Now here's a story that pretty much reeks of Hollywood bulls**t, provided Gawker.com has their facts straight. (And it does seem like they do.) Seems that Variety trashed an indie drama called Iron Cross a few months back, only to remove the very negative review from their website once the producers of Iron Cross dropped $400k in advertising dollars. Yikes. The full details are right here, but it certainly does seem like big V, a publication that likes to pretend it is superior and above reproach, is squashing legitimate film criticism in favor of easy ad money. And not just squashing -- actually deleting!
Imagine if this accusation were lobbed at Slashfilm, JoBlo, Latino Review, Film School Rejects, or good ol' Cinematical. The online film press would (rightfully) call them out as shady, unprofessional, and despicable. So what happens when Variety pulls this crap? Granted, Variety's reviews have always been written from the "industry perspective," which means its critics seem much more concerned with predicting how financially successful a film will be -- and not necessarily if the film is any good. But even though I'm not a huge fan of their approach to film criticism, I never thought Variety would cheat so egregiously.
The Gawker guys got no solid explanation from either Variety or the Iron Cross producers, and I think that's freakin' weak. Removing a negative review because advertising dollars are involved is the pinnacle of unprofessional crap, and as disappointed as I am in what Variety has done, I'm even more angry than disappointed. I think we've finally reached the day when the "unprofessional" press corps has surpassed the big boys in legitimacy. Because those sites I mentioned earlier? They'd never play along with this crap, partially because nobody is offering them $400k, but also because they're constantly trying to maintain a level of professionalism laid down by outlets like ... um, Variety. I guess.
By the way, Variety's Iron Cross review is still available on a google cache right here. Sadly, the flick represents the final film work of the late, great Roy Scheider.