Gary awards: blurbs of unknown soldiers

NEXT TUESDAY, as you may have heard, Oscar nominations will be announced. It’s a great opportunity for the industry professionals to express their thoughts on the year’s films, but why can’t everybody else have a chance to make their opinions heard?

Ah, that’s where the studios show their dedication to public service. A quick scan of newspapers reveals movie ads that are brimming with praise from people who are unknown, and yet the studios embrace their opinions.

For example, Maria Salas of CBS Telenoticias hails “Starship Troopers” as “One of the best science fiction movies ever!” and “Tomorrow Never Dies” as “The best Bond film ever!”

It doesn’t matter that most moviegoers have no idea who she is. She liked those movies and somebody at the studios respected her views. Maria, like all those other talented critics, is speaking for the people when she hails “The Postman” as “Breathtaking” — and isn’t that kind of praise worth almost as much as an Oscar nomination?

In honor of the best blurbs of the past few months, we offer the semi-annual Gary Awards (named after distinguished but retired L.A. TV critic Gary Franklin). Congratulations to all you critics. You’re the voice of the people.


Paul Wunder, WBAI-New York, “The Matchmaker” — “Outrageously funny!”

Paul Wunder, WBAI Radio, “Flubber” — “Outrageously funny!”

Paul Wunder, WBAI Radio, “Nothing to Lose” — “Wildly, wonderfully, outrageously funny.”


Diane Kaminsky, CBS-TV, “Switchback” — “Gripping! It will suck the air right out of your lungs.”

Karen Durbin, Mirabella, “The Peacemaker” — “Clever enough to give your brain a workout along with your abs.”

Louis B. Hobson, Calgary Sun — ” ‘Flubber’ is a knee-slapping, rib-tickling, side-splitting, gut-busting laugh-a-thon!”


CBS-TV, “The Wings of the Dove” — “The most satisfying, sexy, superb movie of the year!” (Nov. 30)

CBS-TV, “Good Will Hunting” — “Hands down the best movie of the year!” (Nov. 30)


Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, “Air Force One” — “Breathtaking, gripping, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat entertainment!”

Neil Rosen, NY-1 News, “Conspiracy Theory” — “A riveting, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thriller.”

Arch Campbell, WRC “The Jackal” — “A state-of-the-art, edge-of-your-seat, heart-pounding thriller!”


Dr. Joy Browne, WOR Radio Network, “The Assignment” — “Sexy, smart, scary, superb.”

Dr. Joy Browne, WOR Radio, “Playing God” — “Smart, sexy, clever!”

Joy Browne, WOR Radio, “Fallen” — “A haunting, sexy, smart thriller.”


Sam Hallenbeck, WTVT-TV (Fox)/Tampa, “G.I. Jane” — “Demi Moore is brilliant!”

Joanna Levenglick, Kids News Network, “Leave It to Beaver” — “Exciting. Not to be missed.”


Mose Persico, CFCF-TV — ” ‘A Thousand Acres’ should receive a thousand Oscars!”

Raj Bahadur, Westwood One Radio Networks — ” ‘Mad City’ is a surefire Oscar contender.”

Bonnie Churchill, National News Syndicate, “Conspiracy Theory” — “Mel Gibson may go home with the Oscar!”

Susan Granger, SSG Syndicate, “Seven Years in Tibet” — “Brad Pitt delivers an Oscar-caliber performance.”


In a world of anonymous critics, two names ARE known to moviegoers. Because they’re smart, because they’re trustworthy, and be-cause they have so many interesting ways to put their thumbs up.

Siskel & Ebert, “G.I. Jane” — “Two thumbs up!”

Siskel & Ebert, “Mimic” — “Two thumbs way up!”

Siskel & Ebert, “In the Company of Men” — “Two thumbs up, way up!”

Siskel & Ebert, “Mrs. Brown” — “Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!”

Siskel & Ebert, “The Ice Storm” — “Two big thumbs up.”

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