Tuesday, January 6, 2009

LA Times reader response

Below are some responses from readers about the LA Times hit-piece on Ben Lyons. All but one are anti-Lyons, and the other is certainly not pro-Lyons. My favorite is the first one, which offers a Ben Lyons-style appraisal of the article.

Enthusiastic thumbs down

Your critique of Ben Lyons' dumb-dumb reviews ["Dumbing Down the Film Critic" by Chris Lee, Dec. 28] is newspaper heaven. It ignites on the page. Truly one of the year's 10 best, not to be missed in this or any holiday season. And perfect family fun too. In fact it's one of the most uplifting journalistic experiences of my life. I'd call it Oscar-worthy if the academy had such a category. Maybe now it can.

Read it once and you'll want to read it again and again. Finally a story worth celebrating. So compelling, so magical, I fell in love.

Alan Burnett


When 'greatest' gets grating

Disney-ABC Television Group's Brian Frons is wrong when he says Ben Lyons "is giving the information that audiences want to hear" about films they may want to see.

As a film fan and longtime viewer of "At the Movies," I find Lyons' comments, criticism and observations about movies and pop culture to be insipid, irrelevant and insulting to even the most unsophisticated viewers.

For the first time, my family has no interest in watching "At the Movies." Even our 14-year-old son, an avid moviegoer, said (referring to Lyons), "The grinning, cap-toothed guy must think we're stupid." There must be legions of lost viewers like our target demographic son.

It took a while to embrace Richard Roeper, but he quickly learned the art of helpful, compressed, astute movie reviews.

Lyons is so bad that it's impossible to sit through his mindless blabbering just to hear the sometimes insightful views of Ben Mankiewicz.

My advice to Frons? Send a memo to Mankiewicz. Say: "Up the ante. Have heated, passionate, informed conversations with Lyons. Don't hold back. Don't be polite. Berate, criticize, mock. Be sarcastic. Don't hide your disdain."

I'd watch that. Movies matter. But Lyons doesn't get it.

Robin Simmons

Palm Springs


Chris Lee's article, which details the largely mean-spirited and possibly jealous attacks by other film critics on Ben Lyons of "At the Movies," would have been more accurately called "Dumbing Down the L.A. Times Calendar."

I know there have been cutbacks at your newspaper, but is no one editing Calendar nowadays? Who could have possibly thought such a petty nonstory rated front-page coverage? Those critics supposedly so alarmed and offended by Mr. Lyons could make much better use of their time by focusing on what's happened to Calendar!

Bill Royce

Beverly Hills


I miss Gene Siskel (may he rest in peace) and Roger Ebert (continue to get well and keep writing, please) every time I see a review on TV. Their show was the best of the best. Richard Roeper and his revolving guests did an admirable job.

Disney-ABC Domestic Television, in its stupendous stupidity, decided to make some changes, and whoever was the decision maker should be horse-whipped and sent packing.

Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz stink. I am unable to watch "At the Movies" -- that is how unbearable they are.

Eileen O'Neill

West Hills

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