In the wake of Elvis Mitchell’s latest Hollywood shuffle, the best place to try and get a handle on the critic’s mercurial MO is the comments section to Anne Thompson’s indieWIRE opinion piece. Several readers take issue with her use of the old trade axiom “Ankles” in the headline, since it implies that he left voluntarily, rather than was axed.
Beyond Thompson’s speculation that Mitchell’s release appears to have had equal amounts to do with a high Movieline.com salary and his failure to respond to some Summit Entertainment feedback about a minor error in his Soucre Code review, there are some very revealing comments from fellow reporters. Especially this one, from Jack Mathews:
I was the movie editor at the L.A. Tomes when Calendar editor Bob Epstein told me he’d hired Elvis to write cultural opinion pieces. Epstein even gave me Elvis’ start date. At precisely the same time, my former editor at the Detroit Free Press told me they’d hired Elvis as their chief film critic, with the same start date. I passed this along to Epstein, but he laughed it off, saying he was certain Elvis was joining us.
On the day Elvis was supposed to appear — and didn’t — I put a $1 bill on Epstein desk and said “I’ll make you a bet; let’s double this every day that Elvis isn’t here.” A few days later, Epstein handed me a $20 bill and said “Forget it.” There had been an Elvis sighting in Motown, though I’m not sure he ever showed up there, either.
Others commenting to Thompson’s piece include Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci and writer-producer Jeff Dowd.