EFilmCritic published another wonderful retrospective on the year in Pete Hammond, everyone’s favorite quote whore. The folks at EFC cover the grown-up Lights Camera Jackson with a fervor and thoroughness that I would never attempt to replicate here, but suffice it to say, the latest piece is another nearly line-by-line indictment of the absurdity that is studios continuing to quote Pete Hammond in their ads when a quote from Pete Hammond is plainly meaningless.
I think this part pretty much sums it up.
Of the 58 reviews he posted at Rotten Tomatoes this year, 48 of them were positive. One of those ten negatives was for Edgar Wright’s The World’s End. [...] Yet, Hammond gave positive reviews to The Internship (35%), Jobs (26%) and Paranoia (4%).
Yup. Pete’s brilliant analysis on The World’s End included “Geeks will flock but so what?”
Hammond was quoted 31 times in 2013, just slightly up from his 2012 total. He averaged nearly 46 quotes from 2008-2011 and averaging 30 the past two years. So we are going in the right direction, but these retrospectives will not stop until the number hits zero. The studios are not fooling anyone with their reliance on Hammond either. Who cares if he calls American Hustle “a fearless piece of American cinema” when he calls Safe Haven “evocative” and “a must-see.”
If you’ll remember, Safe Haven was the one with Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, which made Burnsy’s worst of the year list on account of one of the main characters turning out to be a secret ghost lady (spoiler alert). But let’s not quibble. To argue Pete Hammond’s point of view is to presume that he has a point of view.
It’s pretty obvious to anyone reading Pete Hammond’s reviews, which are big bowls of word salad generously sprinkled with potential poster quote croutons, that his target audience isn’t potential moviegoers, it’s studio marketing departments (that is, if he’s even writing his reviews and not just copying down quotes from a studio wish list). Writing for a marketing department has a name, and it’s not “criticism.” It’s “copywriting.” If studios want that, fine. Just call it what it is. Why attempt this silly dance where we pretend Pete Hammond is a critic so you can pretend your movie is acclaimed? It’s 2013, who do they think they’re kidding anymore? Have some balls and just quote the bad reviews. People hate critics anyway.
If you want an example of the kind of film that uses Pete Hammond quotes in its marketing material, look no further than Gimme Shelter:
THREE PETE HAMMOND QUOTES, MWA AH AH. Nothing says “we couldn’t find anyone who liked this” like quoting Pete Hammond three times.