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The Quest for Earl Dittman

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Having watched the trailers for a million bad movies and video releases on TV, I’ve grown subliminally aware of Earl Dittman of Wireless Magazines, who is always resorted to when no critic of any note can be found to provide an enthusiastic quote. Maybe it’s because there have been a particularly large number of these lately — Maid in Manhattan gets “funniest romantic comedy of the year” from him — so I found myself wondering who the hell this Dittman character was and why no-one I know has ever seen or heard of Wireless Magazines. Entering his name in Google saved me the trouble of a full-scale investigation: a couple of recent articles have been published asking the same questions:

Searching for Earl Dittman, anti-critic

Earl Dittman Exposed – Film Criticism’s Greatest Shame

Neither article manages to prove or disprove the existence of either Dittman or Wireless Magazines, although there is a possibly that it may have a circulation of one or two video stores, possibly somewhere in Houston.

The skinny on Dittman: he was one of the “blurbmeisters” whose fawning raves were referenced in the class action lawsuit brought against major movie studios in 2001 by Citizens for Truth in Movie Advertising, and he has been regarded as a joke or worse since the mid 90s — and yet his insanely uncritical raves continue to be used in ads, trailers and promotions. It does appear that no film has ever been made that Dittman does not regard as the greatest advance in motion picture history since the last one.

Beware though: once you have become aware of Dittman you will be drawn into watching every trailer and scanning the back of every video and DVD box in search of his priceless prose.

Postscript: eFilmCritic runs a regular CriticWatch column and it seems that Dittman isn’t the worst film whore. But there is definitely something special about him (“doing a Dittman” has a nice ring to it) and the mysterious Wireless Magazines that seems to be rarely that first folios of Shakespeare….

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