Variety.com deputy editor Anne Thompson takes another swipe at Ben Lyons.
I have been a frequent critic of the new At the Movies movie reviewing team, Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz. In fact, at a screening of Tropic Thunder at Comic-Con, I was sounding off on Lyons to my colleagues when a man turned around from the seat in front of me and said, "Hello, I am Ben Lyons." Was my face red. Later, Lyons approached me in one of the convention hallways as I was sitting on the floor juicing up my laptop, and I snapped the picture above.
Clearly, he's a genial telegenic young fellow who loves movies and film fests (he was all over Toronto, getting his picture taken with celebs he was interviewing, like Keira Knightley). But these qualities do not necessarily a good film critic make. I couldn't help wondering, when Lyons recommended that audiences see Valkyrie (I also liked the movie, btw), if he wasn't keeping future E! access to Tom Cruise in mind.
The LAT went after Lyons last week, as others happily piled on. Does he have any supporters, as ratings plummet? Well, the one demo that seems to like him is 20ish young men like him. And I confess that when I visited Charles Fleming's USC entertainment journalism class, a few of the kids admitted to watching the show.
But how long can Lyons last against this barrage of naysayers? The other Ben, Mankiewicz, would be so much better if he had someone sharper to play against. I'd take even youngsters Matt Singer or Karina Longworth over Lyons any day. They are capable of a little depth of discourse, at least.