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Variety drops critics (theater, film)

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Isn't this the guy that always says "pic" instead of "The Film"?

Heavens, that's the only reason I ever look at that paper. Serious. I've never looked at it for anything else, but I've seen hundreds of reviews.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Overstreet wrote:

: Good heavens. No more embargo-leaping Todd McCarthy reviews?

Whether or not McCarthy's editors leapt any embargoes, I think it's fair to say that the rules for Variety have always been different than the rules for everyone else, in that regard.

Persona wrote:

: Isn't this the guy that always says "pic" instead of "The Film"?

It's not the guy, it's the entire paper. Variety literally has its own vocabulary for stuff like that.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Link to our thread on 'Nikki Finke steals Mike Fleming from Variety'.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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:: Isn't this the guy that always says "pic" instead of "The Film"?

: It's not the guy, it's the entire paper. Variety literally has its own vocabulary for stuff like that.

I hate Variety speak. It's "pic" instead of "film", "Helmer" instead of "Director", "lensed" instead of filmed, "penned" instead of "wrote". One of the reasons I don't trawl Variety very often is that I can only go so far before yelling "Please, make it stop".

Matt

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"lensed" instead of filmed,

I also hate this one. I can't even tell what it really means, but apparently it made it into a dictionary.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Poland:

"The only reason anyone pays much attention to Variety, critically, is not because Todd McCarthy is the greatest critic in the world, but because studios, steeped in The Past, have continued to allow Variety to act as though they have a unique position in the industry and to review first. That has drawn much of the traffic they have had.

"And Variety -- and Todd McCarthy -- have held onto that long antiquated idea of how to handle review embargoes closely to their hearts. It has been their lifeblood, however absurd on its face, as 'the trades' have been published on the newswires and as consumer content on the search engines for years.

"So how, having fired McCarthy, slashing the number of reviews in the paper and online, and going all-freelance with reviews, how could any studio continue to allow Variety to own a space that it does not earn and for which it now shows clear contempt?

"In other words...it's over.

"Variety will not go out of business. But it will be a brand, eventually sold off, still trying to figure out how to balance print and online in a way that gives the title any distinction at all in the marketplace. Same with The Hollywood Reporter. As such, the title may someday disappear completely. We'll see. The discussion and ambition will continue. But for now, long live Variety, Variety is dead."


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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:: Isn't this the guy that always says "pic" instead of "The Film"?

: It's not the guy, it's the entire paper. Variety literally has its own vocabulary for stuff like that.

I hate Variety speak. It's "pic" instead of "film", "Helmer" instead of "Director", "lensed" instead of filmed, "penned" instead of "wrote". One of the reasons I don't trawl Variety very often is that I can only go so far before yelling "Please, make it stop".

Video.

Yakko: In Hollywood they have a different language that they speak

It's spoken by those folks who went to school for just one week

Dot : It's found inside Variety, a magazine they use

Y+D : And no one understands it when they read the movie news.

Dot : Like "Hix makes pix but the flick needs fix"

Yakko: Means someone made a movie that bombed

Dot : "The veeps in charge are now at large"

Yakko: Means everyone involved is gone.

Dot : "The plot conflix; no beautiful chix"

Yakko: So it's coming out on video soon

Dot : They're "taking their lix"

'Cause the critics say "nix"

Yakko: And the editors are gonna try to fix it in the mix.

Dot : But the "stock sees green" on page thirteen

Yakko: Means Disney's up a nickel a share

Dot : "Stallone cuts deal for a major reel"

Yakko: Means Rocky number six, so beware.

Dot : If you want the "poop"

Yakko: Or you need the "scoop"

Y+D : On Hollywood town this week

You're gonna have to learn to talk that Variety Speak!

Girls: Bob-a-doo-bop! A-bob-a-doo-bah!

Bob-a-doo-bop! A-bob-a-doo-bah!

Dot : "A boffo smash makes Warner cash"

Yakko: Means there's gonna be a sequel next year

Dot : But "Paramount hurts and they're losing their shirts"

Yakko: Means Schwarzenegger's doing King Lear.

Dot : "Oliver Stone does next Home Alone"

Yakko: Means he's getting paid an arm and a leg

The budget goes "crunch"

Dot : But his name "packs punch"

Yakko: So they called up the accountants and they're gonna "do lunch"!

Dot : Well, the "ratings smile" on the O.J. trial

Yakko: Means a movie of the week to premiere

Dot : "Universal cuts deal with Mister Spiel"

Yakko: To do a hundred thousand movies a year.

YW+D : You gotta play it smart

If you wanna be part

Of the crowd that's hip and chic

You're gonna have to learn to talk that Variety Speak!

Girls: Bob-a-doo-bop! A-bob-a-doo-bah!

Bob-a-doo-bop! A-bob-a-doo-bah!

Yakko: Normal talk makes producers walk

Y+D : You might as well speak Greek

You're gonna have to learn...

Wakko: Or the meeting will adjourn...

YW+D : Unless, my friend, you learn that Variety Speak!

Girls: Bob-a-doo-bop! A-bob-a-doo-bah!

Bob-a-doo-bop! A-bob-a-doo-bah!

YW+D : Bah-doop-bah-doop-bah-doop-bahhh-dah!

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Has anyone here actually subscribed to Variety online since they firewalled access to non-subscribers in January? I signed up for the 5 free articles a month option, before they blackout your access. I quickly discovered, however, that once your five articles have been read and blackout begins, that there is quite a bit of lag time between loading a page and the blackout taking effect. Enough time to hit the "print screen" button on my keyboard, and loading any article I'm interested in reading into a paint program (I'm not suggesting that anyone do this... it's just handy information).


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Has anyone here actually subscribed to Variety online since they firewalled access to non-subscribers in January? I signed up for the 5 free articles a month option, before they blackout your access. I quickly discovered, however, that once your five articles have been read and blackout begins, that there is quite a bit of lag time between loading a page and the blackout taking effect. Enough time to hit the "print screen" button on my keyboard, and loading any article I'm interested in reading into a paint program (I'm not suggesting that anyone do this... it's just handy information).

I haven't yet used this info practically myself, but I've been told that you can read the blacked out content quite easily via view source.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Chris Willman has started a Facebook group called "I Bet I Can Find 1000 People Who'd Buy a Subscription to Read Todd McCarthy":

Roger Ebert and others have been canceling their Variety subscriptions since the firing of critic Todd McCarthy, one of the half-dozen most esteemed film critics in the country, who had been with the publication since 1979. Obviously the trade had no idea how many people read Variety primarily for his trusted voice. This group is made up of people who pledge to pay up and subscribe to whichever publication or web outlet brings McCarthy aboard next.

David Poland wrote:

: And Variety -- and Todd McCarthy -- have held onto that long antiquated idea of how to handle review embargoes closely to their hearts. It has been their lifeblood, however absurd on its face, as 'the trades' have been published on the newswires and as consumer content on the search engines for years.

I'm not sure quite what Poland's point is here. Yes, newswires run reviews before opening date: they HAVE to, if the newspapers that depend on the wire services are going to run those reviews on opening day. And yes, the Variety and/or Hollywood Reporter reviews are often picked up by the newswires. And yes, because the internet exists, every website in the world now runs newswire copy the moment it arrives, which means every website that runs stories by Reuters and the Associated Press (and the Catholic News Service, for that matter) is now running movie reviews several days before the movie in question opens. The only advantage Variety has ever had is that it often ran its reviews FIRST. But it never ran them EXCLUSIVELY.

SDG wrote:

: I haven't yet used this info practically myself, but I've been told that you can read the blacked out content quite easily via view source.

Yeah, I discovered this weeks ago; it's how I've continued to copy-and-paste so much text here at A&F. Basically, I realized that if the words were on the screen -- however obscured they might be by the grey screen -- then they were probably in the source code somewhere. And so they are.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The reason I always read this guy is that he had unique films, not standard fair. Foreigns. Indies. I would continue to read him (with no reason to ever visit Variety again, should it still exist) if he found a new home. I hope he does.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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The reason I always read this guy is that he had unique films, not standard fair. Foreigns. Indies. I would continue to read him (with no reason to ever visit Variety again, should it still exist) if he found a new home. I hope he does.

Yeah. Comprehensiveness as well as earliness was a draw.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Wow, apparently Roger Ebert first met McCarthy when he was a high-school student -- and apparently McCarthy co-directed the documentary Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992)!

Man, it's been a while since I last saw that film. Must do again someday. (I wonder if it might be in need of an update, given the eruption of digital cinematography in the nearly two decades since?)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Some of you may have heard about the recent controversy whereby Variety yanked a negative review of a film (written by Robert Koehler, who sometimes posts at Doug Cummings' blog) because the producers were paying Variety $400,000 to mount a futile awards campaign.

Well, Variety put the review back online when word got out about what they had done ... and now the producer in question is suing Variety for posting that negative review and thereby, as the producer sees it, breaking their word.

I bring this up here because, one, it does put the sacking of McCarthy in an interesting context (just what IS going on at Variety in their approach to reviews these days!?) and, two, Sharon Waxman just interviewed the producer in question and got this rather mind-boggling quote out of him, regarding something that Variety publisher Neil Stiles reportedly said to him:

Then what happened?

So literally minutes after coming out of the Variety screening in San Francisco, I got a phone call from Michael Russell, my publicist. He said, "You’re not going to believe this, Variety has absolutely trashed the film." I drove all night from San Francisco to turn up at 9 a.m. at Neil Stiles' office. He was incredibly embarrassed, I can’t tell you.

On the one hand he was apologetic. On the other hand, he said, "Josh, you’re putting too much importance on this review -- no one takes these reviews seriously."

What does he mean by that?

He’s trashing his own critic. It gets worse -- he said he had a problem with his critics. And he said he planned to cease all reviews this year, in 2010.

When was this?

On the 21st of December between 9 and 10:30 a.m. I said, "Neil, this is completely damaging us." He said he’d see what he could do about the Internet and he’d cancel the review from the international edition.

[ snip ]

Do you think this has to do with Todd McCarthy being laid off?

Well, Neil said he’d end all reviews in 2010. If he’s sacking his critics and using freelancers, with freelancers making submissions, it's easier for them to control.

You mean if they don’t like a review, they can reject it?

Exactly.

Stiles has apparently not responded to Waxman's efforts to follow this up. But if there is any truth to this, it does make you wonder when McCarthy was informed about his own sacking. I mean, is it possible that some outside filmmaker knew that McCarthy's job was on the chopping block before McCarthy himself found out!?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Some of you may have heard about the recent controversy whereby Variety yanked a negative review of a film (written by Robert Koehler, who sometimes posts at Doug Cummings' blog) because the producers were paying Variety $400,000 to mount a futile awards campaign.

Well, Variety put the review back online when word got out about what they had done ... and now the producer in question is suing Variety for posting that negative review and thereby, as the producer sees it, breaking their word.

Seriously, the audacity that purchasing advertising equals to positive press from the publication... I wonder, does Entertainment Weekly get chewed out and have to apologize when one of their reviewers gives a movie a bad review to a film in an issue that might feature a cover story of the same movie (let alone includes advertisements for it)?


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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FWIW, David Poland has ripped into Waxman's interview with Newton, and he has posted a follow-up piece on a related story that was run by Waxman's former employers at the New York Times. The upshot? If the Variety guys were reasoning the way they SAY they were reasoning when they yanked the review and then put it back online a couple months later, then they oughtta be fired.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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TheWrap.com has found ANOTHER way to get behind the Variety paywall -- but it requires a bit more memorizing and/or copying-and-pasting than the method we've aleady discussed in this thread. Basically, whenever you load a Variety story in your browser, just replace the part of the URL that says "www.variety.com" with "199.212.222.13".

Interestingly, when I looked at TheWrap.com's story a few minutes ago, someone had posted a comment mentioning the previously-discussed method for getting behind the Variety paywall, but that comment seems to have been deleted now.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Anyone know if Variety is having trouble with its "paywall"? I've been able to read any and every story I've clicked on for the past week without being blacked out. Have any others experienced this, or have I just been lucky?


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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I guess you've been lucky! Though for what it's worth, I don't see the paywall when I read Variety stories on my cell phone; I only see it when I read them on my laptop.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, Baal, I haven't actually seen the paywall myself the last couple days, and it seems many other people haven't either.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Paywall is back up today. And this trick - 199.212.222.13 - doesn't seem to be working anymore. Oh well.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Paywall is back up today. And this trick - 199.212.222.13 - doesn't seem to be working anymore. Oh well.

View source still works, tho.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Heh. Yet another way to get around the paywall:

Keep in mind you can always get underneath the velvet rope on any Variety page by selecting all, copying and pasting to a word document. Annoying, but hey, it’s easy and free.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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