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Criticwatch 2003 - The Whore Of The Year Awards

And the loser is... the general public!
by Erik Childress

Whom can you trust indeed? 2003 was a great year for movies and maybe the best year possible if you listen to the consensus of ad-crazy critics who make Paris Hilton look virginal by comparison. After doing a six-month recap of Criticwatch, it seemed as if someone were paying attention. Peter Travers’ quotes were way down and most of the junketeers seemed set to disappoint their pimps. As the year ends, Travers has managed to break last year’s personal record of 55 while gift baskets, bad interviews and Chapstick are all on the rise.

We’ve only be doing Criticwatch for a few years now. A few of those on watch have contacted us personally and even CNN did a terrific piece on it that flooded the site. One thing we’ve learned in that short span of time is that there’s no beating the Kings. You have to accept that Roger Ebert is the man as far as influential critics go. He's going to get quoted A LOT and by association so will his current partner Richard Roeper. Take their reviews and their quotes to your own heart (accept or dismiss) but we're not worried about them.

But the Kings referred to are Rolling Stone Travers and Kevin “LA Times” Thomas. To say the battle wages on would be a falsehood since you can’t have a legitimate battle when you already know the outcome. The year these guys aren’t the 1-2 punch of quoting statistics will be the one where they’ve either been fired or pushed into a live volcano. You can’t fight City Hall and you can’t beat shitty critics without a baseball bat. Although we do our metaphorical best here.

Therefore its time to bust out the rankings as we take one last look at the critics of 2003 before they get other people’s ink into the garbage of the always lackluster first quarter. Since it would be boring to declare Travers & Thomas the annual winners of the whore parade, we’re instead conceding them as our personal Cy Youngs (sorry, Cy) are offering in their dishonor “The Peter Travers Whore of the Year Award” and “The Kevin Thomas Sloppy Seconds”. We’ve got more than a few whores to go through, so let’s move like a circus seal and start with the Top 10.

The list has been compiled using a sophisticated ultrasonic statistical analomy based on the sheer volume of quotes each critic received (newspapers, TV, etc…) coupled with exactly how bad the movies they’re pushing actually are. (Based on Rotten Tomatoes’ all-knowing Tomatometer.) Our nightmares even managed to produce a few conversations with the illustrious members of The Top Ten Whores Of The Year. (No quotes have been changed to protect the guilty.)

10. Joel Siegel (Good Morning America) (27 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - #3)
JOEL drops seven places in the Top 10 and if it weren’t for the honorary elimination of Travers & Thomas he would have dropped off altogether. Down six quotes from ’02, ABC’s morning man was still one of the three names to be found recommending The Cat in the Hat. (You’ll see the other two soon.) JOEL’s Top 10 has recently been released and at least he’s (partially) true to his word.

Bad Santa – “One of the funniest films of the year.
A Mighty Wind – “One of the most brilliant films of the year
American Splendor – “One of the finest films of the year.
Finding Nemo – “One of the year’s best films, animated, live action or underwater!
Dirty Pretty Things – “A near perfect film! One of the best of the year.

JOEL’s Top Ten from 10-2 read School of Rock, American Splendor, Dirty Pretty Things, Master & Commander, Lost In Translation, In America, Finding Nemo, Cold Mountain and The Lord of the Rings. His #1 film was Mystic River which he called “the first great film of 2003.”

Um, wait. What happened to everything before October & Mystic River? No matter cause Siegel puts everything else to shame when he flushed this one down our throats.

The Cat in the Hat – “It doesn’t get much better than this. A perfect marriage of Mike Myers mayhem and Dr. Seuss silly. A little bit of our childhoods live again.

Yeah, our freakin’ nightmares! After seeing that bastardization I needed an enema which started at my mouth. I don’t want to think about it. JOEL quick, I need some fun. Give me something fun to see. What do you recommend?

JOEL: Well Erik, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas “is the most fun, the most exciting action film I’ve seen this summer.”
ERIK: So more than X2, Matrix Reloaded, The Italian Job and Hulk? OK, what else?
JOEL: Pirates of the Caribbean was “the most fun I’ve had this summer at the movies!”
ERIK: That opened a week after Sinbad dude, c’mon. What else you got?
JOEL: Let’s see. The Rundown is “one of the year’s biggest, most fun movies!” Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life was “the rare summer sequel that’s more fun than the first” and don’t dismiss Scary Movie 3 which was “funnier than the first two.”
ERIK: Really?
JOEL: Oh hell yeah “I fell down laughing…This is funny, funny, funny! The third time’s the charm.”
ERIK: I asked for fun, Joel. Not funny, funny, funny.
JOEL: Sorry. Ooooh, Timeline is “pure popcorn fun at the movies!”
ERIK: Oh Jesus Christ!
JOEL: And “I loved” Something’s Gotta Give. “Diane Keaton, an Oscar nomination, she could go all the way. The film is that good, it is that much fun.”
ERIK: That’s not even English, Joel. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
JOEL: Then go see It Runs in the Family. “It makes you laugh, it makes you cry. What more can you want from a movie?”
ERIK: One that doesn’t have your name in the ads. Bye, Joel.

9. Leonard Maltin (Hot Ticket/Playboy) (31 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - #8)
Down just a bit from ’02, Maltin will always be on the fringes of the top ten and continue to lose a little bit of credibility every time Joyce Kulhawik opens her mouth on their not-ready-for-cable-access show, Hot Ticket. At the same time, Maltin more than doubled his quotes (up from 15) partially by recycling quotes and getting off on saying “Hot!” as his new trademark. Use your imagination on why he can’t use his thumbs. Siegel bummed me out, Leonard. Got anything genuinely exciting for me?

LEONARD: I’ve got a hot copy of my 2004 Movie and Video Guide.
ERIK: Great, I can run through 1664 pages that doesn’t alphabetize properly to find movie reviews that aren’t entirely yours. Focus, Maltin. Stop paying attention to Joyce Kulhawik who is like Joan Rivers and Fran Drescher all rolled up in one. Movies, Maltin. Let’s hear it.
LEONARD: In 2003, The Recruit was “genuinely exciting” and The Core was certainly “an entertaining ride!...Genuinely exciting”. And William Friedkin’s The Hunted was “an action thriller that’s genuinely exciting.”
ERIK: As opposed to those other action thrillers that were genuinely exciting?
LEONARD: Oh, absolutely. Hot!
ERIK: I guess so. How about something original? Other than your rhetoric of course.
LEONARD: Did you see The Italian Job? It had “incredible car chases like you’ve never seen before.” Pixar’s Finding Nemo was “unlike any movie you’ve ever seen!” And that “Quentin Tarantino is a true original” cause Kill Bill Vol. 1 was “unlike any movie you’ll see this year!”
ERIK: So Kill Bill was unlike Finding Nemo and Finding Nemo was unlike Kill Bill and just about any movie we could ever see?
LEONARD: That’s right.
ERIK: By the same accounts, wouldn’t Wrong Turn be unlike any movie I’ve ever seen considering I’ve never seen Eliza Dushku chased through the woods by cannibals?
LEONARD: Hot!
ERIK: Great, Leonard. How about the actors this year, Lenny? Any of them outdo themselves?
LEONARD: Oh, “Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan couldn’t be better” in Freaky Friday and “Diane Lane's never been better” than in Under the Tuscan Sun. “Jack Black has never been so engaging” as he is in The School of Rock. Then again, “watching Al Pacino is always a treat” like in The Recruit and just thinking about Runaway Jury, “what a treat to watch this cast in action.”
ERIK: No Len, you’re the treat. What about other casts this year?
LEONARD: Well I can’t forget that “Sean Penn proves again that he is one of the finest actors alive…and he’s matched by a peerless cast of co-stars” in Mystic River. X2 was “in your face excitement with an unbeatable cast!” Love Actually had “an incomparable cast…some of the most charming and appealing actors in the world.” Oh and “Nicholson and Keaton are incomparable” in Something’s Gotta Give.
ERIK: Thanks, Len. Any parting words for 2003?
LEONARD: Paycheck is “double hot!”
ERIK: Thanks. I’ll be sure not to look for you in 2004.

8. Jim Ferguson (FOX-TV/ KMSB-TV) (18 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - One to Watch in 2003)
Have we got the eye for talent or what? Ferguson only had 10 quotes last year and ballooned nicely to 18. Not quite the jump of Maltin, but look at what he was recommending to unsuspecting audiences.

ERIK: Jim, if I had a family, what would you be recommending to me?
JIM: Hands down, Kangaroo Jack is “an action comedy for the entire family!”
ERIK: Right. So I’ll pencil in a dentist appointment.
JIM: Personally I was thankful for What a Girl Wants. “Finally a great movie for the whole family.”
ERIK: What do you mean ‘finally’? That was less than three months after Kangaroo Jack which you said was for the entire family! What about a good family movie like Holes?
JIM: Holes is “a family must-see!” It’s “another Disney winner” like Brother Bear which is “the holiday film we’ve all been waiting for!”
ERIK: Anything else? And I don’t mean the crappy Woody Allen film.
JIM: Johnny English is “fun, fun, fun for kids of all ages.” Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star is also “fun, fun, fun!” and The In-Laws remake was “nonstop fun and laughs.”
ERIK: So nonstop fun would be “fun, fun, fun repeating?” Like a ride worth taking?
JIM: Let me tell you, “in a summer of sequels,” The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is “finally a ride worth taking. LXG is the most original action-adventure of the summer.”
ERIK: Don’t hold back, Jim. Tell us how you really feel about sequels.
JIM: You betcha! Rugrats Go Wild is “maybe the best Rugrats adventure ever!” Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is “bigger and better than the original” and “the final Spy Kids adventure is pure joy.”
ERIK: Great, Jim. One final question. What would you say is the best romantic comedy of the year? Down with Love, Love Actually, or Dummy?
JIM: Alex and Emma
ERIK: Yeah, OK. Goodnight!

7. Mark S. Allen (KMAX-TV/UPN-TV, Sacramento) (20 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - #11)
Oh Mark S, Mark S, Mark S. You’re on the rise. From 18 to 20 quotes and entering the top ten for the first time. We know you were disappointed with your eleventh place finish last year, but you did a little extra time on your knees and put forth the effort and now you’re reaping the spoils. A few more junkets and you’ll be perfect.

MARK S: Couldn’t be more than Alex & Emma which was the “perfect summer date movie” or Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle which was the “perfect mix of sexy-funny-rock-the-house action.” S.W.A.T. had “the perfect cast” and The Rundown “is quite possibly the first perfect action movie!”
ERIK: Even more perfect than Full Throttle’s mix of sexy-funny-rock-the-house action?
MARK S: Absolutely cause The Rundown won’t just “leave you breathless, but gasping for more.”
ERIK: Didn’t you say that about Terminator 3? I quote “Leaves you gasping for more! See this one again and again!”
MARK S: I thought I said that about Charlie’s Angels?
ERIK: No that one you said “you WILL see this again and again” like some hypnotist convincing children they had been molested.
MARK S: Speaking of kids, Spy Kids 3-D was “the best Spy Kids movie yet!” and Freaky Friday was “one of the best films of the year!” Oh and What a Girl Wants was “the best parent-daughter movie since The Parent Trap!”
ERIK: Which one, Mark S? There were two. The original or the remake?
MARK S: That was a remake?
ERIK: Moving on. What about older kids?
MARK S: Well, Matchstick Men is “one of the best movies in years! Very funny and relentlessly suspenseful!”
ERIK: And here you said that Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star is “relentlessly funny and full of surprises!” Like how God-awful it truly was?
MARK S: Well, not every film can be “the most powerful and compelling film you will see this year?”
ERIK: Which one was that?
MARK S: Beyond Borders
ERIK: OK, I gotta run.
MARK S: If you gotta, then “run, don’t walk to this phenomenal film” called Radio.
ERIK: Where’s my gun?

6. Thelma Adams (US Weekly
) (26 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - One to Watch in 2003)
Thelma never met a pun we didn’t like and her own words go to 11 on the volume scale of why she’s on this list. Take this quote from Miss Adams in the CNN piece from Aug. 28. "The expectation [of the studios] is that [reviewers will] come up with something quotable in one sentence," says Us magazine reviewer Thelma Adams. "It's part of the give-and-take." There are also the reviewers who "will say anything to get their name in the paper," she continues. "They won't go out of their way to write a positive review, but ... they'll play ball" for the glory of their own words in extra-large type, publication duly noted. "It's free advertising for your publication," she adds. “

ERIK: Miss Adams, would you compare yourself favorably to Nipsey Russell?
THELMA: 28 Days Later was “chilling and fulfilling”. The Good Thief was “smart and tart” Give me a junket where I can make a killing and on your ad I’ll print a wet juicy fart.
ERIK: That’s lovely, Thelma. Speaking of cuts, I see In The Cut was “a killer thriller” and “Wonderlandis wonderful.” Let’s look at some of your most wittiest puns this year?

X2: X-Men United – X-citing! X-traordinary!
The Italian Job – Full-throttle entertainment (getting a 3-week job on Charlie’s Angels’ title)
Rugrats Go Wild – We are just wild about Rugrats!
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life – …this cradle rocks!
Uptown Girls - Uptown Girls just want to have fun!
Lost in Translation – Getting Lost Never Felt So Good!
Beyond Borders – A sweeping romance like Doctor Zhivago…a global affair to remember.
Pieces of April – April showers us with joy.
The Good Thief –You’ll leave the theater on a high.

ERIK: See that last one is oh-so-clever cause it has Nick Nolte playing an ex-heroin addict. That’s a thinker! Just to be clear, what was it that you called The Cat in the Hat again?
THELMA: “Purr-fect!”
ERIK: Gun?

5. Jeffrey Lyons (WNBC-TV) (31 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - #4)
Ol’ Jeffrey isn’t a whore in the traditional junket kinda sense. There really isn’t any sense made by him actually. Showing you just how fierce the competition was in ’03, Jeffrey’s quotes are up from ’02, yet he still fell a rank.

ERIK: Jeffrey boy, see any good performances this year?
JEFFREY: Sure thing, ERIK. In Gods & Generals “Stephen Lang gives one of the best performances of his career” and in Dark Blue “Kurt Russell gives the performance of his career.”
ERIK: Hmmm. Two career performances opening on the same week (Feb. 21)
JEFFREY: “Who says good movies don’t open early in the year?”
ERIK: Not you, Jeff. See any good thrillers?
JEFFREY: Sure thing, buddy boy. Confidence is “a slick and smart caper movie.” The Hard Word is “a fast-paced, no-nonsense crime thriller!” Out of Time is “a first-rate, absorbing thriller.” Even Together was “absolutely thrilling!”
ERIK: That’s the one about the Asian kid and the violin?
JEFFREY: You betcha! Out of Time is actually “the way they used to make movies when they made them right!”
ERIK: So they didn’t make them right this year?
JEFFREY: Oh I wouldn’t go that far silly buns. Most people topped themselves in 2003. Anger Management was “easily Adam Sandler’s funniest movie” and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star was “easily David Spade’s funniest film”. Even in Out of Time “Denzel Washington is at the top of his game”
ERIK: Enough with the Out of Time already. Got anything else on the funny card for us?
JEFFREY: HAHAHAHA of course. Bad Santa was “side-splitting…beyond a doubt the wildest, most outrageous holiday movie ever made. I am still laughing.”
ERIK: I can see that. Go on.
JEFFREY: The Cat in the Hat was “enormously funny!”
ERIK: Jesus, are you serious?
JEFFREY: It’s Jeffrey and of course I am. “Mike Myers’ talent is endless. He will have parents in stitches!”
ERIK: You mean after they bust their fists on you for telling them to take their kids to that hellspawn?
JEFFREY: You don’t have to get violent. They can always go see Elf which was “enormously funny, with side splitting laughs.”
ERIK: So let me get this straight. Bad Santa was side-splitting, Cat in the Hat was enormously funny, and Elf was enormously funny with side-splitting laughs.
JEFFREY: Right-O, Captain!
ERIK: So you’re a study of syllogism, then?
JEFFREY: That’s an awfully big word. What is that?
ERIK: That’s kinda like saying “suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were Jeffrey Lyons.” Eh, but I repeat myself and you wouldn’t understand syllogism anyway. Say, my friend Collin Souter runs a pool guessing what you’re going to come out and say is the best film of the year. I believe the last two years were The Majestic and The Emperor’s Club. Collin guessed Mona Lisa Smile for 2003 and lost. Tell us about some of the best of the year.
JEFFREY: My snazzy pleasure! Thirteen was “one of the year’s best.” Whale Rider is “one of the most original, touching and fascinating films you are ever likely to see.” Together is “one of the most wonderful movies you are likely to see this year!” Oooh, City of Ghosts was “one of the most auspicious directorial debuts I have ever seen” and Secondhand Lions was “the best family film since Finding Nemo.”
ERIK: So better than Rugrats Go Wild, Sinbad, Johnny English, Spy Kids 3-D and Freaky Friday. Really going out on a limb there Jeff. Wasn’t Whale Rider a family film?
JEFFREY: No that was “one of the most original, touching and fascinating films you are ever likely to see.”
ERIK: I see, never mind. You’re a revelation, Jeff.
JEFFREY: I beg to differ, crazy goose, but “Mary McCormack is a revelation” in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and “Michael Caine is a revelation” in The Statement.
ERIK: Wait, hold the phone. Wouldn’t McCormack have been a “revelation” six years ago in Private Parts and, oh I don’t know, hasn’t Michael Caine been making movies since the 50s, nominated for, count ‘em, six Oscars and won two of them?
JEFFREY: Is he the one who stole the show in Jaws: The Revenge?
ERIK: Bazooka! Jeff, run. Right now!

(For the record – Lyon’s Best Film of 2003 was Seabiscuit, which Collin is now dropping an anvil on his sack for not predicting. The rest of Lyon’s Top 10 reads the following: Lost in Translation, The Magdalene Sisters, Bend It Like Beckham, Swimming Pool, City of God, The Dancer Upstairs, Finding Nemo, Veronica Guerin, The Missing)

4. Shawn Edwards (FOX-TV – Kansas City) (33 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - #7)
22 to 33 and 7 to 4. Shawn has been so popular this year that an anonymous source on our very message board was calling for his removal ( Help Remove Shawn Edwards). Shawn is now the interim president of the AAFCA (African-American Film Critics Association). In a press release for their new awards (from all 7 members), Gil Robertson IV (national syndicated columnist and feature writer "The Robertson Treatment" based in Los Angeles and Atlanta) said the following “"We as people of color represent a sizable portion of the filmgoing demographic and as entertainment critics of color we speak directly to that considerable ticket buying audience. When the studios want to market a film to the black audience they cater to us but when a major film is being promoted we are not treated the same way. We intend to challenge that disparity." Shawn is well out in front hyping crap from both white and black filmmakers.

ERIK: I really don’t want to spend that much time talking with you Shawn. Quick first question: With your association with the AAFCA, what would you say are amongst the best “black” films of the year?
SHAWN: In no particular order, Deliver Us from Eva was “hip, sexy and packed with laughs!” Dysfunktional Family was “totally off the hook!” Tupac: Resurrection was definitely ‘one of the best films of 2003…a must-see!” Radio certainly is “a powerful film that will truly move you.”
ERIK: Cuba Gooding Jr. as a mentally challenged man? Shawn, may I refer you back to my discussion of syllogism.
SHAWN: Don’t dismiss Radio, ERIK. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll stand up and cheer.”
ERIK: Whatever? What else?
SHAWN: Cradle 2 The Grave was “a fast-paced nonstop action flick” but Bad Boys II was the “year’s most action-packed and high-flying flick.”
ERIK: You couldn’t do any better than Bad Boys II? Arguably the worst film of the year?
SHAWN: Well maybe awesome action and ingenious comedy ain’t your thing, Erik. Perhaps something more like Dreamcatcher is your speed, “a first-rate edge-of-your-seat thriller loaded with suspense, whiz-bang action and creepy excitement” or even the “100% exciting” The Core, an “edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that’s a total blast.”
ERIK: Edge-of-your-seat, like awaiting the moment to get up and leave the theater forever?
SHAWN: Maybe you can’t handle excitement, Erik. What you need is a good laugh like Legally Blonde 2 which is “absolutely delightful! Reese Witherspoon has done it again.”
ERIK: Done what?

SHAWN: It! Jeez. Maybe you need something more sophisticated like Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star which is “insanely funny…off-the-chart comedy. You'll laugh your head off.”
ERIK: It’s THAT funny? Really? Do I have to see it to believe it?
SHAWN: No, that’s Bad Santa.
ERIK: Yeah, a drunken, surly guy in a Santa suit. That’s a rare achievement in film.
SHAWN: No, that’s Beyond Borders.
ERIK: I want to forget I know you.
SHAWN: Then go see The Matrix Reloaded. It’s “unforgettable” and “The Matrix Revolutions is a mesmerizing conclusion to the best trilogy in cinematic history.”
ERIK: When you said that, had you seen The Return of the King yet?
SHAWN: Of course not.
ERIK: Right. Shutup! I’m going now to have some fun by putting your picture on my dartboard and making a movie out of it.
SHAWN: Whatever. You can’t fool me. “You won’t have more fun at any other movie – period” except Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
ERIK: Tank!

3. Earl Dittman (Wireless Magazines) (24 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - #5)
Good ol’ Earl looked like he was taking a break midway through 2003. Turns out he was just in hibernation and in that time he granted yours truly an exclusive interview with him, which will be published very soon. We give him props for taking the time to tell us his side of the story. Doesn’t make up for taste which is why his measly 24 quotes secured him the #3 slot. Not just our own personal taste. Remember the Tomatometer speaks volumes. Per Mr. Dittman’s request, I have no reason to post a faux interview with him so I’ll just let the quotes speak for themselves.

Phone Booth – A brilliant psychological thriller!
Runaway Jury – A brilliant suspense thriller and an electrifying heist film all in one.

Mona Lisa Smile - 'Mona Lisa Smile' is a powerfully moving and inspiring motion picture...
Radio – A triumph!...radio is one of those rare moviegoing experiences that will stir your humanity and steal your heart away.
Beyond Borders – This is the quintessential love story for the new millennium. A daringly original film. A bold and courageous cinematic epic, Beyond Borders will restore your faith in the strength of the human spirit and the irrefutable power of love.

Legally Blonde 2 – Hilarious
View from the Top – Incredibly hilarious! Laugh packed! Side-splitting!
Alex and Emma – On of the most hilarious date movies you’ll see this summer!
Duplex - **** Hilarious! Smart and wildly funny…you’ll love this movie!
Something’s Gotta Give – A hilarious comic masterpiece. This is the comedy you need to see this holiday season.
Stuck On You - ****x2. Outrageous hilarious! The Farrelly Brothers are comedic masterminds. Hands down, they are the funniest filmmakers on the planet.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – An endearing and witty romantic comedy packed with so much charisma the laughs never quit.
Boat Trip – One crazy and daring romantic comedy…Vivica A. Fox absolutely sizzles
The In-LawsA knockout action/comedy packed with laughs.
Bulletproof Monk – Comedy with high-voltage action. Adrenaline-pumped action sequences and amazing special effects! Will absolutely knock you out.
Hollywood HomicideAdrenaline-pumped action sequences
A Man Apart – The film that should turn Vin Diesel into the ultimate hero. A hard-hitting and action-fueled film.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 – It will blow you away.
The Core – Strap yourself in for the ride of a lifetime. A breathtaking, white-knuckle voyage to the center of pure, unadulterated action and excitement. An electrifying, jaw-dropping action film that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. The Core is packed with so much red hot star power it can’t help but sizzle.
Timeline – Timeline is the most innovative and exciting film based on a Michael Crichton novel since Jurassic Park. Fasten your seat belt for an unforgettable thrill-ride! A breathtaking, hi-tech cliffhanger with unstoppable excitement
Paycheck – Unlike any film you’ve seen before or will likely see again! Top notch! A stunning and electrifying cat-and-mouse thriller.

AND NOW…

THE WINNER OF “THE KEVIN THOMAS SLOPPY SECONDS AWARD” IS…

2. David Sheehan (KCBS-TV) (24 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - #9)
Not only did he lose Collin money by stealing Mona Lisa Smile as “the best picture of the year by far!” but his ability to associate himself with such garbage nearly got him the top award.

DAVID: “This is sooo mean. If anyone names me, fuck them.”
ERIK: Whoa, Dave. I didn’t even finish a proper introduction.
DAVID: I’m sorry. Continue.
ERIK: You suck balls! There, I’m finished.
DAVID: Well, fuck you!
ERIK: Easy Dave. Dittman earned his nice-guy reputation with his interview. How about following his cue? Oh I’m sorry, you already have with your crappy taste.
DAVID: Crappy my ass!
ERIK: Ew!
DAVID: You’re telling me that National Security wasn’t “wild comic brilliance!” or “I didn’t laugh ‘til I cried” during the “outrageously funny” Bringing Down the House?
ERIK: Keep going, tough guy.
DAVID: I will, thank you. How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days was “the ultimate chick-flick for guys. Delightfully funny and fun all the way.” Alex & Emma was also “a delightful romantic comedy.” Freaky Friday was “a true delight” and “Diane Lane is delightful” in Under the Tuscan Sun.
ERIK: See anything that wasn’t delightful in 2003, Dave?
DAVID: Bet your ass! The Life of David Gale was “powerful!” Gods and Generals was a “stirring, spectacular epic achievement. A movie experience that is awesome to behold” and Beyond Borders had it all. “Romance, adventure and passion in an emotionally, eye-opening movie experience.”
ERIK: I almost don’t need to say anything do I folks?
DAVID: Who are you talking to? You mean I have an audience here? Finding Nemo is “a spectacularly beautiful animated adventure for everyone” but The Jungle Book 2 is “the best family movie in a decade.” Love Actually is “the most endearingly entertaining comedy in years” but It Runs in the Family is “one of the most enriching movies of this or any other year.” Honey may be “the feel good film of the year” but Mona Lisa Smile “will put a smile on your face, in your heart, and in your mind.”
ERIK: More than ‘nuff said, Dave. Any parting words for your audience.
DAVID: Sure, jerk. Don’t forget everyone, “Eddie Murphy is the super-funny super-ghostbuster of the new millennium!”

AND FINALLY…

THE WINNER OF “THE PETER TRAVERS WHORE OF THE YEAR AWARD” IS…

1. Clay Smith (Access Hollywood) (45 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - #10)
Can we pick ‘em or what? Clayboy came into being with his first quote on 2002’s Signs. That was in August and he managed to rack up 13 quotes for the year. We knew he was more than just “one-to-watch” so we included him at the ten spot. Winning this award isn’t all that much of a surprise to us. We saw his enthusiasm and we knew he couldn’t keep it to himself. Anyone who can even come close to beating any part of the 1-2 Travers/Thomas punch (Clay had two less than Thomas in 2003) is almost bordering on immediate honorary status. But we have no plans for that. Clayboy is new and has a full head of shit. He’s got a dynasty in the making and we’re not about to deny him that. So, without further ado, a few words with The Peter Travers Whore of the Year, Clay Smith. Unfortunately, they are his words because I’m speechless.

The Recruit – The first must-see movie of 2003!
Bend It Like Beckham – The first big surprise of the year
A Mighty Wind – The funniest comedy of the year!
New Suit – One of the year’s funniest movies
American Wedding – The laugh-out-loud movie of the year!
Bad Santa – It’s the most wickedly outrageous comedy I have seen this year.
Finding Nemo – Finding Nemo is the best family film of the year.
Brother Bear – One of the year’s best family films!
Peter Pan – The greatest children’s story of all time…is now the best live-action family film of the year.
Dirty Pretty Things – The smartest thriller of the year.
21 Grams – Suspense thrillers don’t get any better.
2 Fast 2 Furious - The best jolt of adrenaline of any movie so far this year.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines - The best Terminator of the series…I didn’t want it to end.
Open Range - Kevin Costner's 'Open Range' is the best western I've seen since his Oscar-winning 'Dances With Wolves'.
Mambo Italiano – One of the year’s best…because it has a very big heart!
House of Sand and Fog – One of the year's ten best films.
Mystic River – The most powerful film this year. A sure bet for Best Picture.
Bend It Like Beckham – Put Bend It Like Beckham at the top of your must-see list!
The Fighting Temptations – The Fighting Temptations is a movie to add to your must-see list!

The Jungle Book 2 – As wonderful as the original. An absolute delight from beginning to end!
The Lizzie McGuire Movie – Hilary Duff will steal your heart away! Pure fun from beginning to end!
Elf - 'Miracle on 34th Street' meets 'It's a Wonderful Life'! Will Ferrell doesn't just make you laugh... he will also steal your heart.

The Italian Job – Great action. Great cast. Great fun!
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – Great story…great action…great cast
Cradle 2 the Grave – DMX and Jet Li take action movies to a whole new level! They are the dynamic duo of the year!
2 Fast 2 Furious – 2 Fun 2 Fantastic! Paul Walker and Tyrese are the newest and best screen team buddies…they rock!
Secondhand Lions – Robert Duvall and Michael Caine Deliver Two of the best performances we have seen all year.
House of Sand and Fog – Ben Kingsley gives the performance of a lifetime and add Jennifer Connelly to the list of the year's best performances by an actress.
How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days - Hudson and McConaughey are absolutely picture perfect together! Intolerable Cruelty – Perfect! Hollywood stars just don’t shine any brighter than George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones…They are radiant together!
Under the Tuscan Sun – Absolutely radiant! Diane Lane heats up the screen and could find herself nominated for an Oscar again this year.
Legally Blonde 2 – Reese Witherspoon is America’s Movie Sweetheart!

Down with Love – One terrific romantic comedy.
How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Romantic comedies just don’t get better than this!
American Wedding – American Wedding is outrageous! Prepare yourself to laugh until it hurts!
Finding Nemo – Visually stunning thrills, chills and non-stop laughter!
Looney Tunes: Back In Action – It's cartoon comedy on the big screen at its absolute best!
Rugrats Go Wild – Rugrats Go Wild isn’t just wildly funny…it’s also very clever…and loaded with surprises! Laugh-out-loud fun for the whole family.
Freaky Friday – Fantastically Funny! Funny and irresistible! Freaky Friday is worth seeing any day of the week. Will have you laughing out loud!

Pirates for the Caribbean – Great entertainment aimed right at the kid in every one of us!
Bend It Like Beckham – …not just for young people…but for anyone who is young at heart.
Good Boy! – Funny, first-rate family entertainment…capturing the same magic that made E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial so special!
Pirates for the Caribbean – Great Disney fun for the whole family.
Brother Bear – Pure Disney magic from beginning to end.
Secondhand Lions – It’s pure movie magic.

28 Days Later – Isn’t just scary…it’s absolutely terrifying!
Seabiscuit– Will thrill and inspire you. Spectacular.
Once Upon a Time In Mexico - One Non-Stop Thrill After Another!
The Recruit – A sexy, edge-of-your-seat thriller that will grab you and won’t let go.
House of Sand and Fog – Powerful... stunning... a film of devastating beauty.
The Life of David Gale – It will keep your pulse racing and your heart pounding…until its suspenseful, shocking, mind-blowing conclusion!


THE RUNNER-UPS (with highlights)

11. Mose Persico (CFCF-TQS, Canada/Entertainment Spotlight) (16 Quotes)
An old nemesis who didn’t even know he was being made fun of on the radio show I was once the featured movie reviewer on. He quadrupled his quotes from 2002. He’s not a star yet, but he is our first runner-up.

National Security – A comedy not to be missed.
The Life of David Gale – Spellbinding!
Bringing Down the House – Side-splitting, knee-slapping, belly-aching laughs!
Dreamcatcher – A real nail biter from start to finish!
The Core – Phenomenal!
The Lizzie McGuire Movie – Great family entertainment!
Alex and Emma – This summer’s hottest romance!
Johnny English – Lots of laughs for the entire family. A franchise is born!
Once Upon a Time in Mexico - Stylish, sexy and spectacular!
Runaway Jury - It's a runaway hit
The Haunted Mansion – A fun-filled movie with chills and thrills for the entire family!
Young Black Stallion – A visual masterpiece! You’ll be swept away by this thoroughly entertaining film!

12. Tony Toscano (KJZZ-TV/Talking Pictures) (15 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - One to Watch in 2003)
An internal favorite amongst our Utah clan, Toscano is a steady climber pulling off just enough quotes to be noticed but not nearly enough to be considered the next Clay Smith. We suspect he’ll hang around the runner-ups for awhile.

Tears of the Sun – The best Bruce Willis action film since Die Hard.
The Core – What a ride!
Daddy Day Care – The perfect family film.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie – Loads of fun!
Identity – Take someone you plan to grab.
The Italian Job – A edge of your seat caper film grabs you and never lets go.
The League of Extraordinary Gentleman - Sean Connery is in a league of his own! Extraordinary! Very, very cool! A fantastic adventure in the style of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Bad Boys II – What summer movies are all about! It’s bigger, better and badder!
S.W.A.T. – Delivers on its promise to entertain.
Beyond Borders – A powerful, emotional film.
The Missing - Intense and emotionally powerful.
Bad Santa – Easily the funniest film this year! Billy Bob Thornton is hilarious!
Something’s Gotta Give - THE romantic comedy of the year!

13. Gene Shalit (The Today Show) (22 Quotes)
Shalit is just too silly to leave off the list. If Thelma Adams is the Queen of Pundor, he’s the King. If JOEL Siegel is the King of Bad Morning Show Movie Reviewers, then he’s the Prince.

A Mighty Wind – Flows with wit and laughter…will blow your blues away.
Holes – Wholly enjoyable! Adventure, surprises, mystery, humor, and plenty of spunk. (EW!)
Bruce Almighty – “Uproarious” should be held back for comedies worthy of it. And Hallelujah, it has come in Bruce Almighty. Wildly funny. I haven’t heard such an uproar of seat-shaking laughter in years.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Three cheers for the rip-roaring Pirates of the Caribbean
The Italian Job – It’s a high-spirited high in high-life heists.
Hulk – Amusing, rousing and hugely enjoyable. Smart story. Slick script. Sharp cast. One of the season’s happiest surprises.
Secondhand Lions – Secondhand Lions is One Of The Year’s Happiest Movies.
Johnny English – Let’s have some fun! Johnny English is a tip-top comedy. Refreshingly silly.
Seabiscuit
– Seabiscuit will have you cheering a champion – a movie that’s a winner across the board.
Dirty Pretty Things – This mystery thriller is as tight as a knot!
Winged Migration – The almost miraculous odyssey of millions of birds.
Anything Else – …before you see anything else, see Anything Else.
Intolerable Cruelty – Smartly entertaining!
Runaway Jury – A runaway hit with powerhouse performances!
Radio – This is Gooding’s most artful, most accomplished portrayal.
The Human Stain – The Human Stain is a majestic film!
Brother Bear – Brother Bear is a spirited, grand adventure that will delight!
Looney Tunes: Back In Action – Jubilant…Inspired. I give it a 21-fun salute. Quick like a bunny, duck into Looney Tunes: Back In Action

14. Mike Sargent (WBAI Radio / “Niteshift”) (9 Quotes)
(2002 Whore Ranking - One to Watch in 2003)
Mike was nice enough to contact us recently commenting how much he enjoyed our skewering. Glad you enjoy it, Mike. You obviously have some good taste. What’s the deal with these quotes?

Gods and Generals – Epic in scale, universal in its humanity. Superb performances from an exceptional cast.
Hollywood Homicide – The most fun you’ll have this summer! Sharp dialog, fantastic car chases and colorful characters
My Boss’s Daughter – Laugh-out-loud funny!
Matchstick Men – This film has more heart than any 100 films released this year. Earns its place in film history within the first hour. A masterpiece of nuance filmmaking. The first Oscar contender of the season.
Out of Time – Stylish, clever, sexy and exciting. A complex, well-crafted thriller with a top-notch cast!
Beyond Borders – A film you must see! An incredibly moving and touching film that is also a beautiful love story.
Timeline – Thrilling, suspenseful, vibrant and bold! A masterful film by a masterful filmmaker.
Love Don’t Cost a Thing – A hot, hip and hilarious holiday movie.
Mona Lisa Smile - A great film. You will laugh, cry and applaud.

15. Leah Rozen (People) (29 Quotes)
Is there anything to be taken seriously in People Magazine? You can’t even decide the sexiest people alive without influence from their publicists. Who are you influenced by, Leah? Thelma Adams? Gene Shalit?

Final Destination 2 – Playfully diabolical.
The Jungle Book 2 – Jungle fun and plenty of humor!
Bringing Down the House – House of laughs
Bend It Like Beckham – A winner! Hugely enjoyable!
The Core – Escapist fun
Phone Booth – Engrossing!
Raising Victor Vargas – Victor Victorius! A rare film about teens that gets them right.
Swimming Pool – An elegant mindbender! Take the plunge! Keeps you guessing about what’s really going on right up until the final scene! Not since Memento has there been a film that so successfully keeps you guessing!
Legally Blonde 2 – Witherspoon is a wonder.
The Secret Lives of Dentists – A secret worth sharing.
American Splendor - Truly splendid
Love Actually - Get ready for fun.
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star – There’s fun to be had here.
Under the Tuscan Sun – This Tuscany earns its place in the sun.
School of Rock – Jack Black rocks!
Master & Commander – Hollywood filmmaking at its smartest and most satisfying. Crowe again proves he is that rarity: a major movie star who can actually act.
Big Fish - A brilliantly fantastical film. 'Big Fish' end up hooking a viewer emotionally as few movies have this year. Don't miss it.

FIVE TO WATCH IN 2004

John Black (Boston Metro) (9 Quotes)
A Tony Toscano in the making?

The Core – Entertaining fun!
Down with Love – Sophisticated!
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – T3 explodes off the screen.
The Italian Job – Just about as much fun as a summer movie can be – fast-paced, funny and filled with a talented cast…
The Fighting Temptations – It’s a hit! The Fighting Temptations will lift your spirits and have you dancing in the aisles.
Underworld – Underworld is one hell of a ride.
Out of Time – Terrific. The kind of thriller Hitchcock would be proud of. A real nail-biter.
Beyond Borders – Beyond Borders is a powerful, epic film that inspires as it entertains.
Love Actually - It's not only one of the best films of the year, but one of the best romantic comedies ever made! 'Love Actually' is brilliant. A classic.

Steve Oldfield (Fox Orlando) (11 Quotes)
8 of his 11 quotes came in the last 10 weeks of the year. Clay Smith had similar numbers in 2002. Stay tuned.

Willard – Crispin Glover does an amazing job. A captivating film, reminiscent of Hitchcock.
Ghosts of the Abyss – Don’t miss it! Director James Cameron deserves another Oscar for his amazing work.
Pirates of the Caribbean - **** The must-see movie of the summer!
Veronica Guerin – One of the year’s best films. Cate Blanchett is brilliant. An Oscar-caliber performance!
Radio – Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris are terrific!
Beyond Borders – One of the year’s best films. This movie has it all: gripping drama, heart-pounding action and a beautiful love story. Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen give Oscar-caliber performances
The Missing - Ron Howard delivers a powerful film.
Bad Santa - Hilarious! Wickedly funny! The guilty pleasure of the year.
Timeline – A wild ride back in time.
Something’s Gotta Give - ****. Diane Keaton deserves an Oscar nomination for one of the best
performances of the year.
Calendar Girls – One of the year’s ten best.

Dean Richards (WGN-TV/WGN Radio, Chicago) (15 Quotes)
This was a banner year for Dean. Suspicions abound his next leap could pull into the runners-up.

Shanghai Knights
– A one-two punch of fun!
The Guys – A celebration of the human spirit!
Ghosts of the Abyss – You’ve never seen anything like it!
Down with Love – Pure fun!
The Italian Job – The surprise hit of the summer! Smart, thrilling and hilarious with a chase scene to end all chase scenes.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Total excitement and a total original!
Seabiscuit – Glorious!
American Wedding – The summer’s funniest movie! Finally, a sequel worth seeing! A great cast!
Once Upon a Time in Mexico - Johnny Depp does it again; he's as good as it gets.
Under the Tuscan Sun – Funny and touching! This is the most beautiful film of the year! Tuscan Sun is for everyone.
Matchstick Men – Nicolas Cage is Oscar-bound! Hilarious, touching, thrilling.
Duplex – Part Meet the Parents and part There’s Something About Mary! Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore are adorable together! It’s a wicked comedy!
The Rundown – Packed with originality.
Intolerable Cruelty - Its Classic! George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones are a laugh riot!
Paycheck – One of the most exciting films of the year…A terrific story. The thrills start early and never let go!

Fred Saxon (FOX-TV / Inside Entertainment) (9 Quotes)
Fred-O popped up from time-to-time and frankly, anyone pimping Beyond Borders, deserves to be watched.

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Hudson & McConaughey light up the screen in a sparkling romantic comedy.
Dysfunktional Family – Shakes it up and rocks the house!
The In-Laws – Will have you in stitches.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – Hold on to your seat and get ready for the ride of your life!
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star – Lots of laughs and surprises!
Matchstick Men – Three of the best performances of the year!
Beyond Borders – Powerful and passionate. Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen are extraordinary together.
Scary Movie 3 – Outrageous to the third power!
Looney Tunes: Back In Action – Brilliant! You’ll want to see it again!

Bill Zwecker (FOX-TV) (15 Quotes)
Billy Boy saw a huge drop in standings from 2002’s #6 ranking. Down from 19 quotes, we can’t let him off the hook just yet

Shanghai Knights – A great laugh-riot! Even funnier than the first, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson have done it again!
A Man Apart – Great action from start to finish. Powerful and totally gripping.
The Guys – Sigourney Weaver touches our hearts – and our souls!
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle – More fun than the original! This is one summer movie that will make you smile – from start to finish!
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – The most exciting movie of the year. What a fantastic ride!
Seabiscuit – A must-see moviegoing experience!
Matchstick Men - Oscar-worthy all the way! This is a must-see!
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star - I laughed until I cried... A great spoof of that slippery slope known as fame
Secondhand Lions - Secondhand Lions is truly first-rate family entertainment! A heartwarming and deeply touching story, full of humor and strong performances
The Fighting Temptations – A rollicking, knee-slapping musical fun fest! I loved it!
Mystic River – Powerful, gripping and compelling-one of the best dramas I’ve seen in a long, long time.
Luther – A stirring, sweeping epic.
Love Actually – The most delightful film of the year! I loved every minute of it! Funny, sweet & touching but with a great edge.
The Missing - Oscar-worthy performances by Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones.
The Last Samurai – An amazing cinematic wonder! A phenomenal achievement! It’s that rare film that combines a sweeping, heroic epic with an intimate, extremely poignant personal story of love, honor and tenderness.


THE LOVE FOR BOAT TRIP TRIFECTA
“Cuba Gooding Jr.’s performance is brilliant and hysterical!” - Katrina Poulos (KPOW-FM, Miami)
“Laugh out loud funny” - Hula (KHTS-FM San Diego)
“Funny, funny, funny. A must-see.” - Jah-T (WUSL, Philadelphia)

Nuggets of wisdom from KPOW, Hula and Jah-T.

GOBBLE GOBBLE FOR GIGLI
“Sexy and fun” - Sandie Newton (CBS-TV)
“Totally original with a surprising twist.” - Byron Allen (Entertainmentstudios.com)

TOP 25 WHORE QUOTES OF 2003

25. “At last, a family movie for the whole family.” (Looney Tunes: Back In Action) - John Pungente (Bravo!)

24. “Proof there are smart, funny roles out there for women.” (Le Divorce) - James Ireland Baker (Glamour)

23. “Kids will have a hopping good time!” (Kangaroo Jack) - Neil Rosen (NY-1)

22. “Grind is a breathless and euphoric ride. High flying poetry in motion.” (Grind) - Prairie Miller (NY-1)

21. “I laughed so hard, I fell out of my Jimmy Choo shoes!” (Legally Blonde 2) - Michelle Solomon (NBC-TV, Detroit)

20. “One of this summer’s rare treats! A sequel that’s richer, deeper and more exciting than the original.” (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) - Todd Hill (Staten Island Advances (Newhouse News Service))

19. “A rare romantic comedy that’s actually romantic and comic.” (Just Married) - Chris Hewitt (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

18. “It’s the teen dream movie of the summer…Rome will never be the same!” (The Lizzie McGuire Movie) - Greg Rassell (WB-TV, Detroit)

17. “A honey pot of a film!” (Piglet’s Big Movie) - Laura Kelly (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

16. “A film that is as funny as Naked Gun & possibly as good as Airplane.” (Scary Movie 3) - Edith Alderette (The Examiner)

15. “How To Deal is that rarity, a movie aimed at teens that doesn’t insult their intelligence.” (How To Deal) - Kirk Honeycutt (The Hollywood Reporter)

14. “What a Girl Wants is a spunky intelligent film that may be the best teen flick to hit the theaters since Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” (What a Girl Wants) - George Thomas (Akron Beacon Journal)

13. “Even blonder than the first.” (Legally Blonde 2) - Bill Bregoli (Westwood One Radio Networks)

12. “Every word out of Eugene Levy’s mouth will crack you up! You’ll have to see it twice because you’ll be laughing so hard you won’t be able to hear all the jokes.” (Bringing Down the House) - Mignon Turner (Hollywood Hotwire)

11. “A spicy comedy with plenty of sauce.” (Mambo Italiano) - Susan Wloszcyna (USA Today)

10. “Braveheart with a 21st century twist.” (Timeline) – Eric Patrick (FOX-TV, Miami)

9. "You'll wish Dickie Roberts was part of your family! Make Dickie a part of your family this weekend." (Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star) - Chuck Thomas (Coming Soon.net)

8. “It’s a new and hilarious Big Fat Greek Wedding. A riotously funny comic pairing. You won’t be able to stop laughing at Douglas and Brooks.” (The In-Laws (2003) ) - Jeanne Wolf (Jeanne Wolf’s Hollywood)

7. “A romance in the style of Bogart and Bergman. Beyond Borders is an epic to be seen.” (Beyond Borders) – Tim Wassberg (The Inside Reel)

6. “The Core is an exhilarating ride that never stops. The ensemble cast complements each other beautifully. I could not believe that this may actually happen! Hilary Swank is my hero!” (The Core) - Adam Shapiro (TV-Guide Channel)

5. “The League is a movie to enjoy! It comments on the anxieties facing the world today…with cleverness and a sense of fun.” (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) - Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)

4. “This is groundbreaking.” (The Real Cancun) - Lori Majewski (US Magazine)

2. (tie) “Stunning, inspired and inspiring, Gods and Generals is the finest Civil War movie ever made – including Gone with the Wind.” (Gods and Generals) - Jim Svejda (KNX/CBS Radio)

2. (tie) “Gods & Generals is not only the finest movie ever made about the Civil War, it is also the best American historical film. Period.” (Gods and Generals) - Bill Kauffman (American Enterprise Magazine)

1. “**** This unexpectedly amazing movie makes you feel good about Hollywood, about America, and about humanity.” (Radio) - Michael Medved (KRLA and SRN Radio Network)

Good one, Mike. We know there’s no agenda there, right? Here’s to a whore-free 2004. We all can dream, can’t we?


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=954
originally posted: 01/26/04 17:10:04
last updated: 01/31/04 11:18:39
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