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Criticwatch - A Vow That This Means War
by Erik Childress

We are still steeped in the first two months of the year, otherwise known as the quote whore's breeding ground. With the exception of a few choice titles, the studios are dumping some serious garbage on us. Of the 17 wide releases so far in 2011, only six have ranked in the positive with critics and another six could not even crack the 30% barrier at Rotten Tomatoes. (Three of which were not screened for press.) The usual spate of whores are spread pretty liberally throughout of all those films, good and bad, and we remind the studios that they should not bother trying to legitimize any of these morons by giving them ink on opening weekend. It's the only ink they get since they don't put any of it to paper (or at least a Word document) to actually write reviews or anything. The studios know they are worthless pawns which is why they are usually dumped from the publicity campaign as soon as any critic with any legitimacy lends, well, legitimacy to a film's praise. Like discarding the dipping sauce of McNuggets for the fine wine sauce of Chicken Marsala. You would do it too. But there is one serious whore out there trying to dip his name in every sauce he can find. The month-old sauce especially and, believe it or not, we are not even talking about Shawn Edwards.

Don't worry, Edwards haters, we still hate him too. And he is tied with both Mark S. Allen and Pete Hammond for the most quotes on the year. Why Disney felt it was necessary to include his praise on the ads for The Secret World of Arrietty, the best reviewed film of the year so far, is baffling. 71 positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes and they go with Edwards (the 2010 & 2011 Whore of the Year), Jami Philbrick (#5 in 2011) and Holly "a secret you will want to share" McClure. It should be noted that Disney didn't even feel the need to screen Arrietty in Austin. Apparently their critic base was not worthy of the Studio Ghibli animation that they (like most all critics) have praised to no end over the years. At least they screened John Carter down there specifically for Harry Knowles to get some buttered-up praise going on a film that is being charted for potential box office infamy. Look for a lot of the usual Disney whores to be all over that Kitsch-fest. Mark our words.

We are getting off the track here, but having two weeks full of whore quotes is enough to steer anyone the wrong way. It is always best to have a direction here at Criticwatch to connect the dots in some manner. Not like Jeffrey Lyons saying that "Not since Fargo has there been such a clever crime story" about the limp Thin Ice. See, cause Fargo had a lot of snow in it. Guess ol' Jeffrey wasn't a fan of The Ice Harvest. (Fellow New York critic, Marshall Fine, wrote on Twitter that Thin Ice was "a Fargo wannabe that couldn't carry that classic's snow shovel.") In Lyons' case it would be the lame-brained equivalent of saying The Vow is the most romantic film since The Notebook. Because, you know, it has Rachel McAdams in it and she forgets who screwed her again against her parents' wishes. Actually kind of surprised no one used that stand-by gem as it was in some manner for Dear John and Nights in Rodanthe. As those were actual Nicholas Sparks adaptations, I suppose we can look forward to that Notebook mention when The Lucky One comes out in April. The Vow, on the other hand, looks like a Sparks film but actually smells a lot worse (and that is a list that also contains Message in a Bottle, A Walk To Remember and Miley Cyrus in The Last Song.) Currently ranking 12th on that list of 17 reviewed wide releases (with a 30% rating), The Vow nevertheless had its supporters from the whore gallery.

"Beautiful." - Chris Parente
"Romantic and steamy!" - Mose Persico
"****...Rachel McAdams & Channing Tatum are amazing." - Shawn Edwards
"You'll fall in love with The Vow." - Rachel Smith/FOX5 Vegas
"Destined to be a romantic classic." - Paige Wiser/ABC Chicago
"The perfect Valentine's Day date movie!" - Jim Ferguson/KGUN9 TV ABC Tucson

Always funny when quote whores pimp romance. Even funnier is ol' Jim Ferguson, winner of the 2011 Bag O' Douche Award, who will probably say that Screen Gems took him out of context somehow. I doubt any Valentine's Day couple wants to take the advice of a guy who has pimped for everything from Leap Year to New In Town to New Year's Eve and who once called Alex and Emma "the most romantic film of the year."

"The perfect date movie for the holidays." (P.S. I Love You)
"The perfect family movie for the holidays." (Yogi Bear)
"The holiday film we’ve all been waiting for!" (Brother Bear)
"A must-see for the holiday season." (National Treasure: Book of Secrets)
"Don’t miss this wonderful holiday film." (Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium)
"A holiday treat for the whole family! (Fat Albert)
"The most original action-adventure of the summer" (The League of Extraordinary Gentleman)
" A very funny summer comedy!" (Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star)
"The perfect summer comedy for the whole family." (A Cinderella Story)

The Vow could have opened on Arbor Day and Jim Ferguson would find a way to pimp it. Speaking of stumps like Channing Tatum though, that Journey 2 The Mysterious Island sure has a lot of trees. What? You want something more positive than that?

"Epic. A thrill for the whole family!" - Jeremy Parsons, Reelz Channel
"Take this journey!" - Cindy Pearlman

OK, new rule for all film critics. You must not allow yourself to use a word from the movie's title in your review in the positive. Whores don't write reviews, so continue to be unoriginal lapdog morons. Right, Holly "a secret you will want to share" McClure about The Secret World of Arrietty? Chicago takes no pleasure in knowing that a "celebrity columnist" from the same newspaper that Roger Ebert writes for is a blatant shill for Warner Bros. But at least she is not Maria Salas. Well, almost not.

"Awesome. Eye-popping 3-D. Pure adventure." - Maria Salas

Do you really want this woman recommending stuff to your kids?

"This movie rules!" (The Princess Diaries 2)
"Sweet and romantic. A cool modern twist on the classic tale." (A Cinderella Story)
"A magical, fantastic and wonderful fable that will capture the heart of the whole family!" (Nanny McPhee)
"Great family entertainment." (Nancy Drew)
"The greatest family adventure of the summer!" (Two Brothers)
"The next big fantasy action adventure." (Eragon)
"Vin Diesel gets an A+" (The Pacifier)
"One of the best sci-fi fantasy adventures since E.T." (The Last Mimzy)
"The best film...since Finding Nemo" (Robots)
"No other moviegoing experience comes close!" (Cars)

Allow me to amend that last question. Do you really want this woman recommending anything to anyone of any age group? "No other moviegoing experience comes close" to Cars? The unanimous choice for worst Pixar film until Cars 2 came out? Surely a better time can be had at the movies than that, right?

"The most fun you can have at the movies." (This Means War) - Maria Salas

Wow, really? It is currently the 4th worst-reviewed film of the year at 24% and that number is dwindling. By critical response alone, you would have a better time at Joyful Noise than Joseph McGinty's latest turd drop. Then again, Maria's response isn't exclusive. At least not to herself.

"The most fun you’ll have this Christmas." (Night at the Museum)
"The most action packed fun you'll have at the movies all summer." (Green Lantern)

Is it safe then to call Maria Salas "the most fun we can have with a shameless no-taste female quote whore working today?" I think it is. We'll get back to the latest McG turd and the whores that support it in a minute. But we're not done with Journey 2. Or, more to the point, one of the co-leading whores of 2012

"An epic 'Journey' for everyone." - Mark S. Allen
"An epic and awesome experience." (300)
"Epic. Glorious. Unforgettable." (Australia)
"Fun, funny and entertaining for everyone!" (G-Force)
"One of Disney's finest. Awesome for everyone!" (Home on the Range)
"The best Spy Kids movie yet! Young, old and everyone in-between will love this movie!" (Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over)
"The best Pirates yet! Epic and amazing!" (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End)
"The best Resident Evil yet!" (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
"The best Twilight film yet!" (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1)
"The best Underworld yet." (Underworld Awakening)
"Irresistible...Hilary Duff's best film yet..." (Raise Your Voice)

We know Mr. S. Allen didn't call Journey 2 "the best Journey yet", but the parallels were too irresistible. Had to be done. Just as we have to point out that we have a new genuine competitor for top whore in the business. Honestly, we have not seen such a quick rise in whoredom since 2004 when Pete Hammond burst on the scene.

Joel Amos has been stuck in the teens as far as quote totals his last two years, but something suggests that he is poised to make a run for numbers in the Shawn Edwards nether regions. He is no longer beholden to and is his own man right now at, the site which you might remember a few weeks ago included their OWN QUOTE as part of their "extended preview" of the fourth worst-reviewed film of 2012, Man On A Ledge. In the last two weeks, Amos has picked up three more quotes:

"The most intense thriller since Bourne." (Safe House)
"The year's first great adventure." (Journey 2 The Mysterious Island)
"The funniest comedy of the year." (This Means War)

Let those sink in for a moment. Breath. OK. In 2011, Joel Amos ended up with 17 quotes (we found a Footloose shout-out later.) 12 of them ended up with Rotten Tomatoes from critics, 8 of which were under 40% approval. In 2012, Amos already has 4 quotes, all of them rotten and two ranked in the bottom five reviewed films of the year so far. The so far is important as those rankings will change, but not Amos' words. Safe House is the best reviewed "rotten" film of the lot (at 52%), but it is time to officially put a moratorium on the Bourne blurbs. Especially since the next chapter with Jeremy Renner is hitting theaters in August. The Bourne Ultimatum is a great movie, no question about it. If it is the standard since 2007 that all action films are measured against, so be it. "The best action film in decades," according to Pete "what isn't to him?" Hammond. But that cannot mean that so many films measure up to it.

"This year’s Bourne Ultimatum. (Traitor) - Pete Hammond
"This year’s Bourne Ultimatum. (Traitor) - Steve Oldfield
"The best action movie since The Bourne Ultimatum. Get ready for the ride of your life. Move over Bourne." (Taken) - Pete Hammond
"Bourne gone epic." (Green Zone) - Mark Dinning, Empire
"More strength than Bourne, Salt is the newest, sexiest spy in town." (Salt) - Dave Basner (MTV/VH1 Radio Networks)
"The most intense thriller since The Bourne Ultimatum." - Max Ervy,

Two things from this list. First off, did not know Tom Hanks from Nothing In Common now works for MTV & VH-1, and would like to see if he really believes that Edwina Salt could take on Jason Bourne. Not if their marriage in The Good Shepherd was any indication. But secondly, just how common is this whole Bourne comparison? Is it a shared-brain kind of thing or was someone at Universal handing out blurb recommendations? Studios, the least you can do is make sure you apply one quote/idea/comparison to a single "critic." Seriously guys, Traitor??? Let's go back to Amos' two other quotes though:

"The year's first great adventure." (Journey 2 The Mysterious Island)
"The funniest comedy of the year." (This Means War)

Straight from the mouth of the guy who called April's The Back-Up Plan "the first great romantic comedy of 2010" and ended the same year by calling November's Due Date "the funniest film of the year." Only now it is February and we are only a week apart. Now, in Amos' defense the only wide release this year that anyone could honestly label as a "comedy" is One For The Money. The quotation marks are intentional for the Katherine Heigl film that has less positive reviews than The Devil Inside. So, Amos' statement might actually have some logistic validation to it, if only for the line where Chris Pine watches Chelsea Handler svengali her way into Reese Witherspoon's brain and asks how come she is listening to "that old man."

Of course, to make any allusion to This Means War being "the funniest comedy of the year" one probably needs to laugh more than once. In that respect, one could honestly argue that Chronicle and Haywire produce more genuine laughter or even such crap-ass fare like Red Tails, The Vow or Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance contains more unintentional guffaws than the whole of McG's contemptible piece of garbage that would have been rejected for an episode of Chuck in its final seasons. Do you remember these quotes from Amos last year?

"Finally a comedy that's romantic and funny!" (What's Your Number?)
"Finally, a smart, witty comedy for adults." (The Big Year)

Those movies opened a week apart. One. Week. What is anyone so starved for in entertainment that they have to whip out an exasperated "FINALLY" two weeks in a row. And for the record, his "comedy for adults" was rated "PG" while his other misogyny-laden rom-com was an "R." Clearly, Amos is not one for waiting. So it would make sense he would smack such a label upon This Means War. Why wait for Wanderlust, 21 Jump Street, The Five-Year Engagement or The Dictator? That's just for starters. Hell, Judd Apatow's latest, This Is 40, doesn't open until Dec. 21. What if that turns out to be worthy of the "funniest" label? For now, let us just update the Joel Amos list of choice quotes since 2010 and maybe that will be enough for studios to rid him from movie ads. Finally.[br]

"Pure magic." (Super 8)
"Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have created pure magic." (The Adventures of Tintin)
"Moms is marvelous! " (Mars Needs Moms)
"Astounding. Reese and Robert sizzle. A love story for our times. " (Water For Elephants)
"The most intense thriller since Bourne." (Safe House)
"Pulse pounding. " (Colombiana)
"Mind-bending. " (In Time)
"Wildly original. Full of twists and turns." (Man On A Ledge)
"The Farrelly brothers have done it again. Hall pass is a comedic explosion. Insanely funny. " (Hall Pass)
"Finally a comedy that's romantic and funny! " (What's Your Number?)
"Finally, a smart, witty comedy for adults. " (The Big Year)[br]
"Kate Hudson has never been better! The perfect date movie. " (Something Borrowed)
"Sam Worthington has never been better. " (Texas Killing Fields)
"Dane Cook is at his best. " (Answers To Nothing)
"The most fun you'll have at the movies this year! " (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)
"The perfect family holiday comedy. " (Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked)
"The perfect family summer comedy. " (Marmaduke)
"The perfect summer movie. " (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)
"Hilarious! " (Going the Distance)
"Hysterical. Awesome. " (Megamind)
"Hysterical with a heart of gold. Hysterically funny! " (You Again)
"You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll leave happy. " (Life As We Know It)
"The year's first great adventure." (Journey 2 The Mysterious Island)
"The first great romantic comedy of 2010. Jennifer Lopez is pure perfection. " (The Back-Up Plan)
"The funniest film of the year. " (Due Date)
"The funniest comedy of the year." (This Means War)

Joel Amos, ladies and gentlemen.

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originally posted: 02/22/12 03:05:43
last updated: 02/22/12 03:22:47
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