This year I have found myself quoted a couple of times in ad campaigns – I was on the national TV commercial for The Hills Have Eyes, my quote was a massive banner on the top of the full page Talladega Nights ad, and I was quoted in the ad for The Fountain. There’s a rush that comes from being quoted, and I’ve been tempted to offer cheesy quotes for movies that I didn’t like that much just because I wanted to see my name up there. But I have dignity, self-respect and a basic sense of ethics, so I have not done that.
You can’t say the same for the people on eFilmCritic’s Whores of the Year list for 2006. Erik Childress tracks the various quotes given to movies over the course of the year and offers twice yearly updates on who has the most praise to give. I have some quibbles with Erik’s methodology – I don’t think Harry Knowles should be lumped in with Aint It Cool News as a whole, for instance, and I think he tends to consider any quote on a movie he didn’t like to be whoring* – but I tend to love this list. It’s hilarious, especially because I know a couple of people on this list, some of whom I will be seeing this weekend and congratulating on their placement.
The most egregious quote whore, Childress found (and I think we all saw this coming), is Pete Hammond, who writes for Maxim. It’s unreal the number of times I have seen his quote on something, and unlike grotesque quote-whoring meat sack Earl Dittman, Hammond gets quoted on good movies that aren’t just scraping the bottom of the barrel for plaudits. Children of Men, Little Children, Little Miss Sunshine, Inside Man… these movies didn’t need Hammond’s hollow words of praise! (By the way, Childress has tracked Hammond’s reviews in Maxim Magazine, and he has found that the guy has only given NINE bad reviews out of the last FIFTY). You have to wonder if Hammond sees his name on the side of a bus on a Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift ad and feels good about himself.
Pete Hammond must be stopped. A note to the studios: the American public isn’t as dumb as you guys think. They understand that when they see a quote with an attribution too small to read, it’s from a junk outlet (like the CHUD.com quote on The Hills Have Eyes, for instance!). They are also used to seeing Hammond’s name – it’s popped up on the ads for at least 69 films. The value of a quote from a man who will lend his approval to The Shaggy Fucking Dog is going to reach nil very, very soon.
eFilmCritic ran an interview with quote whore Earl Dittman some time ago that was fascinating and revealing – I would love to see them do the same with Pete Hammond. I want this guy on the record talking about the redeeming values of the latest American Pie direct to DVD movie, which carries his shilly quote.
* Actually, it sometimes seems like he thinks any quote is whoring, which I disagree with. If my praise on an ad for The Fountain got another person to see the movie, I’m happy. And there’s nothing wrong with a critic lending his or her name to support a film they truly believe in – at the end of the day that’s one of the reasons I’m writing about movies. I want to share my enthusiasm with other people.