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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What do the critics know anyway?

Seen any good movies lately?
The Razzies, an Academy Awards spoof recently gave “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” nine nominations including worst picture, worst-actress for Kristen Stewart and two worst actor nominations for the vampire boyfriend Robert Pattinson and werewolf wanna-be boyfriend Taylor Lautner.
In addition, the entire cast of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was nominated for worst screen couple or ensemble. 
As a Twi-hard journalist all I can say is sticks and stones may break my bones but those words just ripped out my still-beating heart and tossed it beneath the gilded jackboot of a self-appointed cultural elite that wouldn't know real entertainment if it snagged them with a treble hook.
Stephanie Meyer's vampire books have sold more than 100 million copies. The Twilight movie series has made hundreds of millions of dollars and transformed Forks into a Twilight tourist trap selling everything from tours to T-shirts.
So who cares what the critics think?
Twilight is the latest of a slew of movies that have been based or filmed on the Olympic Peninsula. Critics have badmouthed them all.
There was “The Hunted” with Tommy Lee Jones shot at the Lake Aldwell Dam in 2003. A critic said, “The quality of “The Hunted” may have been beaten down by the physical drubbing their cast and crew endured while filming in wet wilderness.”
The final scenes of “Wyatt Earp” with Kevin Costner, was shot at Freshwater Bay in 1994.
“Wyatt Earp” was nominated for several Razzys including worst picture, remake, director, actor and screen couple(s).
“An Officer and a Gentleman” with Richard Gere and Debra Winger was filmed in Port Townsend in 1982. A critic called it “a movie about blue-collar, down trodden people.”
Critics said the 1967 Disney Classic “Charlie the Lonesome Cougar” filmed at Olympic Game Farm, had a “cast of flat human performances.” 
They said Herb Crisler used tame elk in his 1949 film “The Olympic Elk.” 
None of these criticisms measures up to the uproar that battered the greatest movie to ever call the Olympic Peninsula home.
Based on a million-seller memoir by Betty McDonald about a pair of newlyweds taking over an abandoned chicken farm in the wilds of Chimacum, “The Egg and I” was released in 1947, starring Fred McMurry and Claudette Colbert.  Marjorie Main got an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Ma Kettle.
The “Egg and I” spawned eight more “Ma and Pa Kettle” movies and a TV series. 
Critics maintain that Betty's writing was racist and sexist. Unfortunately, these stereotypes were social norms at the end of World War II. 
Betty's poignant observations could be extremely judgmental and did not spare anyone, including herself, her husband, his drunken friends or Port Townsend, which she called “Docktown.”.
The Egg and I is a story of survival on the homestead. If you ever tried starting a cranky wood stove on a cold morning just to get a cup of coffee you will appreciate The Egg and I. 
Betty wrote about her stove as if it was a character in her book, one of the few that didn't sue her.
It was Betty's portrayal of residents of the Peninsula, or Cape Flattery as it was known in the movie that got her into hot water. She was sued by her neighbors who claimed they were ridiculed for being ignorant country bumpkins.
Betty settled out of court and moved to California.
Today, all that is left of this movie heritage is a Chimacum road named “The Egg and I.”
I drove there for The Egg and I tour, but no one was selling any T-shirts.

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