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TraversWatch - Help! We Need Somebody (other than Travers!) Help!

by Erik Childress

There are a lot of quotes making the airwaves this week. With four wide releases on the docket, that comes with the territory. Three of them are on the negative side at Rotten Tomatoes. That must be why Carrie Keagan is plastered on the ads for two of them, citing that the Glee concert film is "not just a movie, it's a celebration!" and that 30 Minutes or Less is so funny you'll need a diaper. Whatever you say, Carrie. Hell, the Weinsteins are trucking on positive quotes on Spy Kids 4 even though they are refusing to screen it for critics in most cities. Look for that to be in the negative next week too. There will be plenty of whore quotes to go around the last few weeks of summer and we are sure they will come back into play at some point, but it's time for another round of asking the studios why they continue to use Peter Travers to promote the films they don't need him for. Like The Help.

"I'm calling bullsh** on The movie plays like an evangelical prayer meeting, though I'd hold the hallelujahs."

Actually that's not his quote on The Help, though there are many critics who might think it also applies to the film about African-American maids told through the eyes of privileged white women. No, that's what ol' Travers said about the Glee film. Sometimes ol' Pete has to really amp up the hatred to counter his overflowing praise when he even faintly likes a film. For myself, as someone who has yet to see Glee in 3-D and actually went from loving the show in its first season to absolutely hating its sanctimonious whining midway through its second, I much prefer my colleague's Matt Pais' take on the hypocrisy of the concert film's message.

We have come not to destroy the Glee film though, but to praise The Help. Well, not me. But all the other whores leading the way.

"Breathtaking!" - Guy Farris, ABC-TV/Sacramento
"Brilliant!" - Roger Moore
"Captivating!" - Chris Parente, FOX/TV/Denver
"Not to be missed!" - Lee Bailey,
"A must-see!" - Tony Toscano]
"Powerful and inspiring." - Kevin Steincross
"Poignant and hilarious." - Meg Porter, WSVN-TV Fox "Deco Drive" / Miami
"The entire cast is brilliant. Funny, touching, inspiring." - Pete Hammond
"An unforgettable experience. Altogether wonderful. **** A profound and joyful film." - Jeff Craig
"Exceptional! The most inspiring movie of the year." - Shawn Edwards
"One of the best films of the year." - Sandie Newton
"The best film of the year!" - Mark Dubec, CBS-TV/Chicago

Do you want to take the word of Kevin Steincross on what is "powerful and inspiring;" the guy who called the Arthur remake " the feel-good movie of the Spring?" The last two times Shawn Edwards used the word "exceptional" was to describe Jane Fonda and Scarlett Johansson in, respectively, Georgia Rule and The Nanny Diaries. And sorry, Mark Dubec, but your website says you are from Indiana. Not Chicago. Keep your whoring on the other side of the border, please. We don't want your kind here. Gone with you, be invisible like Jeff "an unforgettable experience" who called Water For Elephants...wait for it..."an unforgettable experience. Not to mention:

"A lovely and irresistible tale of true love...It's altogether wonderful. A pure delight." (Letters To Juliet)
"A joyful film that will leave a lump in your throat. It’s altogether wonderful, and you’ll want to bring a friend." (The Secret Life of Bees)

Guess Fox Searchlight didn't have a contract on that term with Craig. Why are we wasting time with these other whores though? We are here for Travers this week who offered his own description of The Help:

"The Help is an exhilarating gift filled with humor and heartbreak." - Peter Travers

That's nice, Peter. Maybe next time try not re-gifting.

"An exhilarating gift." (Fish Tank)
"A playful comedy laced with heartbreak…Holmes has her best screen role to date." (Pieces of April)
"Writer-Director Tod Williams catches the heartbreak and humor of the story that do John Irving proud. A never-better Jeff Bridges! Basinger's haunted beauty burns in the memory - this is her finest work. Don't miss it!" (The Door In The Floor)
"Downey gives a blazing performance that runs the gamut from humor to heartbreak." (Zodiac)
"Owen Wilson skillfully blends humor and heartbreak" (The Darjeeling Limited)
"Blending humor and heartbreak in a performance that makes Is Anybody There? A richly satisfying film, Caine truly is magic." (Is Anybody There?)
"A movie rich in hilarity, heartbreak and a sense of life in all its vibrant, messy sprawl." (Friends with Money)
"An irresistible blend of humor and heartbreak." (Cemetery Junction)
"A near perfect blend of humor and heartbreak. That rare summer movie - one that matters." (Summer Hours)
"In a multiplex crowded with formula rom-coms divorced from genuine feeling, Cyrus brims over with hilarity and heartbreak". (Cyrus)

The Travers archive is full of this stuff. And it's all meaningless - even if he means it. We have noticed recently that some of the studios are preferring to credit just Rolling Stone; keeping Travers' name off entirely on quotes for Bellflower and Another Earth. Criticwatch does not give Travers credit if the studios don't. Therefore that leaves Travers with just 35 quotes on the year. This is potentially a significant step down for the studios use of him considering he had a whole 48 through Labor Day weekend just last year. Up through this weekend's releases (of which Travers split over) his reviews linked at Rotten Tomatoes chalk up to 48-29 positive-to-negative (not including his review of HBO's Mildred Pierce and double-dip on Jane Eyre). All but two of his 35 quotes are for films with positive reviews linked there. That means a third of his praise was ignored by studios who found something better. Criticwatch is still weening the studios off the Travers crack, so we'll set the goal on his output for the year at 49 or less. That's under 50, studios. We're spotting you 14 more quotes tops for the last four months of the year. Can you do it? Can you resist the urge and go cold turkey on this ham? This is our official whisper to you all. Time for a change.

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originally posted: 08/12/11 21:42:55
last updated: 08/12/11 23:05:30
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