Back Shelf Beauties
by Willie Waffle

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The Saw trilogy has taken a huge downward spiral in quality over the course of the three movies, and Lionsgate’s refusal to show Saw III to critics may be the biggest proof you will ever need.  The relationship between critics and Lionsgate has become like a marriage gone bad as the movies get worse and worse.      

For the first Saw, Lionsgate (or Lions Gate as they were back then) invited DC critics to come see the movie with director James Wan and writer/star Leigh Wannell.  They knew they had something good on their hands and needed the publicity, so the flirting began as Lions Gate pulled out all of the stops to win us over.  I even went out drinking and talking movies with Wan until midnight, and Lions Gate paid for it!  They were trying to get me all liquored up to see if I would lower my inhibitions, and it kind of worked with all of us.  Saw turned out to be a surprise hit with some good reviews, and everyone was happy.  Our relationship with Lions Gate and Saw was new and exciting as the studio played footsie under the table with us critics, and batted its long luscious eyelashes in a come hither motion, as we dreamed of what might be next.   

For the second Saw, gone was the wining and dining and access to stars.  Lionsgate (still Lions Gate back then) quietly showed Saw II to critics one lonely afternoon just barely before many writers’ deadlines, but it was a robotic-like effort as Lions Gate went through the motions with no feeling, and you knew they were faking it just to get it over with.  The franchise lost its soul to become a simple slasher film with the typical characters, twists and turns, with more of a focus on blood than surprises (and it starred Donnie Wahlberg because brother Marky Mark Wahlberg was too good for something like this).  Alas, the relationship was on the rocks as Lions Gate paid less attention to us, didn’t bring us flowers anymore, and seemed distant and distracted as we shared our reviews of the movie.  In a way, they told us to go sleep on the couch as they went out to find a new lover.     

Now, Lionsgate wants a divorce.  No critics get to see Saw III.  We have been evicted like Oscar Madison and Felix Unger, forced to give all of our attention to Catch a Fire and Running With Scissors.  Sure, the new movies are exciting, but we long for those good old days when Lionsgate loved us wholeheartedly, instead of just looking for a booty call when one of their smaller movies like Deliver Us From Evil comes out. If you listen closely, you can hear the drunk dialing starting already, "C'mon baby.  You know you want to see the movie about the pedophile priest.  Tell everyone about the movie we won't be running any commercials for."  Maybe it's time I stopped answering the phone.     

Incomplete Waffles (Out Of 4)

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