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Criticwatch - The 2012 Pete Hammond Retrospective

by Erik Childress

By now you may have already seen that Criticwatch is unhappy with the increased (if only slightly) surge of Peter Travers in cinema marketing this year. Fortunately there is a silver lining though cause the other Pete has gone in the direction we have been anticipating and it is a direct counterbalance that makes us very happy. Despite being the second more quoted hyperbole machine on our watch list, Hammond still finished with the lowest total he has ever received in a calendar year. Back in 2005 when Hammond turned on the quote machine full time he ended the year with a total of 31. And that was from the end of June on. 29 quotes in a full 12 months is very good news indeed. The bad news is that it could still just all be proportionate. Hammond only had 43 reviews posted at Rotten Tomatoes for 2012 releases; 40 of which were positive. Of those forty, Pete #2 was quoted on nearly half of them. That still left 11 quotes actually unaccounted for; quotes from reviews that a simple Google search could not track down. What other conclusion can we come to that if Pete Hammond writes a glowing hyped-up review the studios will quote him. And if he doesn't - he'll give them something to put in the ads anyway. A true quote whore he is. And one that must be diminished ever further.

"This summer's great escape!" (Hit & Run)
"One film hits it out of the park." (Trouble with the Curve)
"Totally delivers..." (What To Expect When You're Expecting)
"A treasure chest full of laughs!" (The Pirates!: Band of Misfits)
"It's the fairest family entertainment of all." (Mirror Mirror)
"A whale of a great tale." (Big Miracle)

That's Pete Hammond for you. Here are a couple more samples from this year. And its past year doppelgangers. Excuse us if we repeat ourselves. It's par for the course on Hammond's hyperbole. There is little need to give you much additional commentary. We have done this dance before. So let's polka.

"A terrific film full of life, heart, music and fantastic dancing. A movie that just makes you feel good. See it!" (Musical Chairs)
"Joyful Noise is a reason to celebrate! It will have you dancing in the aisles. (Joyful Noise)

"An absolutely hilarious, rousing and joyous celebration that will have you dancing in the aisles and smiling for days. What a movie! A guaranteed cure for the summertime blues. You'll want to line up and see it again the minute it ends." (Mamma Mia)
A cinematic gem that actually makes you feel good about being alive!" (On a Clear Day)
"Don't dare miss it! This year's best reason for celebration. It's that rare achievement moviegoers around the world should be deeply thankful for. A richly entertaining and remarkable film that manages to reveal the humanity in all of us." (Joyeux Noel)

"Inspiring and heartwarming." (Big Miracle)
"Timeless and inspiring! (The Greatest Game Ever Played)
"Funny, touching, inspiring." (The Help)
"An animation triumph! Thrilling, funny, charming and inspiring." (Kung Fu Panda)
"Truly magnificent! An inspiring, stirring, unforgettable human drama." (The Flowers of War)
"A wonderful, entertaining and unforgettable movie. Truly inspiring." (Dolphin Tale)
"Truly inspiring. Grabs you by the heart in unexpected and wonderful ways." (Akeelah and the Bee)
"An inspiring and extraordinary true story." (The Blind Side)
"An inspiring tale of courage." (Rescue Dawn)
"An incredible and inspiring story of redemption and determination." (Machine Gun Preacher)
"A remarkable and inspiring true story about a man with unbelievable grit, determination and heart. You'll be rooting for him all the way." (Flash of Genius)
"A landslide comedy winner. Kevin Costner is pitch-perfect in the one movie that is so inspiring you'll stand up and cheer." (Swing Vote)
"If this movie doesn't make you want to stand up and cheer you probably don't have a pulse!" (Invincible)

"Ryan Reynolds is terrific in this heart-racing smart action thriller." (Safe House)
"A nerve-rattling political thriller." (Nothing But the Truth)
"A sleek, surprising and surefire thriller that will grab you by the throat." (Fracture)
"A pulse-pounding thriller." (The Whistleblower)
"…A pulse-pounding experience that is bound to create waves of controversy. (September Dawn)
"Pulse-pounding. Heart-racing excitement from start to finish. Hands down the best suspense thriller of the year." (Valkyrie)
"Guaranteed to get your heart racing." (Rendition)
"A fun, heart-racing adventure…Race To Witch Mountain has it all!" (Race To Witch Mountain)

"Fantastic movie fun for everyone." (Dr. Seuss' The Lorax)
"Hilarious and lots of fun for everyone." (Enchanted)
"A great time at the movies for everyone! Huge laughs, spectacular special effects and the pure animal magnetism of Steve Carell make this the summer movie comedy event that proves to be every bit as much fun as it's meant to be - times two!" (Evan Almighty)

"The perfect summer film." (The Magic of Belle Isle)
"Perfect entertainment for the whole family." (The Odd Life of Timothy Green)
"The perfect holiday family film. The Avengers' of Animated movies." (Rise of the Guardians)

"Hilarious! Pure family fun: Action, laughs and heart." (G-Force)
"A triumphant return to Narnia! It's magical and fun. Perfect for all ages." (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)
"Funny, warm and wonderful with great 3D! The perfect family film in every way." (Mars Needs Moms)
"The Longshots scores! A big winner for the whole family." (The Longshots)
"Igor is monstrously funny and clever…genuine fun for the whole family." (Igor)
"Here's the perfect grown-up summer entertainment, packed with action served up in sleek, ultra-cool style." (Miami Vice
"Perfect summer entertainment" (Angels and Demons)
"The perfect summer comedy." (Larry Crowne)
"The perfect summer joyride" from start to finish line! (Cars)
"The perfect summer movie." (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides)
"The perfect cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones (The Adventures of Tintin)
"The perfect holiday film." (Bolt)
"The most wondrous film of its kind since E.T. is an incredible fantasy adventure for the kid in every one of us. The Water Horse is the perfect holiday film, a fantastic fusion of humor, heart and pure excitement." (The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep)

"Best Wimpy Kid yet!" (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days)
"Disney Pixar's funniest movie ever!" (Ratatouille)
"The best Pirates ever." (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides)
"A hard driving adrenaline pumping blast that leaves everything else in its dust. The most spectacular and exhilarating action sequences the screen has seen in years. The best one yet." (Fast Five)
"They've saved the best 'X' for last. Awesome! This one's got it all - and then some! Great action, great actors, the greatest X-Men movie yet." (X-Men: The Last Stand)

"Like Toy Story 3 this Madagascar proves 3 is the charm. Hilarious. Exciting. Heartwarming." (Madagascar 3)
"Truly Awesome. Hilarious, heartwarming entertainment for all ages." (Toy Story 3)
"Hilarious & heartwarming." (Mr. Popper's Penguins)
"Hilarious and heartwarming. Zac Efron shoots and scores!" (17 Again)
"Awesome! Hilarious! More laughs, excitement and heart than any other comedy this year." (Bolt)
"The greatest animated triumph since Toy Story 3." (Rio)

"One of the funniest animated films in years." (The Pirates!: Band of Misfits)
"A visual stunner that takes animated films to thrilling new heights! Henry Selick has created a modern classic and tops even his brilliant Nightmare Before Christmas." (Coraline)
"The most purely entertaining and inventive animated comedy of the year. It's raining big food and big laughs." (Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs)
"The animated surprise of the year!" (Hoodwinked)
"A timeless classic that ranks with the very best of animated films." (The Tale of Despereaux)

Does Pete Hammond have any sort of sense memory at all? From Ratatouille to Igor, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to Bolt and Toy Story 3 to Rio, it sure seems like animated films were bringing the funny pretty consistently to Pete's overly enthusiastic puss. As in face.

"Magnificent! A ravishing, stunning epic with superlative performances. A riveting, compelling love story from a brilliant filmmaker. A must see for fans of great world cinema." (A Royal Affair)
"...terrific performances and a riveting story so compelling you won't be able to take your eyes off the screen!" (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
"An electrifying epic in every sense of the word, some scenes are so intense you may have to be tied down to your seat. A fierce and visceral stunner that will leave you breathless!" (Apocalypto)
"King Kong rules over all the others. As big, breathtakingly exciting and relentlessly thrilling as any epic adventure the screen has seen in many years! If you think you've seen Kong, you ain't seen nothing yet!" (King Kong)
"Fearless grabs you with its epic scope and richly human story." (Jet Li's Fearless)
"A triumphant success! Spectacular epic moviemaking at its best in the tradition of Gladiator and Braveheart." (Robin Hood)
"Powerfully compelling! American Gangster makes a return to the lost art of true storytelling, every bit as epic as The Godfather." (American Gangster)
"A must see! A towering, unforgettable epic...Director Roland Joffe returns to the stirring tradition of his greatest films, The Killing Fields and The Mission." (There Be Dragons)
"Destined to become the most hilarious rock epic ever." (Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny)

"Abbie Cornish gives the most impressive performance of her career..." (The Girl)
"Angelina Jolie gives the performance of her career as Mariane Pearl..." (A Mighty Heart)
"Hugh Jackman gives the performance of his career." (The Fountain)
"Chris Cooper, in a career-best performance, is sensational..." (Breach)
"This is the best performance of Sandra Bullock's career. "(The Blind Side)
"Daniel Craig gives the performance of his career." (Defiance)
"Anthony Hopkins gives the greatest film performance of his entire career. He deserves another Oscar." (The World's Fastest Indian)

"Savages is one of Oliver Stone's best movies." (Savages)
"The Magic Of Belle Isle is one of Rob Reiner's best. (The Magic of Belle Isle)

"Ranks with The Shining as one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever!" (1408)
"Amelia simply soars. Amelia is grand entertainment in the best tradition of the movies. (Amelia)
"A triumphant success! Spectacular epic moviemaking at its best in the tradition of Gladiator and Braveheart. (Robin Hood)
"Hits the bullseye…One of Oliver Stone's best." (W.)

This is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, The American President. In no order other than release date, those are Rob Reiner's eight best movies. Can we at least agree on that? North, Ghosts of Mississippi, The Story of Us, Alex & Emma, Rumor Has It, The Bucket List and Flipped. Which one of those lists does The Magic of Belle Isle really belong to?

"Flipped is a true gem." - Pete Hammond

Up yours, Hammond. You wouldn't know a gem if you were a jewel merchant with a penchant for the collected discography of The Holograms.

"A true gem! A rich entertainment, the kind of smart, sophisticated adult comedy that rarely comes along these days. A must see for people who love movies. Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline and the sterling ensemble cast are superb. (Darling Companion)
"People Like Us is for people who love great movies. A compelling, beautifully acted, humane and riveting motion picture experience. This is intelligent adult filmmaking at its finest. One of the year's very best! (People Like Us)

"Triumphant! A true gem of a film." (Is Anybody There? )
"A cinematic gem that actually makes you feel good about being alive!" (On a Clear Day)
"...from title to end credits one of those choice cinematic gems." (Little Children)
"This is one of those rare gems you must not miss." (Control)

"Provocative and compelling. Don't miss it...engrossing, intelligent storytelling at its very best. "The ensemble cast is superb." (The Words)
"Harrelson at his very best!" Defendor
"A timeless classic that ranks with the very best of animated films. The Tale of Despereaux -
"...terrific performances and a riveting story so compelling you won't be able to take your eyes off the screen!" The Exorcism of Emily Rose
"A powerful, compelling and shocking drama that will keep you hooked from beginning to end. A certain must-see this fall!" The Burning Plain
"A must-see movie that will have you talking long afterwards. Challenging and provocative. Trust -
Provocative, highly entertaining." Love Ranch
"As provocative and deeply original a film as we are likely to see this year, is from title to end credits one of those choice cinematic gems. Superb performances across the board." Little Children
"A Mighty Heart stands apart as a powerful, provocative and spellbinding film." A Mighty Heart
"Powerfully compelling! American Gangster makes a return to the lost art of true storytelling, every bit as epic as The Godfather." American Gangster
"One to see! Engrossing, surprising…will restore your faith in the power of movies." Resurrecting the Champ
"Rips into you like a hurricane! Suspenseful, emotional and completely engrossing throughout! A powerful human drama that packs a strong punch." Reservation Road
"An engrossing, thoroughly entertaining movie with great performances from a first-rate ensemble cast." Crossing Over

"Pure delight. A smart, original comedy treat. This is one to see!" (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
"A total triumph...This is one to see!" (Cemetery Junction)
"An exceptionally good comedy loaded with laughs, heart and wonderful performances. Renee is at her best! This is one to see!" (My One and Only)
"You are going to love this movie! One of the year's most entertaining films, like the discovery of another Sideways or Little Miss Sunshine, just as unexpected and just as good. A pure delight!" (Bottle Shock)
"Pure entertainment!" (City Island)
"Pure entertainment from start to finish." (High School Musical 3)
"Pure entertainment with great music, wit and a dream cast! (A Prairie Home Companion)
"Pure solid-gold entertainment!" (Larry Crowne)
"Pure family fun: Action, laughs and heart." (G-Force)
"...a fantastic fusion of humor, heart and pure excitement." (The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep)
"If you're looking for pure screen excitement look no further. Dives into the heart of a true hero." (The Guardian)
"Smart, sharp and witty. Absolutely fascinating. A delicious movie treat. Richard Gere has never been better. Alfred Molina is terrific." (The Hoax)
"The surprise movie comedy treat of the year!...Whimsical, funny and moving…Ryan Gosling is no less than astounding…This is the real deal!" (Lars and the Real Girl)
"Eye-popping! One of the year's most spectacularly visual film treats." (Curse of the Golden Flower)
"Wonderful! A movie treat full of heart and laughs." (Gnomeo & Juliet)
"A wonderfully clever delight. The laughs don't stop coming in this richly funny and entertaining movie treat for all ages." (Hop)
"A doggone hilarious treat!" (The Shaggy Dog)

Next up from Hammond - a genuine film we want to remember, one completely forgotten about by awards season by those who generally remember, and one that even this article cannot forget.

"Beautifully written, directed and acted - This is a film you won't forget." (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
"Riveting, exciting, emotional and unforgettable! End of Watch is one of the year's best with extraordinary award-caliber performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. This is one to see!" (End of Watch)
"Morgan Freeman is superb. A wonderful family story you won't soon forget" (The Magic of Belle Isle)

"Ben Stiller's funniest film. Brace yourself for an outrageously hilarious comedy. Scene for scene the most explosively funny movie Ben Stiller and the Farrelly Brothers have made since There's Something About Mary. It creates so many huge, and we mean humungous laughs you'll probably have to see it more than once just to catch all the dialogue…a honeymoon you won't soon forget." (The Heartbreak Kid)
"Skateland is a film you won't forget anytime soon." (Skateland)
"A wonderful, entertaining and unforgettable movie. Truly inspiring." (Dolphin Tale)
"Magnificent! An incredible, heartwarming and 100% thrilling action/adventure you won't forget." (Eight Below)
"Beyond spectacular! Transports you to an alternate world of jaw-dropping awe and unforgettable adventure." (The Golden Compass)
"A must see! A towering, unforgettable epic...Director Roland Joffe returns to the stirring tradition of his greatest films, The Killing Fields and The Mission." (There Be Dragons)
"Truly magnificent! An inspiring, stirring, unforgettable human drama, Visually stunning. A brilliant ensemble cast led by Christian Bale who proves again he may be the best actor of his generation." (The Flowers of War)
"Miley Cyrus shines in a breakout role. Greg Kinnear is terrific. And Liam Hemsworth is a major star in the making. An unforgettable, touching and wonderful movie." (The Last Song)
"Unforgettable…Sure to be one of the year's most controversial films." (The Stoning of Soraya M.)
"Riveting. A must-see! Packs the kind of punch-to-the-gut wallop the screen hasn't seen in years. An unforgettable experience!" (Warrior)
"Heart-stopping action! If you're looking for pure screen excitement look no further. Dives into the heart of a true hero. Stirring and exhilarating! An unforgettable motion picture experience." (The Guardian)
"A remarkably accomplished and moving film. An unforgettable experience you don't want to miss." (Fugitive Pieces)
"A vibrant, funny, moving, highly entertaining and richly rewarding movie experience! Don Cheadle soars into the highest rank of film actors with this role. Will have you talking long after leaving the theatre. Unforgettable. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Taraji P. Henson are magnificent." (Talk to Me)
"One of the year's best pictures. An unforgettable movie experience. An outstanding all-star cast shines brightly right down to the smallest part." (Bobby)
"An unforgettable cinematic experience." (Into the Wild)
"An unforgettable motion picture experience. Powerful and moving beyond words." (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas)
"One of the year's most satisfying and rewarding motion picture experiences. Clive Owen delivers a moving and unforgettable portrayal." (The Boys Are Back)

And how could we forget this one?

"Tyler Perry like we have never seen him before. An emotional powerhouse that will keep you on edge. A bullseye! Keeps you on edge throughout." (Alex Cross)
"Hits the bullseye…" (W.
"This kid hits the comic bullseye!" (The Heartbreak Kid)
"You have never seen a movie quite like Brick. (Brick)
"Awesome! You have never seen anything like it before! (Steep)
"A 3-D experience like we've never seen onscreen before. (Step Up 3-D)
"A great story that takes us to places we've never been before. (Tron: Legacy)
"An emotional powerhouse. (Extremely Loud & Incredible close)
"A powerhouse of a movie. (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps)
"Will keep you on the edge of your seat. (Edge of Darkness)
"A relentless suspense thriller with a jaw-dropping twist that will leave you on the edge of your seat. This year's Bourne Ultimatum. (Traitor)
"A first-rate thriller! Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat! (First Snow)
"Total excitement…Takes you to the edge and keeps you there all the way. (28 Weeks Later)
"Even though it is based on well-known events it plays like an edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller. (A Mighty Heart)
"The year's first genuinely frightening edge-of-your-seat chiller. Even Hitchcock could not have done better. (Dark Water)

So what have we learned? Other than how unforgettable a hacktacular hype whore Pete Hammond is? One thing is for certain is that it appears that studios are still indeed in love with this guy. His quote total is down below the goal we specifically asked the studios to avoid, but that could be only because his review output was down as well. It would be nice to dream that we could ask outlets not to hire this guy or publish his bullshit work. But why shouldn't they when guys like Peter Travers set the standard and prove that as long as they can hype away, the outlet is going to be mentioned as well. It's a vicious circle of self-promotion that quickly closes in on itself until the whole point of film criticism, discussion and recommendations that legitimately mirror one's thoughts about the overall impact of a filmmaker's work and a film's worth. Guys like Peter Travers and Pete Hammond are worthless to this cause. But we continue to believe that those in charge of film marketing at the studios will wise up and recognize their commercials are generally met with snickers rather than anticipation whenever a Pete shows up on it. Maybe we will never learn. But we will continue to try for the love of all movies.

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originally posted: 12/29/12 12:25:46
last updated: 12/29/12 12:54:42
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