Sunday, February 05, 2006

I send email

I thought you all might get a mild kick out of an e-answer I sent to a young lady who's doing a school research paper on the movies ....


Sat., 2/4, 9:10 pm - from Gary Franklin

Dear Judy F. - This is kinda embarrassing ... but despite my notoriety, during the '80's and '90's, and into the 00's, as a film (and other forms of entertainment) critic ... I never did become much of an expert on that medium, mostly because I had no interest in being an expert .... instead, I treated my job just as a sort of cultured and cultural investment advisor ... i.e., I got to see all those movies before their release, and then I told the folks whether I liked it or not ... and I was in the enviable position of being able to warn people about - what I considered - really bad and/or dangerous stuff ... and whether the admission price investment was - from my viewpoint - a good one or a bad one.

As Psychsue would probably confirm, there were only a few films that I truly enjoyed sitting through.

Towards the end of that career - the late 80's, early 90's - I really hated the job ... especially since, after my German misadventure, I worked for a station (the awful and aptly numbered Ch.13) which had its nightly news at 10pm, instead of 11pm ... which meant that I often had to leave the preview screening before the end of the film ... although that didn't really matter so much, because by that time ... after the thousands of films I had seen - sometimes as many as 10 per week ! - by the time a film was half-way through, I could usually predict the ending. 90% of the time I was right. ( It didn't really matter, because Ch.13's audience was/is small and the demographics such, that the studio PR people didn't give much of a damn what I had to say about it ... unless ... unless ... the movie was so god-awful, that its box office prognosis was minimal ... and by twisting my review words a bit, they could make it sound like a hit ... maybe something like this:
I'd say ," .... This awful piece of trash will, most probably, find enthusiastic approval only among weak-minded and uncultured nincompoops ...."

However, the quote ad would read:

" Will, most probably, find enthusiastic approval ! " - Gary Franklin, KCOP

Not a true example ... but almost .....

Anyway ... being an "entertainment" critic, paid a lot more than being a street reporter ... and, I guess, I did, in turn, entertain the news audiences with my clever and pungent reviews ... I've been told that I had a measurable effect on the stations' ratings as well as the films' box office ... so, I guess it worked out OK for everybody. (Would you believe that to this day, when I'm out among the people at, say, a shopping mall - I still get stopped by nice folks, who wanna know whether I'd seen any good movies lately .... but of course, those folks are now all gray-haired ... and I just smile and say "thank you for remembering", and I don't tell 'em that I now see, maybe .. four to six movies a year ...)

Finally, as I may have mentioned before, I truly believe that the film industry, as we know it, is in its death throes ... and being more than a hundred years of age, why shouldn't it be ? Electronic entertainment is taking over ... folks ain't gonna shell out $10-plus any more, just to sit next to a guy who's coughing without covering his mouth .... a a lady with a crying baby on her lap ... or some idiot teen broad, talking on her cell phone.

A Great New Day is A'Dawnin' ... that is, unless the Iraq situation escalates and escalates ....

I'm sure this long note is of very little help in your school research ... but it's also entertaining, isn't it ?

gary s franklin

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