Twisting My Words

Friday 22 July 2011, 20:00

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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There was a story in The Irish Times recently about a DVD cover that misused a review by me to sell a film as hilarious when I had actually found it pretty unfunny.
It's happened to lots of critics and here I give you a few other examples of cheeky selective quotation.

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Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.

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    Comment number 21.

    @Benjamin86
    No, that's not what I wanted to say at all.
    I didn't meen, there are always only good quotes on posters and covers and never negative ones, I meen there are always quotes on the covers (that they're positiv is obveaous).
    What I meen is that every movie, no matter how bad, can finde somebody who makes a good coment about it and if not, they just take something out of context and put it on the poster/cover. That's why these quotes are absolutly pointless. Because every movie has them.

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    Comment number 22.

    A common quote i often see on posters "the best british film since..." the last half decent british film or the best horror film since the exorcist. When someone makes a BETTER horror film than the exorcist put that quote on the poster until then dont bother.

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    Comment number 23.

    My favourite quote taken out of context was actually for a computer game. The game was Duke Nukem, and the developers had touted it as the best multiplayer game ever, even better than Goldeneye. The quote they used on the box from some Nintendo magazine was:

    "It's a better muliplayer game than Goldeneye"

    The real quote?

    "As for whether it's a better multiplayer game than Goldeneye...no."

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    Comment number 24.

    In the ad campaign for the movie FRANKENHOOKER there's a famous quote by BILL MURRAY saying "if you see one movie this year, it should be Frankenhooker." which the director later confessed that never really existed.

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    Comment number 25.

    While not misleading in any way, I feel this effort for Four Lions deserves a special mention: http://www.four-lions.co.uk/downloads/funny_poster.jpg

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    Comment number 26.

    surely the greatest 'mis-quote' is Sherlock Holmes's famous line 'Elementary my dear Watson' which was actually used by a film reviewer in a 1929 edition of the New York times and it just stuck.

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    Comment number 27.

    Not movie related at all but the use of the quote "A monumental waste of time" (NME) on the homepage for Alabama 3 is epic.

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    Comment number 28.

    @Ben Walters & StephenAJ - Likewise I remember Ross's quote for Batman Forever from when I was a young boy and it striking me even then that that was an odd thing to say!
    In the case of Chris Tookey being misquoted, for me, this would have had an ironic result had I seen it- If I saw any film poster/cover with a positive quote from him, I'd think twice before seeing it!

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    Comment number 29.

    Watching this blog post made me think of my favorite caption used to help sell a film. It's not a twist of words on a critic but still a twist nonetheless. When The Shining was first released in Europe (or perhaps just the UK) the caption read: "See The Tide of Terror Which Swept Across America”. The purpose of this caption was to make the audience think it was referring to a successful response the film got in the US. But in reality the caption actually refers to the horrors that took place in North America after white man came to the continent; which, in itself, was an underlying theme in the film. I believe Kubrick himself came up with the caption.

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    Comment number 30.

    Not sure if this is off topic but I'm surprised nobody has mentioned anything about the fake film critic David Manning in the US. He was created by Sony to put positive quotes on movie posters for films made by Columbia (a Sony owned company at the time) which included Hollow Man, The Animal, The Patriot, A Knight's Tale and Vertical Limit.

    It's one thing to be creative and quote turn a bad review from a real film critic into a good one but it takes some guts (and a fraudulent mind) to create a brand new critic simply to generate advertising puff for your own films!

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    Comment number 31.

    I remember the trailer for Titan AE quoting a review, I think from Neon magazine, as saying 'Titan AE is Star Wars'. Seemed like a bit of a nonsensical thing to say, and I believe the magazine themselves pointed out that the original quote was 'Titan AE is Star Wars pulped and mashed into mindless kiddie-corn'. If that was how far they had to go to find a remotely positive quote, I'd like to see what the other reviews said...

    The thing about poster quotes is that you have to have them now or it looks suspicious. There's a poster campaign for the DVD release of Never Let Me Go at the moment, it has no quotes at all, it simply says something along the lines of 'you loved the book, now experience the film'. If they can't even manipulate a quote, and have to rely on the fact that the novel the film is based on was popular, that doesn't speak highly for the film.

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    Comment number 32.

    Hmm I'm not sure that the lack of a quote on the Never Let Me Go poster is indicative of not being able to find a good quote, I heard mixed reviews but some of them were glowing to incandescent. It may be indicative of the distributor thinking that the target audience had either seen the film already, or as likely were intelligent enough to have read or heard reviews themselves. I'm not sure "best film about organ donation since Monty Python's Meaning of Life" would really sell the film anyway.

    Completely off topic: recently joined a popular online video rental service, thought I'd use the opportunity to check out the Dr. K recommended Dougal and the Blue Cat. Whilst browsing the entry on the site I clicked on the "More like this" tab to be given this remarkable list:
    Alphaville
    Wages Of Fear
    Les Diaboliques
    Jean De Florette
    The Jungle Book
    Mary Poppins
    Belle De Jour
    Pingu - Pingu Forever
    A Man Escaped

    Any film that is like all of those must be seen.

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    Comment number 33.

    It's not a film so a bit off-topic, but a good example of a well-used quote.
    On the back cover of the recent Banksy book 'Wall and Piece', there is a quote from the Metropolitan Police: 'There's no way you're going to get a quote from us to use on your book cover'


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    Comment number 34.

    @Brian - New Forest - Yeh I'm sure I do remember some people giving NLMG at least ok reviews. My point is more that we've become so accustomed to the fact that a film poster will have review quotes on it, that it looks really suspect when you see one that doesn't. I still think it's a bit of a strange way to market that film.

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    Comment number 35.

    There's a sound effect of children playing that is used very quietly at the end of the original cut of "The Exorcist" that can be heard in "Halloween" in the scene where Tommy is teased by kids as he leaves school with his pumpkin - don't know if that counts but I thought you might enjoy the "Exorcist" inclusion! PS - this comment in itself is recycled from a similar comment I left for this subject on YouTube under the name "cornology"....

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    Comment number 36.

    I thought the Batman & Robin Jonathan Ross quote was a bet he'd had with his more handsome & more talented brother Paul (who was the film critic for the News Of The World at the time) as to who could get a quote on the poster. He won/lost.

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    Comment number 37.

    Enjoyed reading everyone's comments on this post. I don't have any good examples myself but on a recent trip to London I saw three comedy movie posters in a row at one of the tube stations. All of them had the quote "laugh out loud funny". Even my 12 yr old daughter said "I wonder if they really are all LOL funny". I suspect some of the full quotes were probably "laugh out loud funny, this is not" or something like that!
    I can't remember all three but two were Horrible Bosses and Swinging with the Finkels.
    I also agree with Benjamin86's comments at no 8 particularly the bit about who has been quoted. I wouldn't for instance be desparate to see a movie recommended by loaded magazine! However it is a bit much the way words are twisted and cherry picked to distort a reviewers true opinion. They should beat the very least, legally required to always quote a full sentence.

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    Comment number 38.

    Trading standards have said they're going to start prosecuting theatre owners and film distributers for using quotes out of context with a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment.Seems paying to see rubbish movies accords you rights in this country, to my mind this is only one step away from prosecuting critics who give said films positive reviews. Mark considering the negative reaction to films like 'Twilght' and 'Bridesmaids' your next blog could be from Wandsworth prison, you have been warned!

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    Comment number 39.

    My understanding is that such misquoting is illegal in the UK under EU legislation. Indeed, there was an article to that effect relating theatre reviews in 2007:

    http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/16635/misquoting-reviews-to-be-made-illegal

    Otherwise you would have the ridiculous situation where a critic might say "at best this is the worst film I have ever seen" turned into "the best film I have ever seen".

    So Mark, if you are genuinely peeed off you know what to do.

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    Comment number 40.

    It seems that any movie could get a good review from somewhere. When a specific critic is taken out of context could this often be a snipe at that critic?

    If you made a film and it got a rotten review, it might be pleasing to turn that around. Not only would you be using it to promote the film, it might also damage the reputation of the critic. A very tidy sort of revenge...

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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