November 22, 2010, - 1:48 am

NY Times on Movie Critic Debbie Schlussel v. Paramount Pictures

By Debbie Schlussel

The New York Times just posted a new article about Paramount Pictures removing me from (and today, restoring me to) its critics screening list for movies.  The article appeared online on Sunday (yesterday) and is reportedly in today’s print edition of the paper.  Much thanks to New York Times reporter Michael Cieply, a true mensch, who wrote the article.  In this case, it was the liberal New York Times and a couple of local liberal movie critics who helped me and took on the case, NOT so-called conservatives, like the fakes at Andrew Breitfraud’s Big (on Viagra) Hollywood.  I highly recommend you read the article. It’s a great article. I enjoyed it.



In mid-October, I learned that Paramount removed me from its movie screening list.  Thereafter, I was not allowed to attend advanced screenings of the studio’s movies, so that I could review them for you.  I was removed from the list because I did not fall in line with everyone else and gush profusely over “Inconvenient Truth” filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s other BS documentary, “Waiting for Superman.”  Read my review of the movie here.  The movie blamed the failures of America’s public schools solely on teachers and unions, and not at all on America’s broken families and absentee womb- and sperm-donor parents.  All of the inner city kids in the movie were bright and eager to learn, not a single one of them with behavioral or disciplinary problems, and only two of them came from non-nuclear families.  That’s just not an accurate picture of the average inner city public school student, as I noted.

While most blind and clueless conservatives and liberals just loved this one-sided fake-umentary, I actually used a modicum of critical thinking skills and went to town on the movie.  For that crime–an honest review of a wholly inadequate documentary, Paramount not only removed me from the screening list, but referred all of my questions about it to the studio’s Vice President of Legal Affairs.  Not only would she give me no information, but Paramount didn’t even have the guts to say it was because of my negative review of  “Waiting for Supe.”

So that I could still give you timely movie reviews over the last month, I paid to suffer through midnight debuts of Paramount movies along with the stoned college student masses.  I said nothing about this whole thing on because I hoped the situation could be resolved with a little sunshine by others.  As we know, it’s always the best disinfectant, but, sometimes, it’s best if someone else shines the light and sprays the Lysol.

The New York Times’ Cieply looked into it and wrote an excellent piece.  It is 100% accurate, which is the best compliment I can give a journalist.  Don’t fall for Paramount’s claim to Cieply that this was all a mistake made by a local studio rep, an excuse I expected the studio to give him.  This came from someone at the top of Paramount.  The local studio representatives here in Detroit are nice, professional people, and I know they truly had no idea why I was removed.  That’s why they were told to refer me to no less than Paramount’s lawyer.

Again, it wasn’t conservatives who stood up for me and my principle of  accurately critiquing movies without worrying that a negative review would get me banned.  It was the liberal New York Times, its talented reporter Michael Cieply, and two other mensches, Detroit Metro Times movie critics, Corey Hall and Jeff Meyers.  They stood up for me when others would not.  I truly appreciate all of their help and thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Because of Cieply’s reporting, Paramount has apologized and I am now back on their screening list, I am told (as the New York Times article confirms).  I hope to continue to provide you with timely reviews of newly-released movies from all studios, chock full of my own special brand of bluntness (as well as save you two hours and ten bucks in a lot of instances).

Again, be sure to read the New York Times piece.  It’s spot on.

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19 Responses

Congratulations, Debbie!

This is just wonderful news for Thanksgiving Week! Continue to tell us like it is. Your movie reviews beat all the rest and now even Paramount acknowledges it.

While there are a few good movies out there, there are plenty of clunkers. Life’s simply too short to watch ’em all.

NormanF on November 22, 2010 at 2:57 am

I’m glad to see this was resolved, Debbie.

Like you, I found out the hard way that being a political independent is the only way to go. Even though you hold many conservative values, the GOP establishment will take you for granted if they think you have no alternative to their elite.

I learned this the hard way. I was a card-carrying Republican in my early adult years. Then came the 1983 AWACS debate when Reagan was in office. I quietly quit the party and even voted for Mondale in 1984. (I knew of course, that Mondale stood a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning. That made it easy to vote for him. Nobody in my family believed me when I told them I voted for Mondale.)

I know you used to be a GOP political activist. When was your “AWACS moment”?

There is NO Santa Claus on November 22, 2010 at 7:10 am

What’s up?

[In the article by MICHAEL CIEPLY – But Ms. Schlussel, a member of the Detroit Film Critics Society, who reviews both for radio and on her Web site, noticed that she hadn’t been invited to a screening of Paramount’s “Jackass 3D.”]

[In a comment to the aticle by someone claiming to be Roger Ebert (Is it really him?) – Um…there were NO critics’ screenings of “Jackass 3D” for anyone, anywhere.]

IAM: Roger Ebert is wrong, and he corrected himself in a tweet, and later on in the NYTimes comments. In fact, “Jackass 3D” was screened for Detroit movie critics on the morning of October 14, 2010. I was not invited, and that’s how I learned I’d been banned by Paramount. DS

I_AM_ME on November 22, 2010 at 7:58 am

Debbie, glad to have you back on board the movie scene. I look forward to your column every morning. While I might not always agree with you, your refreshing candor makes my life so much more interesting. Keep up the good work.

Naomi Romm on November 22, 2010 at 8:14 am

Deb, since I started reading your column, you have saved me a lot of money. If a movie is far left or contains an anti-Semitic actor, or if it is a moronic movie, I will not go to see it. Your reviews are most helpful.

Jonathan Grant on November 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

Fair Play Debbie! I agree with Johnathan Grant. You have saved me a boat load of cash. being barred isn’t fun, when some site or person doesn’t like what you wrote. glad you were un barred.

ceannrua on November 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

Read the article. Good, and good for you. That said, I read the readers comments to the NYT article and sadly see that many of the respondents are snot-nosed groupthink lefties. Surprise?

Not Ovenready on November 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Not being invited to see “Jackass” is like not being invited to watch someone vomit.

Jonathan Grant on November 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

It has been my experience that hardly ANY Conservative has DS’s back. She’s like the female Michael Savage where her research (and bluntness) is vital yet the others supposedly on her side ignore her. Credibility is the key whether these dopes personally like her or not and I find the individual thinkers are more important to my bottom line than the back-benchers.

I enjoy any honest film review…and I am a movie snob. DS’s reviews are enjoyable and blunt…I mean, I have NEVER liked that redheaded “ain’t it cool” guy who loves every stupid movie ever made. Who wants to read a review by a love-starved geek who is bought and sold?

I miss Gene Siskel. Loved his reviews and although I have a fading nostagic fondness for Ebert (used to buy his books and wish Gene Siskel had written them), his politics are for dummies.

Good on ya for fighting the good fight. You know you’re a target but instead of dying, you fight back even harder!

Skunky on November 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Fair Play Debbie! I agree with Johnathan Grant. You have saved me a boat load of cash. being barred isn’t fun, when some site or person doesn’t

like what you wrote. glad you were un barred.

ceannrua on November 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I am a liberal, and I’d never heard of you before. That said, I am glad I read your review of “Waiting for Superman”, and found myself agreeing with 80-85 percent of what you wrote. You’re clearly unafraid to say what you really believe, even if it means criticizing your own side. I’ve got to admire that kind of honesty.

Bill Kurtz on November 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Awright Debbie, keep up the truth telling. I support you in this critique of the film waiting for supe. Indeed they took artistic license portraying the admin and teachers as the bad guys all while passing this thing off as a documentary. errah

Patrick Brownrigg on November 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Skunky, you got that right man, Debbie is like the woman version of Dr. Michael Savage, she speaks her mind like it is and don’t hold anything back. And it’s ashame and it sucks that other so-called conservatives (who are equivalent of the Republican party) ignore’s Ms. Schlussel, that goes for Sean “Wallbanger” Hannity, Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart, Mark Levin, Sarah Palin & her blind following supporters, etc.!

And I like reading Debbie’s movie reviews on this site, in which I seldomly comment on it, because she knows what she’s talking about. Yes we all know that hollywood is filled with left wingers, but if there’s a liberal who’s directing and producing a film in a honest way, then I’ll watch the film. If it’s the other way around, where they trash this country, our values, our principles, trash the PD, military, the church, god-fearing people and use total propaganda, then I will NOT waste my money on that garbage film and I know Debbie will write an article on this website.

PS, Debbie, I have a question for you, since you mention Andrew Breitbart, have you ever posted a movie review on his website “Big Hollywood”? I know your not a fan of Mr. Breitbart.

“A nation is identified by it’s borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on November 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Just read your bio and a few weeks of posts and found two more reasons to like you:
You’re a University of Wisconsin graduate (like me).
You dissect “Caribou Barbie”, aka Sarah Palin, better than any liberal.

Bill Kurtz on November 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

And this tells us something about the integrity of movie reviewers in general. Don’t be too critical, or you might not be invited back.

Just like the scandals with stock market analysts; don’t pan the stock or you will be shut off the information list.

So how valuable can most movie reviews be except by accident?

Little Al on November 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm

With the crap that they have been making you could have looked at it as a blessing that they removed you from their list.

ender on November 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Good for you Debbie. You see the light and Paramount is having a fit. You aren’t a sheep who is easily seduced by some well produced documentary. Your review of the movie was a bulls-eye. This was their baby and no one was to criticize it with impunity. The conservative “Clique” of Breitfraud have no honor. By the way Big(on viagra)? LOL.

CaliforniaScreaming on November 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

Debbie, your review of Waiting For Superman was the best review out there–the most thoughtful, the most honest, the most on target. The film was as intellectually bankrupt and factually inaccurate as Inconvenient Truth, and you’re right that liberals loved it (which is understandable, because it confirms all their biases and myths) as did also “clueless” conservatives (which is pathetic). It is disgusting that Roger Ebert and others are frantically jumping on the bandwagon to shut you down. Ebert is a disgrace. The New York Times commentators (at the end of the article you cited) who want to shut you down are scary; I guess their apology might be that there is no room in the paradise of liberal-fascism for “incorrect” opinion. I’m glad you’re a fighter and that you won this one. Good news for you and also we who still believe different opinion doesn’t necessarily mean wrong opinion.

Burke on November 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm

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