SOMETIMES, AT THE MOST UNEXPECTED MOMENTS, terror can freeze your heart. There it was, a few months ago, amid all the movie listings in the newspaper: the ad for WB’s “Unforgiven.” There, with the list of the film’s Oscar nominations, its awards from the British Academy for Film & TV Arts, DGA and Golden Globes, was a deeply troubling phrase: “234 ‘ten best’ lists.” It’s a thought guaranteed to send a chill up any spine: There are at least 234 people out there making lists of their top 10 films. Reel Life has repeatedly warned you readers, but you didn’t listen: Don’t feed critics after midnight and don’t get them wet, or they’ll multiply. But as long as there are so many of them, we can’t pretend they’re not there. So we may as well do what Hollywood always does when it sees a crowd: present an award. Thus, to recognize excellence in the field of quotable quotes, we once again present the semi-annual Gary Awards (named after blurbmeister extraordinaire Gary Franklin). It was hard to narrow down the finalists; Reel Life had enough material for a column twice this length. So congratulations to all our nominees and, remember, you’re all wieners — er, winners. MY ABSOLUTELY ALL-TIME FAVORITE FILM OF THE LAST FOUR WEEKSThe nominees are: John Corcoran, KCAL, “Sleepless in Seattle”–“One of the greatest romantic movies ever made.” Jules Peimer, WNWK Radio, “Made in America”–“The best original comedy of the decade.” Jeanne Wolf, Hollywood Radio Syndicate, “Last Action Hero”–“Bigger, better, funnier than anything you’ve ever seen on the screen.” And the winner is: Pat Collins, WWOR, “Sommersby”–“The best romance since ‘Gone With the Wind.’ ” IN THE GREAT TRADITION OF … The nominees are: Joanna Connors, Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Much Ado About Nothing”–“Thompson and Branagh prove themselves the most entertaining screen couple since Bacall taught Bogart how to whistle.” Mike Cidoni, NSE Radio Network –“‘The Sandlot’ gang is the funniest group of kids to hit the movies since ‘The Little Rascals.’ ” Kevin Thomas, L.A. Times, “Made in America”–“Goldberg and Danson go together like Gable and Lombard.” And the winner is: Jim Svejda, KNX Radio, “Dennis the Menace”–“Mason Gamble may be the cutest child star since Shirley Temple.” GOIN’ LIKE 60 IN THE ’90S The nominees are: Joy Browne, WOR Radio Network, “Once Upon a Forest”–“A ‘Bambi’ for the ’90 s.” Pat Collins, WSWOR, “Posse”–“The ‘Wild Bunch’ of the ’90s!” Chuck Henry, KABC, “Jack the Bear”–“The first real people movie of the ’90 s.” And the winner is: Pat Collins, WWOR, “Falling Down”–“The first real movie of the ’90s.” IF THIS CRITIC GIG DOESN’T WORK, YOU MAY HAVE A FUTURE IN COPYWRITING The nominees are: Pat Collins, WWOR, “Dave”–“Think summer! Think funny! Think hit! Think ‘Dave’!” Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, “The Fugitive”–“Suspense! Thrills! Fun! Dynamite!” David Denby, New York magazine, “Much Ado About Nothing”–“One of the few movies of recent years that could leave audiences weeping for joy.” And the winner is: Michael Wilmington, L.A. Times, “Posse”–“A big, rousing, hip-hopping, trash-talking, dynamite-lobbing, all-stops-out, rock-the-house comic/epic Western.” PREMATURE EXCLAMATIONS The nominees are: Jim Ferguson, KMSB, “Hot Shots! Part Deux”–“Easily, this summer’s funniest comedy” (May 21). Patrick Stoner, Flicks Syndicate, “Lost in Yonkers”–“The best film of the year” (May 14). Chuck Henry, KABC, “Sniper”–“The most intense film of the year” (Jan. 30). And the winner is: Gary Franklin, KCOP, “Amos & Andrew”–“A 9+! The funniest movie I’ve seen all year!” (Feb. 28). ONCE YOU FIND A PATTERN STICK WITH IT The nominees are: Jeff Craig, Sixty Second Preview –“Cliffhanger” is “a true blockbuster,” while “Last Action Hero” is “a grade ‘A’ blockbuster.” Sam Rubin, KTLA –“Cliffhanger” has “the best screen thrills of the year,” but “Benny & Joon” is “the most romantic picture of the year” and “Benny & Joon” is also “the best date movie of the year.” Pat Collins, WWOR –“Sleepless in Seattle” is “the surprise hit of the summer ,” but “In the Line of Fire” is “the best action movie of the summer!” while “Hard Target” is “the fastest non-stop action movie of the summer” and “Free Willy” is “the best buddy movie of the summer.” And the winner is: No winners this time, but our thanks to all who entered. BIG DOUBLE DIGITS AWARD Siskel & Ebert, who seem to be inserting their thumbs everywhere these days. SPECIAL “BLOCK THAT METAPHOR” AWARD Rita Kempley, Washington Post, “Hot Shots! Part Deux”–“It’s got the smell of a summer blockbuster written all over it.”
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