Movie Blurbs, The Inside Story
When the recent movie about Apple founder Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher came out, it was a box office flop. Time magazine called Jobs the movie a, "stick in the mud.” The New York Times said the movie has, "all the sex appeal of a power point presentation."
But just look at the TV commercial. You'd think it was an Oscar contender. "Go see it" and "Four Stars" according to Seth Kinkaid, writing on the popular tech site Gizmodo.com. So, just who is Seth Kinkaid?
INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero tracked Kinkaid and found he’s a graphic artist. “Yes, just a graphic artist,” said Kinkaid.
Turns out, Kinkaid isn't a movie critic at all and he doesn't even work for Gizmodo.com. Kinkaid is just a guy who submitted a review on the Gizmodo website. Much to his surprise, he found himself quoted in TV ads.
“Was that surprising to you?” asked Guerrero.
“Very surprising,” he said.
Another movie, Scary Movie 5 starring Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen received terrible reviews, but you’d never know that by the quote used in advertising: "Laugh Out Loud Funny.” Who said it? You have to take out a magnifying glass and look at the fine print at the bottom of the ad to figure out it came from a little known reviewer from a website called clevver.com.
Then there was Eddie Murphy’s movie, A Thousand Words. It was panned by just about every critic except one, Shawn Edwards, from a local TV station in Kansas City. He raved it was "heartwarming and hilarious."
“That movie stunk, didn't it?" Guerrero asked Edwards.
“Did you see it?” he responded.
“Yeah, it was bad,” stated Guerrero.
“I've seen worse movies than a thousand words,” said Edwards.
“I've seen worse movies, but it stunk,” said Guerrero.
Edwards added, “But Eddie Murphy was funny.”
Edwards is a favorite of the movie studios because he seems to like everything he sees. His blurbs have been used more than 300 times. USA Today said the movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone starring Steve Carell and Jim Carey had a "nearly a laugh free script.” But according to Edwards blurb, “You will laugh out loud."
How do some bad movies get such glowing reviews? Perhaps it's because the studios sometimes shower critics like Edwards with goodie bags and free trips to places like England, France and Moscow. Once, he even got a freebie to Bora Bora to interview the stars of the movie, Couples’ Retreat.
“I flew on a private jet from the big island to the small island with Vince Vaughn. It was probably more fun than the movie,” Edwards revealed.
Guerrero said, “Private jet with Vince Vaughn--that' sounds very glamorous.”
Smiling, Edwards said, “It was okay.”
Edwards says those perks don't influence him and he panned the movie anyway.
INSIDE EDITION found one guy Hollywood could always count on for a good quote, but now he's spilling the beans on the movie quote racket.
Mike Sergeant reviews movies for cable and a small radio station in New York City, but he's been quoted so many times praising bad movies that one website refers to him as “the quote whore.”
Sergeant told Guerrero, “I enjoyed friends calling me up and say ‘whore.’”
“And by that you mean?” asked Guerrero.
“Quote whore,” confirmed Sergeant.
“Have you ever written as one of your quotes "best film of the year" and you knew darn well that wasn't one of the best films of the year?” asked Guerrero.
“Sure,” he said.
“Why would you do that?”
“To get quoted. The bottom line is you want to get quoted,” said Sergeant.
“What if it's a really stinky film and they can't get any legitimate critics to give them a glowing review, what will they do?” asked Guerrero.
Sergeant says, “They'll put some critic you've never hear of. When you've seen a completely unknown outlet and a name you've never seen before, that's when they are really scraping.”
Sergeant admits that those free trips and other perks provided by the studios make a difference.
Guerrero asked, “Does this encourage you as a critic to be a little nicer?”
“Well, of course, that's the whole point,” said Sergeant.
Sargent now says he's committed to turning over a new leaf.
“So, you are never going to shill again?” asked Guerrero.
“Well, let me put it this way, I wouldn't give a good quote to a film that I didn't think was good,” stated Sergeant.
“Can I quote you?” asked Guerrero.
“You can quote me on that,” he concluded.