The loyalty and respect factors among the media in the elite Clint Club run so deep that until very recently, no one had seriously considered actually looking the esteemed director of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima in the eye and saying straight from the shoulder, “You’ve made an honorable film but it’s not a homer or even a triple, so don’t expect great waves of support from us when it comes to critic awards.” None of the loyalists could ever bring themselves to actually say the words. But now that Flags is sinking fast with the public (it’s losing theatres and will only earn about $2,717,000 for the weekend), no one has to do anything. To paraphrase a Paddy Chayefsky line in The Hospital, Clint’s Iwo Jima film is on the verge of being “simply forgotten to death.” Who could have foreseen such a situation two months ago? How swiftly the tide recedes.