CNN Film Critic Paul Clinton Passes

by | February 2, 2006 | Comments

Known for his enthusiasm for the movies if not for any artsy-pretentious leanings,’s film critic Paul Clinton died Monday, January 30.

A fond eulogy from fellow CNN contributor Todd Leopold broke the news of Clinton’s death today; cause of death is reportedly natural causes, although Leopold notes Clinton’s history of smoking and recent ill health.

Clinton was known for his polarizing views on films; polarizing, in fact, not because of controversial comments or esoteric tastes, but because he was, perhaps, too nice. According to Leopold, he was unabashedly in for the thrill, the entertainment value, the "roller coaster rides and popcorn flicks" — but at the same time, aware of his own inclinations and position as a "barometer" for moviegoers to measure their own tastes against.

Of his reviews included in our Rotten Tomatoes database, Paul Clinton agreed with the Tomatometer 70 percent of the time, which leaves nearly 100 out of 328 reviews in which he went against the grain of popular opinion. As another Clinton retrospective article points out, this disregard for the consensus is an integral part of being a critic, and one thing that truly set him apart. Below is a sampling of Clinton’s proudly dissenting opinions.

"Is it Oscar bait? Not in the least. But it’s a great date flick and perfect for a time full of all those ‘serious’ films."

Casanova, 43%

"I’ve never seen the stage musical Rent, but the movie had me at hello."

Rent, 49%

"Derailed — a pure popcorn thriller — may find it hard to make a dent at the box office. But it is worth seeing."

Derailed, 21%

"If you want to see good performances and cinematography wasted in a mediocre movie, that would be North Country."

North Country, 70%

"Flightplan – – a heart-stopping thriller."

Flightplan, 37%

"Frankly, the entire film felt like the cinematic version of Hamburger Helper — too little meat trying to do too much."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 89%

Another mark of Paul Clinton’s writing was his ability to concoct some highly entertaining reviews. Here’s a sampling of his critical witticisms, reserved for the worst that cinema had to offer.

"Watching A Sound of Thunder could possibly lower your IQ into the single digits."

A Sound of Thunder, 7%

"David Duchovny claims he wrote the screenplay for House of D in only six days. It shows."

House of D, 10%

"Hide and Seek really isn’t a suspense thriller at all. It’s a mystery movie. It’s always a mystery when highly talented people commit the time and effort to a film that is so obviously mediocre."

Hide and Seek, 14%

"If you think it’s funny, you may just be ‘special’ too."

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, 10%

To read more highlights of Paul Clinton’s film reviews, check out his critic page, here.

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