideland. “Unbelievable” is not a bad way to put it. Minds exploding also is right on target. But both are in the negative sense, a category the word “masterpiece” doesn’t fit into. Of course, I’ve seen people defend The Black Dahlia too, so you never know. I’m just positive I don’t necessarily want Harry and the majority of the AICN clan telling me what to see.
Art School Confidential - This film is a must-see! See at all costs!
The Conventioneers - Go see this! An intense and true love story mixed in with some of the deepest issues any person in this country lives with.
The Groomsmen - Do yourself a favor and see The Groomsmen.
The Godfather of Green Bay - A hoot! Deserves a shot at the big time! Put it on your list to see.
After winning the runner-up whore award in 2004, Ferguson got scaled back to only 12 quotes in ’05 (including blurbs for The Pacifier, Derailed and The Man) which was enough to keep him off the Top 10 list for the time being. As one of the BFCA whores, his name is already sullied beyond repair. But I truly feel bad for those out there trying to make a living and stuck with this junket sucker’s surname. A simple Yahoo search will introduce you to a musician, a music teacher, a politician, a knifemaker and an award-winning Kansas-based writer specializing in hunting and fishing. My deepest apologies to all of you to be associated in any fashion if a headline linked to Criticwatch reads “Jim Ferguson amongst the biggest whores of 2006!” Not THE biggest whore, but anyone who says things like this is certainly amongst them.
16 Blocks - 16 Blocks of excitement!
Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties - Double the fun.
Rocky Balboa - Sylvester Stallone has a knockout with Rocky. Best Rocky Ever!
Failure To Launch - Funny
Take the Lead - Pure entertainment.
Flicka - The best family film of the year.
Superman Returns - Sensational!
Lady in the Water - Sensational! Don’t miss this wonderful, unique and inspirational film.
The Lake House - A rare and unique love story. There should be more movies like this one!
Home of the Brave - A story that needs to be told.
The Guardian - Outstanding!
Firewall - Outstanding! A taut, intelligent action thriller.
Inside Man - A heist thriller like you’ve never seen – outstanding! Powerful script, magnificent cast, a winner on all levels.
Click - ...A winner. Adam Sandler does it again – Hilarious!
Man of the Year - Hilarious! A sure winner! Robin Williams gives a brilliant performance.
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a clown and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibberti gibbet!
A willo' the wisp!
Take any word in the whoredom playbook and chances are it will define Maria. The only way to truly solve the problem though is to ignore anything she says – otherwise she will just continue to say it.
(2005) Bad News Bears - This film is a sure home run!
(2006) The Benchwarmers - The Benchwarmers is a homerun!
SING ALONG WITH ME
Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her,
Many a thing she ought to understand.
But how do you make her say,
And listen to all you say?
SHUT THE FUCK UP OR FEEL THE BACK OF MY HAND!
Scary Movie 4 - Hilarious & irreverent!
John Tucker Must Die - Hot. Hilarious.
A Good Year - Funny & romantic.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - Spectacular! Intriguing, romantic and suspenseful!
Superman Returns - Fantastic!
Firewall - Action-filled and exciting. Harrison Ford captivates you.
Lady in the Water - A spellbinding supernatural thriller.
16 Blocks - An amazing thrill ride filled with twists and turns and a great cast!
We Are Marshall - Amazing. Incredible. Heartwarming.
Nanny McPhee - A magical, fantastic and wonderful fable that will capture the heart of the whole family!
The Lake House - It will touch your heart like no other film this year. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves are the best on-screen couple of our generation.
Cars - No other moviegoing experience comes close!
Nacho Libre - Hilarious, the perfect summer movie!
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - The best epic adventure movie of the summer!
Eragon - The next big fantasy action adventure.
The Holiday - The perfect holiday comedy.
Night at the Museum - The most fun you’ll have this Christmas.
4. Paul Fischer (21 Quotes)
The Fish’s third straight year in Criticwatch’s top ten is also his highest placement on the board to date. It even looked as if he may avoid the list altogether this year, but a rabid nine quotes from Halloween weekend on was a mad dash on his part to make sure he wasn’t forgotten. Fischer has made a reputation for himself of being one of the few whores out there to escape the “nice guy” label that comes with kissing ass and being too happy-go-lucky to break bad on the studios treating him like the Burger King. That makes him all out of excuses and that’s a scary thing. He may actually believe his own bullshit.
The Proposition - A masterpiece of filmmaking. Nick Cave’s exquisite script is mesmerizing.
Stranger Than Fiction - A masterpiece. Witty and original.
Click - One of the best and most extraordinary films of the year. An absolute must.
16 Blocks - A top-notch thriller.
Pulse - An edge-of-your-seat thriller!
Haven - A stylish, sexy thriller! An unexpected surprise!
Saw III - The best Saw so far!
Poseidon - The perfect summer movie.
X-Men: The Last Stand - The first truly great film of this summer! Exciting and intelligent!
Firewall - Hugely entertaining and exciting.
Wordplay - A surefire winner! Funny, exciting and moving!
The Pink Panther - A wonderfully funny comic gem.
Accepted - One of the surprise hits of the summer, both raucously funny, yet full of heart and soul. Here is a wonderfully wise, deliciously subversive and smart comedy for anyone craving acceptance.
Opal Dream - A magical, marvelous, wonderfully human family drama…An exquisite gem of a film.
The Architect - The Architect is a powerful, deeply moving and affecting drama. LaPaglia gives another superb performance in this beautifully realized gem.
Candy - Stunning! Ledger gives a ferociously raw and poignant performance.
Night at the Museum - Stunning. Exhilarating.
Superman Returns - Dazzling and exhilarating entertainment!
Apocalypto - A dazzling, powerful and compelling masterwork! Gibson takes audiences into a world of both ferocity and deep humanity in this gloriously crafted, totally mesmerizing adventure…A total triumph!
Accepted - A total triumph and one of the best films of the summer.
(2005) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a triumph-Totally original and exhilarating, fresh, dazzling and often hilarious!
(2005) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Exhilarating, enthralling and one of the best films of the year.
(2005) Rent - ...Sheer exhilaration...show-stopping...moving...breathtaking...stunning...
There’s something slightly amusing about Shawn Edwards never quite being the year’s biggest whores. Last year he came close and won the Kevin Thomas Sloppy Seconds Award, but I wonder if he ever sits at home wondering what he needs to do to grab the big prize. Or is it just the opposite? Does he monitor our coverage of his exploits, knowing just when to back off the crap whoring for a little while. Those black-themed films are like crack to him though and he can’t just walk away from the latest piece of shit from the Wayans or Tyler Perry.
Last Holiday - Queen Latifah is sensational!...Audiences are going to love this movie.
ATL - Hotter than July! ATL is an instant classic. A totally off-the-hook crowd pleaser.
Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion - Hysterical! The most enjoyable and entertaining movie of the season.
Idlewild - Wildly entertaining! It’s a fresh, hip and an imaginative extravaganza that will dazzle and thrill audiences from beginning to end. OutKast are musical and visual geniuses that entertain with their creative brilliance and sheer showmanship. Idlewild is the rebirth of the cool OutKast style!
And that’s just a taste of Shawn’s bias. I mean – I certainly wouldn’t go to Shawn when looking for a good action film.
16 Blocks - A sure-fire hit.
Poseidon - A terror-drenched thrill-ride full of action and suspense.
Miami Vice - A seriously sexy, action-packed and completely intriguing cinematic tour de force.
And certainly not one released through his buddies over at Sony.
Underworld: Evolution - Explosive entertainment!
(2005) XXX: State of the Union - … a deliciously explosive thrill seeker's delight!
(2004) Resident Evil: Apocalypse - An explosive masterpiece tailor-made for those who love ultra-cool high energy action!
Monster House may arguably be “the best animated feature of the year!” but earlier in the year Hoodwinked, released through his buds over at the Weinstein Co., was the “funniest animated feature since the Shrek movies.” In a year that later saw the releases of Over the Hedge, Flushed Away and Happy Feet, do you think he was a little premature on Hoodwinked? Especially since even those three aforementioned titles probably wouldn’t compare for laughs with the Shrek films. Ol’ Shawn isn’t exclusive to the animated titles though. He’s the man last year who called Are We There Yet “a family film that's perfect for everyone.” Wanna place bets we’ll see him recommending Are We Done Yet in April?
Nanny McPhee - Perfect family entertainment!
Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker - Action-packed fun! It’s the perfect James Bond experience for kids and teens.
Unaccompanied Minors - A family holiday classic.
You want a family holiday classic? How about checking out what words cannot describe – Shawn’s “Holiday Movie Special.” And when you’re done with that – wash it down with the rest of Shawn’s blurby blurbs.
Idlewild - A magical experience unlike anything you have ever seen.
Charlotte’s Web - The most magical film of the year. **** An instant classic.
Tsotsi - A masterpiece, absolutely brilliant.
Stranger Than Fiction - **** Brilliant! A contemporary masterpiece.
Bobby - ****! A definite must-see. It’s the rare film that transcends generations.
Crossover - A cool sports movie for today’s generation.
Gridiron Gang - Outstanding! A completely inspiring, moving and motivating crowd pleaser. Gridiron Gang is a stand up and cheer classic! The Rock has never been better.
We Are Marshall – Inspirational.
The Pursuit of Happyness - ****! Powerful and uplifting!
Freedomland - ****! Moving and gripping! Freedomland is a heart-stopping, riveting and utterly compelling film.
Tsotsi - One of the most powerful and moving films I've ever seen. A must-see.
United 93 - The most moving and memorable film of the year. A serious Oscar contender that demands to be seen.
Kinky Boots - ****. The feel-good movie of the year.
A Good Year - The best romantic comedy of the year.
Lucky Number Slevin - I loved this movie! If you take the best parts of Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects and The Professional, this is what you get. The best thriller of the year.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift - The best action movie of the year.
Miami Vice - The coolest movie of the summer is one of the best of the year! A seriously sexy, action-packed and completely intriguing cinematic tour de force.
Scary Movie 4 - The best Scary Movie yet! The laughs come fast and are furiously funny!
Clerks II - Non-stop laughs! As funny as the original.
Nacho Libre - **** You won’t see a funnier movie all year!
(4 weeks later)
b]Little Man - The wildest, funniest, most hilarious movie of the year.
Good luck next year, Shawn! But it’s time to finally honor the happiest-go-luckys of them all. Nice guys, maybe. But enough happy to spread from the top to the bottom until we don’t know which way is up. This year’s recipients truly personify the awards from which they were named. Two critics who by their very nature exemplify the reason for this whole endeavor in the first place. Before it was Criticwatch, it was simply “Whom Can You Trust?” So without further ado, it’s time to name a pair whose praise means absolutely nothing.
THE 2006 RECIPIENT OF THE KEVIN THOMAS SLOPPY SECONDS WHORE AWARD IS:
In case you missed the episode of Lyons’ riveting movie show, Reel Talk, where he reviewed Jackass: Number Two, here is what he said:
“Anyone who laughs at this repeatedly needs a team of psychiatrists.”
Thanks for the heads up, Jeffrey. But maybe you can point us in the right direction of the NASA-trained anal probe headshrinkers you used after professing how funny you thought Eurotrip, Without a Paddle, The Cat in the Hat, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and the remakes of The Longest Yard and The In-Laws were. Speaking of which, what did you think of the remake of Flicka?
“I’m not the target audience for this film. Pre-adolescent girls who love horses are.”
Hmmm, between that statement and the horse stuff in Jackass I’d hate to get you under hypnosis. I’m surprised YOU weren’t the one who walked out of the screening of Clerks II this year. In your defense, there were many menopausal critics who made it through the decidedly adult language. In fact, you made it through a lot of rough-and-tumble flicks in 2006, Jeff. After an ’05 where your top ten list included March of the Penguins, The World’s Fastest Indian, The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio and Mrs. Henderson Presents (the latter as your top two), I was convinced The Pursuit of Happyness was going to be your number one. That film is tailor-made for old women. Alas, you bamboozled me by only placing it as your #6 and went the man route with a top five that read: (1) Pan’s Labyrinth, (2) The Departed, (3) Babel, (4) Letters from Iwo Jima and (5) Apocalypto. Those are five really hard “R”s. That’s at least two hairs on your chest, Jeff. You could almost be James Bond. Now I know Casino Royale was only PG-13 and below your new-and-improved sensibilities, but what did you think of that flick?
“There’s a torture scene towards the end I thought they could do without.”
And there go the hairs. Disembowelments, face-slashing, grenade suicides and full-frontal nudity are good enough for the top five, but testicle torture that comes straight from Ian Fleming’s prose is just too much for you. I guess that’s why you rounded out your Top 10 accordingly with the aforementioned Happyness and then (7) The Illusionist, (8) An Inconvenient Truth, (9) Who the $&% is Jackson Pollack and (10) Kinky Boots. That’s the grandma-panty-wearing Jeffrey we all know, but not love.
55 quotes from you this year. That means we couldn’t escape a week without seeing you recommend something to us and you, more or less (actually, more), had nothing new to say. Do you ever wonder what separates you from the more astute critics of the New York Times like A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, both of whom receive their fair share of potent quotables throughout the year? Just listen to yourself in print and see if you would trust you.
The Heart of the Game - Terrific!
Once in a Lifetime - Terrific.
Is that the only adjective you have for Miramax-sponsored sports documentaries? I know, what’s in a mere word? Those are easy ones to piece together and not nearly as compelling as say:
End of the Spear - A remarkable, lush, compelling film.
The Groomsmen - A sweet, compelling look at real friendships, filled with characters you care about. Ed Burns has a knack for creating believable characters in his movies, who can make every situation seem real.
Home of the Brave - Compelling.
Kinda funny, huh?
School for Scoundrels - A devilishly funny comedy!
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World - Brilliantly incisive and flat-out hilarious.
The Wild - The Wild is flat-out amazing.
Ice Age: The Meltdown - Hilarious
Over the Hedge - Enormously funny!
Everyone's Hero - A genuine treat for any age.
Flushed Away - The best animated film so far this year. Brilliant…that rare film which delights children while entertaining their parents.
The Nativity Story - Your family will love this inspirational film for the holidays!
We Are Marshall - It’s inspiring and uplifting.
One Last Thing… - Intelligently-directed and gives a refreshing new take on a familiar premise. Tender and touching.
Lassie - One of the best children’s movies in years. It is tender, touching, and parents will cry unashamedly. It brings a new take on the classic tale... Or tail.
(2005) Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - A tender, touching, deeply moving film.
Surprised you sound like that? Or am I still not being funny or witty in your opinion?
End of the Spear - One of the first big surprises of the year.
Hoodwinked - A wonderfully funny surprise…Witty, inventive, original.
Imagine Me & You - Humorous, witty and sophisticated.
Take the Lead - Enticing, exhilarating and enormously entertaining.
Only Human - Funny, offbeat and unusual. I really liked this film.
Keeping Mum - Witty, sly, devilishly-funny, with bravura performances!
Scoop - It’s funny, it’s witty…
Sing along, everyone. “Eight of these things is just like the other…”
A Prairie Home Companion - A delightful, engaging movie…everyone will love it.
Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? - An amazing movie! One of the most delightful, enjoyable films you’re likely to see all year. Truth surely is stranger than fiction, but it’s often more fun too!
Last Holiday - Go and enjoy Last Holiday – It’s a delight. A superb performance by Queen Latifah
Don’t Tell - Superbly acted and intensely moving.
The Lost City - Superb! An incredibly touching, passionate family saga. It is a beautiful ode to a lost way of life.
The Da Vinci Code - A superbly crafted thriller.
The Omen - Superbly made and very scary.
Apocalypto - It must be said: This superb film is the work of a genius.
Keep singing – “I recall two-thousand five in Fall. How you tore your dress, what a mess…”
The Upside of Anger - One of the most abosrbing, compelling family dramas since Terms of Endearment. Joan Allen solidifies her position as one of our great actresses.
Madison - Madison is warm and absorbing. In the tradition of Breaking Away, I highly recommend it for the whole family.
The Constant Gardener - An absorbing, provocative, intelligent, wonderful film!
Finding Home - Absorbing…Will touch you deeply.
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - A tender, touching, deeply moving film.
The Thing About My Folks - One of the sweetest most touching films of the year.
Little Manhattan - One of the sweetest, most touching films you're likely to see!
The Kid and I - About as sweet and funny a movie you're likely to see this year!
“…I confess…it’s fun piecing together the Lyons puzzle of repetition.”
Tristan & Isolde - A deeply moving version of one of the most legendary love stories of them all.
Ask the Dust - Ask the Dust is a deeply moving, absorbing, fiery romantic story! Salma Hayek heats up a screen more than just about any actress of her generation!
The Legend of Simon Conjurer - The interplay between the young actors is absorbing…
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Perfume is eerie and absorbing, at once a gorgeous and terrifying movie, a window to a bizarre incident that will mesmerize you.
Apocalypto - Undeniably brilliant, mesmerizing and fascinating
Find Me Guilty - Vin Diesel is mesmerizing, giving the performance of his career!
Tsotsi - Stunning. You will be totally engrossed.
Don’t Come Knocking - A very absorbing, engrossing saga. Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange are electrifying together!
Notes on a Scandal - A stunning, powerful drama with bravura performances from two of the world’s towering actresses!
Catch a Fire - A stunning story of an authentic hero!
The U.S. vs. John Lennon - Stunning and shocking! Not to be missed!
The Departed - A shocking, stunning crime drama masterpiece from one of the great filmmakers of our time!
Land of the Blind - Pretty shocking stuff. A very provocative film.
Miami Vice - Miami Vice takes a seat right alongside Heat and Collateral as one of the finest crime dramas of our time. Nobody but nobody makes movies in quite the same way and with the unmistakable style of Michael Mann.
An Inconvenient Truth - One of the most important films of our time.
Aurora Borealis - Donald Sutherland is one of the great actors of our time.
Off the Black - As usual, Nick Nolte gives a sensitive, poignant, world-weary portrayal. He remains one of our finest actors.
Scoop - Scarlett Johansson is one of the great actresses of her generation. Scoop is Woody Allen’s finest film in years.
The Holiday - …Eli Wallach may be the one to come away with an Oscar for best supporting actor! I hope so!
Scoop - This is headed to the best picture of the year list!
A Good Year - The most romantic movie of the year.
Miss Potter - Miss Potter is one of the most beautiful movies of the year.
Off the Black - One of the year’s best films!
Mission: Impossible 3 - Sure to be one of the most successful thrillers of the year! The best Mission: Impossible yet!
Miami Vice - This is sure to be among the best films of the year.
Days of Glory - Sure to be one of the year’s best pictures.
The Illusionist - Oscar caliber! Sure to be one of the most honored films of the year.
Congratulations on your first Criticwatch award, Jeffrey. We’re all behind you here. Just don’t turn around.
AND WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY OR ANY SUSPENSE WHATSOEVER…
THE 2006 PETER TRAVERS QUOTE WHORE OF THE YEAR AWARD GOES TO…
Junketeers who write for leaflets and plaster news shows with a grin so wide you could measure your television’s dimensions by are the no-brainers. Easy targets, one and all. But when the recognizable, if not necessarily renown, publications are out there pushing the words of reviewers writing no more than 100 extra words above the average published blurb, we have already lost. No one reads Maxim magazine for the articles. No one reads Maxim - period. Those without a subscription to Playboy or unable to crack the parental code on their cable box and internet provider simply revels at the scantily-clad nudity-claused celeb on the front cover and then catches their flight. Yet, Maxim has been getting “nice guy” Hammond into ads with such regularity since June of 2005 you would have thought he permanently replaced Roger Ebert as the most recognized name in the profession. 100 quotes in just a year-and-a-half, only 20 less than Dittman in the five years we’ve been watching him. But even a recovering Ebert writes more in one paragraph than Hammond does in the Maxim capsules which float about as well as Gus Grissom’s. At the time of this article, if you looked up Hammond’s reviews on Rotten Tomatoes – you would find 20 straight “fresh” tomatoes in the month of December dating back to a recommendation for Turistas. Of the last 50 reviews, only NINE failed to meet Hammond’s low standards for a positive. Among them:, Harsh Times, The History Boys, For Your Consideration, Fast Food Nation, Marie Antoinette and Flushed Away. Of the 83 posted reviews, a grand total of 66 positive and 17 negative. Is that the kind of critic you want to follow into hell? The kind that actually makes Earl Dittman look discriminating by comparison? With that kind of sweet tooth, how did Maxim manage to only get him onto 69 film ads this year? Was their grand master plan to get Hammond up to Bill & Ted’s favorite number as a way to sell more magazines? Seems perfectly reasonable considering the amount of films Hammond went down on this year. He may like being called a whore, but dress it up all you want and an escort is still a whore just as a “dancer” is still a stripper. We can have fun with the language all day, but why bother when we can leave it to Pete Hammond, our 2006 Whore of the Year who shows no signs of backing off Peter Travers anytime soon. The unfortunate situation for Mr. Hammond though is that we have no more awards that need naming.
And now, a look back at the year that was Hammond.
Children of Men - Magnificent.
Eight Below - Magnificent!
Flyboys - Spectacular.
Curse of the Golden Flower - Eye-popping! A spectacularly visual film treat.
Déjà vu - A high-octane-action suspense thriller!
Catch a Fire - An explosive real-life screen thriller.
Little Children - ...as provocative and deeply original a film as we are likely to see this year...
Nightwatch - Night Watch is unlike anything you’ve ever seen!
The Fountain - This is a film guaranteed to be unlike any other you will see this year.
Brick - You have never seen a movie quite like Brick. A startling original film! One surprise after another!
Lucky Number Slevin - Clever & original. So many twists & turns you may need to see it more than once.
A Scanner Darkly - Utterly hypnotic…mesmerizing and thrillingly original.
Children of Men - A unique and totally original vision of a not-too-distant future.
Invincible - Unique and incredible
Hollywoodland - It’s a who-might-have-done-it in the grand tradition of the great mystery movies.
Joyeux Noel - It's that rare achievement moviegoers around the world should be deeply thankful for.
American Dreamz - American Dreamz is the kind of dead-on, politically incorrect satire Hollywood movies rarely attempt anymore.
The Fountain - A haunting and remarkable emotional journey that takes us places movies rarely dare to go.
Hard Candy - Beyond intense! It will make you sweat. Hard Candy takes us to a place most films don’t dare go…It’s Fatal Attraction for a new generation.
Apocalypto - ...some scenes are so intense you may gave to be tied down to your seat. A fierce and visceral stunner that will leave you breathless!
X-Men: The Last Stand - They’ve saved the best ‘X’ for last. Awesome! This one’s got it all – and then some! Great action, great actors, the greatest X-Men movie yet.
Hostel - Hostel will challenge everything you know about horror films.
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny - Destined to become the most hilarious rock epic ever.
Borat - One of the funniest films in many years.
Scoop - A perfectly cast comic confection that’s bright, sinfully clever and packed with laughs! Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman deliver a first-class sophisticated farce. Woody Allen is back in style with his funniest movie in many years.
Thank You For Smoking - Thank You For Smoking just might make you laugh your head off.
Over the Hedge - Jumps waaaaaay over the top on the laugh meter! Trust us – This movie should be in the ‘funny’ hall of fame.
The Break-Up - One of the best American comedies in years.
Beerfest - Now this is fun stuff! Check your brain at the door for this hilarious and unapologetically raunchy yukfest. Beerfest is blissfully over the top in every way, THE party film of the summer. You’ll laugh you Heineken off!
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - What a movie! A genuine treasure trove of fun and high adventure, loaded with state-of-the-art visual effects that will simply blow you away! As good as gold.
The Guardian - Dives into the heart of a true hero.
Failure To Launch - Loaded with laughter - a great date movie! Definitely worth leaving home for!
The Shaggy Dog - A doggone hilarious treat!
Poseidon - A non-stop action film that doesn’t come up for air.
School for Scoundrels - A+ for laughs and genuine comic smarts!
Cars - Head straight to Cars! The perfect summer joyride from start to finish line!
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift - Strap yourself in for a blistering, super-charged ride. This time around the fast and furious action is simply off the charts!
Why We Fight - The year is still young but it’s hard to imagine we will see another film that is more important, more urgent and more disturbing. A mind-blowing movie on the reasons we go to war.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon - Immensely important…a fascinating, controversial look at a true 20th Century genius under fire.
The Guardian - An unforgettable motion picture experience.
Bobby - One of the year’s best pictures. An unforgettable movie experience.
Eight Below - Magnificent! An incredible, heartwarming and 100% thrilling action/adventure you won’t forget.
The Lost City - Quite an achievement. Filled with stunning visuals and vibrant music.
A Prairie Home Companion - A rollicking good time…guaranteed! Pure entertainment with great music, wit and a dream cast!
Who Killed the Electric Car? - Shocking, funny, maddening and sad. Something that will have you talking long after leaving the theatre.
Turistas - Shocking...a genuinely terrifying trip!
Little Children - Little Children is from title to end credits one of those choice cinematic gems.
On a Clear Day - A cinematic gem that actually makes you feel good about being alive!
Akeelah and the Bee - Truly inspiring. Grabs you by the heart in unexpected and wonderful ways.
Peaceful Warrior - A movie that inspires.
Home of the Brave - One of the most deeply moving film experiences of the year.
Glory Road - The most exciting and emotional movie of the season. A sure-fire winner!
Goal! The Dream Begins - Stirring and triumphant!
The Guardian - Stirring and exhilarating!
Invincible - A rousing achievement on every level! If this movie doesn’t make you want to stand up and cheer you probably don’t have a pulse!
Rocky Balboa - The surprise of the season. Rocky will have you cheering all over again.
Hoodwinked - The animated surprise of the year!
Joyeux Noel - This year's best reason for celebration. A richly entertaining and remarkable film that manages to reveal the humanity in all of us.
Superman Returns - Incredibly exciting and powerfully human!
Jet Li’s Fearless - Astounding! Visually stunning with brilliantly executed fight sequences, Fearless grabs you with its epic scope and richly human story.
Catch a Fire - Heart-pounding excitement and a great human story!
The Guardian - Heart-stopping action! If you’re looking for pure screen excitement look no further.
Apocalypto - Apocalypto ought to stand for nonstop excitement – and we MEAN nonstop.
Little Miss Sunshine - Don’t even think about missing this one.
Joyeux Noel - Don't dare miss it!
American Hardcore - A must see.
Venus - Hugely entertaining. A must-see. Peter O’Toole is simply remarkable.
The Devil Wears Prada - Outstanding. Sensationally entertaining in every way.
The Groomsmen - Accomplished and entertaining…outstanding work from a group of terrific actors.
Brick - Joseph Gordon-Levitt is headed for movie stardom.
Bobby - An outstanding all-star cast shines brightly right down to the smallest part.
The Dead Girl - One of the best acting ensembles in ages. Brittany Murphy burns up the screen.
The Fountain - Hugh Jackman gives the performance of his career.
The Guardian - The Guardian will remind you why Kevin Costner became a star. A breakthrough performance from Ashton Kutcher.
The Break-Up - Vince Vaughn follows up Wedding Crashers with another winner. Jennifer Aniston is terrific.
Catch a Fire - Derek Luke gives an Oscar-worthy performances. Tim Robbins is terrific.
Find Me Guilty - Vin Diesel is a complete revelation! He’s just plain terrific!
Running Scared - Paul Walker's best performance.
Little Children - Superb performances across the board.
Running with Scissors - A first rate cast…this may be Annette Bening’s finest screen work ever.
Man of the Year - Robin Williams turns in his smartest, funniest performance in at least a decade. Man of the Year winds him up, sets him loose and lets him rock!
The Prestige - One of the year’s best films! Dazzling! This is moviemaking at its absolute finest.
Babel - World-class filmmaking, an unqualified triumph from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
Find Me Guilty - After such classics as Network, Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, Sidney Lumet proves he is still at the top of his game!
Inside Man - This is what makes you want to go to the movies! Inside Man delivers the goods. A cool, captivating cat-and-mouse game perfectly played by Denzel Washington and Clive Owen.
Miami Vice - Here’s the perfect grown-up summer entertainment, packed with action served up in sleek, ultra-cool style. Director Michael Mann dynamically reinvents Vice for the big screen.
Children of Men - Director Alfonso Cuaron is a master craftsman.
Apocalypto - Once again, Mel Gibson proves why he is one of the best filmmakers around. Clearly a fearless director who knows how to grab an audience and not let go for even a minute.
Running Scared - From it's supercharged action-packed opening...Running Scared winds you up and doesn't let go. Paul Walker's best performance. A mind-bending, extreme movie experience.
Hollywoodland - Undeniably fascinating in every way! Hollywoodland gets you in its grip.
Find Me Guilty - Gripping, surprising, funny and outrageous!
Employee of the Month - Outrageous good fun! Outrageously funny!
American Dreamz - An outrageously funny film that goes for big laughs and nails them every time!
American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile - Goes the extra mile for laughs and gets them.
Got that? Hammond is quoted on the fifth American Pie and SECOND straight-to-video release in the series in a press release received on Oct. 26 for the film coming out nearly two months later on Dec. 19. Did he see the film or just cut-and-paste part of what he said for the other “American” release from Universal this year? That’s what helps make this “nice guy” finish first this year. Congratulations, whore!
FIVE RUNNER-UP WHORES FOR 2006
The talk show host (not movie critic) made the top ten in ’05 and was just edged out this year. If any publicist wants to know why I generally don’t do interviews can look no further than the potential integrity that’s lost by agreeing to do one. There are very few genuine interviews out there and even fewer genuine interviewers. How much can you do – even if you really like the film – with 15 minutes a pair of eyes over your shoulder. Do you think Larry King is going to break bad on his guest’s films when he’s snagged a major celebrity for an hour? Even Jay Leno uses the ol’ “I haven’t seen it yet” standby. Even if Larry is 100% truthful with his praise, how are we to know for sure?
Glory Road - A flat-out terrific movie! Brilliant!
The Pink Panther - Flat out hilarious. Steve Martin is incredible. Somewhere Peter Sellers is laughing out loud
Firewall - Harrison Ford is back with a bang! A thriller in keeping with Ford’s best of the past.
The Sentinel - Terrific.
Goal!: The Dream Begins - A gem of a movie!
Superman Returns - In a word – WOW! A gem of a movie.
Home of the Brave - First-rate. Poignant.
Take the Lead - It is a wonderful film with characters you care about.
A Prairie Home Companion - Wonderful film with a great gang of stars having a great time. Brilliantly directed by Robert Altman.
You, Me and Dupree - Fun and very funny! Owen Wilson has to be one of the greatest comedic actors of all time. Kate Hudson and Michael Douglas are outstanding.
Hollywoodland - Sensational! A major Hollywood puzzle! A brilliant film noir. Performances by Adrien Brody, Diane Lane and Ben Affleck are all Oscar worthy.
All the King's Men - All the King's Men is a masterpiece. A magnificent cast. Sean Penn gives the performance of a lifetime.
Bobby - A remarkable movie about an incredible day in American history with a superb cast.
Freedomland - A riveting, sensational, important thriller with performances of a lifetime by Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore.
An Inconvenient Truth - One of the most important films ever. If this does not move you to change, nothing will.
Markie Mark Mark was well on his way to being a perennial staple of the Top 10, but for the second straight year he hasn’t quite made it. Although he certainly whores it up with the best of ‘em and even uses himself for inspiration.
The Prestige - Amazing! This season’s most thrilling movie!
Blood Diamond - An extraordinary film that will leave you changed. One of the year’s best films.
Ice Age: The Meltdown - Brilliant! Funny, action-packed and cooler than the first!
Unaccompanied Minors - Hysterical and heartwarming
The Shaggy Dog - Tim Allen shows his comedic pedigree!
The Night Listener - Robin Williams is at his best.
Superman Returns - Undoubtedly one of the best movies you’ll see this summer!
You, Me and Dupree - The funniest movie you’ll see this summer!
The Holiday - You will fall in love with this movie.
Trust the Man - The perfect date movie. Smart, funny and refreshing!
- (2003) Alex and Emma – Funny, sexy & smart, the perfect summer date movie.
Firewall - Intelligent! Satisfying! Intense and relentlessly suspenseful! Awesome! Harrison Ford at his best. Non-stop, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense!
- (2005) The Cave - Not since Alien has a movie held an audience in such relentless suspense and shock!
- (2003) Matchstick Men – Very funny and relentlessly suspenseful!
- (2005) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - ...relentlessly awe-inspiring.
- (2006) You, Me and Dupree - Funny, charming and relentlessly honest!
- (2004) National Treasure - Thrilling and jam-packed with edge-of-your-seat action!
- (2003) Identity – An instant classic. The most unique, intense, satisfying film this year!
- (2003) Hollywood Homicide – Harrison Ford is at his best
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - Awesome!
Poseidon - Awesome! The most amazing images you’ll see on the big screen this summer!
- (2003) The Matrix Reloaded – Awesome
- (2003) The Rundown – Awesome, fun, funny with action sequences that will leave you breathless, but gasping for more.
- (2004) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - An awesome example of movie perfection
- (2004) Home on the Range - One of Disney's finest. Awesome for everyone!
- (2005) Bad News Bears - Awesome! This summer's must-see!
- (2004) A Cinderella Story - Awesome. This is the Cinderella to remember.
- (2004) Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed - Zoinks, this movie is awesome!
Jim Svejda has long been the Buena Vista whore of choice. Not a film could open from Touchstone or Disney without his name under some lavish praise as if he only saw movies from those studios. He certainly had a few this year, but it was Lisa Stanley from Los Angeles radio who must have got the golden ticket from the Mousehouse in 2006. Ads showed her loving six films. All six films courtesy of Buena Vista Entertainment.
Eight Below - Heartwarming and inspirational.
Cars - You’ve never seen anything like it.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - Wickedly funny!
Step Up - The hottest movie of the summer!
Invincible - The most inspirational movie of the year.
The Guardian - ****
Lisa wasn’t the only one to devote their loyalty entirely to one studio in 2006. Jeffrey K. Howard, out of Las Vegas, whom we labeled as a whore to watch in 2003 lived up to the title by taking a page out of the Dittman/Edwards playbook and giving themselves over to The Weinstein Company. And not even for the good ones like Clerks II or Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing. Through five quotes and ONLY five quotes, this is what he was telling you to see instead:
Scary Movie 4 - A riot!
School for Scoundrels - Funny! Funny! Funny!
Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker - An exciting spy adventure for the whole family!
Bobby - One of the year’s best films! It stays with you long after it’s over.
Black Christmas - A thrilling fright-night delight! A new holiday horror classic!
What do you want us to say here? The guy just plain sucks
Glory Road - It will make you stand up and cheer!
The Guardian - An action-packed thrill ride!
16 Blocks - The first big hit of 2006.
Failure To Launch - Great
Big Momma’s House 2 - Big time fun!
Crossover - Fast-paced, hip-hop, B-ball action!
This is a new one for Criticwatch, dedicated to any professional critic who behaves in a decidedly unprofessional way. In honor of the pioneer who has created this award, future recipients will be branded with the Joel Siegel Bag of Douche Award. Look at that, we had a new award to name overall. You’ll never get off so easy, Hammond.
"Time to go! First movie I've walked out of in 30 [bleeping] years,” using the kind of expletive found throughout the film. Siegel later justified his disruption by saying “It was so foul and mean and repulsive. I finally realized I could not say anything positive . . . I wasn't ready for this kind of smut . . . I hope he doesn't make any more movies."
Foul and mean and repulsive? Hmmm. One of our colleagues, Jack Sommersby, recalls Siegel calling David Lynch’s Blue Velvet “brilliant”, a film in which Dennis Hopper violates Isabella Rossellini's vagina with a pair of scissors, climbs aboard her, viciously humps her up and down, climaxes, and then delivers a nice hard punch to her face. He also remembered Siegel going ga-ga over Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover. “For the uninitiated, that film involved a naked couple forced to take refuge inside a trailer that's loaded with warm, rankish-smelling fish; the man is later thrown into human excrement; and the ending scene has that man's dead body literally cooked and seasoned with his cock and balls showing, and the thief is forced to take a delicate bite of the guy's body before being offered the cock to eat.“ Thanks for that, Jack. Kinda makes you wonder why he didn’t walk out of last year’s The 40 Year-Old Virgin where Seth Rogen's first scene (less than 10 minutes into the film) is an extended dialogue about going down to Mexico to see this "show"
“And... it's a woman fuckin' a horse. We get there and we think it's gonna be awesome and... it is not as cool as it sounds like it's gonna be. It's kinda gross. You think "A woman fuckin' a horse" and you get there and... it's a woman fucking a horse. It was really giving it to her. And you know what? To be honest I just felt bad for her, we all just felt bad for her. I kinda felt bad for the horse!”
Scott Weinberg had this take on Siegel’s storm out and Kevin Smith got a chance to go one-on-one one-on-one with Siegel on the air. Smith also justifiably went after Siegel on his blog, commenting on Joel’s puntastic quotes on Good Morning America. Recently as Siegel posted his top 10 list, where “one of the funniest movies” he has “ever seen” (Borat) is ranked ninth, the following quote stood out:
“Letters from Iwo Jima is the only contemporary film I've ever reviewed that I felt safe calling a masterpiece.”
Ignore for a moment that this “masterpiece” is only ranked sixth on his list, but it seemed ripe to take Siegel to task to find any number of quotes where he used the most overused word of the critical canon. Much to my surprise, the years of Criticwatch could not produce one instance where he uttered the lofty term. That’s not going to stop us from paying tribute to the 140-plus quotes Siegel has racked up in the five years of Criticwatch. But it was 2006 where you really earned a true bag of douche.
Walking Tall - The Rock is rock solid in Walking Tall
Down to Earth – Chris Rocks
Bad Company – Chris Rocks!
Beauty Shop - Long live the Queen.
Last Holiday - Queen Latifah has made Last Holiday her own and made it wonderful. I’ve said it before: Long live the queen!
Akeelah and the Bee - Don’t miss this movie!
Shopgirl - Do not miss this movie!
Red Dragon – You’ve got to see this movie!
The Alamo - Spectacular!
The Chronicles of Narnia - Spectacular!
The Island - Spectacular...
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas – Spectacular, breathtaking and funny.
The Stepford Wives - It's a flat-out comedy - Funny!
Showtime - Real Funny!
Comedian – Seriously funny!
Sky High - Very funny.
The Thing About My Folks - Very funny and a whole lot of heart!
Bandits – Laughs, nothing but laughs.
Anchorman - Huge laughs...Nothing but funny.
Meet the Fockers - Huge laughs.
The Ladykillers – Get ready to duck – the laughs come from everywhere!
Shrek – Hilarious…I was on the floor.
The Longest Yard - I laughed hard!
Scary Movie 3 – I fell down laughing…This is funny, funny, funny! The third time’s the charm!
It Runs in the Family – It makes you laugh, it makes you cry. What more can you want from a movie?
Ella Enchanted - Seasoned with a little Shrek, a dash of The Princess Bride and a whole lot of laughs!
Madagascar - This summer's Shrek
Ice Age: The Meltdown - Hold-your-sides hysterical.
Undercover Brother – Undercover Brother is hysterically funny!
The Last Shot - Hysterically funny.
Bad Santa – One of the funniest films of the year.
The Last Shot - This is one of the funniest movies about movies.
Borat - It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.
The Break-Up - Vince Vaughn may be the funniest actor making movies today.
You, Me and Dupree - Owen Wilson is…one of the funniest people making movies today.
The Manchurian Candidate - No one in the audience will be able to exhale during the last 30 minutes of this film. My advice: Go with someone who knows CPR!
The Hunted - Breathless…the climax is just great.
Jurassic Park III – A thrill ride…high on adrenaline!
Mission: Impossible 3 - ...kick back and enjoy the ride!
Collateral - This movie is a killer of a ride.
Changing Lanes – Changing Lanes is one heck of a ride!
Poseidon - Poseidon is an e-ticket ride.
The Matrix Reloaded – An incredible ride
Hellboy - The most exciting, genre-bending action film since the original Matrix
I, Robot - A great movie! Ranks with the first Matrix.
Cars - A little piece of genius…This is a great film!
Corpse Bride - A piece of genius.
Shrek 2 – A piece of genius…you’ll love it.
Mystic River – Told so simply by director Clint Eastwood, the only special effect is genius.
The Emperor’s Club – Kevin Kline ages 30 years in a matter of moments using Hollywood’s rarest and most coveted special effect: great acting.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend - Fun, funny and Uma Thurman...The perfect trifecta.
The Lake House - The perfect place to spend a few hours.
The Concert for George – A perfect concert film.
The Day After Tomorrow - A perfect popcorn movie!
Dirty Pretty Things – A near perfect film!
The Cat in the Hat – It doesn’t get much better than this. A perfect marriage of Mike Myers mayhem and Dr. Seuss silly.
Bobby - Remarkable the way it captures the crowd’s mood swings: from hope, to exhilaration, to fear, to despair…it captures them perfectly. I know, I was there.
The Aviator - Martin Scorsese's best movie since Raging Bull.
War of the Worlds - This is Steven Spielberg at his best. It's the summer movie with the most thrills, the best special effects, unbearable suspense and the most fun.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - Absolutely the best summer movie!
Charlotte’s Web - Absolutely one of the best films of the year!
Spider-Man 2 - This is the best superhero movie I've seen.
Batman Begins - Without question the best Batman ever.
Ray - One of the best films I ever saw.
Freedomland - This is some of Samuel L. Jackson’s best work ever…
A Lot Like Love - A Lot Like Love is a lot more special than the usual romantic comedy...You'll like it a lot!
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - A laugh at the beginning, laugh in the middle, cry at the ending romantic comedy.
Last Holiday - A very sweet, romantic comedy.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - You'll fall in love with Bridget Jones all over again.
Nacho Libre - If you love Jack Black, you’ll love Nacho Libre.
Kill Bill Vol. 2 - You don't have to see Vol. 1 to love Vol. 2.
Something’s Gotta Give - …I loved it.
Shrek 2 – …you’ll love it.
Just My Luck - Moms, take your daughters too. You’ll both love it!
Little Miss Sunshine - Prediction: It’s a truly original screenplay and will earn an Oscar nomination. The film is that good. And it’s funny. Grade: A
Adaptation –It’s Oscar time and this one is a contender. Nicolas Cage could get two Oscar nominations, one for best actor and one for supporting actor.
Seabiscuit –Oscar-caliber work that combines to make your heart race
Something’s Gotta Give - Diane Keaton, an Oscar nomination, she could go all the way.
Mystic River – I’m glad I’m not an Oscar voter, I don’t know how I could decide between Tim Robbins or Sean Penn for a Best Actor nomination.
Narc – Oscar caliber performances from Ray Liotta and Jason Patric
Paper Clips - An Oscar-calibrated film.
Shopgirl - Claire Danes deserves an Oscar nomination. Do not miss this movie!
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Save room for Jim Carrey's name at the top of next year's Oscar Best Actor list.
The Alamo - Thornton is Oscar-quality brilliant!
De-Lovely - What a treasure. I see the Oscar word all over this movie.
Flags of our Fathers - A great film. The storytelling is so powerful.
Apocalypto - One of the most powerful films of the year.
John Q - John Q. is a powerful human drama. Truly one from the heart.
Antwone Fisher – More than one of the best films of the year, this is a film that can change people’s lives. Antwone Fisher’s story is powerful, heart-breaking, life-affirming and true.
World Trade Center - World Trade Center is a film about heroism and the best in all of us.
I Am Sam - A Wonderful Movie about the power of the human spirit
My Big Fat Greek Wedding – A feel GREAT movie!
Shrek 2 – The colors are even brighter, the images crisper, the detail far more defined than the original Shrek just three years ago.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – The movie’s even more magical than the first.
Men In Black II – Funnier than the first!
Scary Movie 3 – Funnier than the first two!
Analyze That – Analyze That is even funnier than Analyze This.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life – The rare summer sequel that’s more fun than the first.
The Longest Yard - The Longest Yard outscores the original.
The Island - You've got to take a trip to The Island.
Blow – This movie blew me away
Far from Heaven – Far from Heaven is movie heaven.
The School of Rock – Who’d a thunk this’d be a great movie? Raise the goblet! The band rocks, and so does this movie.
Ocean's Twelve - This gang of thieves stole my heart. It's so much fun
Head of State – Chris Rock wins in a landslide of laughs
Spellbound – It’s a H-I-T!
The Score – …Adds up to one of the best of the summer.
Die Another Day – I give this 007 a 10.
The Bourne Supremacy - On a scale of 007 This film gets a 10
Cheaper By The Dozen – Out of a possible 10 it gets a 12.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - You won't forget this one.
Déjà vu - The kind of movie you want to see over again.
The Incredibles - The Incredibles? They could have called this The Amazings, The Terrifics or The Unbelievables and still wouldn't have been guilty of exaggeration.
Road to Perdition – Knocked me out.
Dreamgirls - Dreamgirls knocked me out. It’s amazing!
The Polar Express - Amazing! You've never seen anything like it. No one has. An instant Christmas classic!
Behind Enemy Lines – Amazing
The Aviator - Terrific.
The Score – Terrific Fun…
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Terrific Fun!
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within – “It’s a terrific film.”
The Brothers Grimm - Matt Damon and Heath Ledger are terrific.
Miami Vice - Miami Vice has all the ingredients for a terrific summer movie for grown-ups.
Changing Lanes – This is a terrific film! A suspense thriller that’s about something
The Manchurian Candidate - This is a terrific movie, as exciting as movies get.
Zathura - Zathura is an intergalactic space word that means terrific.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - An incredible film for kids of all ages.
The Matrix Reloaded – An incredible ride
The Manchurian Candidate - Has Meryl Streep ever played Lady Macbeth? She has now. An incredible performance.
Mystic River –Nothing gets in the way of the story Eastwood and this incredible cast is telling except, maybe, your tears.
Freedomland - Incredible, riveting, jaw-dropping performances.
Collateral - How good is Cruise's performance? You can't take your eyes off of him. Riveting and compelling...
Raising Helen - Kate Hudson lights up the screen
The Prince and Me - Julia Stiles is radiant and royal, a star to wish upon
Ella Enchanted - The Princess Diaries' Anne Hathaway is exquisite.
Curious George - A lovingly crafted adaptation of the children’s classic.
Eight Below - A beautiful action-adventure. Wonderfully family-friendly.
Over the Hedge - A wonderfully funny family movie.
Shark Tale - I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse - Take the kids to see Shark Tale. It's a wonderful family film.
Johnny English – Funny! A film you can take your kids to.
The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl In 3-D - A great film for kids and 3-D makes it even more fun!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - A true classic. An incredible film for kids of all ages.
Zathura - The best family film so far this year.
Ella Enchanted - Ella Enchanted is one family film that will make the whole family feel happily ever after.
Elf - Giant-sized family fun.
Rugrats Go Wild – It’s too much fun! I had a good time. Fun for grown-ups.
The Rundown – One of the year’s biggest, most fun movies!
Timeline - Pure popcorn fun at the movies!
King Kong - It’s like being nine years old at the movies all over again. It’s that thrilling, that exciting, this is one of those movies that’s so much fun.
The Cat in the Hat – A little bit of our childhoods live again.
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas – This is the most fun, the most exciting action film I’ve seen this summer. (opened July 2, 2003)
Pirates of the Caribbean – The most fun I’ve had this summer at the movies! Johnny Depp is just great! (opened July 9, 2003)
THE 25 WORST QUOTES OF THE YEAR
These quotes represent the dumbest of all the dumb things said or printed for the world of film in 2006.
25. “This is an event. It’s a rare example of a film not just living up to the hype, but surpassing it. And it’s the best time you’ll have at the movies all summer, if not all year.” (Snakes on a Plane) – Christy Lemire, Associated Press
24. “Adorable owls, triumphant kids, and inviting Florida groves.” (Hoot) – Desson Thomson, Washington Post
23. “…so romantic and full of optimism that it makes me think there’s hope for us all.” (The Holiday) – Rex Reed
22. “...will get stuck in your hearts and minds!” (Stick It) – Manny the Movie Guy, NBC-TV/Palm Springs
21. “A movie treat for kids, mom, pop, brothers, sisters, uncles and, of course, aunts...” (The Ant Bully) - Gene Shalit
20. “The Gone with the Wind of rock comedies.” (Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny) – Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News
19. A downright sweet love letter to Latino skate kids. (Wassup Rockers) – Dennis Lim, The Village Voice
18. “…made me wish I were 13 again, because this is precisely the kind of movie I would have gone nuts for.” (She’s the Man) – Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe
16 (tie). “Thoroughly engaging. Funnier than Mean Girls.” (John Tucker Must Die) – New York Post
16 (tie). “Lindsay Lohan’s funniest comedy since Freaky Friday!” (Just My Luck) – National Enquirer
14 (tie). “A movie worth celebrating. Moms, take your daughters too. You’ll both love it!” (Just My Luck) – Joel Siegel, Good Morning America
14 (tie). “The perfect comedy for moms and daughters!” (Material Girls) – Ed Carpenter, The Dove Foundation
13. “Columbo but hotter. Way, way hotter.” (Shock to the System) – Out Magazine
11 (tie). “Move over Harry Potter, watch out Narnia, there’s a new guy in town and his name is Eragon.” (Eragon) – David Moss, WJW-TV, Cleveland
11 (tie). “Look out 007, Alex Rider is in town!” (Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker) – Kevin Steincross, Fox-TV (St. Louis)
10. “A celebration of the strength it takes to be different. Halle Berry steals the show with a sensational performance.” (X-Men: The Last Stand) – David Sheehan
9. “It’s a nail-biter we’ve never seen before.” (Déjà vu) – Thelma Adams, US Weekly
8. “Already a leading contender for the year’s best animated film.” (The Wild) – Jim Svejda
7. “The best comedy since I don’t know when! One of the best American films in months” (Failure To Launch) – Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post
6. “The best superhero film since Spider-Man!” (My Super Ex-Girlfriend) – Scott Bowles, USA Today
4 (tie). “A true story you’d never expect…” (World Trade Center) - Newsweek
4 (tie). “Unmissable.” (United 93) – Richard Corliss, Time Magazine
3. “…a fascinating Cain-and-Abel tragedy that foreshadows today’s jihads and crusades.” (Beowulf & Grendel) – Queen Ann News
2. “Guillermo del Toro is the Hellboy of choice.” (Pan’s Labyrinth) – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
1. “If you liked March of the Penguins, you’ll love An Inconvenient Truth.” – Eleanor Clift, Newsweek.com
Yes, I called it the dumbest quote of the summer and nothing else came close the rest of the year. When someone compares a G-rated documentary you can take your kids to - to an Al Gore doomsday scenario just because they both involve ice - it's pretty clear you failed every SAT question with a colon in the middle.
And so we close out Criticwatch for 2006 and await the non-surprises our whores have in store for us. Pete Hammond only tied Peter Travers this year. Can he overtake him for good in ’07? Will Earl Dittman continue his slow decline into obscurity? Is it possible for Shawn Edwards to finally be the biggest whore of the year? There IS another Tyler Perry movie coming out. We’re not going to give up until we take it back the way Randal tried to reclaim “porch monkey” in Clerks II. Siegel could tell you, but he missed that part. There are already enough whores in the film industry. We don’t need them in the group trying to keep it honest.
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