Todd Phillips Can’t Stand This Snarky Headline

Todd Phillips Can’t Stand This Snarky Headline (photo)

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Movieline critic Michelle Orange (who’s also a contributor on this site) recently reflected on Justin Long’s reciting of a particularly stinging line from her review of “Going the Distance” on a late night talk show, and about the realities of being a critic in general. And yesterday the site’s contributing editor Mike Ryan has an interview with “Due Date”‘s Todd Phillips in which the director claims the site’s “tone is bizarrely hateful”:

Honestly, I’m teasing, but you guys just hate every movie. So it’s like, “Ugh, really, I have to do this and open myself up to some snarky, clever title?” You know what I mean? There are movie sites that love movies and there are movie sites that are just bitter people that just hate movies. I find Movieline to be in the latter.

It can be easy as a film journalist to feel like the people you’re writing about don’t or won’t ever read you, right until one of them calls or confronts you on it (or, rarer, congratulates you about it). But when something like this happens several times in a row, it forces you consider how much this world is changing and how little separation there is now, thanks to the internet, to Google Alerts, Twitter, comment sections — the conversation can go both ways.

But I think Mr. Phillips is missing an essential point here, which is that no one gets involved in the thankless, exhausting, low- (or non-) paying career of film journalism unless they love movies, sometimes too much. Anyone who takes in the two to four new releases a week that’s pretty standard for a working film journalist will end up sitting through a lot of mediocre to terrible crap, which then has to be written about. Every film writer wants to see something good, is dying to see something good, keeps at the job because of the promise of seeing something good. If Movieline tends toward the snark in its posts sometimes, it’s also home to two insightful, incredibly talented critics in Stephanie Zacharek and Michelle whose work is always thoughtful and never needlessly snide.

It frustrates me to see comments like Phillips’, even half-joking, which express a sentiment that’s been amplified into a full-scale battle by a certain NJ-born filmmaker whose name I won’t mention (three times and he’ll appear in the bathroom mirror), because they imply that writers’ negative opinions can’t possibly be legitimate or honest, they must be born out of bitterness or resentment or jealousy or a personal grudge. Praise, on the other hand, is always taken at face value. When are we going to get to see a filmmaker brush aside a good review because it comes from someone who likes everything and can’t possibly count?

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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