Entertainment site the A.V. Club got an apology from Mongrel Media after it claimed the site called one of its movies “a comedic masterpiece.”
AV Club’s A.A. Dowd actually panned the Mongrel Media-distributed movie Nailed (also titled Accidental Love in the United States).
But Mongrel Media pulled the words “a comedic masterpiece” from Dowd’s negative review and slapped them on the DVD and Blu-ray cover, misquoting him. Dowd called Mongrel Media for the misquote, and Mongrel Media apologized, he reported.
In fact, Dowd wrote “To be fair to whoever refashioned Accidental Love from the abandoned scraps of Nailed, there’s little reason to believe that the ideal, untroubled version of the material would have been a comedic masterstroke.”
— Josh Cabrita (@JoshCabrita) May 17, 2015
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In a July 27 post, Dowd reported “The president of Mongrel wrote and apologized, agreeing that it was the wrong call to take the quote out of context, and promising that it will be removed from all future reprints,” Dowd wrote. “This is a fine reconciliatory gesture, and a good move on the part of a company that does play a strong part in getting important international cinema into Canadian theaters and home-media retail outlets.”
Dowd criticized the movie in both his original review and his follow-up post about Mongrel Media wrongly saying he liked it. The movie is “a misbegotten hatchet job—a movie of wildly disparate acting styles, of erratic shifts in tone, of jokes butchered by choppy editing,” Dowd wrote. “My curiosity satiated, I slapped the film with a for-fans-only C- and moved on with my life.”
Dowd explained why it matters to viewers and the film business that he was misquoted. “At his very best, a critic is a cheerleader for films that need support. Go ahead and rearrange my writing if the point being conveyed is still ‘See this movie!'” he wrote. “It’s when our words are misused to create a recommendation where no recommendation exists that critics begin to resent the whole pull-quote system.”
By changing his words and intentions Dowd argued Mongrel Media was “breaking the bond of trust between a critic and the public.”
“If I lead anyone astray—and I’m sure you could find plenty of readers of this site who feel that I have—it’s by way of a difference in opinion, not malicious intent,” he explained. “Framing me as a big fan of Nailed isn’t just a lie, it’s an attack on my critical reputation. What if someone reads that and really thinks I see a ‘comedic masterwork’ in Nailed? They’ll never trust me on a comedy again!”
Now that Mongrel Media has apologized, Dowd said “Consider our beef squashed.”