When the Review is Better than the Movie

YouTube has endless entertainment open to everyone for free. Hours upon hours have been spent by yours truly on the site consuming any comedy, documentary, tragedy, autobiography, animation, parody, and commentary that looked interesting on my recommended feed. But one genre I adore with all my heart is the one I’m participating in myself: reviews.

I love to hear what others think of a movie or show I had recently seen, good or bad. Do they hate it or love it too? What are they praising and criticizing? Do they have particular insights that I hadn’t considered? Did they catch easter eggs that I was oblivious to?

But what I adore almost as much as the interesting reviews are the ones where I just know they are going to tear up certain godawful garbage movies or shows. And I am all the way here for it. They are laugh-out-loud worthy and their re-watchability for certain is staggering! I find myself frequently returning to hour-long commentaries about the Fifty Shades trilogy, 13 Reasons Why, Netflix’s Death Note, The Crimes of Grindlewald, or even the last season of Game of Thrones. It is a feast for the ears and eyes, to see these reviewers pick apart such properties scene by scene or character by character and explain, with a healthy dose of sarcasm, how the storytellers done fucked up.

I have probably seen twenty Fifty Shades video essays in constant rotation over the last five years. And despite the franchise itself having overstayed its welcome and nobody really talking about E.L. James or “fifty shades of fucked up” anymore, I’m still invested in The Film Theorists’ video on how Christian Grey is akin to a religious cult leader – simply because it is so well done.

And that is probably the biggest reason I adore exceptionally long video essays on terrible shows and movies. These channels might be on an incredibly tight budget, don’t have the ability to hire external researchers or editors (aside from The Film Theorists). However, such restrictions only highlight the unparalleled care that these creators have invested. You can plainly see the hours upon hours of watching, researching, writing, filming, editing, etc. that go into the making of a single review like that. Not to mention the hilarity they infuse into each of their projects.

The best thing about these videos is that underneath the snark and scoff, they are still trying to convey a coherent, constructive criticism of each property – a method of engaging with stories that sets these channels apart form purely nitpicking ones such as CinemaSins.

I could not bring myself to re-watch The Crimes of Grindlewald, not in a million years. But will I put on ‘Terrence the Douchebag from Ravenclaw’ loosing his shit over the ridiculous cringefest that was the film’s final reveal? Yes, and yes again in a few months.


In case I’ve tickled your curiosity bone, the following are a few recommendations for you of my favorite movie review/commentary channels:

Julia Cudney, who reviews movies and shows that have shaped the entertainment landscape during the the last two decades. High School Musical, Mean Girls, Bring It On, and a whole arsenal of Netflix shows are just a few of her review topics. She is eloquent and witty and her reviews/video essays always add a new dimension to the discussion. Plus, she’s not afraid to admit she enjoys watching certain ‘trashy’ movies and that is the kind of refreshing honesty that I want from my YouTubers.

Double Toasted, a podcast of two guys, sometimes with their friends as guests, who have been in the review business for ages. They are hilarious, loud, and sometimes downright crazy. But there is no denying that they are absolute experts when it comes to making reviews entertaining and different every time.

Dominic Noble, a British critic specializing largely on book-to-film adaptations. His series ‘Lost in Adaptation’ is great, detailed and very well executed. More recently he has also included a few skits in his videos where he dresses up in ridiculous character costumes. Strong wig-game.

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Hello Future Me, which is a channel from New Zealand largely focused on helping storytellers with their worldbuilding and writing. Tim, the channel’s creator, has some incredibly detailed explorations of Avatar – the Last Airbender among his vast array of videos.

Trin Lovell, more a reaction than a review channel but Trin is really entertaining – her horror movie reactions have me cry-laughing every time, and has an extensive pop culture knowledge for things that were part of my teenage experience, which I find surprising considering she is a teen now.

Happy watching!




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