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On the Web

Hollywood Bitchslap

By Marrit Ingman, June 28, 2002, Screens

You'd have to be pretty disenchanted with the Hollywood firmament to get your entertainment news and reviews from correspondents named Bob, Lord of Evil, and Jim the Movie Freak. Welcome to Hollywood Bitchslap (www.hollywoodbitchslap.com), "the place where Joe Public smacks the heck out of the studio execs that treat us like cattle." A staff of more than 100 writers reviews new movies and older titles, while a feature titled "Whom Can You Trust?" gives a rundown of quote-whore critics like Jeanne Wolf ("If you love Britney, you'll love this wacky road comedy with a heart!") and ABC Radio's Bill Diehl (who called the critical misfire The Time Machine "an action-packed, mind-blowing time travel adventure"). The site's hosts, formerly affiliated with the Australian monthly Filmink, also provide commentaries and other content, much of it satirical. Currently, the site features an "interview" with David Manning, the "critic" concocted by Sony execs (he rhapsodizes, "I still believe that Heath Ledger has immense star potential in the Ronald Colman mould [sic]") and a précis of press-conference comments from The Cat's Meow star Jennifer Tilly. Certainly, Bitchslap is a fun read, and its coverage of B-movies and genre flicks is laudable. Note the previews of such actual in-the-works gems as Thunderpants, a flatulence comedy, and Redemption ("a bank robbery forces an ex-cop to choose the path of greed and evil or redemption"), which stars Don "the Dragon" Wilson, blond fury Cynthia Rothrock, Chris Penn, James Russo, and erstwhile "Flash Gordon" Sam J. Jones. But when it isn't fluffy (Thom Fowler's profile titled "Modeling, Acting, and Now Motherhood -- How Does Angela Lindvall Do It?" could be straight out of Bill Diehl's mouth), the site suffers from some of the pitfalls of DIY film criticism. For as much energy as the writers spend bitchslapping local hero Harry Knowles (a lengthy treatise on the state of online film criticism calls him "barely literate"), they manage to repeatedly misspell the name of Tinseltown gossip maven Louella Parsons. Nor are the user ratings (which range from "Fucking Awesome" to "Sucks All Ass") terribly helpful, and a discussion of Heathers on the bulletin board inevitably devolves into "The first time I saw boobs on screen." Nonetheless, it's fun to watch the Bitchslappers take potshots at Hollywoodians from George Lucas to Carrot Top.

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