AP Wire - Columbus, Ohio
Reviews for “The Dukes of Hazard,” which opened in theaters on Wednesday, have already begun to hit the Internet and according to experts, there is very little quality to be had.
“I couldn’t believe it!” said Jamie King, a chemical engineer with Proctor and Gamble and mother of three. “I rely upon newspaper editorialists to tell me what to think about movies and this is just another in a worsening trend of movie reviews that are just plain superficial.”
Jamie and many others have complained that the reviews for “The Dukes of Hazard” are clichéd and heavy handed. ”It’s like high school,” says Jason Bingamton, a local Sandwich Artist and recent graduate of Subway University. “One person wrote a review and everybody else copied off of him.”
We sent our crack Internet Research Team onto the net in search of popular movie review sites to see if we could find the truth. And the truth, it is said to say, was frightening.
The Cincinnati Enquirer had this to say about the new summer blockbuster turned flop: “Instead [the director] pours the movie's energy into the car chases, which make no more sense than the plot, but at least allow for plenty of cool sideways driving.”
CNN also derided the plot of the movie, saying “The plot in a nutshell -- which is where it belongs.”
Nearly every review uncovered by our research team followed a particular format. They started by stating that Hollywood had again revamped an intellectually vapid television show into an equally vapid movie.
The editorialist would then follow with a joke either about horny teenage boys, boobs, or Jessica Simpson not quite filling the mental capacity needed to play a brainless hick who was known for shaking her ass on television. The meat of the editorial consists of a parody of the plot, in which the columnist invariably makes a few references to Hee Haw or ill-placed car chase scenes.
Next, in an attempt to sound unbiased, the author will turn to either a redeeming quality of the movie (good special effects) or a joke that they felt was over the heads of most of the audience. In the end, however, the author of the article will revert to his or her previous position, lambasting the plot, Jessica Simpson’s acting skills, or the casting of Burt Reynold’s before closing out the article with a dire warning not to see this movie unless you expect to lose more than a few IQ points in the process.
“It’s really quite sad, says Mark Foot, president and only member of Journalism watchdog group NSACBMA or Newspapers Suck And Can Bite My Ass (online at newspaperscanbitemyass.com). “With past flops like ‘Showgirls’ and ‘Mystery Men,’ Journalists reveled in finding new and unique ways to deride everybody involved from the lead actor all the way down to the intern who only worked on set for a day. It was really quite cool”
“Now,” according to Foot, “it’s like they’re not even trying.”Foot went on to argue that this is a trend that was long in coming.
“I think it started with American Pie 2 and went downhill from here,” he said. “By the time we got to Starsky & Hutch and Gigli, it seemed like journalists were phoning it in.”
Mary Spooneybarger, spokesperson for the Society of Professional Journalists, however, places the blame squarely on Hollywood..
“There are only so many ways you can make fun of a film before you have to repeat yourself, “she said. “Past film flops excelled in their stupidity and banality. These new films are only unremarkable in their unremarkability. If Hollywood would bring back the glory days of bad filmmaking, we wouldn’t be forced to lower our standards.”
Whose fault is it, then? Do op/ed movie reviews suck because journalists are lazy or because Hollywood is resting on its laurels?
“I think it’s a conspiracy against the media,” Spooneybarger claims. “I think they’ve had it out for us ever since we sabotaged that ‘Iron Giant’ movie back in the mid’90s.”
Others, however, aren’t so sure.
“This feels like a chicken-and-the-egg type of scenario,” says Ohio State University professor of philosophy, Tim Jörgensson. “We may never know.”
Jörgensson then added, “Hey dude, you wanna hit this bong?”
While we may never know the root cause of such a decline, the fact that such a decline exists cannot be denied. Purists like Mark Foot and hack writers like Mary Spooneybarger can agree, at least, that this is a problem that will have to be addressed.
Or else people like me will have to take over. And nobody wants that.