Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Larry King Assumption

So long as I'm dispensing axioms, allow me to share The Larry King Assumption. Simply put, if, in examining any movie poster, you discover the best-known reviewer quoted there-upon to be Larry King, one best avoid said movie like an E. coli-laden spinach salad.

For example, an advertisement for the new Sean Penn vehicle All the King's Men trumpets "A Masterpiece" in large font atop a moody depiction of a shadowy, seated Penn, smoke rising noirish from a cigarette in his spotlit hand. In far smaller font, the reviewer's name: Larry King. Immediately, I'm deflated. I like to watch Penn and I'd hoped for a good remake of the flick, but if this movie were a masterpiece, its promoters wouldn't have selected a King quote to grace the ad; instead it'd bear a Stephen Holden, a David Edelstein, a Manohla Dargis, a Stanley Kauffmann (a personal favorite) or an A.O. Scott. What Scott actually says:
Nothing in the picture works. It is both overwrought and tedious, its complicated narrative bogging down in lyrical voiceover, long flashbacks and endless expository conversations between people speaking radically incompatible accents. ...

It is rare to see a movie so prodigiously stuffed with fine actors, nearly every one of them grievously miscast.
Ouch. And cue Larry King.

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