IT’S AWARDS SEASON and the prize for most valuable contribution to the film business — of course — goes to the blurbmeisters. Every day, newspaper ads carry their quotes exhorting people to go see this film or that. Without them, would “Shrek 2” or “Harry Potter” have lured anyone to the theaters?

Well, probably, yeah. But these blurbmeisters are the champions of films that need more help. With endless enthusiasm, year in and year out, they look for the good in a film and they always find it. In a cynical business, you have to admire their boundaryless gusto. Even if you’ve never heard of most of them or the outlet for which they work.

So here they are. The best blurbs of 2004. We salute you critics and give you deep thanks.


Jim Svejda, KNX/CBS Radio, “Teacher’s Pet” — “The year’s first big surprise!” (Jan. 16)

Popular on Variety

Jim Svejda, KNX/CBS Radio, “Miracle” — “The year’s first great film!” (Jan. 30)

Film Advisory Board, “Moto X Kids” — “The most exciting family film of the year.” (Jan. 30)


Michael Clark, Gwinnett Daily Post (Atlanta), “Hellboy” — “The best comic book movie ever made.”

Steve Chupnick, Fox TV, “Taking Lives” — “The most intense movie I’ve ever seen.”

Ryan Sucher, Showtime, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” — “One of the best films of all time!”

Earl Dittman, Wireless, “Laws of Attraction” — “The best romantic comedy pairing since Tracy and Hepburn.”


Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post, “Along Came Polly” — “You’ll laugh yourself sick.”

Joel Siegel, “Good Morning America,” “The Manchurian Candidate” — “My advice: Go with someone who knows CPR!”

Joyce Kulhawik, “Hot Ticket,” “Eurotrip” — “I was on the floor!”

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, “Dawn of the Dead” — “Don’t leave before the final frame — if you’re still breathing.”


Julia Szabo, syndicated columnist, “Benji Off the Leash!” — “If you want to raise humane, ethical kids, take them to see this movie.”


Shawn Edwards, Fox TV, “Barbershop 2” — “The best comedy of the year!” (Feb. 6)

Shawn Edwards, Fox TV, “White Chicks” — “The funniest comedy of the year.” (July 9)

Shawn Edwards, Fox TV, “Little Black Book” — “The best romantic comedy of the year!” (Aug. 1)

Shawn Edwards, Fox TV, “The Chronicles of Riddick” — “One of the best sci-fi films ever! Extraordinary! A true classic that’s not to be missed! Vin Diesel is ecstatically superb.” (June 11)


Mark S. Allen, UPN-TV, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” — “A masterpiece.”

Mark S. Allen, UPN-TV, “The Village” — “Brilliant! A masterpiece!”

Mark S. Allen, UPN-TV, “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” — “A masterpiece!”

Jim Ferguson, ABC-TV — ” ‘Troy’ is a masterpiece.”

Dean Richards, WGN-TV/Chicago, “The Ladykillers” — “A hilarious masterpiece!”


Tony Toscano, Talking Pictures, “Ella Enchanted” — “The best family film of the year!” (April 4)

Tony Toscano, Talking Pictures, “Two Brothers” — “One of the most rewarding films of the year.” (June 20)

Tony Toscano, KJJZ-TV (Indiana), “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” — “The best time I’ve had at the theater all year!” (Sept. 17)

Tony Toscano, Talking Pictures, “The Last Shot” — “The funniest film of the year!” (Sept. 24)

Tony Toscano, Talking Pictures, “Spanglish” — “One of the best films of the year.” (Dec. 18)


Neil Rosen, NY1, “Jersey Girl” — “A big, big winner!”

Clay Smith, Access Hollywood “Hidalgo” — “A thrilling adventure that will take your breath away!”

Bonnie Laufer Krebs, Tribute TV, “The Whole Ten Yards” — “Non-stop laughs.”


Mike Szymanski, Tribune Media, “Alexander” — “The best film of the year.”