Criticwatch 2011 - The BFCA Is Looking For A New Quote Whore

By Erik Childress
Posted 01/15/11 05:31:24

On Jan, 14, 2011 the year begins anew again with what should be the kickoff to quote whore season - the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards. Criticwatch has made no bones about our contempt for the organization's boasts about these awards being an accurate predictor of the Oscars. Are they voting their hearts or are they merely prognosticators boosting their numbers to prove to the studios they need more attention. They already provide the quotes for the junketeer members amongst your ranks so they don't have to go using their brain to come up with their own. Take a look at their roster and you will find at least 30 names that make regular appearances on Criticwatch's Whores of the Year or regular features. Seems like a small amount when you consider the group consists of "approximately 250 television, radio and online critics." But just because they aren't being quoted does not mean they have any worth to film criticism. And now they want to increase their ranks.

VH-1, the network responsible for giving a home to the most pathetic of all the televised award shows, last month launched the VH-1 Quick Critic Contest. Users at home could go to the website and submit "their very own short film review" for a chance to win (1) a free year of movie rentals from Redbox, (2) a trip for two to Hollywood to attend next year's BFCA Awards ceremony and, best of all, (3) a one-year honorary membership to the BFCA. Because if anything qualifies someone to be a member, it is certainly an online contest dedicated to movie reviews of less than 200 words.

Yep, that's all you have to do. 200 words or less, just 60 more than your Twitter cutoff and you have a puncher's chance on seeing your name on a movie ad in 2011. Just like BFCA member Kevin Steincross:

...a must-see. (Eat Pray Love)
A must-see! (Remember Me)

See how he does it. Short and to the point. Just like fellow BFCA member, Kelli Gillespie.

A must-see! (Tangled)
A must-see! (Fair Game)
Go see this movie. (Red)

See the wide ranging flow of ideas in ad-space criticism? It's like they share a brain.

A must-see! (Princess Kaiulani) - Pete Hammond
A must-see! (Clash of the Titans) - Dean Richards
A must see (Burlesque) - Jim Ferguson
A must-see movie, whether you're a Beatles fan or not! (Nowhere Boy) - Scott Mantz
...a definite must-see! (South of the Border) - Mike Sargent
A total triumph...This is one to see! (Cemetery Junction) - Pete Hammond
Not to be missed! (Just Wright) - Mark S. Allen
Don't miss it. (It's Kind of a Funny Story) - Sandie Newton
Don't miss the best party in town. (Sex and the City 2) - Pat Collins
You can't miss this movie. (Red) - Maria Salas

See it's easy. To be one of the more well-known members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, you just need to remember some very simple ways to attract moviegoers. First, always pitch them on the idea. Moviegoers don't have time to read reviews or plot synopses. Spell out what they are in for by comparing it to other films.

Spectacular epic moviemaking at its best in the tradition of Gladiator and Braveheart. (Robin Hood) - Pete Hammond
As uplifting and inspirational as The Blind Side. (Extraordinary Measures) - Jeanne Wolf
As cool as Ocean's Eleven. (Takers) - Steve Oldfield
Move over Iron Man... (Kick-Ass) - Pete Hammond
The most overwhelmingly romantic movie since The Notebook. (Dear John) - Mark S. Allen
The funniest comedy since The Hangover. (She's Out Of My League) - Tony Toscano
The coolest Travolta since Pulp Fiction! (From Paris With Love) - Shelli Sonstein
It's this year's No Country for Old Men. (The Killer Inside Me) - Jeffrey Lyons
This generation's Ferris Bueller! (It's Kind of a Funny Story) - Sandie Newton
Steve Carell and Paul Rudd are the new Odd Couple. (Dinner for Schmucks) - Mose Persico
It's Heat meets The Departed. (The Town) - Pete Hammond
It's Kill Bll meets ER in this brilliantly stylistic, ultra cool action thriller! (Repo Men) - Shawn Edwards

See how Pete Hammond did it? He compared WB's The Town to two other crime films from the WB vault, one involving bank robbery and the other set in Boston. That is how you kiss serious studio ass. But what if the twice-a-year moviegoer ventured out on those very movies you compared it to and got burned? Then you're screwed. Perhaps they are the traditional summer moviegoer though.

Now it really feels like Summer has begun! (The A-Team) - Pete Hammond
It's impossible to have a better time at the movies this summer. (Despicable Me) - Pete Hammond
The summer's funniest movie. (The Other Guys) - Mark S. Allen
The scariest movie of the summer! (The Last Exorcism) - Sandy Kenyon
The sexiest fun you'll have this summer! (The A-Team) - Carrie Keagan
A great summer movie. (Charlie St. Cloud) - Kelli Gillespie

Or screw it and go bigger. Tell them that no other movie compares to this one. At least not this year.

The funniest movie of the year! (Get Him To The Greek) - Scott Mantz
The funniest movie of the year! (Dinner for Schmucks) - Shawn Edwards
The funniest film of the year! (Shrek: The Final Chapter) - Pete Hammond
The laugh-out-loud comedy of the year! (Due Date) - Maria Salas
Don't miss the furriest, funniest film of the spring! (Furry Vengeance) - Greg Russell
The most romantic movie of the year. (Letters To Juliet) - Greg Russell
The best romantic comedy of the year! (Life As We Know It) - Greg Russell
Best romantic comedy of the year. (Life As We Know It) - Sandie Newton
Best action film of the year. (Salt) - Mose Persico
This year's thriller has arrived. (Fair Game) - Greg Russell
The best movie of the year by far. Sensational. Disney and Pixar have done it again. (Toy Story 3) - Clay Smith
A masterpiece! The best movie of the year, by far. Disney-Pixar has done it again. (Toy Story 3) - Scott Mantz

Be careful though. When you don't formulate your own thoughts and the studio asks you to sign on to one of their pre-written quotes, you may want to check with your fellow whores to make sure they haven't already been asked as well. It can be rather embarrassing, as Clay Smith and Scott Mantz discovered when their names were used on the exact same quotes for Toy Story 3. You need to be more subtle, like when using the word "sizzle."

Sizzling hot! (Salt) - Pete Hammond
Jolie and Depp sizzle!! (The Tourist) - Mose Persico
Aniston and Butler sizzle. (The Bounty Hunter) - Steve Oldfield

Coincidence? Maybe. Though all three films came from Columbia Pictures. Back to pulling in Joe Public though. If this particular year is not enough to pique their curiosity, pluralize that mother.

The best action film in years! (The A-Team) - Pete Hammond
The most outrageous and inspired comedy in years. (Youth In Revolt) - Shawn Edwards

Visually stunning! You haven’t seen anything like it before. (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole) - Shawn Edwards
A 3-D experience like we've never seen onscreen before. (Step Up 3-D) - Pete Hammond
A great story that takes us to places we've never been before. (Tron: Legacy) - Pete Hammond

Unlike the original Tron from 1982, right Pete? Though I must admit I have never seen slurpee 3-D before. But maybe Jane Public is more of a moviestar person. They focus on the actors rather than what a film is really about. How do you get them in? Easy.

Mel is back and doesn't miss a beat. (Edge of Darkness) - Jim Ferguson
Mel Gibson returns with a vengeance! (Edge of Darkness) - Scott Mantz
Jennifer is back and better than ever! (The Back-Up Plan) - Shawn Edwards

Chemistry galore! (Leap Year) - Jim Ferguson
Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis have the perfect on-screen chemistry! (Due Date) - Sandie Newton
Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler have explosive chemistry. (The Bounty Hunter) - Steve Oldfield
Vanessa Redgrave is sensational and Amanda Seyfried will absolutely steal your heart! (Letters To Juliet) - Shawn Edwards
Rachel McAdams will steal your heart. (Morning Glory) - Shawn Edwards
Zac Efron will melt your heart. (Charlie St. Cloud) - Bonnie Laufer
Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel sizzle in a comedy that's sure to win your heart. (Life As We Know It) - Jeanne Wolf

Denzel Washington is phenomenal. He's at the top of his game. (The Book Of Eli) - Shawn Edwards
A heartfelt, beautifully made film with wonderful actors at the top of their game. (The Yellow Handkerchief) - Pete Hammond
A wonderful opportunity for memorable character studies by two fine actors at the top of their game. (The Good Heart) - Pete Hammond

Damon at his best! (Green Zone) - Mark S. Allen
Harrelson at his very best! (Defendor) - Pete Hammond
Zac Efron's best role to date. (Charlie St. Cloud) - Rachel Smith
Julia Roberts has never been better. (Eat Pray Love) - Bonnie Laufer
Harrison Ford is terrific. His finest performance in years. (Extraordinary Measures) - Scott Mantz

Maybe you have the ladies interested now, so move in for the kill.

Just Wright is a soulful romantic classic you'll instantly fall in love with. (Just Wright) - FOX-TV - Shawn Edwards
You'll fall in love with Valentine's Day. (Valentine's Day) - Tony Toscano
You'll fall in love with Life As We Know It. Heartwarming. (Life As We Know It) - Maria Salas

A heartwarming love story. (Remember Me) - Manny De La Rosa
A charming love story. (Leap Year) - Jim Ferguson
A richly rewarding and emotionally-charged love story. (Remember Me) - Tony Toscano
A powerful love story full of laughs and surprises. (Love and Other Drugs) - Jeanne Wolf
A great love story for any age. (Letters To Juliet) - Kelli Gillespie
A true-blue American love story. (Dear John) - Greg Russell
A sweeping romantic masterpiece. (Remember Me) - Greg Russell
Epic! More action, more romance, more suspense. (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) - Maria Salas
Romantic and intense. (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) - Mose Persico
...a rich, romantic and captivating movie experience. (Princess Kaiulani) - Pete Hammond
A romantic, enchanting and beautiful love story. Letters is the perfect date movie. (Letters To Juliet) - Maria Salas
The perfect date movie. (Life As We Know It) - Bonnie Laufer

Of course, you don't want to lose the guys out there. But mix it up a little so you don't alienate the other sex. For example, if you're a man say this:

Sexy summer fun is back. (Sex and the City 2) - Dean Richards

And get a woman to say this:

Puts the A back in action! (The A-Team) - Sandie Newton

Then use words our inner dude will understand.

Smart and wildly funny. v Jeanne Wolf
Wild and fun! (When In Rome) - Jim Ferguson
Wild and crazy fun! (Takers) - Steve Oldfield

NO! BIGGER words. No dude is getting wild at those movies.

Thrilling! (Legion) - Shawn Edwards
Thrilling entertainment!! (The Tourist) - Mose Persico
Thrilling from start to finish! (Clash of the Titans) - Kevin Steincross
Thrilling big fun... (Clash of the Titans) - Dean Richards
It's a thrilling adventure and just plain fun. (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) - Pete Hammond
A thrill ride! (Edge of Darkness) - Mark S. Allen
Seatbelt up for one hell of a ride! (From Paris With Love) - Shelli Sonstein
It's an explosive, nail-biting ride that doesn't slow down. (Salt) - Pete Hammond
A riveting and explosive crime thriller. (The Town) - Pete Hammond
Explosive, funny and loaded with action! Red delivers!! (Red) - Mose Persico
Aniston and Butler are an explosive, charming and hilarious combination. (The Bounty Hunter) - Maria Salas
Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler have explosive chemistry. (The Bounty Hunter) - Steve Oldfield
A powder keg of a movie. (Formosa Betrayed) - Pete Hammond
It will totally blow you out of your seat! (The A-Team) - Sandie Newton
Christina can sing. She can dance. She can act. And she'll blow you away. (Burlesque) - Shawn Edwards

That's blow you...away, guys. Stay focused.

Truly Awesome. (Toy Story 3) - Pete Hammond
Awesomest movie of the decade. (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) - Steve Oldfield
A is for awesome! (Easy A) - Mark S. Allen

Mark Shithead Allen, Sandie Newton already told us that "A" stood for "action" on a guy's flick, not "awesome" on a chick flick.

What if you not for one or the other? What if you have given up your identity altogether? OK, what if you're married and have kids? Then you need just the right distraction.

A high-flying family adventure. (Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore) - Jim Ferguson
Fun for the entire family. (Legend of the Guardians) - Jim Ferguson
An action adventure for the entire family. (Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief) - Jim Ferguson
Breathtaking! Perfect for the whole family. (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole) - Manny De La Rosa
The perfect family movie! (Nanny McPhee Returns) - Shawn Edwards
The perfect family movie for the holidays. It's big, 3-D fun! (Yogi Bear) - Jim Ferguson
Dwayne Johnson is the champ of family movies! (The Tooth Fairy) - Greg Russell

Now you have sent people to a number of films that will make them stupid. What better way to then unleash quotes you don't have to think too much about. It's all right there in the title.

A tasty treat. (Dinner for Schmucks) - Manny De La Rosa
...Full of delicious surprises... (Eat Pray Love) - Jeanne Wolf
Two paws way up! (Yogi Bear) - Bonnie Laufer
Death has never been funnier! (Death At A Funeral) - Greg Russell
A mega-funny movie loaded with laughs, action and heart. (Megamind) - Pete Hammond
Edge of Darkness will keep you on the edge of your seat. (Edge of Darkness) - Pete Hammond
(Edge of Darkness) - Edge of Darkness will keep you on the edge of your seat. - Carrie Keagan
(Edge of Darkness) - It will keep you on the edge of your seat. - Scott Mantz

I know, I know. It's exhausting work being a quote whore. Sometimes it's easier to just repeat yourself.

...This movie will become a part of you. (Remember Me) - Mark S. Allen
Extraordinary. A movie that becomes a part of you. (Charlie St. Cloud) - Mark S. Allen

But you want to earn that membership right? It's all about sell, sell, sell. Yourself as much as the movies. Prove you are a team player. They give you free flights, free food, time with celebrities and you tell them how flawless their film is. Despite the rarity of any motion picture containing not a single flaw.

It's an instant classic in the same league as E.T. (How To Train Your Dragon) - Scott Mantz
An instant classic. (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) - Steve Oldfield
An instant classic. (Flipped) - Mark S. Allen

A triumphant success! (Robin Hood) - Pete Hammond
A total triumph... (Cemetery Junction) - Pete Hammond
An absolute triumph. (Brooklyn's Finest) - Shawn Edwards

Absolutely riveting. (The Fighter) - Tony Toscano
Absolutely stunning! (The Killer Inside Me) - Jeffrey Lyons
Absolutely charming! (The Concert) - Jeffrey Lyons
Absolutely mind-blowing. (Tron: Legacy) - Sandie Newton

Truly chilling and frightening in every way. (The Last Exorcism) - Pete Hammond
Brilliant and mesmerizing every step of the journey. (The Book of Eli) - Mark S. Allen
Mesmerizing. A nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat experience that you'll remember forever. Truly great in every way! (The Ghost Writer) - Mark S. Allen
Pure genius. Brilliant in every way! (Megamind) - Mark S. Allen
A crowd-pleaser all the way! (The Next Three Days) - Scott Mantz

Queen Latifah and Common are perfect together. (Just Wright) - Shawn Edwards
Queen Latifah & Common are the perfect all-star team. (Just Wright) - Mark S. Allen
Steve Carell and Tina Fey are a match made in comedy heaven. They're perfect. (Date Night) - Ben Lyons
Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis have the perfect on-screen chemistry! (Due Date) - Sandie Newton
Greg Kinnear's perfomance is pitch-perfect! (The Last Song) - Tony Toscano

A perfect mix of humor and heart! (City Island) - Ben Lyons
The perfect movie for the season. Fun, funny and full of good cheer! (Leap Year) - Mark S. Allen
So perfectly acted, so brilliantly directed... (Remember Me) - Mark S. Allen
Letters is the perfect date movie. (Letters To Juliet) - Maria Salas
The perfect date movie. (Life As We Know It) - Bonnie Laufer
Perfect for the whole family. (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole) - Manny De La Rosa
The perfect family movie! (Nanny McPhee Returns) - Shawn Edwards
The perfect family movie for the holidays. (Yogi Bear) - Jim Ferguson

Whatever it takes, don't miss this movie. (Inception) - Pete Hammond
...This is one to see! (Cemetery Junction) - Pete Hammond
You will love this movie! (The Switch) - Pete Hammond
This movie is great. Wall Street 2 is a powerhouse of a movie. It leaves us wanting more. (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) - Pete Hammond
Go see this movie. Red is just flat-out fun! (Red) - Kelli Gillespie
You can't miss this movie. Laugh-out-loud fun. (Red) - Maria Salas
This saga just keeps getting better and better. (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) - Mose Persico

****! THIS is the movie we've been waiting for! ...I can't wait to see it again! (Kick-Ass) - Scott Mantz
This is one beautiful movie! (For Colored Girls) - Jeffrey Lyons
A big cast brings big laughs to this hilarious comedy! (Death at a Funeral) - Ben Lyons
This shocker will have horror fans jumping out of their seats. Full of genuine scares. (The Crazies) - Pete Hammond
Take this fantastic journey...A non-stop action adventure with state-of-the-art special effects. (Clash of the Titans) - Jim Ferguson
Sensational. This movie has it all! (Burlesque) - Mark S. Allen

So there you have it. Some quick tips to fulfilling your membership in the BFCA. Make it on Criticwatch's Whores of the Year list and they may even make you an honorary lifetime member.

Or you can do something radical. Take your prize-winning membership to prove that you don't have to be a quote whore. You can write more than 200 words in a fully realized review and let the studio marketers do a little homework and find something worthwhile that they didn't write themselves. Follow in the footsteps of guys I respect in the BFCA like James Rocchi, Jeff Bayer, Josh Bell and Nathan Rabin. Not like any of the names used as examples above. Come up with your own ballot. One that you believe in. Not one that is used as a guessing game to boost statistics. Call it a conspiracy or bad critics with horrendous taste in films, but it can't be a coincidence that most of those quotes from the same people sound suspiciously alike. Criticwatch wishes the best of luck to all the entrants of the VH-1 contest and Godspeed to your year as a BFCA member. Though when you head into each screening or mark your ballot without the influence of numbers or carefully craft your praise of a film truly worthy of it, just remember the words of Kevin Costner in the shoes of Jim Garrison, "it's up to you."

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.