Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

The Blurbs

September 26, 2009

Moore’s Latest Film is ‘Dorm-Room Marxism’

In this week's edition of The Blurbs—the feature in which we take a close look at those critic blurbs that are a fixture of ads for movies—see breakdowns of blurbs for 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' 'Love Happens,' 'Jennifer's Body,' and more.

David Goldenberg

The critic blurb is a staple of arts advertising. Yet if you look behind some blurbs, you'll find quotes out of context, quote whores, and other questionable ad practices. Blurb Racket exposes the truth behind critics blurbs in movie ads from the New York Times. Movie titles link to, which compiles movie reviews in a far-more honest way than do movie ads. See the inaugural Blurb Racket column for background and useful links, and find out what critics think of the racket.

"Capitalism: A Love Story does not quite measure up to Moore's Sicko in its cumulative power."—Mary Corliss, Time Magazine

Capitalism: A Love Story (Overture Films)
Metacritic Score: 60

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: “Funny and powerful.”

Not quoted: “At its best, Capitalism: A Love Story is a searing and eloquent outcry against the excesses of a cutthroat time. At its worst, it’s dorm-room Marxism—a power-to-the-people bumper sticker that willfully leaves out the people’s own responsibility for the country we all share.”

Mary Corliss, Time: “This is Michael Moore’s magnum opus: the grandest statement of his career.”
Actual line: “Capitalism: A Love Story does not quite measure up to Moore's Sicko in its cumulative power, and it is unlikely to equal Fahrenheit 9/11 in political impact. In many ways, though, this is Moore's magnum opus: the grandest statement of his career-long belief that big business is screwing the hard-working little guy while government connives in the atrocity.”
Sadly for Moore, a career-long belief does not necessarily equal a career.

Love Happens
Love Happens (Universal)
Metacritic Score: 33

Loey Lockerby, the Kansas City Star: “Aaron Eckhart is Terrific.”
Not quoted: “[Jennifer] Aniston is also very good, but her portion of the movie is part of the reason it doesn’t work. If this had been a small, independent film, it could have stayed with Burke, where the story belongs. But a big studio effort needs an out-of-left-field romance, so Aniston comes in, along with plenty of maudlin clichés and jarring, sitcom slapstick.”
Lockerby gives this film two stars.

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: “Jennifer Aniston at her most engaging.”
Actual line: “Love Happens is a comedy in mourning, a romance so sad that even Jennifer Aniston at her most engaging can't save it. The writer of the deadly Dragonfly has been promoted to writer-director for this one, and despite having the same template as a hundred screen romances, he can't make it work.”
Not quoted: “Love Happens doesn't bring tears and what's worse, doesn't create sparks. That’s a crying shame.”
Moore isn’t noncommittal about this movie; he really dislikes it, giving it two out of five stars. For finding the one pony in this review full of manure, this ad gets Gelf Magazine’s Bogus Blurb of the Week Award.

Jennifer’s Body
Jennifer’s Body (20th Century Fox)
Metacritic Score: 47

A.O. Scott, the New York Times: “Deserves—and is likely to win—a devoted cult following.”
Actual line: “The movie deserves—and is likely to win—a devoted cult following, despite its flaws.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Columbia)
Metacritic Score: 66

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinal: “In your face. Hysterical.”
Actual line: “The Sony house animation style is punchy, kid-friendly, and in-your-face—hysterical close-ups of characters like the hysterical cop.”
Unlike his previously blurbed review, Moore actually liked this movie. That’s no excuse for the ad writers to take his thoughts about the animation style and apply them to the whole flick.

Bright Star
Bright Star (Apparition)
Metacritic Score: 82

Claudia Puig, USA Today: “Bright Star is a thing of beauty.
Not quoted: “But as a transcendent romance, it doesn't fully deliver, coming across as restrained and detached, rather than captivating.”

David Goldenberg

David Goldenberg is the co-founder and editor of Gelf, and the host of Geeking Out, Gelf's monthly science speaking series.

Post a comment

Comment Rules

The following HTML is allowed in comments:
Bold: <b>Text</b>
Italic: <i>Text</i>
<a href="URL">Text</a>


Article by David Goldenberg

David Goldenberg is the co-founder and editor of Gelf, and the host of Geeking Out, Gelf's monthly science speaking series.

Learn more about this author


Hate to miss out? Enter your email for occasional Gelf news flashes.


Gelf t-shirt

The picture is on the front of the shirt, the words are on the back. You can be in between.