Blurb kudos will whiplash the yuks out of you

FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW, the Reel Life column has been handing out awards to the most lavish critics’ blurbs used in newspaper and TV ads. But there’s been a recent dramatic development in filmland: Blurb buffs may have noticed that “The Waterboy” has earned $159 million domestically — without ever using a single ad quote from critics.

Which means only one thing: Though nearly every studio uses critics quotes, they are not necessary for a film’s success. Which means only one thing: Studios continue to use these quotes for nearly every film not to lure in audiences, but in the hopes of nabbing one of these prestigious Reel Life awards.

Since these critics have obviously worked very hard to win a prize, we can’t disappoint them. This is the height of awards season, and here are the awards that hit the heights.

PREMATURE EXCLAMATIONS

David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor — ” ‘The 24 Hour Woman’ ranks with the most entertaining releases of the year.” (Feb. 12, 1999)

James Wilson, Fox TV, St. Louis, “8MM” — “This year’s most powerful thriller!” (Feb. 21)

Maria Salas, Telenoticias, “Cruel Intentions” — “One of the most fun movies of the year.” (Feb. 28)

BODY FUNCTIONS

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune — ” ‘Beloved’ will swim in your bloodstream and echo through your bones.”

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, “Whatever” — “It’s still in my veins and buzzing through my head!”

WHY, IT SOUNDS IRRESISTIBLE!

Maria Salas, CBS Telenoticias, “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” — “You’ll never stop screaming.”

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post, “The Impostors” — “From tee-hee to guffaw to Please-give-me-my-embolism-NOW-and-put-me-out-of-my-misery, the movie whiplashes the yuks out of you.”

AND IT’LL TAKE INCHES OFF YOUR WAISTLINE!

Stephan Talty, Time Out New York, “Madeline” — “It will take three years off your age and add three months to your life. It guarantees happiness.”

NAH, GIMME ALL THE SCENES AT ONCE

Stephan Talty, Time Out New York, “First Love, Last Rites” — “A perfectly realized indie that has to be savored one scene at a time.”

MINORITY OPINIONS

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle, “BASEketball” — “The funniest film unleashed on our sensibilities this year!”

Dan Deevy, WNYU, “Dead Man on Campus” — “The best college movie since ‘Animal House’ “

Paul Clinton, CNN, “Simon Birch” — “One of the best movies of the year.”

Larry King, USA Today — ” ‘Meet Joe Black’ is what great movies are all about!”

POWERFUL, PROVOCATIVE

Paul Wunder, WBAI Radio, “Bad Manners” — “Powerful and provocative.”

Paul Wunder, WBAI-FM Radio, “Beloved” — “Extraordinarily powerful and provocative.”

Paul Wunder, WBAI Radio, “At First Sight” — “A unique and powerful romance … very provocative.”

THE CLOUDED CRYSTAL BALL

Rod Lurie, KABC-Radio, “Apt Pupil” — “It is brilliant, and will be a major Oscar contender.”

Jan Wahl, KRON TV, “Digging to China” — “It’s Oscar time for Kevin Bacon and director Tim Hutton.”

CBS Radio, “The Mighty” — “It’s Oscar time for everyone involved.”

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, “Beloved” — “The Oscar race heats up with Jonathan Demme’s triumphant ‘Beloved.’ “

Henry Sheehan, Orange County Register, “The General” — “There is little doubt that (Brendan) Gleeson will be nominated for an Oscar!”

MOST BLATANT ATTEMPT TO WIN A REEL LIFE AWARD

Kathryn Kinley, WPIX, “Analyze This” (Feb. 19, 1999) — “The best film of the year and the funniest comedy in a decade.”

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