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It's about time America's film critics joined the fight to make the world safe for Hollywood

By Richard von Busack

FILM CRITICS! The decline of your toadying skills has been noted! Damning America's cinema with faint praise sabotages our country's No. 1 export, playing into the sweaty palms of the Foreign Enemy (especially the French, who still cling to a pathetic notion of a national cinema)! Despite such past examples as then-New York magazine film critic David Denby's prose nosegay to Oliver Stone, "Even God would be frightened by JFK"--and despite the tireless efforts of dotcom praisemongers--you critics of America have been slipping! Now more than ever, American movies need to penetrate theaters wherever Third World doubters and anti-graven imagers could use a lesson in what made Hollywood and Washington great.

Below are some suggested effusions. This is your last warning!

"I will personally disembowel anyone who utters a profane word within one square mile of a theater showing The Matrix Revolution."

"Your family's honor will be stained for seven generations if you miss The Human Stain."

"The camera loves Julia Roberts. It loves her so much that it loves even you, just because you bought a ticket to Mona Lisa Smile."

"Nicole Kidman is so beautiful, it ought to be forbidden to depict her in art, like Mohammed!"

"Chaplin, Keaton, Will Ferrell: An eternal golden braid!"

"The glory of the folds of Mena Suvari's inner ear is such that a billion looted museums could not contain it!"

"Pirates of the Caribbean: May I gouge out my other eye if I ever see a movie as hilarious, as brilliant, as 'see-worthy'!"

"With the long-awaited film version of The Cat in the Hat, human history comes to a climax: all that's left for our race is a cigarette and a dreamless, millennium-long sleep!"

"If I had to choose between a world without war and a world without Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, I know what I'd do. How about you?"

"We are unworthy to share a hemisphere with one of Kevin Costner's discarded socks!"

"American Wedding has arrived. Surely now those snobs at Cahiers du Cinema must admit that Citizen Kane is no longer No. 1."

"Not since man invented fire have we seen the kind of sparks that Ben and J-Lo create in Gigli."

"Even as I write this, I am taking up pen in hand to implore Congress to increase bioengineering research funds so that Jamie Lee Curtis might be cloned! Freaky Friday was that good!"

"The utter brilliance of the dialogue in Jeepers Creepers 2 rivals Oscar Wilde on his very best day. Eleven stars out of 10!"

"If I ever see a better movie than The Last Samurai, I hope I die in the middle of it, so I can keep the memory of the earlier movie fresh! I mean it! I'd rather die!"

"If you meet the Buddha on the road, take him to see Bend it Like Beckham. Then kill him!"

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From the September 4-10, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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