A friend asked why I’ve been ranting about the failure of Collider‘s Steve Weintraub to step up to the plate and post whatever favorable opinions he may have about William Monahan‘s London Boulevard, which has opened in London and gotten creamed by most critics. Weintraub has stated he hasn’t posted a review because Monahan showed him the film as a friend and not as a critic. I think that’s a moot point once a film opens theatrically.
“How about when one of your director pallies shows you something early and tells you not to write about it?,” the friend asked. “Seriously, is keeping your word that fucking foreign a concept to you?”
My answer: If I’d been shown Sylvester Stallone‘s Edgar Allen Poe biopic in private, let’s say, and had promised not to write anything, I would surely hold to that deal, of course. But at a certain point, keeping your word on this kind of thing is not only meaningless but cowardly. If the Poe bipic was to suddenly open in England (which is the same as opening in NY or LA) and get critically killed, you can bet your boots that if liked it, I’d stand up and be a man and argue with the naysaying critics right then and there. Unlike the trembling, shivering churchmouse known as Steve Weintraub.
“London Boulevard has opened in England. That means that no matter what city or country your’e living in, THE JIG IS UP. We all live in one big community these days. There are no nations, no borders, no passports, no language barriers…there is only CyberTown. So whenever a movie opens in any major market (London, NY, LA, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo), ALL BETS ARE OFF. You stick to your word about not reviewing a film until it opens in a major market, and then it’s “olly olly in come free.”
And I mean especially if you’re a friend of the filmmaker. When his/her film opens and it gets hit by mixed or bad reviews, it’s your DUTY as a friend to stand up and do the right thing…if you liked it, half-liked it or found it partly valuable, I mean. No matter what the friend or his/her publicist says, you jump into the fray. Because come the week of an opening in a major market, the review cat is TOTALLY OUT OF THE BAG. It is wimpy to an extreme to not say something about a film you ostensibly like when a film opens and is put down by a majority of critics. You have to stand by your friends, come hell or high water.