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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

I did NOT call Hercules “a triumph”!

kind of how I’m feeling right now

kind of how I’m feeling right now

A first for me: being quoted way out of context so that (at best) some mild faint praise sounds like a rave.

This pullquote sits at the top of my review of Hercules:

Grading on the Ratner Curve, this is a positive triumph. The cheesy clichés are at least passingly entertaining. You could do worse.

In the review itself is this:

Grading on the Ratner Curve, however, this is a positive triumph. It’s no The Scorpion King — the last time The Rock played an ancient mercenary — but you’d be forgiven for not even realizing this is a Ratner flick. The action is coherent, for one big thing…. The cheesy clichés are at least still passingly entertaining, there’s a few good bits in the 3D that actually made me flinch instinctively, and someone gets to shout, “Unleash the wolves!” You could do worse.

You could do better, though, too.

On Tuesday, I received this request from a publicist working on the film:

Would it be possible to receive your for approval to use the following for broadcast use please(HERCULES):

A Triumph – Flick Filosopher

To which I immediately replied:

No. That is not an accurate represenation of my review. Sorry.

And I figured that would be the end of it.

But this morning, this got tweeted at me:



@JDMessias says he saw the quote in either the Metro or the Evening Standard, free newspapers that are given away on the trains and tube in the evening rush hour.

I’m posting this to clarify my position on the film, and to explain what happened. At least on my end. I’ve emailed the publicist and am awaiting an explanation of what happened on their end.

UPDATE: Here’s the ad, via @JDMessias:



I got a response from the publicist, passing on info from the studio:

The governing body for Radio commercials requests quote approvals from publishers before we quote reviews in Broadcast ads – but this requirement by the governing bodies for Printed adverts doesn’t exist. At the time of hearing the quote wasn’t approved for Radio, we’d already sent the Press ad to print. To make sure we’re not including ads that aren’t approved by Flick Filosopher, we’ll leave them out of any quote-based ads for our future film campaigns.

That’s kind of passive-aggressive of them. So they just won’t quote me at all anymore, huh? I mean, that’s fine with me — I never seek to be quoted — but… Well, I guess they taught me a lesson about standing up for my reputation, eh?

posted in:
maryann buzz

  • Lionel

    It was the Metro. 30th July, see my latest tweet. :)

  • I just added it to the post. Thanks.

  • LaSargenta

    Oh that’s funny.

  • Beowulf

    I still think “You could do worse,” or “He fights the Lion” are fair representations of MA’s review.

  • Bluejay

    Heh. Next thing you know, they’ll be pulling out actual words that you said in your scathing review of Very Good Girls:

    “Love Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning! We need to see this… more! Fanning and Olsen are appealing talents! …this tale of two best friends… is… a… success!” — Flickfilosopher

  • Danielm80

    This is fun! Here’s Guardians of the Galaxy:

    “Awesome” CGI FX that can cram more… onscreen than your brain knows what to do with….Someone threw The Last Starfighter and Star Warsand Doctor Who and Star Trek and Raiders of the Lost Arkand The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy into a blender, and out came Guardians of the Galaxy…. That’s cool!… Plenty of wisecracks and weird-forehead aliens who discover they like grooving to “The Piña Colada Song”… Gamora is completely badass…Pratt is a handsome guy…Enormous storytelling!…Sequel!

  • LaSargenta

    No. Please.

  • Jules B

    I think the money grabbing Kickstarter campaign had already destroyed any sort if reputation you may have had, dear.

  • Bluejay

    Ooh, she didn’t like it, eh? I’m holding off on reading the review until after I’ve seen the movie.

    Chinese bootleg DVD covers are great for this too. I forget what film it was, but I saw a bootleg copy that pulled a quote from a reviewer who clearly only liked the first half of the film: “A GREAT MOVIE FOR AN HOUR!”

  • Guest

    HERCULES: “You Could Do Worse” – Flick Filospher

  • I would have been fine with that.

  • Kellyfergison

    That’s what happens when you evaluate a film on a grading curve. That’s like if your son gets an A on a test graded on a curve, he’ll show you the A and be just as excited for it as when getting an A without a grading curve.

    Next time, just evaluate it based on what it is, not what it could have been or how worse the director could’ve done.

  • althea

    “Grading on the Ratner Curve, however, this is a positive triumph… you’d be
    forgiven for not even realizing this is a Ratner flick. The action is
    coherent…passingly entertaining, there’s a few good bits…
    made me flinch instinctively, and…shout, “Unleash the
    wolves!” You could do worse.”

    I’m thinking we need to build up a vocabulary of terms that are hard to misinterpret. Like “hated” and “disliked” and “tripe”…

  • Overflight

    Transformers: Age of Extinction:

    “Michael Bay has reached a level of […] self-actualization that perhaps no other human being has reached before.”–Flickfilosopher

  • Tonio Kruger

    Hercules II: “It’s not like it’s Shakespeare.” — Flick Filosopher


  • I agree that Ratner is like a little boy.

  • Rod Ribeiro

    Anything “graded X on the Y curve” isn’t X. If it were, you wouldn’t mention Y in the first place. Does that reasoning require more than 7th grade reading?

  • The studios know that no one reads critics. Quotes are just a design element on a poster. Reality doesn’t enter into it.

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