30th September 2000

In Memoriam: Vincent Canby

posted in `Roids |

Not long ago, I was invited to the memorial service for Vincent Canby (July 27, 1924 – September 15, 2000). Mr. Canby was one of the greats of film criticism, an admittedly small group to be a part of. As senior film critic for The New York Times from the ’60s to the ’90s, Canby brought a genuine love of cinema to his writing. In the 30 years I’ve been making ten-cent movies, I was honored that he would occasionally review one of them. Even as his reputation grew and he became one of the most influential and respected critics in the country, he continued to review Troma movies …even when 4 or 5 major blockbusters would open on the same day. I could only be flattered by his attention. Canby knew the difference between a $350,000 movie made with heart, soul and passion and a $50 million dollar product made by committee. Canby’s love of movies was wide-ranging and eclectic. He admired Truffaut, Fellini and Billy Wilder but was also enthusiastic about movies like Alligator and The Toxic Avenger. Canby was a genuinely smart, funny guy and unlike many of his contemporaries, he did not approach his work with an artificial sense of self-importance. Canby knew that movies are just movies and, in the ultimate scheme of things, pretty frivolous. Vincent Canby was one of those rare film critics whose reviews could be more entertaining than the movies they were about. The Troma Team and I would like to thank him for his attention and kind words. The insight and humor he brought to the Times, and film criticism in general, will be sorely missed

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