Dissing the Holy Father

No, this is not Armin Mueller-StahlA good friend of mine got married yesterday, and as often happens at weddings, I reconnected with people I hadn’t seen in years. And in the course of the conversations, someone expressed surprise that I’d been able to land a job as a film critic, given the state of things in the industry.

“Yeah, tell me about it,” I said. “I’m probably the last guy who’ll ever get hired to do that full-time, given how many positions are being eliminated these days.”

Well, here’s more bad news: Jim Emerson and Glenn Kenny are reporting that Andrew Sarris is among the victims of an employee reconfiguration at the New York Observer. It’s not as bad as it sounds: Dave Kehr passes along a clarification from Molly Haskell, explaining that Sarris will still be writing for the paper, but he’ll be doing so as a freelancer — no benefits or status, and presumably a different pay scale. And he’ll still be teaching film at Columbia, which I’m sure he sees as his primary purpose anyway. (John spoke both fondly and with irritation of having Sarris as his thesis advisor there in the seventies — which, if you knew John, was how he spoke about most people he held dear.)

Still: In the trinity of American film writers, Sarris is unquestionably the father — Ebert would be the son, and Kael is the holy spirit. (And Michael Medved is the heretic who misinterprets their gospel for his own selfish ends.) What respectable publication wouldn’t want to have him on the masthead?

Come on, Post. Poach the guy. Class yourselves up a little.

2 thoughts on “Dissing the Holy Father”

  1. I’d personally put Kael down as ‘prophet with undeniable talent and influence who, over time, unfortunately decided that she could declare herself infallible and became rather tiresome…’ but that’s just me.

  2. I choose to regard Medved in two shades: the witty author of the Golden Turkey Awards and subsequent spinoff books (like the Hollywood Hall of Shame), and the nutbar who once did the TV network rounds supporting a revamped MPAA classification system that included terms to warn patrons of ‘spiritually evil’ films.

    The present-day nutbar is a once-respectable critic I ignore, whereas his prior work (co-authored with his brother)remains important reference material for tracking down vintage bad movies.

    The original Golden Turkey paperback is always a few feet from my desk. Always.

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