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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

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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