Wednesday, 25 June 2008

All About Me: A Blast From My Past

This post by Nikki Finke talks about a big shake up happening at Sony/Columbia and reminded me of an old friend I thought I heard the last of:

David Manning.

For those too lazy to click the link David Manning was a non-existent film critic for the small town paper The Ridgefield Press cooked up by folks working Columbia's "creative advertising" department headed by one of the people currently being shook up, a fellow named Josh Goldstine. During Manning's brief career he hyped the then fledgling star Heath Ledger as "Hollywood's Next Big Star" several years before he actually achieved stardom and his current post-mortem cinematic immortality, and called Rob Schneider's The Animal, "Another Winner." However the whole thing got blown when a reporter actually asked the Ridgefield Press if they even had a film critic, which they didn't, and they certainly didn't have one named David Manning.

Why does it bring back memories of those innocent salad days of my misspent youth in the year 2000-2001?

Because David Manning marked one of my very first published pieces about the movie business, in fact, the whole boondoggle. It was to indie film site Film Threat before I was found to be too poseur deficient for them, so I thought I'd reprint it here:
An Open Letter From David Manning
From the Desk of David Manning
Film Critic for the Ridgefield Press

This is an open letter to address the recent revelations about my work and the fact that I am "non-existent."

First things first, I'd like to point out is that the term "non-existent," is a highly offensive term to use towards who I prefer to call "People of Fiction." It shows a prejudice held by the "real world" media against those who are reality impaired, and I am both shocked and appalled by it.

This prejudice rears its ugly head when these same media pundits go on like my opinions aren't valid. I may be a Person of Fiction, but I have a right to declare a movie "a winner," even though the best part of the film was that witty orang-utan and that the chick from "Survivor" was just so damn cute. In addition, I can award any actor I think deserving the title of "hottest star of the summer," whether or not I've actually seen his film or really exist.

To paraphrase the Bard, if you prick me do I not bleed?

Of course not. I exist only the imagination of the Sony Pictures ad-department, and thank the stars their imaginations aren't that vivid.

This brings us to the big questions of existence. Not your existence, I'm fictional, not philosophical. I'm talking about my existence. I'm as baffled as you are as to why some marketing toady even thought it necessary to create me in the first place.

Let's face facts here kiddies. I'm as necessary as a brassiere on a bull. If you want a nice glowing blurb for your posters, all you have to do is invite any one of the hundreds of "safe" critics to the nearest press extravaganza.

They'll eat whatever dung you shovel out and call it ice cream in exchange for a chance to shake Cameron Diaz's hand at the press junket for "Charlie's Angels 2: Bosley's Revenge." Since we're a field of the media where Roger Ebert is our best looking member, these critics would probably consider that the most profound sexual encounter of their lives.

You can't accuse me of selling out my credibility for press junket perks. In my time working for Hollywood, I didn't get squat from them. Wait a minute; that can't be fair. Sure I'm fictional, but I have my dignity.

At least I should have my dignity. Coming up with nice things to say about the detritus Hollywood's been pumping out has probably sapped that out with the last of my credibility. Not that it really matters, the kinds of folks who go to these kinds of movies don't read the blurbs, I doubt they read at all.

As I write this, I'm thinking about how poorly treated I've been by my creators and that I should start a movement for my fellow People of Fiction. We could call it the Fictional Liberation Front, the dreaded FLF. Yeah, we could get organised and start a strike.

Imagine a world with no imaginary people populating your movies, TV shows, books, and conspiracy theories. It's a scary thought. Imagine the chaos this would cause in the tabloid industry alone.

Hey, that would make a great movie, it's got mystery, suspense, and as much sex as you want. It could be the biggest blockbuster of all time. A SMASH HIT & ANOTHER WINNER! HEATH LEDGER AS DAVID MANNING IS THE BIGGEST STAR OF ALL TIME!

David Manning
Film Critic for the Ridgefield Press & President of the Fictional Liberation Front

So interesting to see how far I've regressed matured over the years.

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