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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Why the hell is Harvey Weinstein reviewing movies?

Isn’t this like having Quincy Jones review music? Or Catherine de Medici review fine arts?

Harvey Weinstein is reviewing movies, at Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast (that’s like Huffington Post, a refuge for all those poor celebrities with no other outlets for their voices, except the Beast does pay, as long as you sign away a kidney). Previously, he’d posted just a few brief comments about movies, such as Monsters vs. Aliens:

I recently watched Monsters vs. Aliens with my three daughters. And I have to say that it was just as entertaining for me as it was for them! I thought it was a lot of fun and a great story.

and The Hangover:

I watched The Hangover this weekend. It is brilliantly funny and plain brilliant. It combined mystery, pulp fictions, film noir action and comedy like no other movie I’ve seen.

Clearly, Weinstein’s keen insight and unusual perspective trumps any taint that comes with his being the most insidery of insiders, and this demanded that he write his first full-length review, of Public Enemies. Choice excerpts, with my commentary:

I had the occasion of seeing an early screening of Public Enemies

Because normally, Harvey Weinstein has to wait on line at the multiplex, like the rest of the proles. But he lucked out this time!

and I can tell you that the Oscar race is officially on.

Actually, this is not mere hyperbole. Weinstein is a member of the secret Hollywood star chamber cabal that actually picks the Oscar winners three years in advance. The Academy has nothing to do with the process, but it is a nice front.

Nobody weaves the stories of cops and robbers in America the way that Michael Mann does. Every detail, every nuance, every pastiche leads to a complex story that is so rich in characterization that it penetrates history.

I hope it wore a condom.

There are three great practitioners of this art working at the height of their powers today. Marty Scorsese, Johnnie To, and Michael Mann. This is Michael Mann at the height of his height.

Funny thing. Mike’s mother always told him to stand up straight, and he’s never forgotten that, so he’s always at the height of his height.

Seriously, though: In what way does giving Harvey Weinstein a soapbox to blather about movies advance film criticism? How can anyone take this as anything other than a honcho cheering on his own industry? I think Public Enemies is brilliant, and even I find this “review” risible.

Why the hell is Harvey Weinstein reviewing movies?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)



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  • MaSch

    Why the hell is Harvey Weinstein reviewing movies?

    Don’t know. But as long as they inspire reactions like:

    Nobody weaves the stories of cops and robbers in America the way that Michael Mann does. Every detail, every nuance, every pastiche leads to a complex story that is so rich in characterization that it penetrates history.

    I hope it wore a condom.

    their existence is kind of justified.

    On the other hand, this same reasoning could be applied to certain abominable blockbusters who get creatively panned by critics, so maybe this line of reasoning is a bit flawed.

    Hey, why don’t you review a really horrible movie which doesn’t exist some time when you have a bit of time on your hands? Should be fun, and people who get tempted by negative reviews of yours to find out for themselves how bad the film in question is won’t spend their hard-earned cash on those idiotic flicks.

  • Dan

    In his review for Monsters Vs. Aliens, someone wrote the following comment:

    QueenCeleste

    Haven’t seen the film, but I wanted to tell you how much I’m looking forward to the next season of “Project Runway!” I’m sure the wait will be worth it. Also, I think you are the cutest mogul around.

    Well, it seems like he’s found an audience.

  • Wooster182

    I have no problem with Weinstein critiquing movies. To me, I think: who better than someone who knows the industry inside and out? I am curious to know if he’d have the backbone to ever review a film negatively, considering that it could hurt the still fledgeling Weinstein company.

    I wouldn’t compare this situation to Quincy Jones commenting on music. I see it more as the education system: Who better to critique the school system than the teachers in them?

  • amanohyo

    I also have no problem with Weinstein critiquing movies. He can write whatever he wants to. However, these “reviews” sound suspiciously like an actor shilling an upcoming film on a late night television program or a professional athlete explaining how they were able to win in a postgame interview. They’re just a string of bland platitudes that offer almost no insight or analysis.

    I strongly suspect that there isn’t a sincere bone left in that man’s body. He seems like a politician and a huckster, and anyone who takes his vapid reviews seriously is a marketer’s wet dream. I wouldn’t compare it to Quincy Jones commenting on music either. It’s more analogous to Kim Jong Il commenting on the quality of North Korean missiles.

    But who knows, maybe if he keeps at it he’ll get better? I kinda feel bad for the people around Hollywood bigwigs like Weinstein and Lucas who are too terrified to tell them that their writing stinks. Then again, their lowliest toady probably makes at least twenty times my salary, so I guess don’t feel that bad.

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