Zero Stars

Forever and ever in the world of high-profile syndicated movie reviewing, even the worst of movies found ways to avoid the dreaded goose egg. The rating itself seemed like one of those things that only existed in theoretical mathematics, reserved especially for films that were so morally disturbing or offensive that critics felt they had some sort of duty to warn the public away from seeing them (an interesting example being the Rob Reiner film "North") -- But hardly ever has a zero star rating given out when a critic felt a movie was just out and out bad.
Well not anymore.
Last week Roger Ebert laid the zero bomb on "Deuce Bigalo, European Gigolo."

Not to be outdone, Rolling Stone followed up quickly and capped a blank of it's own into "The Dukes of Hazzard", which was then followed by a second zero star salvo from Ebert for a film called "Chaos" (although in all fairness Ebert felt “Chaos” was violent to the point of being brutal, and gave the zero based on that more than any sense of personal dislike).

This is a big change. For whatever reasons you want to assign, even the most horrifically bad of movies could find a way to salvage at least a star. The prime example of this being the original “Deuce Bigalo,” which has basically the same plot and um ..charm as its sequel, but still managed to get 1.5 stars from Ebert.

And it's not like Ebert hasn't ever blasted actors for bad choices or laid the wood to what he considered a stupid movie -- but dropping the zero on a film is a step tantamount to bringing a gun to a knife fight.

Understand something here -- “Ishtar” didn’t get a zero. "Howard the Duck" didn't get a zero. Pauly Shore never got a zero.
But now in the space of a week, there’ve been three.
I know it seems like a silly little thing, and that most people don’t really pay that much attention to critics one way or another when they choose a movie to see, but the studios do. And for years the critics kinda tipped a considerate hat to that (or not biting the hand that feeds them, depending on your point of view) by at least giving one star here and there no matter how bad the film might seem.

But now if national critics (and the companies behind their publications) are willing to call a studio’s product and employees worthless, it could affect all sorts of things. Not that I’m advocating some sort of no mas policy for Rob frikkin’ Schneider – but that if these sorts of reviews become commonplace and the public starts taking heed, people could start losing their jobs.

So if you ever pen a reivew for the local entertainment weekly, or like to do your part tagging up Amazon or IMdb with your two cents about the movies, feel free to take the gloves all the way off.

Who knows, you might just be the hero that finally helps us to stop the hurting and pain when Ben Stiller tries to pitch another "Meet the Fokking Parents" movie to Dreamworks.

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