If the Movie Critic Says It's Good ... Grrr!

You ever wonder if film critics tire of movie companies clipping quotes from their reviews?

Especially now through New Year's Day, when Hollywood pushes its year-end movie blitz, oft-quoted critics might see their credibility become marginalized when several movie ads appear side-by-side in newspapers.

In scanning the St. Louis Post-Dispatch while visiting the in-laws over Thanksgiving, looking for a movie to go see, I came across several quotes from the same famous critic over two pages of film ads. To be fair, movie companies can clip quotes from film reviews without the critic's knowledge or even his consent. But here they are from the paper anyway:

  • On "Alexander" ... "The film lives up to its size. Colin Farrell turns up the heat as Alexander."
  • On "Sideways" ... "You won't have a better time at the movies this year."
  • On "The Incredibles" ... "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."
  • On "Kinsey" ... "Kinsey wanted to snap the public out of sexual ignorance. And Condon's knockout of a movie tries to do the same. You'll be shocked at how far we haven't come."
  • On "Ray" ... "Electrifying. It's inspiring. Jamie Foxx's fierce, funny, deeply felt performance deserves to be legendary."

All of these quotes are from one film critic, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine. Now, I like reading Travers' reviews. I think he's pretty honest and knowledgeable about the movie business, but I can't help but think that even he would cringe when presented with two pages of ads quoting from his film reviews.

The number of those appearances diminishes his credibility, whether he likes it or not. Indeed, whether my statement is true or not — readers will begin to wonder if there is any movie that Mr. Travers doesn't like.

But let's look more closely at the quotes.

"The film lives up to its size." Well, that's hardly an endorsement for me to rush out and see "Alexander." Maybe he saw it in IMAX (search)? I don't know.

"You won't have a better time at the movies this year." Well, I suppose if you happen to go see "Sideways" when you're in a really, really good mood, or on a first date with the man or woman of your dreams, perhaps that statement is true.

"Rolled into one kick-out-the-jams spectacle." I'm still trying to figure out what that even means. Are we supposed to go in our pajamas? Is it a martial arts reference? Is Michael Jordan in it?

"Kinsey wanted to snap the public out of sexual ignorance." Hmmm. After hundreds of years of procreation, I somehow don't buy that argument. Besides, today, Kinsey might be labeled a pervert. It kind of reminds me of when I comment to Mrs. Grrr about how that (gorgeous) woman over there would leave the house wearing that short skirt, stockings and thigh-high boots — tsking all the way even as I smash headfirst into the parking meter. Bam!

I don't mean to pick on Travers. If you want to see his full reviews, visit Rolling Stone on the Web, or buy some magazines, you cheap *$#%! The point is, the movie companies aren't fooling any of us. If the movie's good, we'll take our friend's word for it, way before any blurb.

Hey, we're all movie critics, no matter what the ads say, so do me a favor: E-mail me your film reviews. I'll pick one for each big winter film, and post them next week. Happy Grrring.

Grrrs Gone Wild ...

Britney Spears (search) may be pregnant, according to some tabloid reports. Who cares? Next!

Black Friday (search) has come and gone. I for one bought a new washer and dryer from the Sears Outlet Store at 10 percent off "already discounted prices." How much did you spend? Even so, retailers will be crying the blues all the way to New Year's. It seems that no matter how much we buy, it's never enough for them. Grrr!

On Ron Artest: (search) I was once a DJ at a '50s-themed nightclub in Piscataway, N.J. One night, a guy walked by my DJ booth and started a fight with me. I jumped over the booth and swept him to the ground, before the bouncers broke us up and tossed the guy. I was fired the next day. I didn't argue. My behavior was unacceptable. A customer is a customer. Ron Artest should be fired outright from the NBA, no matter how good he is. Hey, I was a good DJ (if I do say so myself). Why do famous, overpaid, over-coddled athletes think they are above discipline? Well, because they always have been, that's why. I hope NBA Commissioner David Stern (search) can stick to his guns on this one. He's already displayed some very non-Grrring behavior.

The Cutting Room Floor

FOX News Channel's "War Stories" host Oliver North (search) has a new book out on World War II. It's called "War Stories II ... Heroes of the Pacific." I interview Col. North (ret.), and the piece will air this Sunday on "FOX Magazine." (search) Check it out. The book makes a great gift for history buffs and veterans of WWII.

Stupid Lit'l Dreamer

This week's SLD mention goes out to the NFL's Cory Schlesinger. He is nominated by Grrr! reader Sharon S. in the following e-mail:

"Mike, I have a Stupid Little Dreamers nominee for you. Cory Schlesinger of the Detroit Lions. Cory has played for 10 years in the NFL after a great college career at Nebraska. His dad is my garbage man, and proudly displays both a Nebraska and a Detroit logo on his garbage truck. Back in his college days, Cory was quick to help his dad on his routes when he happened to be home in the Columbus, Neb., area. Today, he is one of the toughest, yet nicest players in the NFL. He is well-respected for his talent, toughness and for his character. I am not quite sure of the number today, but more than 100 of his face masks have been mangled due to his straight up, face-first style of play. He has also finished out a few seasons while playing with broken bones. What makes Cory a great role model is that he takes his mangled face masks, and welds them into trophies that are awarded to people who have displayed courage when facing everyday obstacles or situations. Take a few minutes and research this guy, and if you have the occasion, talk with him. He will restore your belief that all professional athletes aren't overpaid and over-coddled. As the wife of a former pro athlete, you should know that there are plenty of fine men and women professional athletes. Their good deeds just don't seem to garner the spotlight that the idiots do."

Thank you, Sharon, for reminding us that it only takes a few rotten apples to spoil the bunch. By the way, Cory was also a two-time Nebraska state high school wrestling champion at 189 pounds. To me, that's just as impressive as his pro football career.

Now for Your Grrrs ...

Kevin Powers in Cyber-Space: Your Nov. 23 column struck a chord in my heart. I am thankful for all of those things, and for your voice that put into words the feelings that I had trouble articulating. Bless you and your family and have a wonderful holiday season.

Matt S. in Cincinnati, Ohio: Seriously... I'm a 37-year-old father of (soon to be) three and I gotta tell you, I LOVE your Grrrs — my in-laws always tease me about how aggravated I get with Oblivions, even before your column started. Anyway, I love your Grrrs, but I REALLY appreciate your honesty, sincerity and humble nature. It always makes me smile and feel better. I loved how you admitted how you wished Bob Costas was, and how he really is. If you don't feel like you've made it already, you will be there soon. Your absence of arrogance is SO refreshing. You seem to me to really be a man of great character and I appreciate it, and I'm thankful for your work. Happy Thanksgiving.

— Matt, that's very humbling. Thank you.

Mike R. in Malden, Mass.: Thanks Mike, I damned near peed in my pants laughing so hard watching your video clip (Coffee Shop Oblivion). My wife thought I was watching "another dirty e-mail" sent from a friend. Honey, GRRR on you!

Scott R. on the "Monday Night Football" controversy: Everyone is in a tizzy about the little prelude skit to MNF, when I saw nothing wrong with it. Is America too sensitive about sexual innuendos and football these days? I mean I see more on an Herbal Essences commercial and soap operas (which by the way play all day) than I did that night. Then to top it all off, Tony Dungy (whom I had a lot of respect for until this incident) makes a public comment about the incident being racially offensive ... that is a load of horse malarkey. I personally thought the skit was funny, and found no offensive material in it. I think that the extreme conservatives of this country are going way overboard with this stuff … next we’ll be hearing uproar about the beloved Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and how their profession is sexually demeaning and their attire is inappropriate for a family environment. GROW UP!!


Get the Grrr! Glossary

See The Grrr! Comics

Visit Grrr! Cartoonist Toby Dials' Web site

Mike Straka is director of operations and special projects and a columnist for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine." He was also in the movie "Analyze This," and has appeared in various commercials, theater and TV roles.

Respond to Straka