Don't know where else to put this (not that it deserves to be put anywhere), but Jeffrey Wells has revealed
that the reason he posts such ridiculous, baseless criticisms of Criterion all the time is because he holds a 25-year-old grudge and "vowed that [he] would somehow pay Criterion back." Fantastic.
Jeffrey Wells wrote:
Okay, let's get really honest. This is going to sound like it's right out of the Lee J. Cobb in Twelve Angry Men playbook, but I have it in for Criterion because I was once humiliated by a guy in their West Coast office when I set up an interview for some kind of in-house publicity position.
It was either the mid '80s or the early '90s...I forget which. Their office was on PCH in Santa Monica, right in front of the bluff and not far from the pier -- I remember that much. A Criterion marketing (or senior publicity) woman and I had hit it off pretty well, and she suggested that I drop by the office for an interview later that day or the following morning. That was a very quick response, which told me I was doing pretty well. Anyway, I got down there and something had obviously "happened" (i.e., someone had pushed a bad button and/or sullied my rep with a negative reference) because all of a sudden the woman who'd said "come on down!" had done a total flip-flop and couldn't see me.
Instead she sent out this malevolent yuppie creep to run interference and say that something really important had come up in her schedule...bullshit. His task was to conduct a "show" interview and and then make me go away so she didn't have to interview me. This guy she sent to pre-interview me in the Criterion lobby -- the lobby! -- was a brusque, hard-eyed yuppie weasel. I loathed him and his dismissive manner instantly. On top of which I was appalled that I'd been asked to come down only to be told, "Oh, uhm...changed our mind!" At the very least I was entitled to a courtesy chat in that woman's office.
So after I was blown off & sent packing and basically treated like I was some kind of South Central gang-banger who had somehow impersonated an eligible candidate for the job, I vowed that I would somehow pay Criterion back, even if it took 10 or 15 or 20 years. I've never been treated so shabbily by any prospective employer in my life. Criterion was in no way obliged to hire me, obviously, but I felt it was my due to be treated with respect. And I've never forgotten that horrible interception in the lobby or the eyes and the manner of that loathsome Criterion serpent. And being treated like (and feeling like) dogshit when the humiliation was over.
So that was the beginning. I've had similar reactions to other Criterion people since. Their basic thing is "Oh...uhm, yeah....well, we'd like to make time to speak to you or even be semi-candid with you, but we're so cool, you see...we're so VERY COOL and you're only you, so can we help you with anything else?" And as unfair and unrelated as this may sound, I've wanted to stick it to Criterion ever since that incident in their Santa Monica office. Like I said, I'm basically Lee J. Cobb who wants to find the kid guilty because he's angry at his own son, etc. It's irrational. Maybe by admitting this I'll get rid of the bad blood. I don't know. I only know that I fundamentally loathe the Criterion Co. elitist mindset.
This as nothing to do with their DVD/Blurays or their superb transfers or any of that quality-based stuff, mind. They're the best DVD and Bluray company in the world.
His latest diatribe is that the Criterion website doesn't tell who designs the covers and he can't ask them because "the Criterion Collection [is] such an elitist, foo-foo, too-cool-to-schmooze-with-the-little-people outfit." Among the other previous gems have been that Stagecoach
was the "worst-looking, worst-sounding Bluray
of a classic black-and-white film in history" and that after purchasing it he felt "used and abused by Criterion. Snookered, ass-fucked, film-flammed, hoodwinked, boondoggled...a tin can tied to my tail." They also "hid" the fact that Che was coming
. He was also "burned
" by their disc of The Third Man
. There's more, but it's not worth digging for. I don't think anyone takes the guy seriously anyway. The appeal of his site is the crazy old man vibe. If anyone did though, they're surely done with him now, after an admission of a complete lack of journalistic ethics.