Fox 4's Shawn Edwards isn't just a blurb whore 

Page 2 of 8


Why, just a couple of months before being named a "Best Critic," was he also named 2007's "Whore of the Year"? Edwards speaks in superlatives. Like most critics, his conversation reels through favorite movies, obscure titles and the names of who directed what. Unlike most, though, he's also big on industry dish: buzz, box-office numbers, the stuff he follows in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

His casual conversation purls up into blurbs ready for the ads in some alternative universe. There is that riff on Friday's status among thieves, for example, or when he jokes, "You know what the most realistic movie about military existence is? Stripes."

Of When the Levees Break, Spike Lee's wrenching Hurricane Katrina documentary: "One of the most powerful movies I've ever seen. I had to stop watching because I would break down and start crying."

That last one is dead-serious, but he means all three. He feels all three. But when you speak in superlatives, the ones you feel most hardly stand out from the rest.

When Edwards gushes professionally, these superlatives wind up in ads. Sometimes, when a movie he likes is widely panned, he's the only critic quoted, as in a full-page New York Times ad in Febru­ary for Martin Lawrence's Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins. His assessment — "Totally hilarious!" — took up a quarter-page. The attribution that follows, in tinier print: "Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV."

The ad left out "Kansas City."

When he champions a movie that other critics hate, Edwards takes heat. His detractors include other critics (often posting online) as well as Variety editor Timothy Gray, who lists Edwards in his annual round-ups of outrageous "blurbmeisters."

Edwards' most infamous superlative is this rave for the 2002 Britney Spears bomb Crossroads: "Britney rocks! She is like a comet. A talent of her magnitude only comes around once in a lifetime and you can't take your eyes off her when she is on-screen in this totally cool and delightfully hip movie."

Recently, The Pitch asked Edwards about this quote.

"The people online are misrepresenting the metaphor of a comet," he says. "I said she was a talent that comes around about as often as a comet. She was decent in that movie. That's when everybody thought she was poised to be a big star."

This didn't quite clear things up. Maybe she was decent in Crossroads. But was she a comet?

Edwards: "We may not see a talent like hers for a while. When are you going to see another Britney Spears-like talent?"

The Pitch: Anytime they can train somebody to do that.

Edwards: "Not really. Where she was at that point, the way that she was set up — there hasn't been anyone like that since."

The Pitch: When you say "talent," do you mean a person of deep personal talents who can do amazing things or do you mean "talent," the noun they use in Hollywood for "performer," as in "Bring the talent onstage"?

Edwards: "Probably a combination of the two. At the time, she had the skills, and if she would have stayed focused, she would have been huge."

Was Edwards reviewing her performance? Or was he just celebrating the big star she was poised to be? Or was he, as some have alleged, offering a rave to get his name in print?

Edwards insists that differing with criti­cal consensus is a good thing. "What's the point of having critics if we're all supposed to like the same thing?" he asks. "Most critics talk to each other, not the people. They're trying to out-intellect one another."

Comments (61)

Showing 1-25 of 61

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 61

Add a comment

Latest in Feature

Facebook Activity

All contents ©2014 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation