I Must Take Issue With Entertainment Weekly's C-Plus Grade For The DVD Release Of The Patriot

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Candidate Delighted To Be In Chair Factory

LAUREL, DE– During a campaign stop Monday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Delaware attorney general Don Stenberg expressed great pleasure to be at a chair factory. "I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be with the fine men and women of the Laurel Chair Works on this beautiful day," Stenberg told the crowd of 200 employees, donning a Laurel Chair Works baseball hat given to him by factory owner Darrell Widcock. "Just as you have done for so many satisfied customers throughout Delaware, it is my hope that you can provide me with a 'seat' in Congress." Earlier in the day, Stenberg was overjoyed to be at an elementary school, a mall, a senior-citizen community center, and an Episcopalian Church.

Awful Show A Repeat Again

PRESCOTT, AZ– According to local TV viewer Randy Bolz, Monday's episode of the "absolutely awful" CBS show The King Of Queens was a repeat yet again. "King Of Queens is bad enough when it's a new episode," Bolz said, "but this is the third time I've seen that stupid one where Doug buys the really expensive car against Carrie's wishes, then his company goes on strike. Even if I actually did like this show, I certainly wouldn't after seeing the same damn episode three times in less than a year. Christ."

No Clear Winner In Feces-Throwing Conflict

TABORA, TANZANIA– After several hours of fierce feces-slinging from both sides, no clear winner emerged Tuesday in the conflict between Tabora-area male silverback gorillas Lugo and Kamala. "While Lugo looked strong early on, heaving large quantities of his own dung at his opponent, Kamala came back with an equally impressive volley of his own," primatologist Dr. Donald Schayes said. "We might not have a clear handle on the outcome until mating season." The animals have tentatively scheduled an additional series of fecal flings over the next three weeks.

You The Newest Subsidiary Of Kraft Foods

NORTHFIELD, IL– In the company's latest acquisition, Kraft Foods announced Monday that it has gained a controlling interest in you for an estimated $11,000, nearly 20 percent less than the amount forecast by Forbes Magazine market analysts earlier this year. "We are pleased to bring you under the umbrella of fine Kraft products and individuals," Kraft CEO Bob Eckert said. "After some retooling and repackaging, expect to be on store shelves sometime in early spring."

Captain Kirk's Life Flashes Before Dying Trekkie's Eyes

MILFORD, CT– Moments before dying, car-accident victim and hardcore Star Trek fan Glenn Schaefer saw Captain James T. Kirk's life flash before his eyes. "It's all coming back to me," said Schaefer, bleeding profusely and fading from massive head trauma. "The Salt Vampires of M-113, assisting Spock through the Pon Farr, outmaneuvering Khan Singh in the Mutara Nebula, the dilithium mines of Rura Penthe. I'm even seeing portions of the animated series and the Lost Years novels." Before taking his final breath, Schaefer turned to attending medical personnel and said, "It was... fun."

The XFL

Last weekend, the inaugural player draft was held for the XFL, the new World Wrestling Federation-backed pro-football league. What are some of the league's features?

This Casino Is So Glamorous!

Oh! Oh, my goodness! When Helen and Patty said they were going to take me to a casino, I thought it would be nice, but this is something else! I had no idea the casino would be so glamorous!

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The presidential election is less than a week away, with polls indicating a virtual dead heat between Bush and Gore. What do you think?
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I Must Take Issue With Entertainment Weekly's C-Plus Grade For The DVD Release Of The Patriot

I usually enjoy Entertainment Weekly a great deal, devouring everything from Jim Mullen's Hot Sheet to the Gimme Shelter profiles of on-the-market celebrity homes to the always cheeky CyberDigest column. And, as a rule, I trust the magazine's reviews, confident that if Ken Tucker says the new CBS show The Fugitive is an A-minus, it's an A-minus. I must, however, take strong issue with the C-plus grade for the DVD release of The Patriot.

While I concede that The Patriot had its flaws, it hardly deserves the pitiful C-plus rating the usually reliable Ty Burr mystifyingly chose to bestow upon it. In dismissing The Patriot as a "revolutionary ruckus," Burr willfully ignores all that was worthwhile about this Revolutionary War epic, including the kinetic, vibrantly directed battle scenes that put moviegoers mere inches from the Redcoats. And Aussie heartthrob Heath Ledger's (10 Things I Hate About You) star-making performance as Mel Gibson's (Braveheart) eager-to-fight teenage son. And the numerous extra goodies on the DVD, including director Roland Emmerich's (Independence Day) surprisingly illuminating commentary track.

I'm not saying the movie deserved an A. Or even a B-plus, for that matter. The Patriot is rife with historical inaccuracies, and the German-born Emmerich's grasp of the colonial political climate of 1776 is tenuous at best. But don't you think at least a B would have been in order? Is this really the sort of movie that would cause one to muse that "the narrative breakthroughs of Saving Private Ryan... have been swallowed by the mainstream and digested into pap"? Apparently so, provided your name is Ty Burr.

I don't know what was going on over there at the EW offices this week, but something was definitely off. I mean, rating Fatboy Slim's new single "Ya Mama" a C? Giving a B to the WB fansite www.charmed.org? Doling out a C-minus for Keri Russell's delightful new hairdo? None of these, however, got my goat quite like the C-plus for The Patriot.

Then there's the not-so-small matter of the title of the review. "Soldier Ploy"? Upon what, pray tell, is that supposed to be a pun? When The Patriot first hit theaters, EW cleverly titled its review "Revolutionary Bore." You may have disagreed with that assessment (I certainly did), but there's no denying that it's a clear, direct play on "Revolutionary War." But "Soldier Ploy"? What's that? My only guess is that it's a play on "Soldier Boy." Should that be the case, such punnery would have to be regarded as a stretch, to be kind.

The only aspect of The Patriot review that was dead-on was the caption accompanying the photo of Gibson as lead character Benjamin Martin. The movie is, indeed, "all about the Benjamin." Gibson is in top form throughout, virtually exploding off the screen with brooding, musket-wielding bravado. But one good photo caption is not much to recommend about an entire review.

To prove that injustice was, indeed, served by Mr. Burr, we need only look at the "What We Said Then" addendum which follows "Soldier Ploy." The addendum, a paragraph-long distillation of Owen Gleiberman's June 30 review of The Patriot, concludes with his original grade for the film: B-minus. The grade is a far more accurate appraisal of the movie's worth. For some reason, though, four months later, the magazine's editors made a cowardly retreat from Glieberman's more Patriot-friendly stance, docking the film a notch. They say hindsight is 20/20, but in Entertainment Weekly's case, it seems to be more like 20/80.

I'd give Ty Burr's review a C-minus. No, make that a D-plus.

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