Friday, March 04, 2005

Say it Loud: Black and....in Love with Terrible Films

Fox 4 movie critic and KC Call columnist Shawn Edwards has aired his 'beef' with the Kansas City Film Critics Circle in public through local Star gossip columnist Hearne Christopher.

Edwards says the KCFCC wasn't: "supporting the totality of cinema and a diverse viewpoint.” He went on to describe the group's members as "a big clique of film geeks" that "supports negativity.”

Jon Niccum, Lawrence-Journal World film editor and head of the film critics circle, has another take on Edward's "resignation": he had been suspended for not paying dues for the second straight year (a measly $20 total).

Translation: the black guy (Edwards) wanted a free pass from all these stuffy white guys (Niccum, etc.). When the old white dudes refused, Edwards played what amounts to the race card.

For those of you who haven't seen Edwards on Fox 4, you're missing out on a real treat. Edwards's spectacular reviews have even been picked up by great film sites like walmart.com. He is listed as an "NBC-TV" film critic (Yikes).

Oh, and remember how critics panned The Incredibles?

Oh wait.....that actually never happened.

The film did very well critically (and at the box office). But according to Edwards, this animated effort just doesn't "live up to it's title." (Notice in the picture posted with the aforementioned/linked column shows Edwards trying to come across like a substitute pimp rather than a Roger Ebert-type).

From what the Internet shows, Edwards has been allowed to bullshit about....well, bullshit movies for the better part of three year in Kansas City. It's unbelievable that Fox 4 and the KC Call allow him to just ramble off shit like this. Alas, that's what our mainstream media has come to.

Edwards, coupled with "Wesson-gate", shows us that the Call is not the publication it used to be (that is if it ever was a news publication of any worth, and not just an apologist for mediocre, black politicians).

You can go to the Call's archive that allows you to access a good portion of his recent 'work' for the advocacy newspaper/Emanuel Cleaver ass-kisser.

Edwards, who refers to himself in his Call columns as "Tom Cruise," (a la James Guckert/Jeff Gannon) recently praised "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" after first acknowledging that the big screen adaptation of Tyler Perry's play comes very close to "mimicking minstrel shows." From there he goes on to drool all over the film, downplaying the depictions of African-Americans.

Normally, it would be news for a film critic (let alone a black film critic) to be drooling all over a film that borders on a minstrel production? But in the today's world, media personalities like Edwards are abundant. A positive review of White Chicks or Chronicles of Riddick is just another day at the office for 'critics' like Edwards. And what a busy year it's been for him, as he tries to make time to, not just justify, but shower praise on each pathetic Hollywood release.

Vanity Fair's Tim Gray compiled a list of these puzzling zingers from Edwards over the past year:

"Barbershop 2" -- "The best comedy of the year!" (Feb. 6)
"White Chicks" -- "The funniest comedy of the year." (July 9)
"Little Black Book" -- "The best romantic comedy of the year!" (Aug. 1)
"The Chronicles of Riddick" -- "One of the best sci-fi films ever! Extraordinary! A true classic that's not to be missed! Vin Diesel is ecstatically superb*." (June 11)

(*Coincidence that Edwards kisses Diesel's ass here on the press junket? I think not.)

Ok....after reading that you may really be starting to wonder (as I am) if Edwards is on the take from film studios. Either that, or else he just loves every black and/or crappy film that the Hollywood machine churns out.

Is it too much of a stretch to imagine that he, like Eric Wesson (his co-worker at the Call), was paid to 'advocate' for black films or sub-par films by the studios suits? Edwards even brags in one of his 'columns' that he "hangs out with studio chiefs who run joints like Sony."

If this is in fact true, then we need to ask why such powerful men are hanging out with a media personality from Kansas City? I'm sure the Sony brass have nothing better to do, and no one better to court than a critic from cow town.

Needless to say, I doubt the Kansas City Film Critics Circle will be affected too negatively by Edwards's departure. As for Edwards, he can still claim being a founding member of the African American Film Critics Association, and an official juror of the Film Life Movie Awards.

For starters, the Film Life Movie Awards was established this year by TNT to give the cable network an awards show that would generate some publicity. The African American Film Critics Association is another story. This is an organization that recognized The Italian Job as one of the ten best films of 2003, and gave it's director, F. Gary Gray a Special Achievement Award. The AAFCA said Gray: "demonstrated strong growth and a solid command of the film making process with a stylish remake of the 1969 caper classic."

Luckily, there are still more than a few critics left in the world that called The Italian Job for what it was: a good, but ultimately limited, flawed action flick....that happened to be directed by a black guy.

"Deleted Scenes" (additional tidbits):

Keep surfing and you'll find plent of other gems attributed to Edwards:

"Tremendously funny. The surprise comedy of the year!" on Black Knight

"A mesmerizing conclusion to the best trilogy in cinematic history." on Matrix Revolutions

(How many professional film critics would put the Matrix trilogy up there next to the Godfather?)

*A USA TODAY study found that Edwards ranked in the top ten of all film critics that qualify as "blurbmesisters" in the national media (critics studios can go to fo preferrable quotes to sell their films on). The National Society of Film Critics equates these film critics as being little more than an extension of the advertising and publicity departments.


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