In his four months as critic on E!'s At The Movies, Ben Lyons—he who called Will Smith's I Am Legend one of the greatest films in history with a straight face—has galled the critics' community and presided over a plunge in viewership of the show once hosted by Siskel and Ebert. Lyons' detractors accuse him of nepotism (his father is critic Jeffrey Lyons), sucking up to celebrities, and being a "quote whore" who generates blurbs for movie posters. "Everyone thinks he's a joke," one critic tells the LA Times.
It may be just a sign of the times for film criticism. Now people are more likely to turn to Rotten Tomatoes than "your father's movie reviewer," and a flurry of big newspapers have let critics go. "If he's established himself as the benchmark for where popular criticism is headed, we're all kind of (in trouble)," said an editor of the blog Defamer.