Short Story Saturday: Confessions Of A Quote-whore

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Take a break from the hectic news of Hollywood with our weekly look into the world of "what if". Fresh fan fiction happens weekly here at Cinema Blend on Short Story Saturday. This is our latest short story entry... "Confessions of a Quote-whore".



Here is put forth the last will and testament of Peter Shawn Ross, one time chief film critic of Horse & Hound Magazine. Born June 22, 1973; deceased July 4, 2043.

scan of Peter Ross's will page 1

scan of Peter Ross's will page 2

scan of Peter Ross's will page 3

Text transcript of the above documents follows...
I, Peter Shawn Ross, of Los Angeles County, State of California, being of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament, forever and following:

Having no children or living relatives, nor any possessions of excessive value, it is my will that my entire estate be sold off at auction. This includes my 1997 Volvo 960, my collection of photos in which I pose with celebrities, and my autographed first draft copy of the original shooting script for the Sam Rockwell movie Gentlemen Broncos.

The proceeds from said auction are to be used in the construction of a memorial to my honor, on which it should read: "Here lies Pete Ross, beloved film critic. He sizzled with charm. Brilliant!" Memorial to be kept and maintained in perpetuity at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. With no further unfinished business to attend to, it is my desire that the remainder of this space be used to set the record straight, once and for all. I knew what I was doing.

Donít get me wrong, I hated it, I just couldnít stop. At first I did it to pay the rent. I had no choice, I had no other skills. Later, it became a drug.

When I was twenty-three I possessed enough writing talent to get a job scribbling about movies for the local newspaper. I started out working for free. I soon discovered that no one cared about anything I was writing. No one was reading, not even my editor. One day a publicist asked me to give them a quote for the new Adam Sandler movie. I think it was Bulletproof. I hadnít written my review yet, but I knew I hated it. Still, I was getting desperate. The film critic thing wasnít paying off and I had no other discernable skills. Iíd been working nights at 7-Eleven to pay my Mom rent. So I lied. I called it "an entertaining adventure". The publicist ate it up.

Suddenly my name was on movie posters, everywhere. My editor at the newspaper offered to start paying me. The publicist kept coming back to me for more quotes, whenever she had a movie. I gave them to her. That wasnít enough. I liked seeing my name everywhere, so I started writing my reviews with quotes in mind. Of course I hated Home Alone 3, didnít everyone? But when I called it a "fantastic return to a winning formula" all the trailers ran with, "Fantastic!" Ė Pete Ross, Atlanta Daily Chronicle, in them. That got me the gig with Horse & Hound.

At the time Horse & Hound was one of the most prestigious publications in the nation. Their film reviews were world renowned but, their long time film critic had retired. The editors there, being primarily interested in hunting, had an opening and didnít actually know anything about movies. They thought since theyíd seen my name attached to so many trailers, that meant I was good. I didnít dissuade them from this point of view, and as long as I kept my name and theirs on TV, they were willing to pay for my one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood, California in exchange for all the free advertising.

I worked there for the next forty years and never got tired of seeing my name in lights.

I used to tell myself I had to do it, this was my only way to make a living. Thatís true, but after awhile it was really all about the high. Fame is a drug and in my own way I was hooked on it. It meant something, getting my name seen was important. I knew that then as much as I it now.

To this day nobody reads my reviews, they never have and they never will, but long after Iím gone the poster for Star Wars: Episode VII will still exist. Every time people look at it theyíll see the words "A rip-roaring adventure!" next to Han Soloís head, and next to that, the name of Pete Ross.

All it cost me was a few lies. 647, as of this writing. Thatís how many movies Iíve been quoted on. How many times have you lied? Said youíre working late when youíre actually drinking with the boys? Told someone youíre sick to get out of helping them move? All I did was lie about a few movies, just movies, empty entertainment. Who cares whether or not Adam Sandler gets good a review? Itís not like he was going to stop making those travesties if I trashed them. I wasnít hurting anyone and it made me famous.

It was worth it. I have no regrets.

No, I donít even feel a little bad about Nicolas Cage. Most actors didnít read my reviews, but he did. The worse Cageís movies got, the more I praised them. The more I praised them, the more he loved me.

I called The Wicker Man, "a genuinely thrilling re-imagining."

I praised Season of the Witch as, "an action-packed must-see."

I met Nic more than once and every time he made it a point to tell me how much he appreciated me. He told me that as long as he knew one expert liked what he was doing, he was on the right path. So Nic kept right on making those horrible movies. Film after film, they got worse and worse. Eventually, Hollywood stopped calling and he couldnít get work.

Nicís suicide note didnít mention me specifically, but since I was the only critic to call his turn as Wonder Woman "the yearís best performance" his fans blamed me, Pete Ross. Thatís not fair. Suicide is the result of mental illness and his was obviously not my fault, even if I told him that National Treasure 6 was better than Citizen Kane.

It was worth it. That was the price of immortality, and Iím glad I paid it. Make no mistake, immortality is exactly what Iíve achieved. Those supposedly honorable film critics with all the indie-cred? Theyíve already been forgotten. But no one, not one of you, will ever forget my name. Iíd call that, "Phenomenal!"

Dictated by my voice at Los Angeles, CA, This July 4, 2043

Peter Shawn Ross





We the undersigned certify that the foregoing instrument of writing was this day dictated by Mr. Peter Shawn Ross & was signed by him in my presence and acknowledged by him to be his act, his last will and testament and that both of us witnesses hereto attach our names in the presence of said Mr. Peter Shawn Ross and in the presence of each other.

This July 4, 2043

Dr. Jeff Goldberg, Attending Physician



Rosa Ramirez, Registered Nurse

Witnesses

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