I flew home from the Oscars to find half a dozen e-mails awaiting with the same unbelievable message: Variety had fired its chief film critic, Todd McCarthy
. Its spokesman was hopeful Todd and its chief theater critic, David Rooney, who was also fired, could continue to review for the paper on a free lance basis. In other words, Variety was hopeful that without a regular pay check, McCarthy would put his life on hold to do a full-time job on a piecemeal basis.Todd McCarthy
reviewed films for Variety for 31 years. He was the ideal critic for the paper -- better, we now realize, than it deserved. His reviews and the reviews of Kirk Honeycutt at the Hollywood Reporter were frequently the first reviews of a new film to see print. Honeycutt fortunately continues.
Films are traditionally screened for the "trades" before anyone else. Historically, when independent theater owners around