srowley75 wrote:The only book of this sort that I treasure is Danny Peary's OOP Guide for the Film Fanatic, which I always recommend because of Peary's refusal to incorporate any kind of silly star rating system. He simply writes a response to the film in question and lets it be. As a result, this author of books about cult movies has something of a cult following himself. He's an entertaining writer with tremendous insight, and unlike most (Maltin included), he encourages an interest in all kinds of movies, even those by directors like Stephanie Rothman, Ed Wood and Herschell Gordon Lewis.
I agree completely about the Peary volume; it rocks. His three books on "cult movies" are essential, too. It is too bad that he seems to have dropped out of film reviewing.
The number of films that can potentially be seen has gotten so large that really only the IMDB can handle it fully. The Maltin guides are useful for the mainstream quality of the opinions they contain; you can see at a glance what the conventional wisdom is. The annual Time Out guide is excellent, a little edgier, huge in scope, and much better on British and international films than Maltin could hope to be.
The old Leslie Halliwell guides are useless, because Halliwell was such an idiot. Why someone who apparently hated movies so much, and had no understanding of them, nonetheless made assessing them his life's work, is one of the great unanswered mysteries.
By the way, I think this is the funniest review anywhere in Maltin:
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987). Crude live-action kiddie film "inspired" by the popular and controversial bubble-gum cards which feature creatures with names like Greaser Greg and Valerie Vomit. They all live in a garbage pail, where they are destined to be joined by the negative of this movie.