The following is a blog (of sorts) where I discuss movie-related and site-related thoughts that I can't express within the confines of a normal review. Some of them may be responses to e-mail I've received, trailers I've seen, or just an overall theme not specific to a movie. Most of these writings are meant strictly for me, but I do consider them of potential interest to those of you that love movies or are just interested in the running of the site in general. I welcome any feedback you might have on any of the subjects listed in this (or any other) section of my site.
4/5/2007 -- "...always...trust...critical blurbs..."
As an author of independent movie review website, I am not as often quoted in advertisements as those who are readily identifiable as from a major media outlet. As the instances of use of my words to help promote a film are seldom, if I am quoted, chances are I'll notice. I don't mind, as long as the quote is in the spirit of the review. In the case of the quotes below, used by Buy.com to sell the terrible teen sex flick Private School, this is a blatant case of misuse of quotes to give the appearance of a good film (see the full ad here).
"...not without charm...a breath of fresh air." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"...the epitome of adolescent male fantasies..." Vince Leo, Qwipster's Movie Reviews
Personally, I can't say that they misquoted me, as I did actually use the phrase, "the epitome of adolescent male fantasies" to describe the advertised movie, but if you read the actual review, the sentence it's contained in reads as:
"A piss-poor 80s sex film if there ever was one, Private School is the epitome of adolescent male fantasies, merely an excuse to indulge in voyeuristic delights without the fear of repercussion."
Of course, calling it the epitome of adolescent male fantasies is not a qualitative judgment, so it's not as if you should readily infer that it's a positive review, although many readers not in the know will read it as positive, especially as they do not link to the actual review. It certainly looks as though Roger Ebert likes the film from his quote, however. A quick look at his review reveals that he did indeed use the words above, but not quite in the context of the film as a whole. Here is the excerpt in context:
"And back to "Private School": As I suggested, the movie's not without charm. There's a fresh, sweet relationship between one of the girls (Phoebe Cates) and her boyfriend, in which she is permitted to have the normal fears, doubts and reservations of anyone her age. I'm not sure how that plot got into this smarmy-minded movie, but it was like a breath of fresh air."
It should be noted that Ebert only gave the film 2 stars (out of 4).
I've decided to look at some of my one-star reviews, which are the lowest of the low ratings I give, and see what other quotes might end up on the webpages of Buy.com to look like I'm giving the film a ringing endorsement. Let's see what I can come up with, just for fun:
Farce of the Penguins: "...brilliant pearls of comedy...dripping of genius..."
Little Man: "...a funny idea...amusing on so many levels."
Van Wilder 2: "...funny...quality writing..."
Bless the Child: "...sports some decent actors...genuinely interesting..."
Boat Trip: "Cuba Gooding Jr. is a terrific actor...good laughs."
Boogeyman: "...made me afraid...scares you..."
Jaws the Revenge: "...by far, the best...you can't avert your eyes from it..."
Wow. It looks like I actually like those films. The lesson to be learned from all of this is that one should read between the lines when looking at the blurbs they attach to films (especially if you see multiple quotes from Larry King). While I'm not displeased that someone would use my words as a source to promote a film, I wish my name were attached to films that people would have a chance of liking. Instead, I'll be known as that one idiot that "liked" Private School. Then again, if you purchase Private School solely based on the quotes used above, maybe you're the fool that deserves to be parted from your money.
©2007 Vince Leo