I was immersed in traffic late yesterday afternoon when I heard about longtime Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman getting the axe. I pulled over and sent him a standard but earnestly felt “so sorry but chin up!” email. Owen is a friend and good fellow with whom I’ve conversed at film festivals and parties for the last couple of decades. A superb, hugely entertaining writer and a major, major Film Catholic. Nobody knows or worships the realm more than he. With his highly attuned awareness levels Owen had to know this was coming, of course. Like a squirrel dealing with the approach of winter, he’s surely been making contingency plans for some time.
It’s old news but the occasion calls for a recap. Cultured, super-brainy film disciples like Owen aren’t respected or valued like they used to be, certainly not by the hoi polloi. For the last several years it’s been less and less about informed, insightful opinions from ivory tower elites and more and more about the social media conversation on Twitter and comment threads and whatnot. Plus I’ve had this idea for a while now that Entertainment Weekly is mainly read by lightweights, or more particularly by the moths who are attracted to celebrity jizz for its own sake with a particular focus on Kardashian Coke bottles who are famous for being famous.