I need to be real careful before writing this story because, as much as it sucks, pure honesty can get a man in a whole lot of trouble round these parts. So here's the facts: Not long ago, an AICN (Ain't It Cool News) henchman (who goes by the name of Memflix on the site) wrote into AICN with an early review of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. To say it was just a tad negative would be a major understatement -- essentially, dude ripped the flick apart. Now since I'm seeing the film tonight (which kind of stinks, because I then have to run home and stay up till all hours of the night writing a review so it's done in time for you folks to devour first thing in the morning), I can't tell you whether or not Memflix's review was spot on or not. But regardless, whether the guy was telling the truth in his review has nothing at all to do with this story.
Turns out Memflix is Jesse Morrison; a projectionist working in Memphis who helps screen films early for the press and such. Therefore, he's able to catch these movies long before they're set to hit theaters. But unlike those folks in the theater (who are usually requested to wait until the week of or day of to shell out their review) Memflix isn't a professional critic, and so it's his belief that he can run over to AICN to dish all the dirty details without consequence. Until now. Apparently, 20th Century Fox wasn't so happy about that review (and who can blame them), so what they did was track down the identity of this kid, call up his boss and (according to Morrison) "threatened to take away the press and trade screenings" at the theater(s) in question, which happens to be part of the Malco Theater chain in Memphis.
However, Malco senior vp Jimmy Tashie says all Fox did was make them aware that an employee of theirs was taking advantage of his position and writing early reviews. Whichever way it went down, Morrison was promptly "suspended until further notice." The entire thing is actually pretty comical. I could go off for an hour on it, but it's probably not in my best interest to do so. Yet, I will say this -- it reminds me of the kid who's forced to take the blame for a crime committed by a much more powerful gang. And since he's the weakest link (and youngest member), he's used as a sacrifice so that the gang can continue doing what they do best.
I'm not trying to crap all over AICN; I'm aware that their writers, like Moriarty (who I've met and can vouch that the guy is one heckuva cool dude), are very knowledgeable and powerful. But they post thousands of these types of reviews each year. And what happens? Some dope making minimum wage in Memphis has to go on unemployment because the powerhouse he's been feeding no longer have any use for him? And for what? So he can feel like da bomb for getting his nickname splashed all over a website? Oh, and he also has a five year-old kid -- I wonder what she (or he) will think of all this in 10 years. Is it just me, or is there something seriously sketchy about that? Yes, he deserves to get fired because he broke the rules. And Fox deserves to be pissed because they have an investment to protect. But what about the folks who shovel out these reviews without a second glance? What happens to them? I'd ask, but they're probably attending another set visit we weren't invited to. Okay, I'll stop here; I've probably already said too much. Cut to black. Tell us what you think ...