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 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 2:30 PM   
 By:   Mike_J   (Member)

I'm interested to know what people here think of Harry Knowles and his repaid.y declining website Aint It Cool news.

I got onto the Internet in 1995, when I started my own business as a fraud investigator. My interface in those days was Apple eWorld which was dial up system! was incredibly slow and cost a fortune. But it was an amazing new world.

I discovered AICN pretty early on (1997 perhaps?) and was an avid follower. Knowles seemed such a great chap, a genuine movie fan who was prepared to stick 2 fingers up at the studio establishment. He also had amazing scoops which were just so great to read. I'd grown up with Starlog and that was always my source of movie news and gossip before Knowles came along.

Over the years though I began to notice things; firstly how the scoops so often seemed totally spurious - almost made up. Secondly, Knowles just seemed to demonstrate how he would sell others out to protect his image and his liberty - the controversies just kept on coming, including false Oscar scoops (where Knowles ended up costing someone his job) the Joe Hallenback affair where Knowles basically hung out a former friend to protect himself (google them if you don't know about these - entertaining reading) and the obvious sell out reviews like Godzilla, where Knowles was treated like a celebrity at the premier and gushed about the movie being the greatest film ever.

It also became apparent that Knowles really wasn't anywhere near the movie expert he promoted himself to be. Small errors went unnoticed but when he kept saying things about classic movies that he claimed to love but which he blatantly hadn't ever seen, it became obvious to me he was actually a charlatan. Sure, he was a movie fan but by no means an expert the way the media - and he himself - had promoted him to be. His knowledge of Hitchcock for example is lamentable and more than once has he written about a movie - Rebecca for example - which he clearly had never watched in his life.

And it got worse. As time went on Knowles started to believe his own image. He genuinely seemed to think of himself as the world's biggest movie expert, perpetuating the myth by claiming to have seen pretty much every film ever made, to be a fan of every movie maker, even though so much of his writing was either obviously based on Wikipedia entries or was simply obviously wrong. And to increase the myth, Knowles then started to link every single event in his life to some supposed geek-related incident, just to re-enforce his self-proclaimed image as king of the geeks.

Then of course was the increasing amount of name dropping, with Knowles claiming he was best friends with various directors and producers. Stallone is just one example, a guy who only ever seems to contact Harry when he has a movie to promote. But Harry is too stupid to see that he is just being used for cheap publicity.

And let us not forget the tales of Harry The Producer on such projects as John Carter of Mars. Even just basic research will enable you to find out just how that title was just a sop to him and that he wasnt really taken seriously by the film's actual producers. The trouble is now Knowles' ego is so huge he genuinely believes himself to be an "important person" in Hollywood even though he is actually something of a joke within the industry.

To add insult to his former fans, Knowles also became increasingly indifferent to both his website and his readers and the decline of AICN is directly inversely proportional to Knowles' own very skewed high opinion of himself.

And then of course there is the "pwesnts", Knowles' openly stated willingness to sell his opinion from gratuities from the studios.

Finally, there is the lies. Knowles can never admit he has screwed up or is wrong or has made mistakes. It is always the fault of someone or something else. He always has an excuse, even often exaggerating his health condition to extract sympathy and buy forgiveness from people.

I've never met Knowles but know a couple of people who have and they have both described him as being someone who is actually very full of his own supposed importance, aloof and detached and disinterested in anyone who cannot help him or make him look good.

I have to be honest and say I despise the guy. He is a vile, self-serving and dishonest individual and the only reason he is doing anything other than pumping gas is just down to luck, by starting a website at just the right time. Dont get me wrong, I have no problem with people having luck in life but I do feel those people should pay it forward. Knowles doesn't, he is just a lazy guy who trades of past glories and uses people to further himself.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 2:53 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Harry Knowles?! That is SO 90's! I wasn't aware that he was still around.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 22, 2013 - 4:43 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I've never actually read AICN, although at one point, Knowles' blurbs from the site seemed ubiquitious in movie ads and on video covers. The only time I've seen his face was back in 1999-2000 when Roger Ebert was auditioning replacement critics for "At the Movies," after the death of Gene Siskel. Knowles was given a few weeks try-out.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 5:28 AM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

Mike, don't you wish you could be Harry Knowles?

Wouldn't you be so much better at being Harry Knowles?

I think the sad-but-true thing to remember is that the very qualities that irritate us so much about these guys are often the same personality traits or social skills which are responsible for their success in the first place. Anyone like Harry would do well to believe his own hype, because that's a role he has to be able to play committedly and flawlessly as any great actor would approach a role . . . only in Harry's case, he's got to LIVE it. He's "always on."

I saw Tarantino interviewed by Elvis Mitchell on TCM, and this time QT pretended he loved the movies of Judy Garland. No particular apparent reason. Her name just came up or something. So he went on and on, so enthusiastically, punctuating his sentences with "All right?!" and "Okay?!" --Flailing his arms and doing the whole Tarantino schtick. Except, he made repeated references to her famous film, "The Hardy Girls," which I'm unfortunate enough to know as "The Harvey Girls." I say "unfortunate," because this pesky detail robs me of the fun of unconditionally worshipping Tarantino and his limitless knowledge of movies -- gained, as his own legend has it, when he worked at the trendiest video store in the universe for all those years. I can never be a true Tarantino fan, because I can plainly see how scantily clad the Emperor is.

And yet I'm aware, and in fact envious, that enough people do buy his self-promotion that the Weinsteins will fund any movie he wants to make. I daydream about what I'd do if I had a deal like that. But would I have to "sell my soul" and become a personal hype generating machine, a marketable persona, a "brand name" like these incredible phonies, who are already so good at it?

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 5:52 AM   
 By:   Mike_J   (Member)

To a degree I don't have a problem with someone's ego being buffed up a bit because of success. And if that was Knowles' only problem, I could perhaps forgive him for trying to live up to his own image.

But unfortunately Knowles has so many character defects it is really difficult to consider him as being anything other than an idiot and a not especially pleasant idiot at that. As I've said, he has hung others out to dry to protect himself and earlier this year fired one of his own contributors via Facebook because said reviewer's reviews were upsetting the studios.

Knowles is an incredibly lazy individual, who has let his site decline to such a degree it is now heavily mocked by many of the readers who used to loyally follow it (there hasn't been a genuine scoop for years and now all they do is simply cut and paste from other, better movie blogs). Knowles himself contributes very little these days but when he does he writes like a retard which he excuses as him being "just a geek" but then constantly contradicts by referring to himself as a professional film critic.

He also repeatedly demonstrates a total misunderstanding of film. Case in point was his "scoop" of the Prometheus script, which he claimed was brilliant. Hysterically the screenplay he looked at was quite obviously a fan-written script (and not even a good one at that) which was way shorter than an ever age screenplay, which Knowles totally failed to recognise. Even after the actual screenwriter Damon Lindelof called it fake, Knowles didnt have the humility to admit he had been duped.

Knowles basically reminds me of one of those loudmouth jerks I used to meet when I went to Star Trek conventions in the 80s, the
omnipresent twat who had a very vocal opinion on everything and yet seemed to have few friends. He got lucky by starting his website at the right time but actually didnt have the talent to do it.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 6:12 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Harry and QT are both hometown heroes in Austin where I live, along with, well Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez and Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey.

They are regarded so highly here it is rather icky. And it pretty much guaranteed whenever one of them comes out with a movie - even if it is not that great, the hometown press will love it to pieces.

I have always found QT pretty annoying, and he seems to have ADD or some personality disorder, I mean he acts rather odd if you watch him talk. He has made a few good movies, but not nearly as many as some people think. QT is also pretty much an derivative creator, he does not really authentically create very much, it is all either directly or indirectly referencing something else that he likes and copies - endlessly. The most creative films he made were at the start of his directing career. After the success of Pulp Fiction it was pretty down hill from here.

In any case, Knowles has always struck me as a hack, and I always thought that his group of bloggers with aliases came off as suspicious and very - very cheesy and not trustworthy either. I think he often writes these slathering pieces of commentary that heap praise of relatively crappy films - sometimes to make cozzy with some director of other celebrity. I am sure that he has done with some of our hometown crowd.

I certainly do not read him anymore.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 6:13 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 6:48 AM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

Harry Knowles is a dipshit. It's pretty obvious. All you have to do is read anything he's written.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 12:42 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

I was only occasionally aware of AICN and knew even less of Knowles, but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt just because Mike's post seemed so strongly worded.

But after doing a bit more reading on Knowles I totally get where Mike is coming from. By most accounts an unsavoury person. I can cut people a lot of slack if they have some kind of illness or "challenge". But this fellow seems to go beyond objectionable in SO many ways, that natural sympathies just don't cover it. If he showed even a little bit of humility it would go a long way. But no.

There ain't no law that says I can't dislike someone unless they're "normal". And what does "normal" even mean anymore?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 3:18 PM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

sigerson and ado - love your posts. The qt observations are goldust.

Harry Knowles?? never heard of im. sounds like a cheap car dealer.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 3:21 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

I've never really been a reader of AICN (have only read a few posts there over the years), so I have no opinion on Knowles one way or the other.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 3:38 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Yeah, I never really followed AICN so I know nothing about it. I think the site design just always turned me off.

 
 Posted:   Sep 23, 2013 - 4:24 PM   
 By:   random guy   (Member)

don't hate the guy but the name dropping is annoying, and find it humorous how he loves to use their first names only.

his reviews could be better. don't mind a 45 paragraph review just as long as you don't spend the first 20 telling us how your day went before you watched the movie.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 26, 2013 - 10:32 PM   
 By:   tarasis   (Member)

Haven't read his site in years, I think the last time was when Die Hard 4 was coming out and Bruce Willis turned up in the comments section.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 1:45 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I used to watch his site once a month to check for upcoming film news, but this was prior to social media becoming big and basically replacing his site. Don't forget that at one point hollywood wanted nothing more than to get him on their side and arranged for him to be taken to film sets, meet film stars and directors, ... they deemed his influence on ticket buying movie goers that big that he got pampered as such. From then on, I can't take his site seriously anymore as it became one sponsored sell out fest. When his 'spies' become his benefactors, what is the point of alternate geek movie criticism?

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 5:56 AM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Ugh, Harry Knowles...perhaps the most unpleasant-to-look-at "celebrity" in existence. LOSE. SOME. WEIGHT.

 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2013 - 3:44 PM   
 By:   The REAL BJBien   (Member)

the website was ok, i actually enjoyed it when they had various people talk about the films during a weekend but like everyone else had said... they site is utter shit now.

40 to 50 paragraphs on a film with one being about the actual film and the other three or four about going to the theater or his weak connection to an insignificant detail.

after the first year of popping in and out i stopped reading his reviews all together and now a lot of people who used to be fun to read in their counter points have all left.

i never cared about the controversy or any of that crap to be honest, i just wanted to read reviews from passionate but not exactly professional critics but even that has no longer an appeal.

with sites like IMBD and ROTTEN TOMATOES and the studios releasing WAY more than teaser trailers and posters but now casting and other details/information about films more than before, the site is honestly irrelevant.

 
 Posted:   Sep 28, 2013 - 4:51 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Harry Knowles? Borinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggg!! Don't give him more free publicity -- I'm sure he doesn't care whether it's good publicity or bad, just as long as his name is out there. Too bad that it has given him a comfortable living all these years.

 
 Posted:   Sep 29, 2013 - 5:43 AM   
 By:   Stefancos   (Member)

Harry hasn't been relevant for about 15 years.

At the time he was the cliché version of a "geek". Fat, weird facial hair, socially ackward.

Geeks have moved on a bit now, harry is still stuck in 1999.

 
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