From TBO, by Walt Belcher
– When film critic Jay Forry gives a movie a thumbs up, he jokes that “it’s so good blind people will like it.”
Thumbs down means he’s glad that he couldn’t see it.
Forry, who has reviewed hundreds of films that he hasn’t seen, is the nation’s only blind movie critic.
Often featured on radio stations throughout the country, the Tampa native also posts his critiques on his web site .
Forry, who lost his eyesight to diabetes when he was 28, has been a movie critic since the 1990s. But there’s renewed interest in his novel abilities and he’s been invited to be a guest on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Tuesday night.
“This is exciting for me to get on his show and talk about what I do,” said Forry, who added that he got the invite thanks to a short video profile posted online in March.
The promotional film, “Using Your Hearing,” is just more than a minute long and is actually a demonstration video for a Hollywood production company Snapsound.
It shows Forry and his wife, Dorothy, in an empty movie theater as he explains in a voiceover how important sound is in films. Several other websites have picked up the video. Forry said Kimmel must have seen it.
“I’ve been reviewing movies for a long time but this little promotional film is getting a lot of attention,” Forry said.
Forry’s radio reviews are carried on more than 50 stations and are syndicated in the United Kingdom. He was regularly featured on WLFZ (93.3 FM) in Tampa for 11 years but only occasionally is heard there now.
He says Kimmel’s producers have contacted him and discussed topics that might be brought up during the segment.
A spokesperson for the show confirmed Forry’s scheduled appearance and added that Kyra Sedgwick of “The Closer” also will be on the program. It airs at midnight on ABC (WFTS, Channel 28).
Forry is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Monday. He screened the new “Harry Potter” film on Wednesday night and a comedy “Friends With Benefits” on Thursday night.
He says the final Potter film is one of the best. “It is intense, emotional and has a nice amount of action,” he says. “It was also very dark, but, of course, they are all dark to me.”
Known for joking about his blindness and making wisecracks about the movies he doesn’t like, Forry said you don’t have to see a film to enjoy a good story.
“I may not be able to hear things better than other people in a film,” he said. “But I do pick out particular sounds and intriguing dialogue when other people may be watching the action scenes, gorgeous women or special effects.”
Forry previews movies with the assistance of a narrator (usually his wife) who accompanies him to the theater to describe the action on screen. “I do a lot of research on each film before attending a screening,” he says. “I know the actors, the plot, the setting – I’m prepared because I don’t want to go in blind,” he joked.
Dorothy Forry said she does not have to explain much because her husband knows the film. “I just personally don’t like horror and silly sex comedies like ‘The Hangover,’ ” she said.
“I know what she means,” joked Forry. “The dialogue on some makes me wish I was deaf, too.”
When he lost his eyesight, he gave up his job as a construction foreman and returned to community college where he wrote his first movie reviews for the school paper “as a joke.” He later graduated from the University of South Florida.
He said he liked going to the movies so much that he decided to make it a career.