Thursday, April 3, 2014

Film critic Owen Glieberman's termination and the endangered species of film critics..

He's never been the Household Name of Siskel/Ebert/Roeper/Shalit renown, but Owen Glieberman  held his post as chief ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY until yesterday, when the magazine let him go as part of the usual cut-cut whack-whack not-enough-ad-buys spreadsheet stuff still affecting print magazines.

Here's Matt Zoeller Seitz (who recently wrote a coffee-table book on Wes Anderson):

And here's Sasha Stone commenting on Jeffrey Wells' HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE blog (Wells used to write for EW in the 90s):
"It all started to fall apart when Rotten Tomatoes started recognizing Joe Anybody as a film critic. I am old enough, too, to remember when it meant something to be a film critic. There are still good writers of film around but not as many as you'd think. The problem with a lot of high profile critics is that they couldn't be bought off by the studios so outlets lost revenue because no one was giving the right blow jobs out - with bloggers, obviously, that isn't a problem. I am including myself in that. But I've always believed where film critics are concerned - we want them on that wall, we need them on that wall. If editors of outlets like EW don't value them, however, none of the younger generations will know what really great film criticism looks like. Some things are bigger than the profit margin."

My opinion: it's less an issue of "Joe Anybody" forcing seasoned professionals out than magazines and newspapers wanting to focus on zippy and zingy mass-audience fare.  And it doesn't help when the veteran critic stock-in-trade of getting people to balance their movie diet with lesser-known releases is met by editors with (what I assume is) "You want to take up X number of column inches writing about a movie in a few theaters that's also available On Demand through TV/iTunes/websites? You write about the new GODZILLA or you're fired."

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