|Criticwatch - The 2011 Bag O'Douche Award Winner
|by Erik Childress
Criticwatch created the Bag O'Douche Award a few years ago to single out one of those on our watch list that has gone beyond atypical behavior suitable for those in our profession. Storming loudly out of a theater, hitting a fellow critic without a voice just trying to ask you to move, or propping up one's status as a print critic by trashing professional online ones. We thought it was funny. We like the name. Others might deem it childish or just react in their own hyperbolized style as if words like "douche" and "whore" are not acceptable forms of the expression of what is bad in our society. If we are curt, then we apologize. But not to the recipients of this award, anymore than The Daily Show should say sorry to Herman Cain or Joel McHale send flowers to everyone he disses on The Soup. In the past we have included this Award as an exclamation point within our annual Whores of the Year piece. Sorry, there's that word again. But this year we needed a little more space, and we have been waiting all year to dish this one out.
After last year's Top 10 whore piece was unveiled, Jim Ferguson (a one-time second place award recipient and 2006-08 staple) finished at #3. Phil Villarreal of Arizona then conducted an interview to ask him what he thought of the dishonor. (You can read the full piece here.)
"The word 'whore,' to me, indicates you're getting something back," Ferguson said. "In 25 years, I've never seen a dime (from studios), and I've never been asked, 'Jim, will you quote this movie?' I've never done that."
Fair enough on the first part. Would you prefer the term "slut?" After all, they just give it up willy nilly. In all seriousness, Criticwatch has never been able to prove conclusively that any of the junketeers on our watch list have ever taken a dime from studios for their quotes. Flights, hotels and free food, yes, but I guess we are splitting hairs. Seriously, if you were flown to Rome to see Angels & Demons, would YOU give it any less than an "A" grade. Ferguson didn't do that (to our knowledge.) That was someone else we know, but hopefully you get our point. But according to Ferguson, our list lacks credibility too.
"Nobody I know takes it very seriously. It's mean-spirited and negative,"
Yeah, we've heard that before. The second part that is. Those that know guys like Ferguson are a joke do take it seriously. At least enough to laugh at the ineptitude. But according to what he also told Villarreal, his quote for last year's Yogi Bear was taken out of context.
"I came out of that screening and kids and girls were screaming how much they loved it," Ferguson said. "I thought it was cute for kids, but for adults, no."
OK fine, we'll listen to that. Good writers I know have been misquoted and seen their negative reviews turned into positive press. It has even happened to yours truly. Benefit of the doubt being what it is though, "good" and "writer" Ferguson is not. So it had to be something he said to the Warner Bros. publicist handling the film. However he did it, he told Villarreal that he gave Yogi Bear a "B" for kids and a "D" for adults. Apparently Warner Bros. then took that quote and "ran with it." And here is that final quote:
"The perfect family movie for the holidays. It's big, 3-D fun!"
That is more than just a misquoting, wouldn't you say? "B" for kids and "D" for adults then translates into "the perfect family movie?" If I were Ferguson, I would be a helluva lot more pissed at Warner Bros. than some Midwest meanie who called that quote stupid. Where did the 3-D quote come from? Was that part of the "B" package for the kids? Or did Warner Bros. make the whole thing up? It's done all the time. Maybe they have done it every time with Ferguson.
"A remarkable true story. Dolphin Tale will leave you feeling good. A must-see for everyone." (Dolphin Tale)
"Fun for the entire family." (Legend of the Guardians)
"A high-flying family adventure." (Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore)
"An action comedy for the entire family!" (Kangaroo Jack)
"Stripes is the Seabiscuit of all zebras! Inspirational fun and funny for all!" (Racing Stripes)
"The perfect summer comedy for the whole family. Hilary Duff makes the perfect Cinderella." (A Cinderella Story)
"Finally a great movie for the whole family." (What a Girl Wants)
Did Warner Bros. take all of those out of context too, Jim? You give separate grades for the talking zebra movie? What about these?
"A remarkable adventure for kids of all ages." (Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events)
"Fun for all ages!" (The Pacifier)
"Fun, fun, fun for kids of all ages. A hilarious comedy." (Johnny English)
"A family must-see! Holes is another Disney winner." (Holes)
"A wonderful family film!" (Beverly Hills Chihuahua)
"Donít miss this wonderful holiday film. Youíll enjoy this film right along with the kids." (Mr. Magoriumís Wonder Emporium)
"A holiday treat for the whole family! (Fat Albert)
"An action adventure for the entire family." (Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief)
"The perfect family film. Family animation comedy at its best." (Planet 51)
"A winner! It will have parents laughing as hard as their kids." (Kicking and Screaming)
"Both adults and kids will laugh and scream during this hilarious comedy. Steve Carell, lots of animals and Morgan Freeman as God, you canít ask for anything more in a comedy!" (Evan Almighty)
Jeez, Jim. It seems like you might have a case against Universal, Fox, Sony, Disney and Paramount for all those out of context quotes. I mean, only an idiot would say "Finally a great movie for the whole family" (What a Girl Wants) just a few months after you recommended Kangaroo Jack to "entire" families, right?
"A must-see!" (Enchanted)
"A must-see" (Eagle Eye)
"A must see" (Burlesque)
"A classic! A must-see!" (Evening)
"One of this year's very best. A must-see." (Open Range)
"A must-see for the holiday season." (National Treasure: Book of Secrets)
"A must see. This film is one of the year's biggest surprises. Outstanding drama with terrific writing and acting. One of the best films of the year." (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants)
"Outstanding directing and acting; a must-see on any night! Friday Night Lights has all the elements of a great American drama. It explores the heart and soul of being perfect. Truly one of Billy Bob's best performances." (Friday Night Lights)
Oh I see. You are not exclusive to just recommending family films. Or beholden to just one studio. Pretty wild of you.
"A wild, coming of age comedy reminiscent of the early John Hughes films." (Nick and Norahís Infinite Playlist)
"Wild and fun!" (When In Rome)
"Entertaining, wild fun!" (Wild Hogs)
Well played, Jim. Particularly liked the way you worked in the Hogs adjective into your praise. Nicely done. Anymore like that?
"Magnificent! More than a sports film Ė itís a classic!" (Miracle)
"Sylvester Stallone has a knockout with Rocky." (Rocky Balboa)
"A slam dunk!" (Semi-Pro)
"The perfect match." (Wimbledon)
I'm sorry, were those all sports films? Could not tell from the titles. Thanks for clearing that up with Miracle.
"16 Blocks of excitement!" (16 Blocks)
"Double the fun." (Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties)
"Udderly hilarious" (Home on the Range)
Did you mean to go with the pun on the animated cow film or were you being misspelled?
"Utterly hilarious." (Meet the Robinsons)
Got it, our mistake. Totally our mistake. What else do you find funny?
"Hilarious! McConaughey and Garner deliver." (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past)
"Hilarious from start to finish. If youíre in for a big laugh say yes to Yes Man. (Yes Man)
"Hilarious! One big laugh from beginning to end! (The Love Guru)
"Youíll laugh from beginning to end." (Just Friends)
Not a misprint on our part, right? You liked The Love Guru? Did you mean start-to-finish though as opposed to beginning-to-end?
"The perfect date movie for the holidays." (P.S. I Love You)
"A love story for the ages. A beautiful adaptation of Jane Austenís life." (Becoming Jane)
"An outstanding, real adult love story." (Shopgirl)
"A rare and unique love story. There should be more movies like this one!" (The Lake House)
"A magnificent love story. Delightfully funny! A charming love story." (The Time Travelerís Wife)
"Delightfully funny! A charming love story. Chemistry galore!" (Leap Year)
"Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. have great chemistry." (New In Town)
Maybe we should start calling YOU the Love Guru, Jim. Unless, of course, you didn't really mean any of that. In which case you are such a guy and have no sense of commitment.
"A sure hit!" (Leatherheads)
"Without a doubt, the year's surprise hit comedy..." (In Good Company)
"Destined to be the surprise hit of the summer!" (Bandslam)
Well, that's a commitment of sorts. Especially considering you were saying that before they were released. In retrospect though, the total grosses for In Good Company was $45.8 million, Leatherheads was $31.3 million and the "destined surprise hit" Bandslam earned a paltry $5.2 million. Box office guru you most certainly are not.
"Twisted will keep you guessing" (Twisted)
"A fascinating thriller with several psychological layers." (Suspect Zero)
"This is suspense like Hitchcock used to make." (Derailed)
Oh we see, you're playing a game with us. You don't want us to know precisely what you're thinking at any given time of the day or year. Certainly something different than the 131 critics who panned Twisted as opposed to the TWO who wrote it up favorably.
"The best family film of the year." (Flicka)
"The best comedy of the year!" (Yes Man)
"The best romantic comedy of the year." (Alex and Emma)
"The best psychological thriller in years." (Mr. Brooks)
"One of the most exhilarating movies youíll ever see." (Speed Racer)
"Jackie & Chris have never been funnier." (Rush Hour 3)
And you're not exclusive to any one genre, we got it.
"Fantastic! Maybe the best Rugrats adventure ever!" (Rugrats Go Wild)
"Best Rocky Ever!" (Rocky Balboa)
"This sequel rocks!" (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life)
"A comedy that really rocks! Hollywood's oddest pairing sizzles!" (The Man)
And you refuse to be tied down to the past. Screw that 1976 Best Picture winner. Sorry though, we had to remind people you said the Samuel L. Jackson/Eugene Levy buddy comedy, The Man, "really rocks." Apologies, let's get back to the sequels.
"Bigger and better than the original." (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manís Chest)
"Bigger and better than the original." (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life)
"Bigger and better than the original!" (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
OK, WTF! T.O. Do you expect us to believe that you said the exact same thing about three different sequels in 2003, 2004 & 2006? Are those your words? C'mon Jim be straight with us. Those were on a list and you pointed. Be straight with us. Either you cop to taking a quote given to you by a studio marketer or you're an unoriginal moron who can't think beyond two adjectives starting with the letter "B" to describe your thoughts on a sequel. Granted, your grading of Yogi Bear extends your fondness for the letter, but let's be realistic here.
"Brad Pitt's portrayal of Achilles is magnificent." (Troy)
"Hugh Jackman is a hero for the generations." (Van Helsing)
"A magnificent performance! Jude Law is Alfie." (Alfie)
"When it comes to comedy, Renee Zellweger leaps to the top. She is the best - truly hysterical." (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason)
"Fun Fun Fun! A very funny summer comedy! This is vintage David Spade" (Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star)
"Eva Longoria (Parkerís) performance surpasses her beauty, and thatís hard to do." (Over Her Dead Body)
Don't you go changing the subject now trying to distract us with desperate housewives, leaping Zellwegers and vintage David Spade, whatever the hell THAT is.
"Sensational!" (Superman Returns)
"Sensational! Donít miss this wonderful, unique and inspirational film." (Lady in the Water)
"An inspirational Story of Hope with an outstanding cast. This is one special movie!" (Henry Poole Is Here)
"If you liked The Ring, you're going to love The Grudge. This one is special." (The Grudge)
OK, now you are just embarrassing yourself. May as well just let you at this point.
"The holiday film weíve all been waiting for!" (Brother Bear)
"An amazing 3-D experience with a good message for children! An adventure worth taking!" (Coraline)
"A fantastic rollercoaster ride for every generation." (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow)
"Explosive fun! You'll love the ride!" (Taxi)
"In a summer of sequels, finally a ride worth taking. LXG is the most original action-adventure of the summer" (The League of Extraordinary Gentleman)
"Finally, a heroine for all. Angelina Jolie takes Lara Croft to the limit." (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life)
"Stephen Sommers takes the genre to another level with an amazing vision." (Van Helsing)
"Powerful script, magnificent cast, a winner on all levels." (Inside Man)
"Hilarious. Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston are supported by a great cast which makes Along Came Polly a winner. What a great way to start the new year." (Along Came Polly)
"Hilarious! A sure winner!" (Man of the Year)
"...A winner. Adam Sandler does it again Ė Hilarious!" (Click)
"Kevin Costner has done it again." (Open Range)
"Ridley Scott proves his directing prowess again and delivers one of the yearís best films!" (Matchstick Men)
"Mystery Inc does it again. This time better than ever" (Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed)
"Spectacular! Fantastic! Roland Emmerich has done it again!" (The Day After Tomorrow)
"Hilarious! Jackie Chan does it again!" (Around the World in 80 Days)
"The creator of The Sixth Sense & Signs has done it again. Fantastic filmmaking! A thought-provoking thriller you don't want to miss." (The Village)
Loyal Criticwatch faithful, in the grand tradition of doing it again, we should point out that those last three quotes there came in May, June and July of 2004. Once every month and the latter two for Disney. Again, this is the essence of Criticwatch. We can all make our own judgment on Jim Ferguson's taste. We all have our own opinion of what's good and what's bad from above. But an average citizen could rattle off more original prose to describe what they think about a movie than what Ferguson may or may not have said. And it doesn't have to be a film of the same genre either to inspire guys like him to come up with junk like this. Sometimes...
"This fairytale has it all!" (The Princess Diaries 2)
"New Year's Eve has it all!" (New Year's Eve)
Wait a second now, Jim. Both of those are Garry Marshall films. Is that the greatest coincidence of all time? Does Marshall have his own special marketing rep for his films carrying around the "has it all" quote on a page hoping that some dope will be stupid enough to attach their name to it? We did not even list all of the quotes that Criticwatch has tracked since 2003. 124 to be precise. 124 quotes and to date you have only disowned one of them. 43 of those quotes were for Warner Bros. or New Line. More than a third of your quotes in eight years have been for a single studio; a studio you then momentarily threw under the bus because someone suggested you were a moron for liking Yogi Bear. Sorry, taste defenders, but it's true. And we say "momentarily" because even after they somehow disgraced you by misquoting your middle-of-the-road praise for an absolutely abysmal family film, you STILL managed to continue your relationship with them in 2011, giving quotes for Dolphin Tale and, most recently, New Year's Eve.
Well, here's a New Year's resolution for Warner Bros. and all the other studios that graciously invite you to their little weekend shindigs. Stop using Jim Ferguson on your ads. It is a giant red flag of surrender that you could not find any decent, hard-working critic/movie-lovers (and that is what we are, despite cliched evidence to the contrary and the insistence by the whores that they love movies more than any of us. The ability to love film is also predicated on the ability to dish out tough love. And a true expression of that love is to pour out our hearts when a film hits us on the level that is so commonly hyperbolized by quote whores. People like Jim Ferguson and his ilk that make up 60% of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, to which he is a standing board member, make the rest of us look bad and take the moviegoing public for suckers in much the same way that certain political parties and commentators play to the lowest common denominators. We feel bad for those in the BFCA that we know are associated with the Fergusons of the world. Hey, the screeners at the end of the year are great. We can respect that, because the 40% can respect them more than just a prize. The 60% in question are a punchline in search of a soundbite and it is time to take the tape recorder away from their mouths. You can quote us on that, and unlike Jim Ferguson, Criticwatch will stand behind it.
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=3346
originally posted: 12/31/11 04:55:04
last updated: 12/31/11 05:27:11