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.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Whitlock Quits on the Air

KC Star sports columnist Jason Whitlock has abruptly quit his sports talk radio program on 610am. This comes a day before a planned 610am event promoting the idea of pressuring the Chiefs into signing big name free agents (Ty Law and others). About a half-hour into today's show ("The Doghouse"), he left the booth and the station cut to commercial.

Whitlock, who left 810am in 2003, leaves 610am after a year and half of trailing his former station in the ratings battle. In the moments leading up to his departure, Kansas City's multi-media sports superstar complained of a lack of corporate support (from Entercom, the station's owner/managing group), and that his writing chores were talking up too much his time.

Covitz/Star Say Gooden's Found an NBA Home.....Trade Talk Suggests Otherwise

On Tuesday, Randy Covitz and the Star published a sizeable feature on former Jayhawk Drew Gooden. According to Covitz’s piece, the 23-year-old Gooden, now on his 3rd team (the Cleveland Cavaliers) in as many years, has finally hit his stride in the league.

The feature comes fives days after the NBA trade deadline had come and gone (surprise, surprise). Last week, ten NBA trades were executed, involving 35 players. Since Gooden was (for once) not among those on the move, the Star finally had the green light to run this easy piece.

There's just a little bit of information the Star conviently overlooked in this piece: Gooden's job security with the Cavs is far from rock-solid. In fact, reports during the last minute trading frenzy actually sugget Gooden was close to being shipped off to his 4th employer.

Last week, as NBA player movement were taking place, Gooden's name was brought up in multiple trade proposals. Cavs GM Jim Paxson was (and still is) looking at his current personnel and trying to identify who would fit down the road with LeBron James. Paxson refused to say Gooden was untouchable as the trade deadline loomed last week (NBA Translation: he can be had for the right price). In this case, the price was shooting (of the rare, accurate variety).

The Cavs sorely need perimeter shooting to open up lanes for James (as well as Zydrunas llgauskas and his 7'3" inside game). Unfortunately, shooting is always at a premium in the NBA, and Gooden's blue collar efforts were just not enough to net the Cavs the sharpshooter they coveted (Milwaukee’s Michael Redd, who will be a free agent this summer).

So for now, the Cavs and Gooden are joined at the hip. The question isn't whether or not he'll be moved this summer, but if Covitz and the Star will publish a follow-up (Is their such thing as a feature designed to retract the sentiments generated through a previous feature?) when Gooden is uprooted from his new 'home' and begins to ‘hit his stride’ elsewhere.

*Unfortunately, Tuesday's piece did not include any 'classic' Gooden quotes, such as those he gave following his selection by Memphis in the 2002 NBA Draft.

"I didn't even know Elvis was from Memphis," said Gooden. "I thought he was from Tennessee."

"I've lived in Kansas," Gooden said. "That's about as bad as it gets." (Gooden later said that he only meant to imply that Kansas is in the middle of nowhere).

-6/27/02, KC Star

Chancellor Takes a Rest(room)

UMKC's now former Chancellor Martha Gilliland has gone from living in the high rise to living in the....outhouse?

UNEWS reporter Jennifer Bhargava confirms are worst fears: Gilliland has gone from UMKC's #1 officer to having an office located where people execute a #1 (and yes, sometimes a #2, as well).

Now in her "transition" phase with the University, Gilliland has set up an office in the former outer lounge of a women's restroom, located at 4825 Troost Avenue. The office is unmarked and easy to miss according to the author.

Wait...its gets worse. Gilliland's "transition office" (a far cry from her office in the administrative building), is actually divided into two halves: one for her and one for her personal assistant. So let me get this straight...UMKC's former Chancellor isn't even allowed AN ENTIRE FORMER BATHROOM LOUNGE to function as her office? Plus, it's got to be awkward for the two of them (her and her assistant) to ever be in there at the same time with the sound of toilets flushing...and they're supposed to pretend to be hard at work? C'mon!

Well....don't feel too bad for Martha. She still draws quite a nice salary from the University as she prepares to teach classes next fall (haha). Until April 1, she will continue to earn her $255,000 yearly salary. After that, she still collects a nice $116,000 a year as a "professor."

I'm willing to bet every penny of that $116,000 that she never steps foot inside a UMKC classroom -- or any classroom for that matter. One of the boats in town needs to take an over/under on the date she'll depart Kansas City for her next cushy University position.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Yakov in KC

Don't look now -- but everyones favorite Cold War comedian is heading to Kansas City. Yakov Smirnoff comes to town this week, and with it (hopefully)...the beginning of an all-out Russian invasion (and at the unbelievable low cost of $30 to boot!)

Smirnoff will do what he does best at the Unity Village on Friday (1901 N.W. Blue Parkway). Ordinarily, the former Soviet funnyman does his schtick in Branson, Missouri (aka, where talent goes to die).

Tickets can be bought at the door or in advance by calling (816) 251-3540. Buy'em up now! This one is going to be hard to pass up.

Speaking of Yakov...when will a Yakov-like entertainer emerge from Iraq? That's all were missing! We need that guy to emerge from the rubble and make fun of Saddam.

"Under former Iraqi dictatorship we faced harsh government aggression for speaking in public. Now, instead of speaking out against bloody insurgents, we stand around complaining...because we want MORE freedom! What an occupation!"