Friday, July 24, 2009

Our First Beef: EW’s Owen Gleiberman

Since its inception back in 2002, the R&R has been looking to start a serious beef with a legitimate film critic. Sure, we’ve had our spats over the years with small-time naysayers like Justin Luna (who? exactly), but we’ve been looking for a beef along the lines of Bill O’Reilly vs. Keith Olbermann, Tupac vs. Biggie, Barry Bonds vs. America, or Kelly Clarkson vs. vegetables.

With that being said, the R&R Review is calling out Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman. I have to premise this with the fact that Bruno has been able to hang on to its 69% Fresh Rating on since opening night. While a 69% looks solid on RT, if I had brought home a 69% on a differential equations exam in the sixth grade, I would have been excluded from the family vacation to the Baltics that year. Needless to say, that’s a pretty severe punishment. Anyway, given our review of Bruno a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked to see that Owen Gleiberman gave Bruno an A- in his review for EW. An A-? Really, Owen? The fact that Owen loved the movie doesn’t bother me. That’s fine; lots of people loved Bruno (69% on RT). But the way that you paint your dissenters as “homophobic” is a bit suspect.

Take this little gem: “The more uncomfortable Bruno makes people, the more he draws attention to their petty churlishness and homophobia.” So if I’m uncomfortable with Bruno shoving champagne bottles up his ass and flopping his dong around on screen for a solid 30 seconds that means I’m a homophobe? Owen then proceeds to attack Ron Paul for his reaction to being ambushed by Bruno in a hotel room. “You can forgive a visibly shaken Paul for thinking Bruno is nuts — though that's hardly an excuse for calling him '’queer.”” Um, what? Hardly an excuse? A man trying to seduce another man by locking him in a hotel room, lighting candles, stripping, and trying to make a sex tape with him isn’t queer? That’s the very definition of queer! That pretty much nails BOTH definitions of queer. I’d really hate to see what it is that actually makes Owen Gleiberman uncomfortable. It seems as though anything short of child pornography or a snuff film and this guy is not only cool with it, but totally comfortable watching it in a crowded theatre. But if I get squeamish watching butt bleaching or a talking pee-hole that is just Sacha Baron Cohen holding up a fun-house mirror to my “frat-house intolerances?”

Not that I’m a member of it, but Owen Gleiberman’s review seems like a slap in the face to the gay community. If anything, his review tries to be too politically correct. It’s as if Gleiberman was afraid that he would be branded a homophobe if he didn’t like Bruno and point out that squirming in your seat and turning away at certain scenes is magnifying your own homophobia. What makes viewers uncomfortable isn’t the fact that Bruno is gay or that he is flamboyant, but that we had to suffer through what is essentially 90 minutes of extreme pornography billed as a comedy. EW’s Owen Gleiberman gets ZERO Sporks.

FYI, he gave Epic Movie a “Fresh” rating on He was the only critic to do so.

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