Mike Madriaga 9:30 a.m., May 25
Let the Wright one in
Anders Wright moves to U-T, Glenn Heath assumes position with "City Beat"
Congratulations go out to my friends and colleagues, Glenn Heath and Anders, right? Both will soon be covering the same beat for different venues.
After seven years with City Beat, Anders Wright has accepted the position of full-time film critic at the U-T. Alison Gang, the paper's former critic, took a job with Google.
Poor Anders. I hope he likes hammering tent-poles. The only movies he'll be allowed to cover are ones with numbers at the end of their titles.
I only half-jest. Anders is a damn good writer, with exceptional taste. His contributions to that radio program we used to volunteer on made this Nixon's final days with the show a delight. I love talking about movies with Anders. He knows his stuff and I'd hate to see his passion and talent confined to reporting on mainstream muck. Give the lad a better way to spend his days than by stating the obvious.
This also means more visibility for another pal, Nina Garin. (Nina was the first to alert me to the passing of Burl Stiff. I owe her everything.) Ms. Garin, whose opinions on film are diametrically opposed to mine (and than God for it) will continue to contribute feature stories as well as an occasional film review.
That leaves Glenn Heath, the pisher in the bunch. For my money -- and with all due respect to my esteemed colleagues -- this boy writes circles around all of us. My lips move along as I read his stuff. Glenn has stepped down from his position at Slant to write for City Beat. They're lucky to have him. If Glenn was not such a prince of a fellow, I'd be afraid of him.
Glenn is also the programmer for the San Diego Latino Film Festival. As for any potential conflict of interest, Glenn talked it over with his editors and will have to refrain from covering films that play at the festival and the Media Arts Center's Digital Gym. Don't worry. Matthew and I will gladly pitch in and help the cause!
For a town that exhibits terrible taste in movies, San Diego has had extraordinarily good luck when it comes to film critics. It's tough no longer having instant access to Duncan Shepherd or David Elliott's opinions on movies. I still field an occasional call from Elliott. In the middle of the night, alone in his almost-finished National City pleasure palace, aloof, seldom visited, never photographed.
It's even harder to find a writing job nowadays, let alone one concerning something as instantly accessible (and disposable) as film reviews. The heritage continues, and in that sense, we're all very fortunate people. Now will someone give us a PAID radio or television outlet to further express our opinions? We work wonderful alone, but when five film critics get together, now that you should see! We'll blow your heads clean off, right here, right now.
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- Everyone's a Critic — Jan. 2, 2008