Wednesday, March 5, 2014
It's a Great Week NOT To Be a Film Critic on FOX!
I love movies and great TV, literally more than anything in the world. I always have. So you might think that every day being me as a film critic is pure bliss. Over the years I've had many people gush to me how cool it must be to be a film critic on TV. The truth is, it has its benefits (though not as many as you might think, as I addressed in my last post) but it's also a lot of work, and takes up a heck of a lot of time ... at least if you treat it like a real job, which I did. So it's time to give out the details of what my life has been like for the last three years and four months. This is by no means whining, but rather sharing. Judge for yourself if you want to apply for my open position at FOX.
As I revealed to the world over the last week, I never got paid for my work as a film critic, either on FOX or from this blog. So it was really just a labor of love. Some weeks I loved it though some weeks it was just pure labor. This week is a great example of the latter. Just like anyone, there are plenty of movies I have zero interest in seeing. This Friday, the big releases are 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' and '300: Rise of an Empire.' Two of my least favorite genres are animated films and movies with tons of shirtless men with swords running around yelling things like 'Tonight We Dine in Hell!' Thanks, but I'd rather pass, and if I wanted to see 300 shirtless men in 3D there are plenty of clubs for that sort of thing in Philly. (Not that there's anything wrong with it, but it's just not my thing.) Though if I were going on FOX on Friday morning as usual I would have had to go see both of these just to be able to offer my one minute review of each for you, my loyal and appreciative audience. (You're welcome!)
Now, you might think because I'm a big time TV star I get these movies sent to me on DVD's so I can watch them in the comfort of my own home at my convenience, or at the very least a Town Car is sent for me to take me to and from the theater for a screening that was scheduled around my availability. BAHAHAHAHAHA! Ummmm ... no, not quite. First of all, movie studios don't want to send film critics DVD's if they don't absolutely have to. There is a huge risk of piracy that they would obviously prefer not to have to take on without good reason. So DVD screeners are generally only sent out late in the year for awards consideration for voters of various award shows. Instead, as a courtesy, I am generally extended an invitation to at least one opportunity to see a film before it is released in theaters. But the date, time, and venue is out of my hands. Sometimes it's reasonably convenient and sometimes it's not. Often it's on a weekday night, but sometimes it's on a weekday morning. Sometimes it's days, weeks, or even months before the film is released, and sometimes it is the night before. Sometimes multiple advance screenings are offered and sometimes the studios decide not to invite the press to any advance screenings because they don't want bad word of mouth to ruin the opening weekend box office sales. The point is, to talk about these films on FOX on a timely basis, I had to keep my schedule clear for whenever the screenings were offered, and go see them wherever they were screening at whatever time they were screening. Now, I live in Center City, Philadelphia. For those of you that aren't familiar with it, it's kind of like a small version of New York City. But for some reason we don't have one proper multiplex in all of Center City. (Don't get me started on a rant about that. I'll save that outrage for another post on another day.) As a result, many of these advance screenings take place outside the city, and sometimes quite far away. And believe it or not, I don't own a car. This is not because I don't have a drivers license or because I can't afford one, but merely that I never really needed one ... at least until I became a film critic for FOX. Therefore, my options often included renting a car (which might cost around $50, an expense I would have to incur out of pocket since FOX didn't cover any of my expenses), or I could find a friend with a car who was going and try and bum a ride (like that annoying friend everyone has), or I could take a bus. The latter is the simplest option, but I assure you taking the bus is not a first class way to travel in Philadelphia. Yet on more occasions than I should admit to on here, your friendly neighborhood TV star would hop aboard the SEPTA 124/125 out to King of Prussia for about an hour each way to go see a movie he had absolutely no interest in whatsoever. This is, of course, after a full work day at the job that actually pays. It wasn't uncommon for me to leave my home at 8:30 AM for work and not get home until 10:30 PM, at which time I would then sit down at my computer and write up this blog and prepare what I was going to say about the film on FOX on Friday. Now try doing this two to four times a week for three years and four months. Still want the job? You think about it while I sit on my couch eating potato chips and watching Survivor.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman Grade: ???
300: Rise of an Empire Grade: ???
Who are these movies for? Damned if I know. Not my job anymore.