I really want to get back to watching "Last Comic Standing," but I had to register this mind-boggling blurb very quickly.
This is alleged film critic Scott Mantz of "Access Hollywood" on Pixar's "Cars"...
"The Best Movie of the Year... Is Finally Here."
First off, "Cars" is disposable and mediocre and they're working a series of suspect quotes [because the only thing kids love more than Pixar is movie critics], but they're from reputable sources. First, you get Richard Corliss of Time calling it an instant classic, which is almost exactly what he said about "Chicken Little" last fall. Then you get Pete Travels of Rolling Stone, who's paid by the blurb. The tuna fish at the Time-Warner Building features a "roller-coaster of flavor," says Pete Travers. His subway ride into the office was "an adrenaline-packed thrill-ride that really delivered." Then you have Ebert & Roeper, whose "Two Thumbs Up" seal of approval means less and less when they toss it to summer dreck like "The Da Vinci Code" and "X-Men 3." They're all hyperbolic, but Mr. Mantz takes the cake.
"The Best Movie of the Year... Is Finally Here."
Thank God! And there I was getting so darned frustrated! Back in February, I was already sitting in the corner of my apartment with my head in my hands muttering, "When will the Best Movie of the Year EVER come?!?!?" For a while, I made do with the year's first great military academy boxing movie ("Anapolis," probably), the year's first great movie about an African-American man in drag (either "Madea's Family Reunion" or that thing with Martin Lawrence), the year's first great sequel ("Basic Instinct 2," I think) and the year's first great slug-fest ("Slither," clearly), but those were all niche successes. Finally, indeed.
Scott Mantz says "The Best Movie of the Year... Is Finally Here."
I haven't been so excited by the word of a non-film critic (Does "Access Hollywood" even do movie reviews?) since the "Akeelah the Bee" ads quoted Greta Van Susteren calling it the best family movie ever made. Well, darnit, I thought it was slick, manipulative and yet surprisingly effective, but if a legal analyst from FOX NEWS says it's better than "Babe" and "The Wizard of Oz" and "Bambi," then I'm sold. But only if Larry King agrees. That man knows movies!
Now it helps if you know that it was only a couple weeks ago that Mantz declared that "V for Vendetta" was "The first truly great film of 2006." And with one truly great film already in 2006, you wouldn't think his relief at the Best Movie of the Year FINALLY arriving would be so great. I mean, yeah, my appetite was whetted, but I could hardly be starved with so much brilliance about.
I saw "Chinatown" last weekend at the New Beverly, the first time I'd seen it on the big screen. Beautiful print. Beautiful movie. Now there's a TRULY GREAT movie. Now, you don't have to be "Chinatown" to be truly great, but you probably have to be better than "V for Vendetta" (a truly good movie), and it seems that Mantz values "Cars" over "V," which means it must be "really, truly great. really."
What's sad, is that Mantz' quote doesn't even say "The Best Movie Of The Year So Far," because the "So Far" precludes the "Finally." It offers hope that something better is yet to come.
Now "The Best Movie of the Year... Is Finally Here." That means that this is it. We're not even up to June 1 and our arduous wait is over. The best movie of the year is finally here. And you know what? We can just stop going to the movies.
I believe the ellipses in the blurb is there because the quote deserved two screens worth of attention and not because Mr. Mantz intended to write "The Best Movie of the Year [is likely to be 'All The King's Men,' but while you're waiting on it and if you're already sick of 'Over the Hedge,' another computer animated comedy] Is Here."
Anyway, this just makes me sad. "Cars" isn't a movie that needs desperate quote whores to shill for it. It's a movie that sells itself. And, frankly, kids won't be all that disappointed. Grown-ups will be, but kids will be perfectly happy with the flashing colors and the silly gags. This movie doesn't need the hyperbole of people calling it a "classic" or the FINALLY the year's best movie. It's not. But attention hungry critics are worried that they won't make the papers or the TV ads if they give the consensus response, "Eh. It was A'ight."
This is why we always appreciate the fine work done by the good people at Hollywood Bitchslap in their regular CriticWatch feature.
Back to watching so-so comics.
FINALLY the best comic of the year will be on my TV. Early pick? That Chris Porter guy is funny. He's like a less-needy Joey Slotnick!
Now there's a blurb you can take to the bank.
UPDATE 05/31/06: In the interest of equal access, I'm inclined to note that Mr. Mantz has chimed in on the "Comments" page and that he has, indeed, resorted to less name-calling than I did. I'm not sure if there's necessarily an intellectual discussion in progress, but if there is, feel free to join it.