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Breathtaking! The feel-good column of the year!

YOU, THE PUBLIC, HAVE SPOKEN. Everybody, of course, loves film critics, and readers’ calls and letters indicate that everyone wants to see these underappreciated, underpaid and wildly talented people get recognition again. So , here are the semi-annual Gary Awards (named in honor of blurbmeister extraordinaire Gary Franklin). But this time, no separating nominees and winners , because, as you’ll see, it’s too hard to choose: They’re all winners.

MOVIES ARE BETTER THAN EVER

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, “The Piano”–“One of the most enchanting love stories ever filmed!”

Jeff Craig, Sixty Second Preview, “Needful Things”–“The best Stephen King film ever!”

Candy Taylor, KSHB-TV, Kansas City, Mo., “RoboCop 3”–“The best RoboCop ever!”

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune, “Short Cuts”–“One of the all-time best! Among the finest American films since the advent of sound.”

BLURB OF THE DECADE (AND IT’S ONLY 1994)

Paul Wunder, WBAI Radio, New York, “The Age of Innocence”–“The love story of the decade.”

David Goodman, Interview, “The War Room”–“The documentary of the decade.”

Barry ZeVan, Channel America, “The Beverly Hillbillies”–“Great laughs! Great performances! The most fun film in decades!”

Vernon Jarrett, Chicago Sun-Times, “The Meteor Man”–“One of the funniest, most exciting, most tension-filled, most enjoyable movies of the decade.”

RICH, BEAUTIFUL PROSE

Bob Campbell, Newhouse Newspapers, “Short Cuts”–“This is an event. This is an experience. It will outlive us all.”

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, “Flesh and Bone”–“It slaps you like raw wind.”

Anthony Lane, New Yorker, “The Age of Innocence”–“You leave the theater with your senses peeled, and your heart still rising and falling.”

Johnathan Bernstein, Spin Magazine, “Freaked”–“Like Monty Python threw up in a copy of Mad magazine! I loved it!”

YOU’D THINK THEY NEVER HEARD OF THE PEE-WEE HERMAN CASE

Jeff Stricker, Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Much Ado About Nothing”–“The most fun you’re going to have in a theater all summer.”

Dixie Whatley, ABC, Boston, “Undercover Blues”–” The most fun I’ve had at a movie all year.”

George Pennacchio, KFMB-TV/CBS, San Diego, “The Beverly Hillbillies”–“The most fun you can have at the movies.”

Susan Granger, CRN/AMC, “The Ice Runner”–“A harrowing adventure with a spectacular climax!”

TALKIN’ ‘BOUT MY G-G-GENERATION

Pat Collins, WWOR, New York, “True Romance”–“An important movie that defines a generation.”

Jim Svejda, KNX Radio, Los Angeles, “That Night”–“A bittersweet film that confirms Juliette Lewis’ reputation as the most exciting actress of her generation.”

Dixie Whatley, WCBV-TV/ABC, Boston, “Mrs. Doubtfire”–“A delightful romp with the comedic genius of our generation.”

Janet Maslin, N.Y. Times, “American Heart”–“It’s time to recognize Mr. (Jeff) Bridges as the most underappreciated great actor of his generation.”

PREMATURE EXCLAMATIONS

Mike Clark, USA Today, “Manhattan Murder Mystery”–“The year’s smartest comedy.” (Aug. 27)

Bob Polunsky, CBS News Network, “The Beverly Hillbillies”–“It’s the funniest film of the year!” (Oct. 8)

Nora Fraser, ABC-TV, “Heart and Souls”–“The best movie of the year” (Aug. 13 )

Marilyn Beck, Tribune Media Services, “Rising Sun”–“The best picture of the year!” (July 25)

THEY MAKE SENSE IF YOU DON’T THINK ABOUT THEM

Ralph Novak, People, “Sister Act 2”–“It’s invigorating and warmhearted. Say five ‘Hail Whoopis’ and see it!”

Rex Reed, New York Observer, “True Romance”–“A shock treatment of a film. If you miss this one, you won’t know what everyone else is talking about.”

Gary Franklin, KCOP, Los Angeles, “The Joy Luck Club”–“A 10, really a 13.”

Jerry Roberts, the Outlook, “Fatal Instinct”–“It’s a gut-buster, a foot-stomper and anything short of an aisle-roller.”

Larry King, CNN, “Last Action Hero”–“A perfect summer movie.”

REVIEWER OF THE YEAR!

Joel Siegel, ABC –“Into the West” was “‘Free Willy’ on horseback!” but “Cool Runnings” was “‘Rocky’ on ice!”

Jim Svejda, KNX Radio –“In the Line of Fire” was “A classic movie thriller” and “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” was “A modern classic in the tradition of ‘Old Yeller.’ ”

Jim Ferguson, Fox TV –“Heart and Souls” was “The best comedy of the year!” (Aug. 13) while “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was “The biggest surprise hit of the year!” (Aug. 15)

Paul Wunder, WBAI Radio –“Hot Shots! Part Deux” was “The year’s hottest comedy!” (May 21), but “Short Cuts” was “Clearly the year’s best film” (Oct. 15 ).

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