Philip Martin | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

Philip Martin 
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Recent Comments

Re: “Grade inflation noted on charter school film

Uh, thanks for ASKING, that should be.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Philip Martin on 09/28/2012 at 7:06 PM

Re: “Grade inflation noted on charter school film

We review everything we possibly can -- everything that we can get people to screen for us. Doesn't matter what size, way studio, what distributor. If they will screen it, by actual theater screening, DVD or link, we will review. Even faith-based films and political one- offs.

Sometimes the distributors have no interest in showing us the movie -- I tried for three weeks before it opened to get the Obama 2016 people to provide us with something, and they just didn't. That's their right. And some big studios --like Warner Bros. --simply wont screen in our market. We get around that these days because I have two freelances -- Piers Marchant and Dan Lybarger --based in Philadelphia and Kansas City respectively who have access to most major releases. (I'm using both these guys because I think they're good, but they also happen to have Arkansas comections. I trained Dan myself when he interned at Spectrum 20 years ago and Piers has family here.)

I started using Piers and Dan because, frankly, there's nothing good on th Eire services. At least nothing good that moves in time for my deadlines. I wish I'd thought of it sooner -- a lot of places use critics who are based out of town. Sam Eifling, the excellent critic whose work often appears in the Times, is based in (I believe) Vancouver now.

But the short answer is I try to see everything and review everything. That's not always possible, but we try. And these days, we sometimes find ourselves running out of real estate in the newspaper. So we'll move the overflow to my blog. (My Neil Young Journeys review is on there this week, because it arrived to late to make our deadlines.)

Thanks for ng,

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Philip Martin on 09/28/2012 at 7:05 PM

Re: “Grade inflation noted on charter school film

We all have our troubles, Jake. We all have our troubles.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Philip Martin on 09/28/2012 at 5:03 PM

Re: “Grade inflation noted on charter school film

Thanks for that, P. As I've said before, I enjoy and read this blog. And (most of) its regular commentators.

I will try to break my bad habit of crossing my sevens in the European style. It causes trouble.

Posted by Philip Martin on 09/28/2012 at 4:46 PM

Re: “Grade inflation noted on charter school film

All I'm saying is you don't get to say the scale is something it isn't. I've explained it and you can have your opinion of it. Personally I hate the popcorn boxes and all the cutsie stuff and would do without the grades if I didn't think it would cause more drama than it's worth. But Mick La Salle's a good critic and the Chronicle uses a little cartoon of a man applauding (or looking) bored and I don't find that offensive or anything. I don't think about it much at all and I'm sort of amused that anyone does.

But It's easy to win an argument when you get to decide what you're arguing against and I don't mean to put words on your post. The scale is what it is. I stole it from Robert Parker. I don't give anybody anything, and of course its arbitrary, that's the nature of the beast. It Runs 60-100, or in practice, 65-93. I'm transparent about that, and about the fact that I think it's a silly practice. There are movies I love that would probably score in the 70s, and some I'd never want to see again that might score 90. Applying a hierarchal scale like this to anything so subjective and malleable as a film experience is, to my mind, a hollow exercise.

Not everyone has to agree. But that doesn't mean an 85 is a great score.

Posted by Philip Martin on 09/28/2012 at 4:30 PM

Re: “Grade inflation noted on charter school film

Jake, that's not the scale, as I've explained many times in print. The scale, for all practical purposes is from 60-100 and 85 is a high C. (As it was when I went to school. And I don't consider “average” acceptable — rotten tomatoes decodes my grades this way: Everything 86 and up as “fresh” anything 84 and below as "rotten” and 85 can go either way.) It's very close to the scale Robert Parker uses for wine.

And it's a necessary compromise. I'd prefer not to have any scale. But I use one for the same reason you can't give essay tests in college classes anymore. If people don't read the reviews then I don't have much control over what they're going to think about it.

I don't know how it's dishonest. Especially since I spend (on average) two columns a year explaining its nuances. And explaining my objections to anything so crude as a numerical scale. If I've got to assign grades I want the ability to make relatively fine distinctions, even if I think the whole business is silly. And I ought to know better than to try to explain it in this forum — I've made that mistake before.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Philip Martin on 09/28/2012 at 3:47 PM

Re: “Grade inflation noted on charter school film

So why does the review pan it, Perplexed?

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Philip Martin on 09/28/2012 at 7:37 AM

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