Spinning Themselves Sideways: Hearne Christopher and Shawn Edwards Contradict Themselves In Less Than Three Weeks To Try To Make The Filmsnobs Look Bad

When we began Filmsnobs nearly four years ago, we never thought we would ever reach the level of gossip column fodder. But that's exactly where the Filmsnobs were on March 14th, 2005 when The Kansas City Star's Hearne Christopher, Junior mocked our site and our comments about Fox-4 film critic Shawn Edwards. Here's the back story on the whole dispute:

Edwards--a critic whose national reputation as a quote whore is documented in national publications such as Variety and USA Today--resigned from the Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KCFCC) after refusing to pay the $10 membership fee for two years. Edwards called the organization "clubby" and "unprofessional," and attacked the current leadership. The KC Star's Hearne Christopher documented Edwards' distaste and disgust in his March 4th, 2005 column. Read "Cut! Edwards Leaves the KC Film Critics Circle."

The Filmsnobs, as grateful members of the KCFCC, were concerned that these two questionable journalists would publicly slam this organization for no real reason. In response, we drafted "An Open Letter Regarding Hearne Christopher’s Kansas City Star Article about the Resignation of Shawn Edwards from the Kansas City Film Critics Circle" This letter, with our normal level of wit and high-minded analysis, laid out a substantive and extensive argument that Edwards' unprofessional behavior as a film critic did more to undermine the KCFCC than any subject he addressed with Christopher. We posted the letter at the Filmsnobs home page and sent a copy to every member of the KCFCC. We wanted to show our support for the members of this organization who have supported us. Subsequently, the letter was posted at several web sites and garnered positive comments from people who work in diverse media markets all over the KC Metropolitan Area. We thought that was pretty cool...

...until we read Christopher's column on March 14th. In the cleverly titled segment "Geek Alert", Christopher called out the Filmsnobs for the letter. Instead of focusing on our arguments about Edwards' relationship with film studios or his arrogant attitude towards fellow critics and publicists, not to mention the lack of integrity in Edwards' work, Christopher found a finer point to tweak:

The Lawrence-based members of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle who call themselves “The Filmsnobs” fired off a bulk e-mail to fellow Circle types last week. This in response to a column item about the resignation of high-profile Fox 4 movie critic Shawn Edwards.“It seems like the only two movies he didn't like last year were ‘Sideways' and ‘The Lady Killers,' ” the snobs sniffed.

Hold it right there.

“I give them credit, at least they're watching,” Edwards quips. “But obviously they didn't pay that close attention because we did a 10 worst (movies) last year and I didn't not like ‘Sideways,' I gave it a three (out of five).”

Read the Full Text Here Hmph. We were certain we read...someplace...that Edwards didn't like Sideways. Did we get overzealous? Did we just want to nail this arrogant bastard? What went wrong?

Hold it right there.

Shawn Edwards said he didn't like Sideways IN A HEARNE CHRISTOPHER, JUNIOR COLUMN DATED FEBRUARY 21, 2005!!! That's right. In a Hearne Christopher, Junior article. Here's the quote from Edwards:

So my taste can't be all that bad. I liked ‘White Chicks,' and that film did $75 million. I'm not ashamed. I also like ‘Million Dollar Baby' and ‘Ray.' But I don't like everything. I did not like ‘Sideways.' ”

Don't believe us? Read the "Heard on the Street..." portion of Christopher's 2-21-05 column.

So, Edwards didn't like Sideways on 2-21-05, but "didn't not" like Sideways on 3-14-05. Apparently, in order to make the Filmsnobs look bad.

Why is Edwards flip-flopping on Sideways? Or is Hearne Christopher flip-flopping on Edwards' flip-flopping on Sideways? We're not sure. All we know is that Hearne Christopher is such a questionable journalist that he doesn't corroborate his columns with his own previous columns. Also, Shawn Edwards' response to the Filmsnobs reinforces the accusation that his opinion on movies shifts according to his self-interests. In a column in a major metropolitan newspaper deriding "old school critics," Sideways is no good. But this same Fox Searchlight-produced movie, when reviewed on a Fox affilate? That movie gets "3 Popcorn Bags." (That's how he rates movies. Cute, huh?) There's a pretty clear quid pro quo between Edwards and the studios, but we wonder what the quid pro quo between Christopher and Edwards is. As you've noticed, Christopher wastes a lot of ink on Edwards. He's clearly aboard the Shawn Edwards bandwagon. Vin Diesel, Britney Spears, and The Wayans Brothers must have made room.

Either way, these two guys tried to slam the Filmsnobs for calling them out for their lazy journalism. Instead, they made the argument for us by contradicting themselves in less than a month--in the same column for the same major metropolitan newspaper. From any other "journalists", we would expect a retraction. But we'll Hold it Right Here.

--- James Owen, a.k.a. Jimmy O
KCFCC member since August ‘03

—Stephen Himes, a.k.a shimes
KCFCC member since July ‘04