I forgot to mention a few days ago that IndieWire‘s influential film critic and editor Eric Kohn has flown the coop. He’s now working as a film strategy and development exec for Harmony Korine‘s EDGLRD, and HE wishes him all the best. A job with serious creative potential, a better salary, slicker threads, more security for his family, etc. Good for him.

That said, EDGLRD is a completely nonsensical compression of EDGELORD that no one will ever be able to spell without double-checking, or perhaps even remember. You look at it and nothing kicks in. You can hear Korine saying “I need a company name that sounds extra cool or at least can be spelled in a cooler way than EDGELORD but at the same time can’t be cooler because it’s pronounced edd-glurrd.”

That’s Korine for you — in the name of edgeness and hipster chops he simultaneously attracts and repels.

In the context of journalism, it’s now necessary to speak of Kohn in the past tense.

Eric was always a nice guy (as in congenial, nebbishy, mild-mannered, smoothly spoken). He was always a reliably smart critic and an engaging writer who (a semblance of honesty is allowable) frequently soft-pedalled his opinions or praised films so obliquely or described them so blandly that sometimes a reader couldn’t be entirely sure if he liked a film or not.

But I was always grateful to Eric for his all-around warmth and graciousness, and for having gotten me into the Key West Film Festival for three or four years. A fine fellow in many respects.

Eric’s nice-guy credentials aside, I have to add that I found his refusal to admit to even the existence of wokesterism since the woke plague kicked in five or six years ago….that was infuriating.

And in his capacity as an influential New York Film Critics Circle member and chairman of that group during 2018 and ’19, it has to be acknowledged that Kohn and fellow IndieWire critic David Ehrlich (whom Kohn hired) did a lot to change the image of the NYFCC from that of a gold-standard critics org to one strongly associated with woke eccentricity.

From “Not Necessarily The Bad Guys,” posted on 1.9.23:

“In addition to their sometimes well-grounded, highly perceptive praising of stellar filmmaking and performances, the New York Film Critics Circle has (be honest) been in the grip of woke theology over the last four or five years. Most of us understand this, and the NYFCC honchos and spokespersons will deny it to their dying day.

“For decades a NYFCC award was a gold-standard honor — a classy, triple-A stamp of irrefutable big-city approval. But since ’18 or thereabouts the NYFCC members have sought to integrate notions of quality with “the sacralization of racial, gender and sexual [identity],” as Matthew Goodwin put it in February 2021.

“In short, they’ve become known as a contender for the most reliably eccentric, woke-flakey critics group, neck and neck with the occasionally wokejobby Los Angeles Film Critics Association. (Note: HE has agreed on certain occasions with LAFCA award calls, hence the term “occasionally woke-jobby.”)

“For me the syndrome seemed to begin in 2018 when the NYFCC handed their Best Actress award to Support The Girls‘ Regina Hall. For me there was no contest among the Best Actress contenders that year — Melissa McCarthy‘s performance in Can you Ever Forgive Me? was heads and shoulders above Hall’s, and yet the NYFCC allowed themselves to be guided by identity politics. They disputed this, of course.

IndieWire‘s Eric Kohn, a leader of the NYFCC’s Hall support group: “There is no groupthink to the NYFCC voting process. The rules are right there on the site. Nobody’s ‘using’ any single award for their private agenda.”

“The following year the NYFCC handed their Best Actress trophy to Us‘s Lupita Nyong’o for no apparent reason other than her woke identity credentials. Posted on 12.14.19: “Seriously? Honoring Lupita Nyong’o’s performance was eight parts wokester virtue-signalling, and two parts serious regard for a noteworthy performance…trust me. The NYFCC used to be the NYFCC — now it’s an organizational ally of IndieWire‘s wokeness crusade. Good as she was in Jordan Peele’s interesting if underwhelming horror flick, Lupita basically delivered an intelligent, first-rate, Jamie Lee Curtis-level scream-queen performance with a side order of raspy-voiced predator doppleganger.”

“HE believes that the NYFCC’s grand-slam wackadoodle happened in 2020, when they gave their Best Film award to Kelly Reichart‘s First Cow (a baffling, eccentric call for eccentricity’s sake), and their Best Actor prize to Da 5 Blood‘s Delroy Lindo, who played an furiously unstable Trump supporter (and in so doing beat out Judas And The Black Messiah‘s Lakeith Stanfield, who was far more deserving, not to mention The Father‘s Anthony Hopkins, Minari‘s Steven Yeun, The Sound of Metal‘s Riz Ahmed and Mank‘s…okay, let’s forget Gary Oldman).

“Plus their Best Actress award went to Sidney Flanigan (Never Rarely Sometimes Always), basically for quietly weeping during an interview with a Manhattan-based abortion counselor after zero emoting throughout the entire film. They also gave their Best Supporting Actor award to Da 5 BloodsChadwick Boseman, basically because the poor guy had tragically passed a few months earlier, and their Best Supporting Actress: trophy to Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), which was based upon nothing other than the fact that she played a spunky woman from a small Eastern European village who wound up hoodwinking Rudy Giuliani in a hotel room.

“How wackadoodle were their 2022 choices? I for one was…I was about to say flabbergasted when the NYFCC handed their Best Director award to RRR‘s S. S. Rajamouli — a virtue-signalling gesture if there ever was one, and a head-scratching accolade for a film that many of us regard as “flamboyant garbage…ludicrous, primitive crap that believes in ridiculous extremes and heroic absurdities.” But I wasn’t surprised given what the NYFCC has turned into. They also went for Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s Ke Huy Quan (“Short Round”) for Best Supporting Actor — strictly an identity call + a nod to the popularity of EEAAO among Millennials and Zoomers — and Nope‘s Keke Palmer for Best Supporting Actress…an award that made no sense as all given that Palmer merely flaunted her Millennial diva spunkitude.”

And I have to add that I was flat-out sickened by Eric’s 3.17.21 IndieWire article, which was titled “What Will It Take to Stop Woody Allen’s Career? Why ‘Allen v. Farrow’ Isn’t Enough.”

Excerpt: “Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn is primarily known for three things. One, writing smart, sage, fair-minded assessments of films as they come along. Two, being one of the New York Film Critics Circle members who allegedly lobbied to give Best Actress trophies to Support The GirlsRegina Hall in 2018, and to Never Rarely Sometimes AlwaysSidney Flanigan last December, and to bestow the NYFCC’s 2020 Best Film award to First Cow. And three, becoming possibly the first top-ranked film critic to actively push for the end of the career of a major-league filmmaker. Not saying this or that movie stinks, but “this guy needs to be erased, Goodfellas-style.”

“I’m not certain if critics of past decades have advocated for this or that career to be fully and finally killed. Many looked the other way when certain screenwriters were blacklisted in the late ’40s and ’50s, of course, but that was a different thing. Maybe some influential critic of 60 or 70 years ago actually wrote “it’s time for the career of John Garfield or Abraham Polonsky or Carl Foreman to be suffocated” and I simply haven’t read about it. I’m just saying that I went “whoa” when I read the headline above Kohn’s article. Because actively lobbying for the final eradication of a filmmaker’s career…well, Kohn’s rep before today has always been that of a congenial, nebbishy, mild-mannered fellow…even-toned, comme ci comme ca, let the chips fall, roll with the tremors.

Here’s the final episode of Kohn and Anne Thompson‘s “Screen Talk”. Kohn reviews his previous 20 years as an IndieWire critic, and explains his reasons for becoming an EDGLRD guy and so on.