Mr. Art Critic
Mr. Art Critic
M.J. Clayton (Bronson Pinchot) is a high profile Art Critic in Chicago. He is known throughout the country for his heartless and angry reviews, and is often scolded by his publisher. After a particularly mean-spirited batch of reviews, he takes a vacation to his small cottage on Mackinac Island. At a local pub, he awkwardly meets up with Frank (John Lepard), one of the angry artists who had been bashed by one of Clayton’s recent reviews. The beers and hard liquor start to take hold, and before he knows what hit him, Clayton makes an impulsive and sloppy proclamation that any idiot can make art, and bets that he can prove it. The next morning, hung over, using supplies happily furnished by Frank, he finds himself struggling to fulfill his wager with no particular talent.
Downtown is an annual art festival, and because of his notoriety and rantings at the bar, M. J. Clayton painfully finds himself featured prominently in festival literature. His connection to the national art scene makes him some kind of a local hero. He really just wants to hide and not deal with these people. Then he gets the bad news, he’s fired.
When he finds out that the first place prize is $10,000, he puts a last minute entry into the festival using a particularly striking painting he quietly purchases from Lisa, a genuinely gifted local artist (Toni Trucks). Ghost painting he calls it. No big deal. His efforts turn mostly to bluffing, and the patrons of the festival are amazed at his ‘talent’. He tries to stay modest. In the end, the truth is painfully revealed, and M. J. Clayton finds his arrogance grinding into humility. He discovers the hard way that the ability to create art is indeed a gift and that he is not among the chosen few.