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TraversWatch - Taking the Lead In 2011

by Erik Childress

Readers of Criticwatch know that we are expanding our coverage on the biggest hyperbole delivery machine writing or speaking adjectives today. Peter Travers already has our award named after him. Aside from Pete Hammond's record-breaking tally of 88 quotes a few years ago, Travers has been the undisputed leader every other year and we are urging studios to cut down on their reliance of him. It is time to phase him out and this past week was as good as evidence as ever on why.

Every single wide release for the weekend of March 18 had the benefit of a Travers quote. Combine that with praise for limited releases of Jane Eyre and Win Win and those five quotes have thrust Travers into the lead for 2011 above such whoring luminaries Shawn Edwards, Jeff Craig and Mark S. Allen. There was not much surprise about those previous leaders since 2011 (before last weekend) had produced only three wide releases to receive a positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes - Rango, The Adjustment Bureau and (believe it or not) Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. When the numbers are down, the whores get to play.

The only wide release Travers had been seen on prior to March was Unknown from Warner Bros., a studio whose dependence on junket whores rivals America's on oil. Cut to March when Travers' total jumps from 3 to 8 on films with the following scores as of March 23:

Win Win (92%), The Lincoln Lawyer (83%), Jane Eyre (81%), Paul (71%), Limitless (64%)

All fresh-rated. All screened in several major markets more than a week prior to their release. Are you telling me that these studios couldn't by-pass their adherence to Travers' early big mouth and find someone who doesn't repeat themselves with the frequency of Howard Hughes on a tape loop?

This movie wins you over, head and heart. (Win Win)

A breathless rush of a movie that jumps off the screen, spins your head around and then works its way into your heart. (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)

This movie delivers so hard it shoots off sparks. Your head will spin. Your palms will sweat. Your nerves will fry. (Unstoppable)

Michael Moore isnít the only filmmaker packing enough heat to bust out of the documentary ghetto. Lores uncovers the dark heart of obsession. The electrifying result will blow you away. A shockingly fierce and funny spell-binder that leaves your head spinning. (Crazy Love)

The jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart-stopping epic we've been waiting for all year. Stupendously entertaining. What you will see will spin your head six ways from Sunday. (King Kong)

A slam-bang twister of a legal thriller. Rock-solid entertainment! Matthew McConaughey gives his best performance in years! (The Lincoln Lawyer)

A knockout of a thriller! (A Prophet)

A mind-bender of a thriller with twists you donít see coming! (Mr. Brooks)

A mesmerizing, power-punch of a thriller! Director David Cronenberg is a visionary! Eastern Promises is Viggo Mortensenís tour de force. Naomi Watts is extraordinary. (Eastern Promises)

Visionary and scary! (28 Days Later)

Aronofsky is a fearless visionary. (Black Swan)

Colin Firth gives the performance of his career and Julianne Moore is explosively good. Tom Ford is a true visionary. (A Single Man)

...a bloody wonder, intimate and epic, horrific and heartrending as it flies on the wings of Sondheimís most thunderously exciting score. Burton is a true visionary... (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)

The haunting and visionary Dark Knight soars on the wings of untamed imagination. (The Dark Knight)

Daniel Day-Lewis acts like the maestro he is and Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman and Fergie are smashing! Rob Marshall's work is visionary and electric. Nine fires on all cylinders! (Nine)

...hits you like a full-tilt adrenaline rush. (Limitless)

Pure adrenaline! (Apocalypto)

Summer just got a supershot of comic adrenalineÖ (Superbad)

... hits you right in the heart. It's the classic American tale of the family man triumphant. Ron Howard's best movie. (Cinderella Man)

Hits you like a shot in the heart. This classic in the making ranks high on the list of the yearís best movies. (Brokeback Mountain)

A classic for a new generation! (Jane Eyre)

This you do not want to miss! A spellbinder that builds unbearable suspense without losing sight of the storyís grieving heart. Tommy Lee Jones hits a new standard of rugged excellence. Josh Brolin gives a career-making performance. Youíll never forget Javier Bardemís tour de force. Fierce and fiendishly funny. This classic-in-the-making is the Coen Brothers at the peak of their powers! (No Country for Old Men)

A new Coen Brothers classic. (True Grit)

Triumphant! A new American crime classic from the legendary Martin Scorsese, whose talent shines here on its highest beams. (The Departed)

A triumph of the highest order! A new crime classic. (A Prophet)

A masterpiece that can stand with Unforgiven. A movie of startling power and intimacy. A new Clint classic. The movie to beat for 2003. Clint Eastwoodís finest achievement as a director. (Mystic River)

A total triumph! Brimming with humor and heart. If thereís a better movie around this year with more bristling purpose, I havenít seen it. An American classic! Explosive. It will pin you to your seat. Josh Brolin is simply astounding. Gus Van Santís best film. (Milk)

A mind-blowing comedy classic (Borat)

You are not getting anything you haven't seen before studios. He may tell you exactly what you want to hear in your product, but I guarantee you can find something similar (and even better) from the hundreds of critics not named Peter Travers. Give them a shot. You might find something so smashing it will make your head spin.


2 - Fox Searchlight (Cedar Rapids, Win Win)
1 - Focus (Jane Eyre)
1 - IFC (Kaboom)
1 - Lions Gate (The Lincoln Lawyer)
1 - Summit (Limitless)
1 - Universal (Paul)
1 - Warner Bros. (Unknown)


Paramount (9), Sony Classics (7), Warner Bros. (6), Weinstein (6), Focus (5), Fox Searchlight (5), IFC (5), Disney (4), Magnolia (4), Sony (4), Universal (4), Lions Gate (3), Music Box (3), Overture (2), Anchor Bay (2), Roadside (2), Fox (1), Miramax (1), Paramount Vantage (1)

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originally posted: 03/24/11 09:34:58
last updated: 03/24/11 09:42:03
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