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March 08, 2010

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Fitz

I get the feeling that film critics will cease to exist in publications anymore which is sad to see.

I wanted to be one of those guys writing about film for a living, but those days of Glenn Kenny Premiere articles and Variety reviews by Tom McCarthy are gone.

Tony Dayoub

Cost-cutting? That's laughable, as will become somewhat clearer after I share an anecdote.

I subscribed last year to the print copy, a rather pricey endeavor especially given that I'm in Atlanta and receive it 7-8 days late (!). I don't know why I thought Atlanta, with its Turner (CNN/TBS/TCM/TNT) hub and its BET offices (not to mention Tyler Perry's studio) would warrant that I receive the daily much faster. I was probably being naive. So after deciding to stick with it for the year I let my subscription lapse in December.

I'm still receiving it every day... with a shorter lag time than before. I've refused to renew, and I'm certainly not going to pay for their online given the information I'm interested in can be found on any other website within minutes of VARIETY's post.

Aren't they losing money in keeping my lapsed subscription active? And am I not probably just one of many in the same boat?

I'll never understand the periodical industry.

Terry McCarty

I'll give McCarthy his due as being knowledgeable. But I fear that his forced departure due to bottom-lining is already causing his VARIETY tenure to be sentimentally overrated. McCarthy could be too dry, too staid,
too fuddy-duddy Mr. Morality (a la Kenny Turan--and I'm guessing
there will also be tears from peers when Turan gets his pinkslip from the
LA TIMES).

But I'll finish this with something positive. McCarthy wrote a
good Howard Hawks bio--and it would be nice indeed if he could
give Richard Schidkel some much-needed competition as the mainstream
media's go-to Authority on films and film history.

Glenn Kenny

TM, I'll take staid, dry, and moralizing over hip, opportunistic and pseudo-intellectual in a walk, any day of the week. I don't really see many affinities between him and Turan; no offense to the L.A. Times critic, but I think McCarthy's technical vocabulary and overall knowledge are way ahead. I'm hardly being sentimental in noting that McCarthy continued to apply a laser-sharp acuity of perception to his work, regardless of whether you agreed with his conclusions about particular films. There are very few working critics in America who can SEE films as well as he can—Dave Kehr and Kent Jones spring to mind, and then...not many.

Brian

Oh, no! I, too, really enjoyed McCarthy's Hawks bio, so this is sad news. I wish him well in whatever he does next.

Terry McCarty

Thanks for your reply, Glenn. But I'll have to continue disagreeing.

In terms of mainstream, non-hip critics, I was fond of Philip Wuntch from THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS--and I felt markedly more sad when he
was let go from that paper after decades of service (though it
preceded the current UP IN THE AIR era of print critic-cide).

christian

While McCarthy wrote an unfair bad review for my friend's low budget film that sent distributors away, he did write "Kings of the Bs" that was ahead of its time in terms of cult exploitation subjects such as Corman, Arkoff, even Roger Ebert is in there with a great Joe Solomon interview. Not a fuddy duddy book at all...wha' happened?

The Siren

"I'll take staid, dry, and moralizing over hip, opportunistic and pseudo-intellectual in a walk, any day of the week."

Yes.

McCarthy's Hawks bio is great and I also admired the obvious depth of knowledge he brought to his reviewing. Not for him the shallow allusion to a warhorse classic; he knows his stuff, always has.

But even if I thought his reviews were 90% arrant nonsense, I would still be depressed over his firing, because one by one we're losing the critics who take movies seriously enough to know film history, and they are being replaced largely with either eiderdown filler, or...nothing at all.

Terry McCarty

Actually, film criticism in VARIETY started to die back in 1992 with the dropkicking of Joseph McBride from its pages.

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