Jay Sherman Says, "Shawn Edwards: You stink!"
Shawn Edwards is not offensive because he likes bad movies. He's offensive because he's dishonest about who he is. The evidence: The Fox 4 Movie Awards on WDAF-TV 4 here in Kansas City.
If you're unfamiliar with Shawn Edwards, he's one of America's most infamous "quote whores"-- a critic who doesn't write reviews (though Edwards does an occasional column for a local magazine in Kansas City), but gives "quotes" to movie companies to put on the promotional material for the movie. The "whore" part comes in when the movie is so bad that few people beyond horney teeagers actually like. For instance, Shawn Edwards once said of Britney Spears, "Crossroads is a perfect teen dream. It has everything that makes a movie totally cool: laughs, adventure, spirit, hot music, drama and of course BRITNEY! Britney rocks! She is like a comet. A talent of her magnitude only comes around once in a lifetime and you can't take your eyes off her when she is on screen in this totally cool and delightfully hip movie." And there's plenty more where that came from.
Shawn Edwards quit the Kansas City Film Critics Circle two years ago, apparently because he was put off by this "clubby" and "unprofessional" "clique of film geeks." To be completely fair, there were some chuckles in the room when he nominated DMX for Best Actor. And it's true: there are some pretty serious film aficionados in a film critics group. They are film critics, after all.
But Shawn Edwards has taken the criticism of his "work" so personally that he's constructed this anti-film snob crusade ever since. In fact, he revels in it. He doesn't give movies "stars," he gives them "popcorn bags." He uses Kansas City Star gossip columnist Hearne Christopher, Jr. to publish his rants about how out-of-touch film critics are. He says that film critics are "bin Laden-like."
His latest blast across the bow of movie snobdom was the Fox 4 Movie Awards. This is perhaps the most stupid half-hour of local Kansas City programming ever produced (including Meredith Hoenes' morning show). Shawn Edwards stands with his partner Russ Simmons and tells us that the Fox 4 Movie Awards are the People's Movie Awards. They're so The People's that some random shaved-head, muscle bound guy stands next to Shawn Edwards with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist--as if film critics were going to bolt into the Fox 4 studios, rip the briefcase from Shawn Edwards, and start giving popcorn bags to Michael Haneke and Kar Wai Wong.
As Shawn Edwards tells us at least a dozen times in a half hour, The People actually voted for their favorite movies at the Fox 4 website. Fox 4 thought so much of the Fox 4 Movie Awards that they didn't even bother to update the page and tell you who won. Regardless, this ain't no fancy-schmancy critics awards show! This isn't those Stuffy, Out-of-Touch Oscars! The is The People's Movie Awards! So who does Shawn Edwards announce as the first Fox Movie Award winner? Why, Oscar front-runner Reese Witherspoon for her performance in Walk the Line.
This is why Shawn Edwards is so clueless: If he would ever listen to true film critics, he would understand that their biggest criticism of the Oscars is that it's too mainstream. True indies and foreign films that "film snobs" love are rarely nominated for the highest awards. Check out this list of the Village Voice Take Seven Film Critics Poll. Not a lot of "Oscar Material" in that top ten. Rare is the February in which film critics don't issue article after article about how the "Oscars missed it this year, like they always do"--usually accompanied by the diatribe that it's just studios hawking their pseudo-indie movies for DVD sales.
But in the Shawn Edwards Universe, the Oscars is of checklist Ben Stein lectures in movie form. In the real world, the Oscars are a way for studios to hawk their "prestige pictures", mostly made by real stars, to the billions of people watching. And that's ok, for what it is. I'd much rather see a George Clooney directed movie than see him dawn the bat suit again. But Shawn Edwards sees the Oscars as pure pedantry when it's actually an five hour advertizement for glamourous people.
He spends five of his allotted thirty minutes (and thus runs out of time before announcing all the awards) showing a Man on the Street vignette, with Shawn Edwards asking people on the Country Club Plaza if they remember what won the Oscar for Best Picture last year. And to comic effect, nobody remembers--including what seems to be a homeless guy.
Of course nobody remembers what won Best Picture last year because few people think of movies in terms of years. Now, if you ask people if they saw Million Dollar Baby, $100 million says that quite a few people saw it. Shawn Edwards is too busy being the hippest man in Kansas City to realize that he's not making a point. But then his awards show tells us that he's not making any sense, either.
Edwards himself must see the irony in what followed. Here are the major Fox 4 Movie Award winners:
Favorite Actor: Will Smith (Oscar nominee, 2002)
Favorite Actress: Reese Witherspoon (This year's Oscar winner)
Breakthrough Performance: Kiera Knightley (Oscar nominee from this year)
Favorite Kansas Citian in a Movie: Paul Rudd, in a category with Oscar winner Chris Cooper and nominee from last year, Don Cheadle.
Worst Career Move: Nicole Kidman for Bewitched (former Oscar winner)
Favorite Comedy: The Forty Year Old Virgin (Writers Guild of America nominee)
Favorite Movie: Walk the Line (Oscar nominated in five categories)
There's also a category called Favorite Smart Movie. There's no criteria for what a "Smart Movie" is, but this category has four Oscar Best Picture nominees (Crash, Good Night and Good Luck, Munich, and Capote) plus Syriana. The winner here is the movie that, of course, won the Oscar for Best Picture: Crash.
That's right: The award for Best Smart Movie in Shawn Edwards' "anti-establishment," "anti-Oscars" awards actually won the Oscar for Best Picture.
The fact that Shawn Edwards conjured a category like this shows just how much contempt he has for The People. I assume that since he has to single out the "Smart Movies," Shawn Edwards thinks the people love Dumb Movies. And they may be true in many ways, but Shawn Edwards doesn't want to tout a challenging movie that people might enjoy. He'd rather talk down to them, just go ahead and assume that they're stupid, and play up this Hippest Man in Kansas City schtick. You might ask, where would a real Kansas City Man of the People host his after-awards show? Gates Barbecue? Gladstone Bowl? Independence Center? Blayney's in Westport? No, Shawn Edwards hands out his popcorn bags and head to Blonde on the Country Club Plaza. To give you an idea, it's where the Chiefs hang out. And their cheerleaders. And is owned by Lucid Entertainment, which also owns Vivid Video--which sells more high-dollar porn than any other company in America.
That pretty much sums up Shawn Edwards as a movie critic. He's the DJ at an upper-end strip club--he takes artificial, phony, over-hyped, over-priced, trashy movies and peddles them to you because he satisfies his basest desires (a crippling desire to be "cool") by pandering to yours. Shawn Edwards shamelessly hawks the cinematic equivalent of Jenna Jameson. Shawn Edwards wants you to think that he's being abused by these big bad film critics, and he's just a man trying to get by. But the reality is that he gets flown to Hollywood to slobber over the Wayans Brothers and Vin Diesel, and then he flies back to Kansas City and pimps whatever White Chicks they give him. That's the State of the Union . As Popcorn Bag nominee and Oscar nominee Terrance Howard sang, "It's hard out here for a pimp." At least D-Jay never claimed to be a Man of the People.
Whoa! More on Shawn Edwards!
Updated 5/15/07 by shimes
Dammit! We get our Rockin' Summer Movie Preview a day AFTER the Fox 4 Kansas City Summer Movie Preview, starring your and my favorite Quote Whore and Enemy of the Site, Mr. Shawn freakin' Edwards! If you were lucky enough to tune into Fox 4 on Sunday, then you got to see Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards yuk it up and countdown the top ten movies of the summer. Russ gives dependable commentary with an easygoing screen presence; Shawn reads "witty" banter off a cue card while wearing a t-shirt reading, "Trust Me, I'm a Movie Star." Let me say this: For a tv movie critic, Edwards has an unwatchably awkward screen presence. His hand gestures look like they're written into the script, and when he's not talking, Shawn has no idea what to do with himself. But, whatever he does, Shawn bends his arm at the elbow to makes sure that he biceps are flexed at all times. Shawn could be a little less obvious about the fact that he's trying to show off the fact that he goes to the gym a couple days a week. Later in the show when Shawn and Russ are whipping up some of their favorite "summer movie recipes" (in order, Lemonade Ice Cream pie, some sort of chex mix, and "Nacho Popcorn"). Even when reaching for a salt shaker, Shawn somehow kept his arms flexed so we could see what he apparently thinks are awesome guns.
Personally, we could have used a lot more Russ Simmons and a lot less Shawn. The opening was Shawn and Russ yukking it up at Worlds of Fun, screaming that Pirates of the Caribbean would be a big hiiiit just as the Patriot rollercoaster takes off. Hey, what else are you going to do for the Summer Movie Preview in Kansas City? Later, Russ had a really cool segment about the Boulevard Drive-In in Wyandotte County, a perfect tie-in to the whole summer movie thing. Seriously, these Fox tv movie shows ought to just be Russ. For Shawn, there simply vehicles for him to display his pathological need to be cool. Take this exchange: Asked about the greastest movie trilogies, Russ goes with The Godfather. Shawn? The Matrix. Hey, I understand the acclaim for the first one, even though I kindly disagree. But did Shawn actually see all three of these movies? I mean, the greatest movie trilogy of all time? The more likely explanation is that Shawn, once again, is cultivating his whole anti-intellectual, popcorn-bags-for-the-people persona.
Simply put, Shawn tries so hard to be cool that it comes off as desperate. Take this bit of wacky banter during the cooking segment. Russ says he likes popcorn at that movies. Shawn says, "Man, that's so old school! I'm new school! I like nachos!" Shawn is so bent on being "hip" that he creates this popcorn / nacho generational dichotomy. Then he slings taco seasoning all over the counter while stirring his Nacho Popcorn in an attempt to be both cool and wacky.
At the end, Shawn talks about what the "hafta, musta, absolutely gotta go see" movies of the summer. This is the whole problem with film criticism right now. There's such an obsession with box office that these movie whores don't even talk about what might be, you know, good. So, fans, if you're looking to see what the lemmings are going to step off the cliff to see, then the Shawn Edwards Fox 4 Summer Movie Preview is your thing. But if you want to know what might actually be a good movie, along with some witty commentary, then you're at the right web page. Here, we'll even give you the link to Shawn's movie blog. If you're not satisfied with your Filmsnobs experience, then your next visit is free. Or something like that. You know what we mean: For fun and substantive summer movie commentary, then Filmsnobs is the place to be. Even though we're a little late on the Spider-Man reviews. Filmsnobs tv man JimmyO will have that up soon. James, when is KY-3 going to give you your own blog?