There are only a few cardinal rules for those who spend their days writing about film. For anyone who takes "the movies" seriously, the one Golden Rule is generally this: DON'T SPOIL THE MOVIE! And I don't just mean movies like The Sixth Sense or The Crying Game; I mean any film that has at least one cool twist, colorful concept, or unexpected diversion that's hidden somewhere after Act I draws to a close. Why a film critic would want to ruin the enjoyment of a film for someone else is beyond my comprehension. Even if I, as a film critic, H A T E D a flick, that gives me no freaking right to destroy the experience for someone who might.

Unfortunately it seems that Creative Screenwriting's Bill Donovan feels different. He's so certain of his opinion, and he thinks so little of yours, that he's willing to (blithely, snidely, obnoxiously) demolish the final moments of Adam Green's Frozen -- simply because he didn't like the film. Imagine that. Better yet, imagine you're standing in line for The Sixth Sense and some guy comes walking out yelling, "I hated that movie. Hey everyone, Bruce Willis was a freaking { } the whole time! It's so stupid! Ha ha, I spoiled it for you!" Now for the last bit of make-believe, pretend that the screaming guy is also the editor AND publisher of a magazine called Creative Screenwriting. Unacceptable.

And please don't mistake this for a case of "the horror fan defending a horror film." I couldn't care less if Bill Donovan thinks Frozen is a piece of crap or not. It's that he writes for a well-known and reputable publication -- and yet his editorial is pretty much the peak of all things petty and unprofessional. To those who may feel that a magazine about screenwriting has every right to cover all the bases, including surprise endings, I invite you to read a few passages from Mr. Donovan's rather smug editorial.

"I went to see it opening weekend. Me and six other people. I don't mean six other people went with me. I mean we were the entire audience."


This lets us know early on how fair-minded our reviewer is going to be. And not to toot my own horn, but I've been in plenty of "mostly empty" theaters. Guess what? There's no correlation between how good a film is and how popular you may think it is. This is Film Criticism 101, people. Out of 55 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, 29 film critics didn't dig the film. I doubt they noted in their reviews how many people were in the screening, and I'm sure that none of them ruined the ending on purpose.

The article then offers three long paragraphs in which everything, right down to the final scene, is detailed in a boring, dismissive tone. He rambles through every single plot point, clearly having a ball while shooting what he erroneously believes to be dead fish in a small barrel. Hey Mr. Donovan, guess what? Frozen is not even an exceedingly gory, violent, or "torture"-filled horror film, and if you truly think this low-budget chiller represents the nadir of American cinema, then I suggest you avoid horror films forever.

Anyway, the three painful paragraphs of spiteful spoilers are capped off with the following thoughts: "Oops, did I forget to say 'spoiler alert? That was intentional, of course." Yeah. Go read that twice. He wanted to ruin the movie for you because he didn't like it. That's some creepy psychology at work, my friends.

The next paragraph has some whining akin to "Oh my, why would ANYONE want to watch something so dark and sad and creepy? Back in my day, when Lon Chaney was the king..." And while I certainly have no problem with grumpy grampas who shake their infuriated fist at today's oh-so-merciless genre films, I do think it's pretty weak when one of them claims to be a patron of the screenwriting arts. And publishes a magazine to that effect.

It just gets more aimless from there. Donovan cites some specious box office numbers, wrongly implies that Frozen is a "Hollywood" film, and casually insults anyone who happens to be over 19 and deigns to enjoy horror films. With all due respect to the staff and the readers of Creative Screenwriting (a publication I have both read and enjoyed several times), I call Grade-A Bullsh!t on Mr. Donovan's ignorant diatribe and would like to request an apology. Not to me or to Adam Green or to those "emotionally undeveloped" people (like me) who happen to like Frozen; but maybe an apology to the movie fans who might have actually enjoyed Frozen had you not spilled your out-of-touch rantings into the pages of a legitimate publication.

(I'd offer a link to the offending article, but apparently the content found in Creative Screenwriting is worthy of print publication only. Should you wish to subscribe to this magazine, or perhaps share your thoughts on their editorial practices, feel free to visit the official website
right here.)



CATEGORIES Columns, Cinematical