UPDATE: In my haste to publish this story, I failed to contact the Phildaelphia Weekly for their side of this story. My mistake, and I apologize for it. The paper’s editor-in-chief, Stephen H. Segal, emailed me with this correction:
“Yes, prudent budgeting has indeed prompted the elimination of PW’s capsule reviews in their current form, that definitely does not mean the section is being cut in half. Rather, the paper will be partnering with an outstanding Philadelphia-based radio show to provide a new, additional column of original short-form film/television criticism, which will run alongside Matt Prigge’s smart, well-loved “Six-Pack” column and Sean Burns’ insightful, full-length reviews.
Because all the details of this partnership were still being finalized as of yesterday, Matt Prigge was not yet aware of it. I don’t fault him at all for sharing the details of his own weekly workload as a critic; I do, however, fault your blogger for not bothering to fire off a simple email to the Philadelphia Weekly to get all the facts straight before reporting them.”
ORIGINAL STORY: On any given week, the Screen section of the Philadelphia Weekly used to print an average of three to four shorter capsule reviews — or sometimes as many as seven or eight, depending on the number of new films entering the marketplace. Sadly, PW readers will soon have to make due without any of those shorter reviews; according to Weekly contributor (and Criticwire Network member) Matt Prigge, the paper is cutting its review section in half, and eliminating shorter reviews entirely. “I will still be doing listicles and odds and ends,” Prigge tweeted, “but capsules are no more.” Prigge’s final batch of reviews includes a roundup of the Oscar nominated animated shorts. One of those cartoons, “Adam and Dog,” is “a devastating portrait of relationship muck” about the Biblical Adam and a dog he forgets when he meets Eve. Prigge’s description of the film feels oddly and unfortunately appropriate under the circumstances:
“Despite being about man-dog love, this wonderful downer is a weirdly precise elucidation on the abandonment issues that crop up once one has been unceremoniously dumped.”
I reached out to Prigge for more information; the decision, he told me, was “exclusively budget-related.” Prigge, who has been writing for Philadelphia Weekly for almost thirteen years, will continue to contribute his regular “Six Pack” column, and says he harbors no ill will towards the editors. Basically, their hands were financially tied, a sad and all-too-common story these days.
Nonetheless, Prigge, who’s also written for The A.V. Club, the Metro, and Nashville Scene is now available for more freelancing work. You’ll find his contact info below.