Whether one thinks 1992 was a great year for films, it was obviously a great year for critics. Last July, Reel Life handed out the first Garys. These prestigious awards were established to honor reviewers whose praise for films was so quotable, so exclamatory, so enthusiastic that their blurbs demanded to be used in ads — thus bringing attention not only to the film, but, more to the point, to the reviewer as well.Well, it’s hard to be objective, but it seems that in the last six months, these critics have surpassed themselves. So here they are, the second semi-annual Garys (named in honor of reviewer/self-promoter extraordinaire Gary Franklin). The suspense is unbearable, so we’ll announce the nominees and victors simultaneously. Congratulations, but remember, you’re all winners. Here is the recognition you so richly deserve. CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED The nominees: Susan Granger, WICC/AMC, on “1492”–“Destined to become a classic.” Richard Schickel, Time, on “Jennifer 8″–“A classic whodunit.” Bobbie Wygant, KXAS, on “Forever Young”–“A classic movie for the nineties.” And the winner is … Harriet Robbins, La Opinion, on “Toys”–“A timeless classic.” MASTERPIECE THEATER: The nominees: Jim Svejda, CBS Radio, on “A River Runs Through It”–“Robert Redford has fashioned a masterpiece.” Jim Svejda, CBS Radio, on “Venice/Venice”–“A masterpiece.” Dennis Dermody, Paper magazine, on “Rampage”–“A masterpiece.” And the winner is … Rod Lurie, L.A. magazine, on “A Few Good Men”–“A masterpiece. The first true classic of the ’90s.” PREMATURE EXCLAMATIONS: The nominees: James Grant, Scene at the Movies, on”The Lover”–“One of the best films of the decade.” Bruce Kirkland, Toronto Sun, on “Last of the Mohicans”–“One of the most exhilarating films of the decade.” And the winner is … Arch Campbell, WRC-TV, on “Malcolm X”–“One of the decade’s best and most important films. A must-see!” HITCHIN’ A RIDE The nominees: Eleanor O’Sullivan, Asbury Park Press, on “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”–“A hip, scary, sexy ride.” James Grant, Scene at the Movies, on “Glengarry Glen Ross”–“A verbal roller coaster of a ride.” Rex Reed, NY Observer, on “Single White Female”–“a terrifying roller coaster ride that will leave you screaming.” And the winner is … Jeanne Wolf, Jeanne Wolf’s Hollywood, on “Traces of Red”–“More twists and turns than a roller coaster!” QUOTE OF THE YEAR: The nominees: Pat Collins, WWOR, on “Home Alone 2″–“The best Christmas movie ever!” Roger Ebert, Chi Sun-Times, on “The Public Eye”–“It made me think of Casablanca.” Bob Campbell, Newhouse Syndicate–“Like a stream of clear water, Robert Redford’s ‘A River Runs Through It’ freshens and replenishes the contemporary movie landscape.” And the winner is … Marilyn Beck–“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll never forget ‘Mr. Saturday Night.’ ” CRITIC OF THE YEAR: The nominees: Joel Siegel, “GMA”–“Jennifer 8″ is “Wow! Intense!” but “The Crying Game” is “In one word–wow!” Joanna Langfield, Movie Minute–In “Used People,””Marcia Gay Harden delivers an unforgettable, star-making performance” but in “Chaplin,””Robert Downey Jr. gives a career-establishing, star-making performance.” Mike Caccioppoli, WABC Radio–“Glengarry Glen Ross” is “The best film of the year” (October) but “Hoffa” is “The best film of the year” (December). And the winner is … Chuck Henry, KABC–“Enchanted April” is “The most intelligent and entertaining movie of the year,” but “Of Mice and Men” is “the year’s most memorable film” and “Lorenzo’s Oil” is “The best film of the year.” GOVERNOR’S TROPHY The nominees: Siskel & Ebert–who have their thumbs up for so many movies you’re almost afraid to sit down in the dark. Gary Franklin–whose scale of 1-10 also includes 10+ and 13, tripling a film’s chance of a top rating, tripling Gary’s chances of being quoted and virtually guaranteeing humiliation to any film that scored 9 or below. And the winner is … Rod Lurie–for proclaiming “Mistress””the most wonderful film of the Hollywood rat race ever made!” and “Mr. Saturday Night” as “The best job of a comic directing himself since Chaplin.” But Mr. Lurie mostly wins this prize because, as the only journalist to respond in print to the first Gary Awards, he complained that “Mr. Funny Guy Gray” nominated him for three awards but didn’t give him any. But then he concluded that the Reel Life column was “SPECTACULAR … a piece of journalism IN THE TRADITION OF EDWARD R. MURROW!” So naturally the perceptive Mr. Lurie wins the first Governor’s Trophy. (Hey, we point out the hype, we never said we were immune to it.)
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