Criticwatch - Not Brave, No Heart: A Whore By Any Other NameBy Erik Childress
Posted 06/23/12 00:42:47
If there has been one collection of films where the term "critic-proof" has certainly applied over the years, it is that of Pixar. The Toy Story trilogy alone would have a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes if it wasn't for the likes of three critics, including perennial miss-the-boat nutball Armond White. And the list continues with Finding Nemo & Up (98%), The Incredibles (97%), WALL-E & Ratatouille (96%), Monsters Inc. (95%) and A Bug's Life (92%). Considering it is near impossible to get over 200 critics in the same room to agree on anything, that is a pretty remarkable tally. Even the generally derided Cars managed a 74% approval and if it wasn't for them stumbling badly with Cars 2 (38%) last year, Pixar's record would be just about untarnished. Now comes their perceived apology in our eyes - a Scottish adventure tale with their first female lead after a dozen films. Brave could be simply just good and it could be forgiven as a stepping stone from last year's abyss back to greatness; a bit of forgiveness that many critics seem to be justifying their praise with. Motivations and being big ol' softies aside, we cannot imagine any critic trying to make the case that, at best, this is lower grade Pixar for small children. Who would be brave enough to say otherwise? In your heart, you know who.
The list goes through Chicago this time. Not through Mr. Ebert who would never be labeled a Criticwatch whore anyway. Not even through our local junketeer, Dean Richards, who is no doubt still trying to justify John Carter as "the first big blockbuster of the year." Actually, the first quote is closer to Ebert than some may realize.
This is Mark S. Allen to the right donning the Carrot Top wig to show that him and Merida are kindred spirits or something. It would be great to see the actual comedian in his next stage show in Vegas take the same wig, put it on a dog turd and call it a piece of shit quote whore trying to be a comedian. Cause he sure as hell ain't a critic. In every way.
"Amazingly entertaining! Remarkable in every way!" (Sin City)
"Enchanting in every way! Diabolically hilarious." (Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events)
"Mesmerizing. A nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat experience that you'll remember forever. Truly great in every way!" (The Ghost Writer)
"One of the best movies in years! Remarkable and award-worthy in every way. Very funny and relentlessly suspenseful!" (Matchstick Men)
"The most explosive cop drama in years. Brilliant in every way." (Pride and Glory)
"Pure genius. Brilliant in every way!" (Megamind)
"A masterpiece! Visually breathtaking and stunning in every way." (The Phantom of the Opera)
Remember the lesson of another Pixar film, Mark? Namely The Incredibles. If everyone is special, than no one is.
"The heart and soul of Rocky and The Champ...an instant classic." (Real Steel)
"An instant classic." (Flipped)
"An instant classic. The most unique, intense, satisfying film this year!" (Identity)
"A stunning masterpiece that is destined to become a timeless classic." (Ray)
"A masterpiece destined to become a timeless classic." (Cinderella Man)
Sorry, we can't resist shaming Shawn Edwards' idiocy. He is the two-time reigning Quote Whore of the Year, you know; an award named after the biggest whore of them all.
"Visual magic. Pixar has outdone itself!" - Peter Travers
We already looked at Travers and his use of what's "visual" in that same article when he called Snow White and the Huntsman "a visual marvel." This time it's "visual magic." Who cares? As I said in my own review of Brave, "praising Pixar solely for its expressive imagery is like bestowing an award upon water for being wet." It's the second part of Travers' quote we are most interested in and we would just like to present a small sample of what the Rolling Stone critic has said about Pixar's films over the years.
"A thing of beauty, hugely entertaining and way cool!" (Finding Nemo)
"One of the year's best. It's James Bond, Indiana Jones and the X-Men all rolled into one kick-out-the-jams spectacle." (The Incredibles)
"Downright breathtaking! A class act all the way…Pixar does it again!" (Cars)
"A hilarious and heartfelt wonder! A new miracle in animation from Pixar…Unique and unmissable." (Ratatouille)
"A breathtaking ride. Wonderfully funny and touching…Up works miracles." (Up)
"It's the Pixar touch that makes Cars 2 a winner. Cars 2 is even better than before. This is the real Fast and Furious. A tire-burning blast of action and fun with a beating heart under its hood. You can bet Cars 2 will rev your engines." (Cars 2)
Like the Animated Feature Award, Criticwatch only goes back so far in our database having started the enterprise in 2002. So we went through the ol' Google to look up some of the other things Travers has said about Pixar:
"No movie can be a downer that fills you with pure exhilaration. You leave with a feeling of the rarest kind: that you've just enjoyed a close encounter with an enduring classic.." (WALL-E)
"It's the Pixar animators who keep grown-ups as riveted as the kids with visual marvels that dazzle and delight." (Monsters Inc.)
"...a joy to behold. It hits every button from laughter to tears and lifts you up on waves of visual dazzlement. And you don't need to take a kid along to appreciate it... Tag it as one of the year's best." (Toy Story 3)
We didn't even go looking for the word "visual" we swear. Miracles, classics, year's best. You need some kind of courage to go out on a limb and call the latest one better than them all. Surely, Travers isn't just spouting empty words again and can back up that statement, right? That's what real critics do.
That is what Travers wrote at Rolling Stone to accompany his video segment. Notice what's missing? No mention of Pixar outdoing themselves. Not even a mention of "visual magic." Instead in both video and print, Travers seems to be taking people to task for daring to compare Brave to the rest of the Pixar canon. Citing those who want to know if it's as good as Finding Nemo or WALL-E or The Incredibles, Travers says flat-out...
"No, it's not as good as those, but it's still good. Why isn't that enough for people? But it isn't."
Hardly a backup of the statement that "Pixar has outdone itself." Actually, it's nearly a complete contradiction of it. But why be consistent when you can get your name and your outlet into the ads? Who cares if you actually said it or even mean it? Hooray for Rolling Stone! Three cheers for Peter Travers! You really have outdone yourself, proving you really are no better than Shawn Edwards or Mark S. Allen and its about time people on Twitter and at the studios know that skepticism of their film will follow every time one of them is placed on an ad.
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