Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Funniest Movie Reviewers on the Web

It's the end of the era: Rogert Ebert has retired from At the Movies and in September, the show relaunched without him (or Richard Roeper, but who cares about that a-hole). While you can still enjoy Ebert as a columnist, and you can go to Rotten Tomatoes to figure out what critics all over the country collectively recommend, I watched At The Movies for the entertaining fights as much as for their recommendations.

So who is going to fill the void of critic as entertainer? Here's my list of the five funniest movie reviewers on the internet.

Best in Print

Hometown, San Francisco, CA
Have you ever seen a movie trailer and pretty much got the gist of the entire movie? That's what this site is about. It's like reading a book report of a third grader who hasn't discovered Cliffs Notes. For instance, here is one complete review: "The Forbidden Kingdom is a kung-fu movie starring the two biggest kung-fu stars of the last 30 years: Jackie Chan and Jet Li. It is about how some people got the opportunity to make a kung-fu movie starring the two biggest kung-fu stars of the last 30 years, and said “Hey you know who should be the star? This guy!” If, like the reviewers at this site, you never plan to see "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." or Transsiberian, it might be worth a visit. Unfortunately, it's primary contributor just committed suicide after actually paying money to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Hometown: NYC, NY
Todd Rosenberg is best known for his Flash cartoon series "Laid Off" about his adventures after the dot-com bubble burst, but he's also a pretty funny writer. Every weekend he posts a review of the movie, rating it on a scale of zero to five cookies. He will usually start his reviews with a description of the snacks he snuck into the theater that night (wasabi peas and Twizzlers) and sometimes the review ends up being more about a general review of the night--how the line was too long or about crazy people bringing babies to the midnight show of The Dark Knight. But my favorite "reviews" are when he doesn't review the movie at all, as with The Incredible Hulk or I Am Legend, which are better enjoyed after you see the movie.

Best in Video

Hometown: LA, CA
The closest thing to old-school Siskel & Ebert-type banter are the debates between octogenarian Hollywood insiders Marcia Nasatir and Lorenzo Semple Jr. talking about the movies enjoyed by today's youth. Here's their introduction and review of Superbad.

Most of the time, as you might expect, they talk about how they had to trudge to the Paramount lot in the snow, uphill, both ways. Marcia is offended by crass language, violence, and perceived sexism but she is hip to the actors of today. Lorenzo is more apologetic toward recent films but is a huge name dropper--of course someone who has half a century in the biz deserves to. They usually agree on movies they hate (Sex in the City and Iron Man) or like (Pineapple Express and Juno). When they don't agree on a movie, as is the case of the Superbad review, they bicker like a married couple. While I often disagree with their reviews, they are refreshingly immune to hype. If you are entertained by your grandparents arguing at Thanksgiving, or are a grandparent yourself, Reel Geezers are for you.

2. That Guy With The Glasses
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Doug Darien Walker used to be one of the most popular comedians on YouTube. This twentysomething was posting "5-Second Movies" which summarized the plot of popular films (like Rocky). However, one of the studios thought this was a copyright violation and forced YouTube to pull Walker's accounts. Walker, however, quit his job and established his own website,, where he regularly reviews both old eighties and nineties films and cartoons under the persona of The Nostalgia Critic, as well as more recent films as Chester A. Bum.

Chester is not much of a critic in that he has only one level of rating which is "Oh My God, this is the greatest movie I've ever seen in my life!" He then proceeds to act out the entire movie and wonders if the ludicrous plot was all just a drug-induced hallucination. Here's his review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

More consistently funny are Walker's reviews as The Nostalgia Critic, which are over-the-top rants on the films and cartoons of his youth--it's like VH1's I Love the Eighties and Mystery Science Theater 3000. The Critic can best be described as a walking cartoon, as a human Daffy Duck. His tirades aren't dirty minded, but Marcia might find his language salty. The worse the movie, the funnier his reviews, which are mostly of cartoons or movies based on cartoons, such as the He-Man movie, Masters of the Universe:

Unfortunately, most movie critics review recent films, which Walker will do occasionally as The Critic but when he does, the results are hilarious (Pokemon and Cloverfield). If his Nostalgia persona ever reviewed more recent films, he could easily have a spot on a show like Best Week Ever.

1. The Spill Crew
Hometown: Austin, TX
I just found these guys today, but there is no doubt in my mind that they are the funniest movie reviewers on the internet--they just happen to be animated. Korey Coleman had a cable access show in Austin called The Reel Deal for ten years before he made a deal with marketing company MIVA to take his show online at His co-hosts took the pseudonyms of Cyrus, Leon, Carlyle and Co-Host 3000 so as to keep ownership of their names and likenesses, but Korey stayed Korey. They express real opinions about the films (Their motto is "If it's crap, we'll tell you") while being absolutely hilarious--it's like your favorite morning DJs mashed up with Family Guy. Again, Marcia would probably find some of their jokes and visuals offensive, but I was laughing out loud at this review of Nights in Rodanthe.

1 comment:

CKL said...

Here's another one: the Scene Unseen Podcast. Their tagline is "One of us sees the film... one of us doesn't." Of course, not having seen a movie doesn't stop the latter reviewer from either savaging or praising it to extremes. Great fun for film geeks.

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