Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) 'The Cobbler' Reviews: 'Makes Me Want to Upgrade Everything I've Ever Seen Half a Star' 'The Cobbler' Reviews: 'Makes Me Want to Upgrade Everything I've Ever Seen Half a Star' Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them': 'Between Just Enough and a Bit Too Much' 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them': 'Between Just Enough and a Bit Too Much' Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'Phoenix' Reviews: A Postwar-set Masterwork By Way of 'Vertigo' 'Phoenix' Reviews: A Postwar-set Masterwork By Way of 'Vertigo' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Federico Fellini's '8 1/2' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Federico Fellini's '8 1/2' 'The Duke of Burgundy': With Butterflies and BDSM, a Kinky Romance Woos Critics 'The Duke of Burgundy': With Butterflies and BDSM, a Kinky Romance Woos Critics The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins Kevin Smith Is OK With Critics Now Kevin Smith Is OK With Critics Now 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion Did 'Edge of Tomorrow' Just Get a New Title for Home Video? Did 'Edge of Tomorrow' Just Get a New Title for Home Video? 'The Maze Runner' First Reviews: Once More Around the Dystopian YA Block 'The Maze Runner' First Reviews: Once More Around the Dystopian YA Block Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More 'The Counselor's Extended Cut Is Inspired Madness 'The Counselor's Extended Cut Is Inspired Madness Daily Reads: The Disgusting But Important 'Wetlands,' Comic Book Movies That Thankfully Never Happened and More Daily Reads: The Disgusting But Important 'Wetlands,' Comic Book Movies That Thankfully Never Happened and More Whit Stillman's Paris-set Amazon Pilot, 'The Cosmopolitans,' Plays Like a More Self-Absorbed 'Girls' Whit Stillman's Paris-set Amazon Pilot, 'The Cosmopolitans,' Plays Like a More Self-Absorbed 'Girls'

Samuel L. Jackson Attacks New York Times Critic A.O. Scott Over His 'Avengers' Review

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire May 4, 2012 at 9:48AM

The actor has had it with these mother effing critics and their mother effing negative reviews.
6
"The Avengers."
"The Avengers."

They don't call him Nick Fury for nothing.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson -- he who has ever so briefly played Nick Fury in "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Captain America" and now, somewhat less briefly, in "The Avengers" -- took to Twitter yesterday to vent his spleen. He read A.O. Scott's review of "The Avengers" in The New York Times, it seems, and he was not happy. In response, he tweeted "ENOUGH is ENOUGH!  I have HAD IT with these MUTHAF$*KIN CRITICS and their MUTHAF$*KIN BAD REVIEWS!" Okay, he didn't actually tweet that (my buddy and ScreenCrush colleague Jordan Hoffman did, and I'm totally stealing his joke). Here's what he really said:

"#Avengers fans, NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let's help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!"

Now he didn't necessarily call for Mr. Scott's firing. But he certainly suggested that Scott is so bad at his job as the lead film critic for the New York Times that he deserves to be canned. Which is not especially cool behavior from a guy who, for more than a decade, has been perhaps our culture's #1 symbol of cool.

And what did Scott do to incur Fury's fury? Nothing all that severe. He certainly didn't attack Jackson personally in his review; he barely even mentioned him, pausing once in his piece to observe that Jackson's function in "The Avengers" "is more master of ceremonies than mission commander." That's one of only two times Jackson is mentioned by name, and the other is simply a credit as part of a character description.

Scott's review isn't particularly harsh. He favorably compares the film to "Rio Bravo" which, in my book, is one of the best compliments a manly action movie can get. Granted, he also unfavorably compares the film to "Transformers" which, in my book, is one of the worst compliments a manly action movie can get. My point is Scott didn't unload a cheap shot or even a savage and merciless takedown. It was a thumbs-down review, but it was a fair, honest, and intelligent one.  It was, in other words, an A.O. Scott review.

I saw this very small drama unfold on my cell phone in between movies during yesterday's Marvel Movie Marathon, which meant I had plenty of time -- mostly during the entertainment wasteland otherwise known as "The Incredible Hulk" -- to think of a response. Then I got home at an ungodly hour of the morning and couldn't sleep because the last 40 minutes of "The Avengers" is like Mentos and Diet Coke, ready to write the whole schpiel I'd cooked up, only to discover that Scott himself had already said all that needed to be said in a statement to E! News:

"I don't think Mr. Jackson is actually trying to get me fired. Actors and filmmakers sometimes respond angrily to negative reviews -- I can't say I blame them -- and Twitter is a relatively new and very public forum for that. Rallying 'fans' against skeptical critics is a time-honored tactic, and I don't take it personally...If I'm going to dish out criticism, I should be able to take it."

A thoughtful, classy response. And I think Scott's absolutely right. Film critics criticize, so they should be able to accept a little criticism themselves. When a film critic says an actor has "been miscast" what are they really saying? They're saying they should have been fired, but in a nice way.

And that's really the one part Jackson left out, the nice way part. It's great to see an actor so passionate about something he's made that he's willing to take a stand for it. That's kind of what "The Avengers" is all about. But doing it on Twitter, calling for a guy to be fired, encouraging your 800,000 followers to pester him isn't the most dignified way of going about it. That's kind of like bullying. And as I feel like I've said six hundred times this week, bullying is not what "The Avengers" is all about.

This article is related to: The Avengers, Samuel L. Jackson, A.O. Scott


E-Mail Updates