Shawn Edwards defends Ben Lyons
by Justin Kendall
The Pitch, Kansas City
Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 06:04:22 PM
Fox 4 movie critic Shawn Edwards has been called a quote whore for his bombastic proclamations that end up on movie posters. So he can sympathize with his friend and fellow critic Ben Lyons, who now co-hosts "At the Movies," giving his reviews from balcony seats once reserved for Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.
The Los Angeles Times recently wondered if Lyons is the most hated movie critic in America. The criticisms against Lyons mirror those against Edwards: no film knowledge, celebrity ass kisser and shill. Edwards says the Times story was "tremendously unfair."
"My man, he knows a lot about movies," Edwards says. "He's knowledgeable but it may not come through in his delivery. For goodness sake, he works for E!. You can't come with the hard-core cinematic knowledge on E!. That's not what that audience is looking for on that network."
What they're looking for, Edwards says, is someone from the "iPod generation" with an "MTV approach." But Edwards says Lyons could do the "hard-core, serious, film criticism delivery if he wanted to."
Edwards preaches patience with Lyons.
"You can't slam him right out the gate," Edwards says. "There's no one that Disney could hire to fill the shoes of Siskel and Ebert. There's nobody that could sit in that balcony and make that show happen immediately. It's going to take time.
"I wouldn't want that job," Edwards says. "I wouldn't want to follow Roger Ebert. Hell no. ... Sure I would love to have that job, but it would be tough for any working critic today. It would be impossible."