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TOPIC: How important are the Critics?

How important are the Critics? 14 Jul 2000 18:22 #493

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How important are the Critics?

In my town we have a daily newspaper and a weekly independent. The review or the listings don’t seem to be that important in the weekly independent but it is cheap to advertise with them and we can’t ignore any avenue.

The Critic for the daily has to cover all aspects of entertainment in the county so he only seems to personally review one film a month. Therefore the paper runs reviews off of the wire services. The paper is owned by the New York Times but never runs the reviews for the New York Times. This irritates us because sometimes the New York Times review is good for one of our films. They mostly run Roger Ebert or some guy in Seattle who hates everything. The daily ran a review for the film East-West under the headline “Un-Watchable.” As a result our business for the film was terrible. However the New York Times review was very good.

This week they gave a lukewarm review for Hamlet, as a result, no one showed up for our 4:00 PM show. Our critic didn’t watch this film; they just pulled something off the wire.

In the last three weeks we have had a film in each week that they don’t review. At first I was pissed, but these films have done well, in spite of the lack of coverage.

What are the criteria for these people to pick reviews off of the wire services? Who the hell do they think they are to slam a film they haven’t seen? Are they just going for extreme headlines at the expense of our business or are they trying to follow some journalistic principle?
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Re: How important are the Critics? 14 Jul 2000 23:44 #494

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Ask your ad rep at the paper why you are paying them when any good your ad could do is countered by a bad review. I had a very sophmoric, amerture, negative review appear an inch and a half away from my ad for the same movie. I pulled my ad the next week and told them i can spend my ad money elsewhere. Since then, any negative reviews have been from the best critics.

They will say that advertising has no influence over editorial content. Journalistic ethics is an oxymoron. It's one thing to report on a bad product for the safety of the public -- even if the seller advertises, but it is another to have a choice of good and bad movie reviews, then choose the bad. Sounds like someone has a little power problem -- someone who has never had to do anything but warm an office chair and will never do anything like run their own business.

there is good and bad film criticism. A good friend of mine has his Ph.D in film studies, and tho he and i will argue about film after film, his arguments hold water. I can use him, and any other intelegent film critic, as a barometer. i don't have to agree with them, but if they are consistant, i can usualy gage my reaction from theirs. so, i guess in my not so humble opinion, film critics matter. but, it helps if your paper consistantly publishes the ones with two brain cells to rub together.
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: How important are the Critics? 15 Jul 2000 18:31 #495

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A couple years ago a small town paper 18 miles from here let a 20 year old start writing "reviews" and this kid would start savaging pictures evry week! I had to make a really forceful argument that this is not NYC or Boston and we've got limited opportunities to nbe entertained and many films are open to personal angles: I remember Mars Attacks as a prime example. Often even real reviewers will widely disagree with each other on films: that always indicates to me that it's about the viewer. I too would drop my advertising if it had continued: they cooled his jets. Sometimes you find this forgetful vengence as the reveiwer forgets that instead of trashing Hollywood he's killing your business.

Lastly: Talking to the reviewer and feeding him "good" reviews always helps. If it's a good review there's no doubt it helps.

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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