Here at Criticwatch we have tried to maintain a disconnect away from simply saying, to paraphrase Willem Dafoe in To Live & Die In L.A. "this guy's taste is in his ass." Not to appear sexist, but there are just as many women "reviewing" movies on the junket circuit whose taste could use a good douching. Still with us? We have certainly on occasion been unable to hide our particular feelings for certain critic's recommendations, but have always done so by reprinting a pattern of behavior that should be an "orgy of evidence" (thank you, Colin Farrell) to let the reader make up their own mind and whether or not certain critics should be trusted. That's what Criticwatch has been all about. Today though, all bets are off. We are still going to give you the orgy you expect, but there's also not skirting around or sugarcoating the fact that Shawn Edwards is the biggest whore working today. And you can quote us on that.
Look at Sony's Men In Black III ads. Just look at them.
"A blast of fun." - Shawn Edwards
"It's hilarious." - Shawn Edwards
Still not over.
"****" - Shawn Edwards
It's OK, we can wait.
"Will Smith is better than ever." - Shawn Edwards
Holding our tongues. What's that? The quote has been upgraded in the newspaper?
"Will Smith is back! and better than ever." - Shawn Edwards
That's the actual punctuation in the New York Times. There's more though.
"It's the best Men In Black yet." - Shawn Edwards
There you have it. Oh wait, we've received word of a second ad.
"Total awesomeness." - Shawn Edwards
Are we done? Is HE done? One never can tell. For whether it be the third chapter of a franchise nobody wanted to see continue halfway through the second chapter or the next film he can hype like a clown on cocaine, Edwards will not stop. So what if he gives the occasional negative review? For every one he gives he is recommending another bad or even just average film with the most stupendously splendiferous hyperbole available to leak into his perceived hipster brain and out his mouth like he was auditioning to be Will Smith's partner in his next movie. Will Smith is better than ever? Not a long trip there by many people's standards.
Dolly Parton is back on the big screen and better than ever (Joyful Noise) Liam Neeson has never been better. (The Grey)
That is just this year. Three of his nine quotes in 2012 to date have declared one of the actors to give a career performance. Liam Neeson, Will Smith and Dolly Parton. There's a cast challenge for a screenwriter. And if you can't create roles to top those performances, see if you can live up to Shawn Edwards' standards here:
"Jennifer is back and better than ever!" (The Back-Up Plan) "The Rock has never been better." (Gridiron Gang) "Rowan Atkinson has never been funnier." (Johnny English Reborn) "Martin Lawrence has never been funnier!" (Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins) "Jack Nicholson is at his very best." (Somethingís Gotta Give)
12 Oscar nominations, 3 wins and the "very best" of Jack Nicholson's career is Something's Gotta Give. And let us not play the semantics game with the language and uber-cool Shawn is really referring to "Jack being Jack" at his best Jackness. Its just Shawn Edwards being a total jackoff. And we still have the rest of Shawn's Men In Black III rub and tug.
"A blast of fun. It's hilarious. ****. Total awesomeness. Phenomenal. Will Smith is better than ever. It's the best Men In Black yet." - Shawn Edwards
"100% Exciting! Edge-of-your-seat thrill ride thatís a total blast." (The Core) "Awesome! A total blast." (Astro Boy) "Awesome! The freshest and funniest comedy in a long time." (Drillbit Taylor) "Totally hilarious! The funniest, craziest and zaniest teen movie ever." (Fired Up) "Totally hilarious!" (Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins) "Totally awesome! So much fun youíll want to see it twice." (TMNT) "**** An instant classic! Itís visually awesome, totally fun and tremendously entertaining. (Horton Hears a Who) "A stylish and completely absorbing adventure that's totally compelling and wickedly entertaining." (Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events) "Totally creepy and intense" (The Skeleton Key)
You may have noticed that the word "phenomenal" crept into Shawn's quote, as printed now in the newspaper ads to add to the other six mentions on the television ones. Here are some other things that Edwards has called "phenomenal." See if you agree if it goes south quickly.
***** Phenomenal. Not only the must-see movie of the summer, it's the film of the year! (Batman Begins) Denzel Washington is phenomenal. He's at the top of his game. (The Book Of Eli) Halle Berry is phenomenal. Itís her finest work to date. (Things We Lost in the Fire) Wonderful! The surprise of the summer. Lindsay Lohanís performance is phenomenal. (Georgia Rule) Phenomenal! The most exciting film of the year! (2012) Phenomenal! A first-rate edge-of-your-seat thriller loaded with suspense, whiz-bang action and creepy excitement (Dreamcatcher)
"Will Smith is better than ever. It's the best Men In Black yet." - Shawn Edwards
Let us remember this Shawned classic from just last year
"The Funniest Movie Ever!" (Bridesmaids)
Followed two months later by...
"The funniest comedy of the year!" (Horrible Bosses)
It doesn't take Shawn long to forget the bullshit he says. If one feels so strongly enough to call something "the funniest movie ever," they are usually not inclined to change their mind in a matter of weeks. Most people, even non-critics, have enough pride not to flip-flop so soon on something they deem as the greatest (fill-in-the-blank) they feel they have ever seen. Granted, it can happen, but c'mon...
"The best slice of pie yet! American Wedding is *!#/% funny!" (American Wedding) "The best Scary Movie yet! The laughs come fast and are furiously funny!" (Scary Movie 4) "The best X-Men movie yet. Spectacular." (X-Men: First Class) "Amazing! The best Resident Evil yet." (Resident Evil: Afterlife) "A masterpiece, absolutely brilliant. One of the most powerful and moving films I've ever seen. A must-see." (Tsotsi) "A true masterpiece. One of the most creative, original and visionary movies ever made." (Where the Wild Things Are) "A magical experience unlike anything you have ever seen. Wildly entertaining!" (Idlewild) "One of the coolest movies youíll ever see!" (Stomp the Yard) "The coolest! Combines romance, action and humor. You've never seen anything like it before!" (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) "****! Epic! One of the best vampire movies ever. Sexy, stylish and altogether the coolest movie of the year." (Twilight) "Stylish and completely romantic! One of the most epic love stories ever." (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1) "One of the coolest vampire movies ever!" (Priest) "One of the best sci-fi films ever! Extraordinary! A true classic not to be missed! Vin Diesel is ecstatically superb." (The Chronicles of Riddick) "The most dazzling animated feature ever made." (Robots)
Sickening, ain't it? We can go all day with it too and we just may. Recently we were asked, why do whores whore? It can be for a variety of reasons. One or any combination of the following:
- Attention for their own brand name - Willingness to payback amenities of early access to stars and free trips - Poor film taste and knowledge accentuated by ignorant giddiness to love anything - Lack of a soul
Shawn Edwards wears all four of those like patches on a NASCAR tracksuit. Ask anyone who has ever been around him on the publicity tours or doing his thang around Kansas City. The stories are all the same. This is someone who would rather act like Will Smith than Roger Ebert. While we hesitate to show you any footage of Edwards or supply him with the necessary hits to fuel his ego, take a gander at Shawn's interview with Big Willie below and ask yourself the following question: Which one thinks he's the celebrity?
It's like seeing the mirror scene from Duck Soup, right up through the sashaying, showing his ass and the ever-present fake turn demanding an ovation for his achievement. (Now I have to apologize again this week for bringing up a genuine classic to make an unworthy comparison - after The Dictator.) Seriously, it's almost as if Edwards is praising himself:
"ÖYearís most action-packed and high-flying flick." (Bad Boys II) "The comedy of the year. Highly entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny!" (Hitch) "****! Powerful and uplifting!" (The Pursuit of Happyness) "Dynamic. Exhilarating. Exciting. Entertaining. The best movie of the year! One of the most entertaining, exciting and intense movies ever made." (I Am Legend)
And, of course...
"It's twice the action and twice the laughs!" (Men in Black II)
Look, Criticwatch does the best it can to separate the movie from the person reviewing it. Critics seem to be enjoying the latest Men In Black film. I question how when it is such a lazy, paceless lump of special effects and zero laughs with a couple decent performances (from Michael Stuhlbarg and Josh Brolin) though Brolin seemingly was told to just do an impression and not given any jokes to truly parody Tommy Lee Jones. We are not criticizing Edwards for liking the film. We are criticizing Edwards (and Sony, for that matter for using him) because he has developed a reputation that simply cannot be trusted. Whatever behavior rubs people the wrong (or right) way in person is personal stuff that can be dealt with professionally or ignored. We are interested in how that behavior affects the profession and the industry, thrust in front of us through thoughtless interviews and accentuating the positives into a positively garish bit of self-promotion that has little to do with the actual quality of the film in question.
Men In Black III enters the weekend with a rather healthy 66% approval at Rotten Tomatoes, good enough for the 13th best reviewed wide release of 2012 (out of only 18 positives and 53 total.) A lot of reviews do fall into the "being kind" and "it's not as bad as Part 2" variety, but you can go there yourself and still find over 85 positive reviews including ones by Roger Ebert and Marshall Fine that declare it as, indeed, the best film in the series. Kooky talk, kindness or whatever, anyone disagreeing with such opinions can find critics who can back theirs up with more than just catch phrases and the same soundbite hyperbole that studios love (and frequently supply) that guys like Edwards have used over and over during a full decade of Criticwatch's existence. We had hoped to give you the full spectrum of Shawn's whoring at the end of this feature, but the truth is that it is too big and too worthy of its own evolving feature. Rest assured, we are hard at work on it and it shall become a recurring feature at Criticwatch so that we can finally put a stop to hacktastic clowns like this from casting a dark shadow on films we revere and those we don't. C'mon Kevin Smith, these are the "critics" you should be attacking. He even put Cop Out #4 on his worst list in 2010. To quote a film I revere, Flash Gordon, "let's all team up and fight him" cause we know we are not done with him. Yet.