You have a new TV show coming out called “HOT Ticket.” What will make this show HOT as compared to other shows we’ve seen such as “Ebert & Roeper and the Movies” (Buena Vista TV) or “The New Movie Show with Chris Gore” (FX Channel)? ^ “It’s a different show. It’s not “Ebert & Roeper” and you would have to be an idiot to try to imitate or copy what has worked for them – or for Roger and Gene for so many years. This is more like “Politically Incorrect,” with celebrity guests. I think Chris Gore has other film writers and film critics. This does not. I am the only critic on this panel. It’s a different spin. What we are trying to tap into is the fact that everybody loves to talk about the movies. It’s what people do at dinner parties. It’s what they do at the water cooler Monday morning. It’s what they do at the locker room at school. Everyone talks about the movies. We’re trying to play off that interest – both for the people at home and for the people we invite to be our guests.
How many guests will you feature on each show and can you give us some names of those already invited to appear? ^ Three. Our first show (which airs the weekend of September 22) will include Rick Fox (of the Los Angeles Lakers who also started an acting career on HBO; and is also married to Vanessa Williams); Catherine Bell (who is the leading lady on the TV series “Jag”) and Teri Polo (who was in “Meet the Parents” last year and will be in the new John Travolta film this fall “Domestic Disturbance”). It’s a range of people and that’s what we want to try to do. Have musicians, stand up comics – all sorts of people.
In your new book “Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide (2002 Edition)” you mention that you’re wife, Alice, and even your teenage daughter, Jessie, contribute reviews in your book. Will they ever appear on “HOT TICKET?” ^ I have no idea. Maybe when we’re up and running for a while. Like any show, once you sort of find your footing and the audience has discovered you, you can have fun and try different stuff.
E! Entertainment’s Todd Newton will be hosting the show while you serve as veteran film critic. Have you worked with Todd before and did you play a part in picking him as the show’s host? ^ No and no. Uh, but I was very happy that we hit it off right away. We took a liking to each other and we also understand our respective roles on the show. I’m not the host. He is. So I’m not trying to usurp him, and he doesn’t pretend to be a film critic. I think we’ve established a very nice rapport.
What exactly is your role on the show? ^ Everyone gets his or her chance to speak. Some people are telling me they see me as kind of the voice of reason. Maybe. Depends on the conversation and whether we agree or disagree on a particular film or how far flung the opinions get to be. There’s no predicting it because every week we’ll have a different dynamic. We’ll have different guests and we’ll be discussing different films. Comedies or dramas will inspire a different tone of conversation I think.
Now are you going to be talking about current films in the theaters? ^ Yes. We’re also going to do some coverage of video and DVD. We have something I think is really cool called TRAILER TRYOUT. We take a brand new trailer, something that has just been released, and review the trailer!
That’s a good idea. I like watching movie trailers, but it makes me mad when the studios reveal too much. ^ Exactly! And we’ll talk about that. Does it give away too much? Does it make you want to see it? You know, all those things.
Some people think of movie critics as arrogant, overly opinionated, mean people with pens. What advice do you have for those who take your opinion on a movie “personally?” ^ First and foremost I’m a movie fan and a moviegoer. As a critic, I think what I add to that is an educated eye. I’ve seen a lot, I’ve studied a lot and I’ve learned a lot. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still go to have a good time, to enjoy the film for whatever it sets out to be. In the end, it’s just an opinion. I learned this a long time ago, Herb, that no matter what I say – I’m not going to change someone else’s mind any sooner than they could change mine. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion and everyone has one.
Get the whole story in part three of HOT TICKET: A LEONARD MALTIN INTERVIEW>>>