The independent news organization of Duke University

The fairy and the film critic

Once upon a time there was a movie critic named David Manning. David was the happiest movie critic in all of Medialand, frolicking through the sunny fields of Sandra Bullock and Meg Ryan romantic comedies and cavorting through the hilly, poop-laden countryside of Adam Sandler laugh riots. David loved nonstop rockin' rollercoaster rides for the entire family and eagerly partook in the fruits of Rob Schneider's uproarious antics. Little did David know that he actually wasn't a real movie critic. One day, some mean witches snatched him away from his master, Old Mister Columbia, and locked him up. They called him a "fabrication" and other words he didn't understand like "manipulative advertising" and wildly ran off to search for the Wizard of Class Action.

David missed Old Mister Columbia, who had so warmly provided him with big ad quotes and smorgasbord press junkets for such edge of your seat, jaw-dropping thrillers as The Patriot and Hollow Man. David looked out through the bars of his cage at the ad pages spread gloriously across the sky and cried harder than he had at Pay It Forward.

"I want to be a real movie critic!" he wailed. "I want people to see movies like Driven--high-octane, Formula Fun!"

Suddenly, in a flash of exclamation points and stars, there appeared a glowing woman who introduced herself as the Demographic Fairy. With her Magic Wand of Test Screening, she freed David and the explained to him in "industry terms" that it didn't matter whether David actually "writes reviews," but only that the masses "swallow the load" that is put in the ads and "go see the damn thing opening weekend before word gets out that it blows."

"You see David," began the Demographic Fairy as she started to sing:

"When you give a film four stars. / Makes no difference who you areÉ."

The fairy freed David from his cage and he went on to blurb happily ever after.

--By Greg Bloom


Share and discuss “The fairy and the film critic” on social media.