By Kevin Wilson
On Monday, I frequented one of my three favorite movie rental places in Portales. I found the movie I wanted right away, but had no cash on me and felt it awkward to write a $1 check. What followed is what I like to call browsing.
During my browse, I managed to pick up a pair of other movies and an utter sense of disbelief. That’s what happens when you see the critic quotes on a movie box that lead you to believe the critic never actually saw the movie.
First off, let’s dispel the comment I hear the most: “I don’t listen to critics at all. They’re just upset because they envy people who are actually making movies instead of writing about them.”
Save it. Do you really think a reviewer who had to watch “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” was jealous of the way Eddie Murphy’s career has gone downhill? Were “Gigli” watchers so envious of the Bennifer thing that they’d say anything to break it up?
The reason movie critics are upset is because their job forces them to watch bad movies from time to time, and their only recourse is to tell you to avoid the same mistake.
Who would you rather trust, the $20 million actor who goes on every talk show available to stump for a movie where they receive a percentage of box-office receipts, or somebody giving you an honest opinion of what your $8 will get you? You should listen to movie critics, if only to protect your pocketbook.
Back to my browsing. I had come across the DVD of “The Perfect Score,” an MTV Productions piece about high schoolers plotting to steal a standardized test. I’d seen the movie already, but not the quote on the box.
It read: “The Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven.” I started laughing in the middle of the aisle, knowing the critic had slightly overpraised the movie.
But I could only wonder, were his words taken out of context? Envision that the critic had said, “The director attempted a vision of The Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven, but gave us a flawed version of both.” Or what if the critic had written, “Imagine The Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven, and the two have a child that gets all of the recessive genes.” Hey, it’s possible.
Let’s do the exercise right now, with some of my honest opinions about movies. The sentence that follows will be words of praise attributed to me.
• Mean Girls: “This movie takes a wicked look at high school cliques. Albeit funny, the message of the movie is a stretch and we get lost in the cruelty.” Kevin Wilson says to “Get lost” in this “wicked” and “funny” romp.
• Speed: “Look, this Reeves guy can’t act. There’s no rush to see this movie.” Speed is a “rush,” says Kevin Wilson. “See this movie.”
I could counter by telling you about the time a movie studio was caught making up a critic for movie quotes, or I could tell you which movies you should be renting right now (Supersize Me and Shattered Glass come to mind).
Instead, I’ll leave you with a piece of advice. Bring cash when you rent movies. If I can stop one person from a bad browsing experience, I can go to sleep happy.
Kevin Wilson is the managing editor at the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 33 or by e-mail: