This afternoon, Manohla Dargis, the free-spirited LAT film reviewer, just told pals she has accepted a NYT offer to replace Elvis Mitchell. Her friends say that, in an unusual step, the NYT is allowing her to remain in Los Angeles. NYT sources say that the paper went after Dargis, a friend of [NYT lead critic] A.O. Scott’s, "not just for her reviews, but even more for her essays about Hollywood."
"What’s depressing about Manohla’s leaving especially is that we treated her fantastically," one LAT source says. "She got to do everything she wanted to do. She’s never been unhappy. But the lure of the NYT was too strong, I guess."
Here's further Dargis buzz, courtesy of Jeffrey Wells' recent "Hollywood Elsewhere" column on what he calls film critic nutters: "I'm speaking of critics whose rave about a certain film makes you think right away, 'Well, I guess I won't see that one' or, at the least, has you saying 'Uh-oh.' Or, conversely, hearing one of them talk about how much they despise this or that film leads you to think, 'Hmmm, this could be interesting or even good. If Blankety-blank hates it, it can't be all bad.'" Dargis swept top honors among the ladies. [Pyrrhic victory, mayhap? After all, how many did/could they consider?]
"I think Manohla Dargis is out of her mind. The 'Ask the Critic' column just irritates the hell out of me. Even when I agree with her, I wish I didn't have to -- she's so in love with her own quirks. I never get the feeling that she just loves movies; she loves writing about them." -- Post-Production Polly
"I would put Manohla right up there with Rosenbaum or Wilmington or Armond White. What they all are are intellectuals who by definition have a strong and particular point of view, and who sometimes go off the board. Except there's really no such thing as off the board...except maybe to say FREDDIE GOT FINGERED or FEMME FATALE are the greatest films of their respective years." -- Los Angeles based Hollywood columnist
"Manohla Dargis, though obviously smart and impassioned, comes pretty close [to nutter status]." -- Oakland-based internet editor/film critic --
"This is completely ridiculous, since Manohla is one of the only interesting daily critics in the country right now. It's so ridiculous that I have to wonder who you're asking for their takes, and I have to really wonder what their reasoning is." -- Los Angeles-based film critic
Wells comment: Dargis is the best thing to happen to the LOS ANGELES TIMES in a long while, and my kind of fruitcake.
We'll see whether she's ours, as well. A good first move, Ms. Dargis, would be to talk with your pal Mr. Scott about his shirts. Also, TMFTML will be monitoring his, and your, ledes.