LA’s Legendary Film Critic Leonard Maltin Is Beginning His Personal Movie Competition In Hollywood – LAist


From the MaltinFest poster (Courtesy MaltinFest)

There are a small variety of legendary film critics, and L.A.’s Leonard Maltin is one among them. After greater than 50 years of movie criticism, he is discovered one thing that he is by no means performed earlier than — host his personal movie pageant.

“He is simply at all times been busy, and so that is the primary time in our life and his profession the place he had time for one thing like this,” his daughter Jessie stated.

MaltinFest, set for this weekend at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre, has a lineup stuffed with crowd pleasers, celeb company, and a few of the actually bizarre — like Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (not that we aren’t hyped for that).

“I’ve a perverse fascination with this cheesy film from 1951,” Leonard stated. “And it seems, I am not alone. If ever a movie has a cult following, that is it.”

Movie critic Leonard Maltin (Courtesy MaltinFest)

The pageant goals to introduce folks to motion pictures that they may not have seen in any other case, with the Maltin household internet hosting and Leonard interviewing company.

“I do not know any movie critic who does not love the thought of championing an underdog film — getting behind a movie that does not have an Avengers kind of selling funds, and I am no exception to that,” Leonard stated.

However it contains loads of latest motion pictures — it isn’t making an attempt to compete with one thing just like the Turner Traditional Motion pictures pageant, which Maltin can be concerned with.

“The stuff that we love as a household are the hidden gems, the stuff that we see that lots of people do not ever see,” Jessie stated.

That features alternatives like author/director Alexander Payne’s first function Citizen Ruth, with Payne and actress Laura Dern showing on the pageant. You have additionally acquired latest important favourite Sing Road alongside documentaries like The Loss of life of ‘Superman Lives’ and Exporting Raymond.

“It is at all times enjoyable listening to a filmmaker after you have simply seen their work — enjoyable and illuminating,” Leonard stated.


Maltin is the face of the pageant, however it’s a household affair. Daughter Jessie takes the lead on logistics. She has her personal lengthy historical past in motion pictures, serving to write for Leonard’s famed film information whereas she was rising up.

She takes credit score for serving to get her dad on social media and convincing him to start out a podcast, notably after guide gross sales declined, they usually stopped publishing his annual film information.

Leonard has his personal particular deal with he is excited for as a part of the pageant — pairing the movies with a few of his favourite traditional shorts, which they’re protecting underneath wraps till this weekend.

“We have labored with archives throughout Los Angeles, getting some actually enjoyable stuff,” Jessie stated.

Whereas not asserting the movies, he desires crowds to get able to comply with the bouncing ball — and daughter Jessie guarantees he’ll discover you if you happen to do not. (We did not notice Leonard was such an enforcer.)

We did handle to pry unfastened one of many movies being screened — the 1936 Tex Avery traditional I Like to Singa.

They’re additionally internet hosting a number of podcasts, together with one which has had its personal fascination for years with Leonard — Doug Loves Motion pictures, hosted by comic Doug Benson. Every episode contains company enjoying the Leonard Maltin Sport, the place you must guess the identify of a movie utilizing the names of the forged, beginning with the bottom billed up. Leonard’s appeared on the present himself over time.

Leonard’s additionally getting the tables turned, enjoying visitor on podcast the Motion pictures that Made Me.

“I will be the me that week,” Leonard stated.


The Maltins hope to make this pageant not simply an annual L.A. occasion, however one which they tackle the street, touring traditional theaters and bringing movie followers collectively.

“One of many issues that folks say to us on a regular basis is, ‘I want we had this the place we stay,'” Jessie stated. “My response to that’s, ‘OK!'”

Connecting with different film followers is one thing that is not as straightforward to do elsewhere, she added.

“We stay in L.A. and we’re spoiled in that means. You’ll be able to speak to your waiter about motion pictures, and he is most likely made seven of them,” Jessie stated.

“Extra folks have entry to motion pictures than ever earlier than, however that entry is for primarily watching it alone, or possibly your partner or your loved ones,” Leonard stated. “However how a lot nicer wouldn’t it be, to have the ability to current that risk to folks in a wide range of cities, and provides them entry to a theatrical displaying?”


Once we spoke with them, Leonard expressed simply the slightest trepidation about how this would possibly all work out — however Jessie insisted that it is positively coming collectively, come hell or excessive water.

In spite of everything these years, Leonard stated that it is the sense of discovery that also will get him going.

“Strolling into a movie, understanding nothing about it, and popping out feeling such as you’ve simply uncovered a hidden gem, or an actor you have by no means seen earlier than, or a filmmaker whose work you are not conversant in — that is at all times stimulating and enjoyable,” Leonard stated.

Leonard stated they’re excited to vicariously experiencing these motion pictures by way of new eyes.

“We’re not simply going to be watching the flicks, we’ll be watching the viewers watching the flicks,” Leonard stated.

Your probability to observe and be watched begins this Friday and runs by way of Sunday within the inaugural MaltinFest. The primary movie begins Friday at four p.m., with every thing wrapping up Sunday evening.

See the complete MaltinFest schedule beneath:

(Courtesy MaltinFest)
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