Sunday, August 13, 2006

SNIDE REMARKS FROM A JUNKET WHORE

Well, both sides have accepted the UN ceasefire in the Middle East, Fidel Castro is apparently out of bed, and the terrorists have been caught. Nice to know the world is calming down a little bit. Now, time to go to a movie and take my mind off of all the troubles of the past few weeks.

Hmmm, check the listings here. World Trade Center.

Never mind, I'll stay home.

Anyway, there's a big brouhaha going on about this movie because a freelance film critic from Portland, Eric D. Snider, went to a lavish press junket for this movie in Seattle. And he lived the good life off of Paramount's wallet.

Then he decided to turn around and be a troublemaker, and wrote about the whole thing. Read it here, at his own site. And Mediabistro has had a field day with this, too; so has everyone.

Now Paramount is all steamed at him for making them look as if they tried to buy the press off, or something. And they've banned him from press screenings, and Snider is claiming other studios are trying to blacklist him. Anyway, that's what you get when you try and turn "investigative reporter" on the movie industry; the industry will hit back.

You know, I'm thinking that if Snider was so opposed to these press junkets, he should have refused to take part in them and stayed home! He could have written an indignant column trashing these junkets, he didn't have to go on one of them to make his point! Instead he kind of looks like someone who bit off the hands that fed him. He was also trashing the reporters at the junkets, claiming they were gushing about the big stars as opposed to the quality of the movies. Well, of course, they're entertainment reporters, what do you expect. They're a different breed of cat from film critics.

Personally, I think film critics should stay clear of these sorts of junkets to begin with; but if entertainment reporters want to do these sorts of things, well, that's their business. It depends. Access to the big stars can be hard to come by. If you can't get access to any of the "big names" any other way, you pretty much have to go to these things. And if you're a freelancer and no paper will pick up your travel expenses, what else can you do? I guess the easy answer is to "stay home", but the point is that it's not so easy if this is what you do for a living, cover entertainment as a freelancer. If no one else will pick up the tab, what can you do? You can't expect to fly there and back and pay for your plane tickets and your own hotel rooms all the time, you'd lose money covering the story.

I certainly wouldn't advocate going on junket after junket all the time either, that would definitely be freeloading. And if I were a film critic I'd definitely stay home and avoid any potential charges of conflict-of-interest. There's no need for film critics to attend publicity junkets to interview people when their job is to tell you whether a movie is any good.

Anyway, check out that link I gave you, pretty good stuff. It makes all people who go on these junkets all the time look really bad, and it sort of raises some important points about journalism ethics and all that sort of thing.

Looks like World Trade Center is going to end up #3 at the box office this weekend, even though it looks like a solid effort from Oliver Stone (for a change), not one of his usual nonsensical "conspiracy theory"-type movies.

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