Criticwatch - Transforming Hyperbole Into QuotesBy Erik Childress
Posted 07/02/11 02:43:02
It might be time for a little refresher course in what we do here at Criticwatch. We are often questioned why we pick on poor Peter Travers. So many people apparently seem to hang on his every recommendation, if not the words he uses to recommend them. Therein lies the key. Travers does indeed agree with the consensus of opinion 79% of the time according to Rotten Tomatoes (76% in his last 50 reviews) and Twitter is aflutter with how much he hated the latest Transformers film, a film that "makes you die a little inside." So you agree with him, great. But the mark of a true quote whore is what happens within that 79%. When Travers likes a movie, no matter what the scale on his star rating, he is going to let you and especially the studios KNOW he likes it. Because grandstanding with a little extra ooomph on the ball is what makes you stand out in the major leagues of the marketing game. It's OK to like movies, even love them. It's OK to even disagree now and then. But when you forcefully use the same words time and time again, especially when being on the tail-end of favors from the studios, you immediately become suspect and end up at Criticwatch.
Last week, Paramount flew a select group of critics and junketeers to the other side of the globe to take in the premiere of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. While most junkets take place in Los Angeles and occasionally New York, this special occasion saw a number of them get a free trip to Moscow. Pretty nice, huh? If you go over to HitFix you can see my colleague, Drew McWeeny, introduce his review to you directly from Red Square. Josh Horowitz at MTV hints at a review while giving a full account of his time in Moscow. The difference with these though is that both writers have allowed their readers to take their reviews with a grain of salt. They may have genuinely liked the film, but they help remove any doubt that their opinions were solely influenced by a free trip across the world. Maybe just a little. No professional critic (who writes) would ever want to admit as much, but subconsciously in all of us if your neighbor invites you to their summer home for the weekend, it's going to be hard to tell them to their face that the food they served you was shit.
“Best Transformers film yet!”
“The most fun you’ll have at the movies this summer.”
“This is what a summer movie is meant to be! Go see Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”
Kelli, Kelli, Kelli. You already called Kung Fu Panda 2 "the perfect summer movie." If that's the case, then how could Transformers be "the most fun you’ll have at the movies this summer." She already fucked herself by using the word "perfect." Transformers "is what a summer movie is meant to be?" You mean more than perfect? Can't happen. Would never happen. You have already reached perfection. Nothing can be better. And almost nothing can be worse than a quote from her.
"Lots of laughs." (Something Borrowed)
"Grab all your girlfriends and go see this movie! Hilarious and heartwarming." (Bride Wars)
"Full of humor and heart!" (Old Dogs)
"It keeps you on the edge of your seat. Chris cooper is chilling. Interesting inner workings of our national security." (Breach)
"Edge of your seat." (Eagle Eye)
"Intense…will blow you away." (Terminator: Salvation)
"If you loved School of Rock, you’ll love Bandslam. Entertaining and fun, plus full of great music." (Bandslam)
"As fun as the original." (Live Free or Die Hard)
"Gripping, suspenseful and non-stop action. Will Smith is Oscar-worthy. You will not forget this performance." (I Am Legend)
Sticking with the repetition theme, remember when we said almost nothing can be worse than a quote from Kelli Gillespie. The "almost" tag, arguably, never applies to Shawn Edwards.
“The summer blockbuster has been transformed forever!”
“Phenomenal! The most exciting movie of the year. ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ is total awesomeness. It’s a bigger and better experience. You’ll be blown away.”
“This is the 3D experience you have been waiting for! It’s amazing. The 3D is like nothing you have ever seen before. You just won’t see the movie. You’ll actually feel like you are in the movie.”
“* * * *”
You see, Shawn, we say arguably to not hyperbolize the idea that you could be the biggest whore of all time. Others might say Earl Dittman, Mark S. Allen or one of the two Petes, Travers and Hammond. We leave room for discussion whereas you already called Source Code "The most thrilling movie of the year!" and now you're trying to sell that Transformers 3 is "The most exciting movie of the year." Well, which is it you lazy slag?
"Phenomenal! The most exciting film of the year!" (2012)
"****…The most exciting movie of the year!" (Resident Evil: Extinction)
All the more shame to Summit for utilizing Edwards to promote Source Code, a legitimately exciting sci-fi film unfairly lumped into Shawn's propensity of getting a boner for just about anything that blows up. Have you seen this total awesomeness before?
"The coolest! Combines romance, action and humor. You've never seen anything like it before!" (Mr. & Mrs. Smith)
"Visually stunning! You haven’t seen anything like it before." (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole)
"**** An instant classic! It’s visually awesome, totally fun and tremendously entertaining." (Horton Hears a Who)
"Awesome! A total blast." (Astro Boy)
"Awesome! The freshest and funniest comedy in a long time." (Drillbit Taylor)
"Totally awesome! So much fun you’ll want to see it twice." (TMNT)
So between 39 nominated quotes amongst 19 different critics, 13 of whom are members of the less-than-esteemed Broadcast Film Critics Association, which ended up as the big winners in the Transformers: Dark of the Moon whore-off?
"Terrific storytelling." - Bill Zwecker
"The best summer movie in years. The biggest action movie ever." - Rusty Gatenby
Oh, congratulations to newbie Rusty Gatenby and hometown colleague, Bill Zwecker, whom I'm going to have to challenge on the "terrific storytelling" angle the next time I see him. This is a Michael Bay film we are talking about after all, Bill. But way to go, Rusty. According to you, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the best summer movie in years. Better than last year's Toy Story 3 and Inception. Better than 2009's Harry Potter entry, District 9 or Inglourious Basterds? If you want to argue the semantics of what makes up a "summer" movie aside from the seasonal calendar, go right ahead. But hopefully new readers to Criticwatch are beginning to understand that when these quote whores are involved in hyping these films to moviegoers, we are all losers.
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