Film Critic. Collector. Historian. Fan.
- Written byDarren Elms
“About 275, give or take a dozen.” That’s how many films writer, editor and critic Pete Hammond views in the theater each year. “I am a big believer in seeing things on the big screen, and I think that’s important as a critic.” A vast collection of DVD and Blu-rays, mostly of older titles—and some unopened—fills every surface of shelf space in his Manhattan Beach hill section home. “I am obsessed with collecting every conceivable vintage movie I would ever want to see again or for the first time,” he shares. “It’s quite a collection I am amassing, and the hard part is trying to find room for everything.”
As a columnist and editor at the influential entertainment industry website Deadline Hollywood, Pete writes about the Oscars, a favorite topic he also had the pleasure of covering in a special print and online column, The Envelope, for the LA Times. His resume is long and varied, having worked as a writer and producer on shows like Entertainment Tonight and The Arsenio Hall Show, and later as a critic at Maxim, Boxoffice and Backstage magazines. Since meeting Leonard Maltin in 1982, he has also contributed to his popular annual Movie Guide. And while he still loves the feel of print with his daily Variety and newspaper, Pete can’t resist the up-to-the-minute joys of the internet. “I love the immediacy of it and the immediate feedback I get to everything I write,” he says. “It’s pretty amazing.”
One of the career perks that brings Pete the most satisfaction is being his own boss. “I do answer to my editors like Nikki Finke, but I am largely left alone to do my thing. And I am now doing what I always wanted to do,” he says. “I have the ability to be an influential voice in the entertainment business, because people read me, or at least they say they do. It brings a certain responsibility but also a kind of high from writing that you don’t get anywhere else.”