News Article

At A Critical Age

Sons and daughters visit EW to put in a day's work -- and see what it's like to watch movies for a living

''How do you know what grade to give a movie?'' It's a question EW critic Lisa Schwarzbaum ponders on a daily basis, and one of many she fielded on April 24, when 24 pint-size movie critics got an inside glimpse of working at ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY during our annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

The event, which originated with the Ms. Foundation as a girls-only gathering a decade ago, was opened to boys for the first time this year. And unlike Augusta National, nobody seemed to mind the gender evolution. ''I'm happy boys can come now,'' says longtime participant Tiffany Wong, 12. ''It was fun having my brother Devon here. He would get so mad at my mom because he wanted to come too!''

Luckily, the day, which started with a special screening of the Disney movie Holes and included lessons in photo imaging and movie marketing, lived up to 11-year-old Devon's expectations. ''It was great. Being a critic is really cool.'' Schwarzbaum, who was surprised no one asked her about getting free popcorn, gives the mini -- movie mavens the old thumbs-up. ''I love talking to kids about movie criticism,'' she says. ''They're extremely enthusiastic and honest, and they're not afraid to tell me when I'm wrong. Now they all have reporter's notebooks, and I expect them to take notes at the next Harry Potter movie.''

But maybe offering the youngsters a preview of life as an EW writer wasn't such a wonderful thing after all. ''I might want to be a movie critic because instead of doing a lot of work, you sit down and watch a movie. It could be fun,'' concludes Amanda Sapienza, 12.

Lisa, watch your back.

Rick Tetzeli Managing Editor

Originally posted May 09, 2003 Published in issue #709 May 09, 2003 Order article reprints