Each December a disreputable posse of – ahem – local critics release a list of their so-called “Best Films” for that year which they deem noteworthy enough for a nod from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (the Oscar).
Usually, there is a knee-jerk reaction from film buffs, high-profile media types, and even the occasional “Joe Blow” in the community-at-large; after all, their misguided taste is obviously up their wazoo.
Who are these self-proclaimed arbiters of good taste and film sensibility?
If you cruise to their web site, and check out their credentials, it’s obvious that – for the most part – they’re a clubby bunch of nobody’s (snobs to boot) throwing their weight around.
On a serious note?
These despicable individuals (on the fringes of the film industry) openly engage in discrimination and retaliate against any individual who has the balls to express their opinions (especially when it ruffles feathers in their own corrupt backyard).
For example, a few months ago I thought it might be a good idea to join an established organization in the film industry, where I could engage in a healthy ongoing debate (and meaningful dialogue) about the state of film in Hollywood (and elsewhere around the globe).
Because I have been reviewing movies for three or four years (I studied the art and technical aspects of filmmaking, have taken courses in critiquing, and boast a background in Literature & Music) it appeared that my professional credentials made me a shoe-in (an asset to any organization in the field).
Imagine my surprise when I contacted the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (supposedly a professional outfit with high morals, professional standards, and keen Christian ethic) and – not only got the run-around – but was the victim of discrimination and retaliatory efforts to punish me (and ultimately) silence my “voice” in the show-biz community.
For instance, shortly after I zipped off a query about membership in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, I received a communication back from a gentleman by the name of Brent Simon (who identified himself as President of the outfit).
In response to my request about how to apply, Simon proceeded to instruct me to submit a request, which would be reviewed when the group next met (sometime in late spring).
Since that deadline (?) was months away, I proceeded to mark a date in my calendar as a reminder.
When April rolled around, once again, I fired off an e-mail to Mr. Simon.
At this point, he stalled and delayed once again.
On the premise that the "house" critics were busy with the all-important Cannes Film Festival, I was advised to take note that my submission wouldn’t be considered until mid-summer. No specific date was given, however.
At this juncture, I wanted to be sure that I submitted all the pertinent documentation so that I would be given due consideration.
When I asked Mr. Simon what paperwork I should send on, he was somewhat vague.
“Send in a few links to your movie reviews and a note stating why you want to become a member,” he advised, in so many words.
Once I followed through, Mr. Simon responded by noting that my “application” had been submitted to the sub-committee and the gentleman in charge of the process (Tim Grierson/ Vice President).
Now, it was getting pretty obvious to me that Mr. Simon and the association were giving me the run-around (and making me jump through hoops).
At this point, I worried that my application would never see the light of day at the so-called sub-committee level. So, I sent Grierson an e-mail to verify that he had – not only received the documents – but that they were all in order.
Mr. Grierson responded by noting that the organization would be in touch after the committee met and made a decision about my potential membership.
After that, the weeks passed, with no communication.
At this juncture, I began to cover the Los Angeles Film Festival underway downtown ( a scant few weeks ago).
After reporting on films and celebrities for about a week, I posted one feature criticizing the questionable conduct of the Festival Director, some staff members improperly corralling ticketholders on the Festival grounds, and oversights that went down that hurt some members of the press because employees in the PR Department were inexperienced and incompetent.
The day after I published this article, Mr. Grierson fired off an e-mail informing me that my application for membership was being rejected (and would not be sent on to the committee).
Well, it didn’t take a lot to figure out why Grierson snubbed me the way that he did. Obviously, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association was retaliating against me for criticizing the Los Angeles Film Festival staff.
Think about it!
The Los Angeles Film Festival is sponsored by the Los Angeles Times – and at least two critics at the paper that I know of (Betsy Sharkey & Kenneth Turan) - are members of the Los Angeles Film Critic’s Association!
At this point, I was angry.
As I noted to Mr. Grierson in a follow-up e-mail, I am a well-respected critic with a global readership, and subsequently, deserved better treatment.
I proceeded to ask Mr. Grierson for the name of his superior, so I could lodge a formal complaint against him.
Naturally, Mr. Grierson neglected to respond.
Why is he hiding?
I think it’s ironic that film critics (and journalists at the Los Angeles Times) are always pounding their chests and lamenting man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, then they turn around and engage in the same reprehensible conduct that they denounce!
In essence, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assocation not only discriminated against me, but tried to “silence my voice” in the final analysis.
These jokers are an elitist posse of losers who don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground, if you ask me.
Good riddance to human rubbish!