"I like the movie fine so far."
"It hasn't started yet."
"That's what I like about it!"funny, and the Caustic Critic is first and foremost out to entertain an audience. That said, the Caustic Critic is almost always rather divisive, especially when he takes on a generally well-liked game / show / movie / album / book / manga / anime / webcomic / webcartoon / fanfic / platypus. Most Caustic Critics belong to one of three types of reviewers: those who thrive on Bile Fascination and give only negative reviews, those who review both good or bad recent works but consider merciless panning the only honest way to criticize the bad ones, and those who don't really care about honestly reviewing anything (without necessarily only panning, either) and are doing the whole thing for Rule of Funny alone. They need not necessarily be reviewers; they might be essayists discussing trends, but the spirit is the same. Also note that some (perhaps even many) of the below examples do have human moments where they admit some of the things they review aren't all that terrible. Some may even have special segments dedicated to positive commentary. And some genuine Constructive Criticism can be given. Moments where the snark is dropped to point out something legitimately, unacceptably bad or offensive hit all the harder, and moments when genuine praise is meted out are all the more precious for their rarity. On the opposite end, some might go into Comical Overreacting. Alternately, as the above quote implies, a usually constructive critic is tempted to bring out the sarcasm guns by a unusually bad work or product. Compare Sturgeon's Law, which might either be the cause or the result of these critics (or both). See also Straw Critic and Accentuate the Negative. The Mean Brit is a Caustic Critic who gives immediate feedback in a competition setting, even if you're ten years old and your eyes shine with hope. If the critic says that they're accentuating the negative out of tough love to help their victim improve, that's a Compassionate Critic. They still can seem just as mean, but at least they (supposedly) have their target's best interests at heart. In-Universe, Caustic Critics are frequently portrayed as jaded washouts dumping their Sour Grapes onto younger versions of themselves, individuals with extreme Opinion Myopia who have declared themselves the ultimate judge of quality in a particular field, and/or attention whores mostly interested in drawing an audience by wiping their feet on the coattails of anything moderately popular. This can occasionally be Truth in Television. Lets just leave it at that. Contrast Constructive Criticism, which actually aims to be useful to a creator rather than entertaining to an audience. Unfortunately, many people confuse one for the other, due to the popularity of the Caustic Critic trope. When their targets decide to repay them in kind, you get the case of Take That, Critics!. Not to be confused with Complaining About Shows You Don't Like.
open/close all foldersReal Life Examples
- Jamie Kennedy's documentary Heckler takes aim at caustic critics, equating them with annoying hecklers at a comedy show. He confronts a few internet critics who wrote particularly vitriolic critiques of his films and demands to know why they needed to be so mean.
- German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno is probably the patron saint of the caustic critics of popular culture. He is slaughtering popular culture as a whole in one of his most notorious essays.
- Ellsworth Toohey of The Fountainhead. Ayn Rand was one herself, which becomes obvious if you've ever read her denouncing anyone who didn't think like her in her essays.
- Dorothy Parker made her living as a literary and theatre critic, as well as writing several books of poetry and short stories. Famous for her acerbic wit, she's one of the most quoted writers in US literature. She's also known as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, the most prominent New York literary circle prior to World War II.
"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be hurled with great force."
"It is at that word 'hunny', my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader fwowed up."
(on Katharine Hepburn) "She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B"
"There must be criticism, for humor, to my mind, is encapsulated in criticism."
- One classic literary examples is Mark Twain's "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences", ripping into a then-popular series of adventure novels:
"Wasn't it remarkable! How could he see that little pellet fly through the air and enter that distant bullet-hole? Yet that is what he did; for nothing is impossible to a Cooper person. Did any of those people have any deep-seated doubts about this thing? No; for that would imply sanity, and these were all Cooper people."
- When not writing himself, Edgar Allan Poe was a well-known literary critic that tore apart everything, to the extent that he was known as "The Executioner". Such was his reputation that when other authors, as critics, reviewed Poe's work when he was active, they gave him retaliatory negative reviews, diminishing Poe's chances at lifetime success as an author.
- Theatre critic George Jean Nathan unabashedly described himself as a destructive critic. Early in his career, he went so far as to review several plays as Satan judging whether they were fit for inclusion in Hell, remarking on one musical that Even Evil Has Standards. When he was caricatured with other reviewers in a revue sketch several decades later, he disapproved of it as being much too gentle.
- Leo Tolstoy, like Poe, is more famous for his own fiction, but he also mounted some scathing assaults on Der Ring des Nibelungen and King Lear.
- Discussed in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love. See the quotes page for details.
- Nicolas Slominsky, who is almost as famed for his sly sense of humor as his considerable contributions to musicology, compiled an entire book of bad reviews: A Lexicon of Musical Invective. It is absolutely hilarious, especially if you have even a cursory knowledge of the music in question.
- In the 1980's and 1990's, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had Joe Pollack, who seemed to hate nearly every film that was released and came off as a bitter old man most of the time. He would especially pick apart films on small details (for example, he trashed Reservoir Dogs and Total Recall (1990) because of their violence and nothing else) and hate for the sake of hating.
- The now-defunct horror 'zine Gore Gazette was this towards just about everything, to the point where the reviews were less reviews and more attacks towards people they didn't like (victims included Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Stephen King and Roger Ebert). They also hated anything that wasn't a low-quality Z-grade gorefest and trashed Hollywood fare for being crowd-pleasing blockbuster fare, making them an early form of the hipster in a way (despite all of the racist comments they made in their reviews).
- Ambrose Bierce was one, his most famous example being a review that consisted of only one sentence:
The covers of this book are too far apart.
- The late German Cool Old Guy Marcel Reich-Ranicki was called Literaturpapst (pope of literature) in Germany and made himself a name for his television reviews as a Cultured Badass Large Ham. And boy howdy, he was a master of Accentuating The Negative, especially when he already was well beyond 80 years old.
- Kenneth Tynan had this reputation in British theater circles through the '50s and '60s. Many felt that his reviews could make or break a play, and he didn't hold back in excoriating works he didn't like.
- S.T. Joshi is known largely as biographer and editor of H.P. Lovecraft, as well as firm believer that, with a few exceptions, the horror/weird fiction field has been a steady drop downhill since the Gentleman of Providence. His vitriolic responses to Lovecraft critics such as Daniel Jose Older and Charles Baxter are proudly displayed on his blog. He did not take the World Fantasy Convention's retiring of its Gahan Wilson-designed Lovecraft image for its major award well, mailing back his own and promising to boycott the convention from now on, even calling the decision "fascist."
- Deconstructed in Richard Wolkomir's autobiographical story "The Best Criticism I Ever Received" published in an 1986 Reader's Digest issue. Wolkomir, as a young man, thought that imitating the Caustic Critic style of his school newspaper editor was the best way to write his own reviews and completely savaged a theater production in spite of recognizing that the actors were sincerely doing the best they could with their limited experience and budget. He felt smugly proud about how creative his insults in the review had been, until the manager of that theater production told him bluntly, "You hurt a lot of people." This incident motivated him to avert this trope in his later professional reviews by being more constructive and positive in them.
Live Action TV
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the Trope Codifier as far as application of this trope to film and other entertainment media goes. The premise is that the evil Dr. Forrester has forced a hapless man to watch all manner of bad old movies in order to find a film so bad it will drive people insane and let him Take Over the World. Said man (Joel Robinson, then later Mike Nelson) stays sane by making fun of the movies with some robot friends.
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: The show looks at people like mediums, the war on porn, anti video game crusaders, people who are hoaxes scammers and liars, PETA and the like and viciously tear down and tear apart those they think are frauds, extremists and dangerous. The more sensitive and important the issue is to them, the more personal they get in the name of entertainment: certain issues such as chiropractic surgery on children makes Penn legitimately upset and calmly states how wrong it is.
- Room 101 does this for everything people bring in and complain in a lot of detail how said thing annoys them.
- Top Gear does this, particularly the modern incarnation and to older cars. Jeremy Clarkson has related a story about car manufacturers getting angry and retaliating by threatening to "take all our advertising off The BBC". The BBC doesn't have any advertising. For example, Jeremy Clarkson (and presumably the rest of the Top Gear team) passionately hates the Toyota Prius and went out of his way to prove how absolutely terrible the car was in every way (including the obvious, but even fuel efficiency).
- Adam Sessler of X-Play
- "I'd rather french kiss my grandma than play this game."
- Charlie Brooker, of TV Go Home, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe and "guy who inspired Zero Punctuation" fame.
- Private Eye's "Literary Review" (by "Bookworm") and "Eye TV" (by "Remote Controller"). On one occasion when Bookworm quite liked a book, the letters page was filled with complaints that this wasn't like him at all.
- Lucius Shepard, who writes film reviews in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Blockbusters are analyzed as representing problems with American culture.
- The 1920s humor magazine Judge shows us that caustic critics were nothing new. In Don Herold's "A Criticism of the Theatrical Criticism in this Morning’s Paper", he wonders (with tongue firmly in cheek), "When shall we have dramatic critics who will condemn ninety-five plays out of 100? (It makes little difference which ninety-five. They all need it.)"
- Stuart Campbell built up a reputation for scathing game reviews in Amiga Power. He gave a 4% score to European Champions in a partial-page review, a 2% score to International Rugby Challenge in a three-page review, and, in the magazine's final issue, a 1% score to Kick Off '96 in a four-page review where he argued before a Kangaroo Court that games like this, not reviewers, were responsible for the death of the Amiga.
- Robert Christgau is a music critic reknowned for often harsh and controversial reviews. He freely admits that there are some entire genres that he is not partial to. Sonic Youth wrote a song about him entitle, "I Killed Christgau With My Big Fucking Dick" after he labelled their music, pigfucker music. Also Lou Reed ranted about him on a live album.
- Italian neuroscientist and spare-time cultural critic Piero Scaruffi is well-regarded for his insanely comprehensive ''knowledge base'', that features biographies for 8,000 bands and artists, and that's just the musicial department. His most (in)famous biography is this essay on The Beatles in which he calls them out as "overrated", much to the displeasure of the Beatles' fans. He even compares the fandom to religious fundamentalists.
- The essay starts with the now iconic claim: "The fact that so many books still name the Beatles "the greatest or most significant or most influential" rock band ever only tells you how far rock music still is from becoming a serious art." Any more questions?
- Besides being viewed as an eccentric composer, Hector Berlioz was infamous for being this trope. His reviews have been said to be unnecessarily abrasive and often outrageous.
- Lesser-known critic George Starostin has some real brilliant moments of caustic reviewing. His best moments are his reviews of Uriah Heep (on the first site) and 10cc (on the second).
(on 10cc's "Ten out of 10") "It's just a bunch of mid-tempo, mid-volume, mid-relevance, mid-everything mid-pop songs written by two mid-aged gentlemen that seem to be but mid-knowing what they're mid-doing."
- Bob Lefsetz, known for his nonsensically elaborate analogies and love of the caps lock button. Taylor Swifts's song "Mean" was probably directed at him.
- Jess Gulbranson's work at Crappy Indie Music: The Blog, now in online coffee table book format! Taking ownership of the blog seems to have softened him somewhat towards the indie bands themselves, with the vitriol being reserved for PR companies and David Bowie's most recent graphic designer.
- Rex Reed spent the entirety of his The Master review personally attacking several modern directors and actors and declaring new films as utter tripe. In fact, most of his negative reviews contain personal attacks on the actors and directors. He's also had a habit of hating foreign films based on cuisine alone (saying Spirited Away and The Host were garbage, as expected of countries that make sushi and kimchi, the horror), and said Koreans were too ignorant to make good movies. In 2013, he had another firestorm of controversy as he bashed Melissa McCarthy's performance on Identity Thief (and the film as a whole) for being fat.
- Even Roger Ebert has been in on the act; he said that in many cases it's more fun to write a review of a bad movie than it is to write a review of a good one (a sentiment voiced by several other critics). Many of his most negative reviews have been collected in his books, I Hated, Hated, Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, Your Movie Sucks, and A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length.
- Pauline Kael, longtime critic for The New Yorker. In the '60s and '70s she originated the tradition of intellectuals reviewing summer blockbusters, a medium possibly not best suited to her interests.
- The resulting reviews of these were often engaging, with Kael finding odd subtexts here and there. She even wrote an entire book, titled "Why Are Movies So Bad?", which took potshots at popular films. Her opprobrium wasn't limited to blockbusters, as she also consistently panned the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Federico Fellini — basically anyone who made what she considered "shallow" masterpieces. Understandably, Kael was particularly loathed because her criticisms often seemed more personal than artistic.
- Critics of her criticism include David Lean, who commented that Kael (who'd panned his recent Ryan's Daughter) wouldn't be content until he was making black-and-white films in 16 mm. Lean didn't direct a film for 14 years afterwards. Charlotte Rampling was also deeply offended by Kael's comments on her performance in The Night Porter, which labels her a talentless slut. Rampling was offended enough that she seriously considered quitting acting; she spotlighted Kael's review in a documentary made decades later. Kael also nursed feuds with fellow critics, notably Andrew Sarris, with whom she clashed over The Auteur Theory.
- Kael could be equally over-the-top when she loved a film. She penned a notorious review of Last Tango in Paris which compared it to Stravinksy's The Rite of Spring as a cultural game-changer. Though most critics still hold Last Tango in high regard, it's better remembered for its sexual content among general audiences. Similarly, she wrote a gushing review of the now-obscure The Last American Hero, upholding it as one of the '70s greatest films. Even The Killer Elite, generally considered among Sam Peckinpah's worst movies, inspired a several thousand word essay espousing its greatness. More than one critic accused Kael of hypocrisy for attacking the auteur theory while reflexively promoting directors (Peckinpah, Robert Altman and Brian De Palma, in particular) whom she liked.
- Kael was also universally pilloried for trashing the Holocaust documentary Shoah, a piece her editors at the New Yorker were extremely reluctant to publish. Kael attacked Shoah as overlong (it runs 550 minutes — a bit over nine hours, more like a miniseries — in its uncut version), morally simplistic and shamelessly sentimentalized, a criticism many found baffling considering the movie consists almost entirely of eyewitness testimony.
- Far and away her biggest blunder was her assertion that Orson Welles did not write the screenplay of Citizen Kane and that he was a nitwit who rode the coattails of a true man of genius, Hermann Mankiewicz. Her attack on Welles and Kane was largely ideological since she opposed the auteur theorynote . The problem is that she Did Not Do the Bloody Research, several people who worked on Kane were alive at the time and Kael interviewed none of them note It didn't help, either, that Kael stole most of her research from UCLA professor Howard Suber without attribution. This attack and Welles' low reputation at the time made it harder for him to get finance for his films and it also hurt him personally that he considered suing her for libel. It has also been conclusively disproven by investigation in RKO Pictures archives which show virtually every draft of Kane had Welles' input and the credits (to Mankiewicz and Welles) are accurate. Welles, who nearly sued her for libel, joked that "one hasn't lived until one has been panned by Pauline".
- George Lucas included a villain named "General Kael" in Willow as a reference to his consistently negative reviews from Kael. Similarly, Clint Eastwood made an obnoxious female critic one of the murder victims in The Dead Pool, in response to her branding the Dirty Harry movies fascist, and her frequently insulting comments about Eastwood.
- Kael herself was subject to a long hit piece by rival critic Renata Adler in The New York Review of Books, which labeled her a mean, talentless sensationalist. Adler's criticism might have carried more weight if her article didn't have the same tone. Kael refused to comment on Adler's article, emerging relatively unscathed.
- John Simon is one of the longest-working New York critics today, a fact he attributes to his take-no-prisoners nature. Scratch that; he freely admits he's no more negative than most reviewers, he just comes up with better quips — usually involving the actor's physical appearance (Carol Burnett, Liza Minelli, Wallace Shawn). In this respect, Barbra Streisand has been the perennial dragon to Simon's Don Quixote. Even other critics seemed to dislike him, and Simon has boasted of doors being slammed in his face. (“But who cares? It’s wonderful to be hated by idiots.”)
- Michael Riedel, aka the Enfant Terrible of the New York Post. A cross between Tim Gunn and Karl Rove, he mostly writes gossip pieces about Troubled Productions and makes no bones about his search for "juicy" column fodder. He made waves for his one-man crusade against Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (which he spent two years pillorying, but ended up being a smash nonetheless). Unsurprisingly, Reidel's mentor is John Simon. He also co-hosts a public access show, Theater Talk, where he and a co-host interview actors and producers. In the off-season, Reidel devotes a few episodes to chatting with critics from other New York magazines, creating an Event Horizon of snark.
- Armond White of the New York Press is the anti-Kael (e.g conservative hack as opposed to liberal blowhard), though he considers her a role model. He is notable for comparing every film to some black & white production from the distant past — specifically, his past, spent watching old movies with his father at the local cinema. Suffice to say, he has a long memory, so watch out. He is also known to go against the prevailing critical views for most films, such as giving Toy Story 3 a negative review and Jack and Jill a positive one. Rotten Tomatoes no longer features him among its reference pool — officially, because the New York Press didn't renew a license with Rotten Tomatoes, but most people say that it's because he gives contrarian reviews to whatever was highest rated on the site.
- The Onion parodies this with the article "Awful Man Offers Witty, Acerbic Take On Everything He Sees", portraying the said critic as a jerkass killjoy who claims to get away with everything he says just out of how funny he does it.
- The New Yorker's film review section, particularly Anthony Lane's reviews. Like this one.
- Will Self compared Love Actually, a fluffy Richard Curtis Christmas romcom, to Triumph of the Will, based on the "emotional manipulation" of mentioning September 11th in the opening narration.
- New York Times food critic Pete Wells is normally actually quite reasonable, but this memetically caustic review of Guy Fieri's restaurant in Times Square will cement him a reputation for being venomous (when warranted).
- Bryan Alvarez from Wrestling Observer Radio/F4W can best be described as tough but fair. Though when he sees something stupid he lashes out at it like a shark smelling blood.
- Chris Hyatte from Scoops Wrestling and the early days of 411 Mania was a mixture of this and a rare example of a malicious Cloudcuckoolander. From placing a bounty on the daughters of Tony Schiavone's Daughter to turning the Villanos into an infamous crime family Hyatte's columns were a mixture of Non Sequitur and Refuge in Audacity. Sadly the end of Scoops and his falling out with several websites, have made his body of work hard to find.
- Bill & Doug (RVDTito4Life) and Kent Jones, who claimed to be the first YouTube "shooter", which is a misnomer since he's not in the professional wrestling business. Bill & Doug, meanwhile, actually became shooters when they were hired by TNA to host their online show, TNA Addicts.
- Noah Antwiler from The Spoony Experiment, his short-lived spin-off Wrestle! Wrestle!, and a sister series It Came From Beyond Midnight (in which he played a fictitious cardigan-wearing critic, Leslie Styker).
- Jim Cornette. The emotion of "vague or minor but tolerable dislike" does not seem to exist for this man.
- The World Famous Flea Market. If you're a decent wrestler to good wrestler, it won't save you from being cut down anyway but they will acknowledge your strengths and skills, because the main focus of the show is people they think have neither. They're affiliated with Bad Wrestlers Exposed and You Are Not Getting Booked, in case you wanted more criticism.
- Mark Kermode of The BBC has a (deserved) reputation for this (especially regarding Pirates of the Caribbean) including some suggestions that everyone involved with the film hang their heads in shame, that a film be buried in an underground bunker filled with toxic waste, and that a film was akin to the experience of smashing one's head into a glass door elongated to ninety minutes. See also his rants, er, opinion of all Transformers films, Sex And The City 2, Angels & Demons, etc.
- In 1964, Israeli critic Khayim Gamzu wrote a review about a play named Sammy Will Die At Six O’Clock. The play was praised and glorified by pretty much every critic, except Gamzu, whose entire review was, ‘As far as I’m concerned, he could have died at five o’clock.’ This review was a huge surprise to many, and Efraim Kishon coined the word ligmoznote , meaning ‘to criticise brutally’.
- Movie Rehab: Played straight in earlier episodes, but got parodied in his Meet Dave and Religion Inc review. Up to that point, he became more calm and layed down.
- Gregg Easterbrook, who is not a film reviewer, but a loquacious ESPN commentator who sometimes slags off movies. (The man makes Dennis Miller sound like Larry The Cable Guy.) He made headlines when he accused "Jewish movie executives" of somehow promoting Neo-Nazism by distributing Kill Bill. Since then, GQ/Deadspin writer Drew Magary has made it a personal mission to haunt Easterbrook in his own column, titled Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit.
Gregg: But how many times in the real world has a single small object controlled the fates of millions?
Drew: Never! Totally ruined the movies for me. And to think, I cared about this magic “ring” when no such magic rings occur in nature! And that spaceship in Close Encounters! How many times have YOU seen a spaceship in real life? Laughable.
- The column was retired in 2015 after Easterbrook was fired from ESPN. Like Dracula, he is sure to rise again.
"WHOA! No more haikus? No more cognomen? No more lectures about going to church? I’ve been goofing Gregg Easterbrook for so long that I feel a tremendous sense of … Nope. Nope, I don’t feel anything."
- The column was retired in 2015 after Easterbrook was fired from ESPN. Like Dracula, he is sure to rise again.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd reviews old console (primarily NES) games in this fashion, critiquing such things as poor (for the time) sound and graphics, badly thought out gameplay and tremendous difficulty. Many of his reviews culminate in profane rants and him physically assaulting the game cartridge.
- Cinema Bums features Statler and Waldorf in a meta-example, providing caustic criticism to caustic critics in this comic.
- Maddox of The Best Page in the Universe in his heyday, thrashing the second and third Matrix films
- Being a collection of caustic critics is the stated mission of Pajiba. Their tagline is "Scathing Reviews. Bitchy People."
- Professor Otaku of the DesuDesBrigade, with anime.
- In the same fashion: Klaus Von Hohenloe, anime and game reviewer… who literally despairs when he has nothing to complain about. Nor does he know what he should rate a good anime with.
- Jontron, as of late. Though in his earlier days he was rather non-caustic, with rare examples. Jontron's videos that aren't video game reviews are not so full of complaints, though!
- Mr. Cranky. Rather than scale his ratings with stars, where more is better, he uses a scale of 1-4 bombs where more is worse (with a bundle of dynamite and then a mushroom cloud when needed in extreme cases). One bomb, stands for "Almost tolerable", and it just gets worse from there.
- Although they are not official critics, some gamers readily give games a complete 0/10 on Meta Critic, despite not having actually played the game in question. Some have even been known to downrate games on principle, because of a vendetta against a certain publisher or company, or because of popular opinion. Since there are very few games that deserve an absolute zero, and Metacritic users generally don't vote between 1 and 10, the "User Score" is generally not the most reliable barometer of game quality.
- Before that, Lemon 64 had similar users. They ended up getting categorized under 1 term (downvoters). The behavior has only increased since they organised a list of the "top 100 best Commodore games", which has made some users give the competition a 1 out of 10 (the absolute minimal score that a game can have) to make their favorite game look better. As you can imagine the situation quickly escalated and since then lemon attempts to prevent those type of users from using their sites.
- The Filthy Critic, who applies his withering criticism and wanton misanthropy not only to movie reviews but episodes from his (mostly fictionalized) daily life as well. Well-known for his obsessions with porn, beer, and at times disturbingly graphic metaphors, perhaps used most eloquently in his Jeepers Creepers review.
- The Necro Critic. He reviews both bad movies AND bad videogames. And, as of recently, is even reviewing anime.
- Many of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Disaster Movie ended up like this.
- Screw These Comics was a site that did this for sprite comics, and had a group of characters review a given in dialogue. Eventually, the creator quit after realizing his own reviews had degenerated into the same kind of things that he criticized bad sprite comics for overusing. Where once the team would look at a comic's points legitimately while making fun of it, toward the end many reviews consisted solely of variations of the exchange:
Nes: Well, I think the comic is—
EvilNes: SHUT THE FUCK UP NES YOU STUPID FAG THIS COMIC SUCKS!
- Retsupurae is this for Let's Play.
- Seanbaby was one of the original online personalities to do this.
- Comixology's Tucker Stone, he is well educated and uses the full extent of his thinking power to utterly take apart mainstream comic books.
- Something Awful's reviews of movies and older videogames go here.
- Noah Antwiler, also known as The Spoony One, of The Spoony Experiment, who has given many movies, Video Games (including the later Final Fantasy series and some old FMV games) this treatment. He has reviewed Professional Wrestling in his spin-off series Wrestle Wrestle, as noted above
- Erik Olund, aka ShogunGin0, of Infamous Animation. He's not afraid to deliver punishing reviews of horrid Western Animation movies (such as Delgo and Titanic: The Legend Goes On).
- Television Without Pity
- The Sturgeon Awards. The blogger will review anything he hates. However, he has written a positive review of Genetos.
- The FireBlog gives text reviews of overrated TV shows, and is currently working on The Middle. It will also make fun of idiots on IMDb. Apparently, nobody is safe from the Fire Blogger.
- Youtuber Smudboy has gain a (in)famous reputation of being a virtually unpleasable snob. His channel focuses heavily on story analysis and is known for critiquing Bioware games, especially the Mass Effect series.
- That Guy with the Glasses has many such reviewers
- The Nostalgia Critic did this to old kids’ shows and movies till the show ended in 2012. With its subsequent reboot in 2013, he started to include more modern films as well. Also deconstructed, as his job has made him miserable, and he only did it so that people would like him.
- The Nostalgia Chick, the Critic’s Distaff Counterpart, though she's broken out of the Girl Show Ghetto and criticizes whatever she wants.
- The Cinema Snob.
- The Snob himself is the most direct comparison: He actually is modeled on snobbish film critics who refuse to adjust their standards, even when reviewing schlock. He has made frequent jibes at the hypocrisies of real-life critics, as well.
- In Midnight Screenings, Angry Jake is the most caustic of the bunch, since he has to review sloppily made kiddie flicks.
- Linkara, who reviews old comic books that suffer from poor writing, bad artwork, and various other problems. Though not unusually vitriolic for this trope (he's notably the only Channel Awesome member who doesn't use "hard" swear words in his videos), Linkara is somewhat more dedicated to it than others listed here, having repeatedly rejected fan requests to review good comic books stating that the whole point of his regular feature is to rant about the bad stuff.
- JesuOtaku, who normally reviews anime, can be seen as one both in and outside of his target medium. He is infamous in otaku circles for his outspoken and harsh opinions of moe culture. Other victims included such shows as RWBY, The Legend of Korra, and Young Justice, among several others. In fairness, most of these opinions were expressed through his Twitter account, but it has soured his relationship with Western Animation fans who had previously deemed him One of Us.
- The Distressed Watcher, a former contributor, is even more of a caustic critic than anybody on the website, covering trailers specifically. Also known as The Amazing Atheist, he has made a number of caustic videos on religion and politics on YouTube.
- Oancitizen, during his slow slip into a Heroic B.S.O.D. during his review of Melancholia, ended up discussing this trope, talking about how the internet is a great medium to hate things, and how you're almost expected to not enjoy anything without riffing the hell out of it.
- Bennett the Sage, who reviews anime from the 80s and 90s on Anime Abandon, savagely dissecting the bad and pointing out the flaws in the good. He also lampshades the negative reactions of fans when he professes his dislike of popular titles such as Perfect Blue or Grave of the Fireflies.
- PieGuyRulz very rarely gets really mad, but the last minute or so of his Awesomeness TV Rant must be seen to be believed.
I haven't gotten this angry in a really long time, guys.
I've never seen a show so disgusting, unappealing, ugly, not funny, weird, stupid, or SEIZURE INDUCING as this one. I'd rather go back to reviewing comic books than watch this show.
- His entire Problem Solverz Rant IS this.
- John Solomon of the now-defunct webcomic review blog, Your Webcomic Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad.
- Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation, with a heavy emphasis on "caustic", generally Played for Laughs. He has joked that his job is to ruin the retirement plans of game developers. He usually goes overboard on the negative things, even if they are minor, in his videos. His opinions are also in a state of flux, which is why he often revisits old reviews while talking about a similar game. Further, Yahtzee has stated that he only tends to focus on the negative because that's what his fans want. When he has done the rare positive review, his fans hated it. Therefore, he says to freely assume that anything he doesn't rip on about a game is well-executed and not worth complaining about.
"You don't call a sewer technician to redecorate your bathroom, and you don't come to me to hear about how a game is good."
- Troy from Blogger Beware reviews the Goosebumps books. He... doesn't like many of them. The blog started out as an affectionate nostalgia site, as evidenced by the first few, relatively sedate reviews, until Troy realized how bad most of the series is upon re-reading it as an adult. He was particularly infuriated by the Series 2000 books, which he didn't read as a child.
- Parodied in The Flash Tub's Furious Famicom Faggot.
- Parodied in this comic where the Ninja is being a harsh critic over a Valentine card saying there's no plot, feeling or charm and says he can do better, only to basically make a threat card rather than a Valentines card.
- RedLetterMedia's Mister Plinkett. He's also a deconstruction and a satire of the stereotypical wannabe- critic youtuber's usual online persona: what kind of person would be as devoted, nerdy and angry to actually write a 60 minutes long review of Star Wars Episode 1, carefully deconstructing all of its flaws? Answer: Not a nice one.
- Mike Smith went through the entire Harry Potter series, chapter by chapter, and gave detailed analysis as to why he thought they all stink (largely because of its padding to Door Stopper levels).
- The former WoW podcaster TotalBiscuit (aka TotalHalibut aka the Cynical Brit) loved the game back when he did postcasts, and still won't hesitate to rag on every perceived slip up, and outright tells anyone who doesn't like his reviews "there's the door". He thoroughly believes that reviews have to be critical to be effective.
- Although not formal critics, pretty much every user at the RPG Codex forum is this for any video game even nominally considered an RPG. Generally they consider most modern games, especially ones by Bethesda, to be "bland, banal, boring, shit" and refer to them as 'popamole' (whack-a-mole with guns, referring to the modern tendency of games to have enemies duck in and out of chest-high cover, often requiring the player to do the same). Bioware fans are welcome, though. No, really.
- In Fanfiction Dot Net, there are various fanfics that follow the initiative of The Nostalgia Critic. The Insane Critic and E350 are a special case because they review bad fanfics and they are the most known in their niche.
- Confused Matthew: He makes a point of targeting movies that were better reviewed and received than he thought they should be. He actually ends up playing devils advocate occasionally on movies that he feels got an excessive negative reaction. The common opinion he disagrees with is what has him confused.
- Wanna see someone try to be a caustic critic only to have the work he's harping on turn out to be be a classic game which he never actually played? Here ya go
- Mark of Mark Reads Twilight was this towards Twilight, but only because, in his opinion, it deserved it. He's noted himself that every other review of books he's made after that has been positive.
- SF Debris, although what he mainly seems to be caustic towards is poor writing and idiocy. When he reviews something that is actually good, Chuck tends to lapse into impassioned monologues about why the work is so good. Even in otherwise terrible works, he takes time aside to point out things that are done well.
- Busy Street represents a Meta example of this. Thrashing and picking apart other internet "Angry Reviewers".
- Film Tracks. When they don't give a positive review to an established composer, they will mercilessly trash a score by a newcomer, a score that features guitars and scores by Hans Zimmer and his company (though the third one is done by most film score circles). They also infamously trashed Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score to The Social Network and suggested that the soundtrack would make better use as a frisbee.
- The Bad Webcomics Wiki is an entire wiki based on this. Due to the fact that it has many people, not all of whom are qualified critics, and many new members seem to be under the impression that it's a troll site where they can flame at comics they dislike, the quality, accuracy and fairness of the reviews may vary, but it doesn't change the fact that a considerable percentage of the comics reviewed are simply bad, one way or another. It got to the point where John Solomon, of "These Webcomics are Bad and You Should Feel Bad", actually demanded that they remove quotes of his, as he felt that the "nasty critic" schtick was overdone.
- The Editing Room: nitpicks, attacks on all your favorite stars and directors, and mocking alternate character interpretations of the main characters galore.
- In Warning! Readers Advisory!, Derek the Bard is caustic towards terrible books (and sometimes terrible movies based on good books).
- Mr. Coat And Friends, although to a much lesser degree than similar sites.
- Reddit, Hacker News, and Slashdot are full of programmers who love to rip their least favorite programming languages, coding paradigms, etc.
- Despite his own opinion (he says he's mixed almost equally on negative and positive reviews) Youtube user Razorfist AKA "The Rageaholic" is an easy fit. In spite of the obvious similarities in fast-paced loquaciousness and Accentuating The Negative irrespective of his overall opinion, it's a little unwise to compare him to Yahtzee.
- They Made Me Watch This loves to tear into stuff his kids, and other people on the web, make him watch, particularly the kiddie Barbie films.
- Dan Schneider of Cosmoetica criticizes poetry, books, movies, other critics, and even his own readers. He primarily reviews materials that are considered "classic" and thus escape critical attention.
- The Fic Critic of Blogspot does this. Worth noting is his Cluster F-Bomb chain when Web of Shadows author Artemis Leige started character bashing Mary Jane Watson and the I Don't Want to Live on This Planet Anymore/Ten rating he gave Carolina and Penni.
- There are quite a few websites dedicated to bad movies; here are a just a select few:
- Mutant Reviewers from Hell
- Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension
- Ruthless Reviews
- The Bad Movie Report
- The Agony Booth, also throws in bad TV (such as Star Trek) in small doses. The site owner, Dr. Winston O'Boogie, is probably the most merciless of the critics, skewering Hollywood values in the Jabootu tradition. On the other side of the coin, you have Sofie Liv, who makes a concerted effort to find positives in anything.
- Spill.com occasionally falls into this category. Case in point...
- Le Joueur du Grenier (a.k.a.: The gamer from the Attic) brought the figure of the caustic critic to the French region (he's one himself, actually). He's openly inspired by the Angry Video Game Nerd.
- Sofie Liv of Movie Dorkness averts this most of the time, but is not above it, especially with Twilight.
- The Music Video Show is also this. The show is where one guy reviews one music video a week, points out the flaws in the video and, occasionally, the lyrics. In the end, he states whether or not he would watch it again.
- Bro Team Pill is very caustic with triple-A releases, and nonsensical with everything else. His The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review is a rap of the Obvious Beta state of the game, dumbed down mechanics, and short. The War Z review mocked the microtransactions in a paid-for game, broken mechanics, and so on - even calling it a scam in a frame
- Tasted's Noah Galuten and Ti, host and producer respectively of "Food Feeder", eat a lot of bad food and drink a lot of awful alcohol. When they actually eat something good, the viewers tend to complain the show is boring, sort of forcing the Caustic Critic thing on them. Ti herself gives movies the drunken Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment on sister channel Cinefix.
- mpn1990's now-defunct game review show Unlicensed Garbage, which parodied The Angry Video Game Nerd.
- Satirized by stanburdman's Angry Gamer persona.
- The Irate Gamer's reviews are peppered with emphasis of the flaws of the game.
- Third Rate Gamer, being a Stylistic Suck satire of The Irate Gamer, is a parody of these. He often nitpicks minor details that have little to do with the game.
- The Critique: he reviews bad My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics (although occasionally deviating to review something else, like the unproduced James Cameron script to Spider-Man). Even fics that are generally considered good are reviewed (although not as harshly as stories such as My Little Unicorn), and the series does contain a meta plot about Bad OCs coming to kill the reviewer.
- The Review Reviewer of Those Dudes With A Hat.
- Stuff You Like: Inverted. Ursa usually does reviews on stuff she likes. Usually.
- C.T. Phipps of The United Federation of Charles went out of his way to avert it but has since developed a reputation which plays it straight. When he really dislikes something, which is frequent, he comes across as Damned by Faint Praise with hefty doses of passive-aggressive snark.
- Shana Festa of the The Bookie Monster is famous across the web for being one of the few reviewers to avert this in horror review websites. In a field dominated by Caustic Critic types who love savaging works, she's developed a reputation as the Nice Girl and Team Mom.
- The We Hate Movies gang.
- An Iranian Lemon 64 user called Ali Pouladi became rather famous for being a person that made negative reviews. It should be noted that he also made positive reviews (even if he attracted controversy for the fact that he considered Zak McKraken and The Alien Mindbenders to be average) and even managed to interview a few people who worked on Commodore 64 games he liked, but as you can tell from his review index the majority of his reviews were negative.
- Brazilian website ZeroZen reviewed a bit of everything (film, music, games...) and badmouthed pretty much everything they ever reviewed. They even had a special section only for The '80s, which according to them, was "the worst decade ever". The page's still active, actually, but hasn't been updated since early 2012.
- Per Arne Sandvik from Encyclopedia Obscura (active between 2001 and 2004). It contains reviews of basically any kind of media - from obscure NES games to crappy tie-in toys - most of them negative and full of snark, though sometimes he comes across genuinely good or interesting things.
- Dark Lord Jadow 1 on Youtube mostly reviews bad games, but will review a good game on occasion- usually when he wants to highlight a game that's not well known. His negative reviews vary in how caustic they are, depending on how badly they personally piss him off.
- Yuriofwind has a segment called Bullshit Creepypasta Storytime, in which he reads bad creepypastas. Odds are, when he's not MSTing the story, he's doing this. This is most notably what he did before he stopped reading Sonic.exe, to declare how bad the story was.
Yuri: Now I'm going to stop here for a second and say something; I can't read the rest of this. Do you wanna know why? This story is fucking terrible! I mean, Christ, we're only through what I'm gonna call, "The First Arc, The Tails Arc" and I already wanna kill myself!
- Alex from I Hate Everything hates "everything", from terrible movies to specific fandoms to entire websites, all while maintaining a deadpan, but still angry tone.
- Forbes online film critic Scott Mendelson tends to be this from time to time. In fact, user comments to his negative review of a critically acclaimed film (for example, one of the reasons why he gave a negative review of The Peanuts Movie is due to him personally not being a fan of Peanuts and that he loathed every time that Charlie Brown failed, which is actually a popular Running Gag in the comic strip) tend to be directed towards him.
- The Rageaholic reviews and critiques movies, videogames, and music with no hesitation to Accentuate the Negative to something he freely admits to not liking, with the added twists of a witty, fast-talking nature, a very large vocabulary, and a liberal usage of pictures to get his point across. He proudly lists Dennis Miller as his main inspiration, but woe betide to those who call him a clone of Yahtzee. He also has a chip on his shoulder towards large videogame publishers.
- The Archies have had to deal with music critics once or twice.
- In one story, a 'Rap McNasty' demeans their style as nothing more than 'bubblegum rock'. The Archies fight back by making a music video of them surroudned by bubbles while chewing bubblegum, in a 'We're bubblegum and proud' manner. the video is a huge hit, and as apology Mc Nasty went to interview them while chewing bubblegum.
- In another, Veronica turns down a date offer from one Virgil Venom, and as revenge Virgil starts writing bad reviews of The Archies. (According to Veronica, her reply "Put a large hole in his ego") They get back at him by playing songs written by the son of Virgil's publisher, said to be a great songwriter, but keep that fact hidden until after the reviews are finished and about to be released. Sure enough, the idea that he's insulted his boss' 'baby boy' sends Virgil fleeing from town.
- Issue 4 of the My Little Pony Micro Series has Fluttershy forced to endure the scorn of Praiser Pan, a snooty Canterlot art critic who initially dismisses her knitted sculpture as mere "craft" rather than art.
- Fulliautomatix in Astérix is a variation. He is frequently described as a 'music critic', and is said in a promotional one-shot to be the ancestor of all music critics. In practice, this just means he beats up the village Dreadful Musician whenever he tries to sing.
Film - Animated
- Anton Ego from Ratatouille. His last name is apt, considering he expects any restaurant he gives a negative review to go out of business in short order - and given his opinion is very well respected to the point he gave a chef a heart attack upon being downvoted, the ego is enforced. When he finds out that the restaurant he previously panned is not only open but thriving, he considers it a personal insult. Then again, this trope is lampshaded to a T during his final review in the film...
Film - Live Action
- Addison DeWitt in All About Eve.
- In You Can't Take It with You, Kolenkhov's dour criticism of everything, to the point of a Catch Phrase, is, "It stinks."
- Dr. Terror's House of Horrors has a very thought-provoking story that ahem critisises critics who are more concerned with impressing others with their bitter wit, rather than doing any objective evaluation of an artist's work. Christopher Lee plays the main character who embodies this to the extreme and completely tears apart and degrades a painter's work, until the painter humbles him by making him review another piece of incomprehensible art which the critic compares favourably to the painter's work for its taste and quality... and then sees that the creator was a chimp. He doesn't respond well to being on the receiving end of critisism...
- In the Illuminatus! trilogy, the character of literary critic Epiciene Wildeblood, who frankly admits to his editor that he hasn't read the book as such, but has given it a "thorough skimming", and who then proceeds to destroy it on every level he can think of. The fact the in-universe book is clearly the Illuminatus trilogy itself is probably Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson's Take That! at insensitive and incompetent literary critics in the real world.
Live Action TV
- Hannah Montana has music critic Barney Bittman, played by the legendary Gilbert Gottfried.
- Castle has a theater critic who wrote a very negative review of the title character's mother, who is a Broadway actress.
- The Nanny had Frank Bradley in "Sunday in the Park with Fran", who pans virtually all Broadway plays. C.C. Babcock tries to curry favor with Bradley by making Maxwell Sheffield's youngest daughter, Gracie, go on a play-date with Frank's son, Frank Jr., despite Gracie's insistence that she doesn't like him and Fran supporting her. During the play-date, Frank Jr. is bullying Gracie, so Fran stops him by (gently) hitting him with a baguette. When C.C. and Maxwell learn about this, they try to make Fran apologize to Frank Sr., though it becomes obvious that winning over Bradley is a lost cause, and as he gets hostile towards Fran, Maxwell tells him off about him and his son.
- Hecklers Statler and Waldorf added a grumpy (and extremely popular) streak of critical humour to The Muppet Show.
- Saturday Night Live: Recurring Weekend Update character Jedediah Atkinson, the critic who panned Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in 1863 (calling it "silly"), comes on to pan other things.
Fourscore and seven yawns ago...let's be "Honest," Abe, you dropped a real Lincoln Log. Do you know what the real Gettysburg Address is? 115 West Boring Street.
- The Murder, She Wrote episode "Deadpan" had a theatre critic played by Dean Stockwell, who was known for dismissing everything - although Jessica would be the first to admit that in the case of Maine-ly Murder, the play very loosely based on her Murder Comes to Maine, he had a point.
- One episode of The Muppet Show sees the Muppets plagued by the Phantom of the Muppet Show, a malevolent ghost of a performer who's work was "killed" by the critics.
- Cyrano de Bergerac: Cyrano critiques your artistic work without any pity, and given the play is a Period Piece, Cyrano is always right in his critiques: Montfleury was a "An actor villainous!" (and then Cyrano kicks him out the theater), les Précieuses could "Inspire our verse, but—criticise it not!", playwright Baró’s "verses are not worth a doit! I'm glad to interrupt" (Baró’s play). Cardenal Richelieu (famous politician, wrote plays as a hobby) "is an author. 'Twill not fail to please him that I should mar a brother-author's play". Cyrano also is fair, of his own talent he thinks: "Not to mount high" and about Molière, Cyrano thinks he’s a "genius".
- Mortimer Brewster of Arsenic and Old Lace seems to be one of these, from the descriptions of his typical reviews.
- Psychonauts: Jasper Rolls from Gloria's Theatre, a mental construct that represents her inner critic whose constantly mocking the construct of her inner beauty. He's eventually revealed to be one sabotaging Gloria's memories and is eventually defeated when it's revealed that he is weakened by light, which represents positivity.
- One of the elusive targets in Hitman (2016) was a food critic infamous for his ruthlessly scathing reviews towards any dish or presentation that was less than perfect. He was marked for death for driving a Singaporean chef to suicide for presenting him with some slightly over-chilled ice water, which he reviewed as:
Critic: I'd never in my life had to drink an insult. Sadly, that was the case today. There are monkeys that drink their own effluence. They have a better experience than I did at The Singapore Food Market.
- Pittsburgh Dad rips the first Twilight movie to shreds in his spoiler-laden review.
- Sonty Mick from These Web Comics Are So Bad is a Stealth Parody of caustic critics, particularly of John Solomon's Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad. Sonty dislikes everything he reads, and he has completely illogical reasons for every single one.
- Funny Or Die: Alfred Molina as Arthur H. Cartwright, children's theater critic. He proceeds to tear apart each show and child as though they were performing live on Broadway. He actually does end up liking one show, but only because it runs on True Art Is Incomprehensible.
- Peter Pilbeam, the resident hotel reviewer of The John Dredge Nothing To Do With Anything Show. Although some of his criticism is rather outlandish, it has to be said…
Well the first thing I noticed, when I got to the hotel, was the awful stench. This later turned out to be the result of a sandwich that had been left in my pocket for several weeks, but nevertheless it did not bode well.
- Jay Sherman of The Critic, whose catch phrase is "It Stinks!" (Although most of what he was reviewing really did look absolutely terrible.) In one early cartoon, a little girl gets mad at him because he didn't like The Lion King, and in another, he mentioned that the highest rating he gives a movie is 7 out of 10.
- One episode of Bonkers involved such a critic of cartoons having his life threatened. In fact, this critic criticized everything; when Lucky interviews anyone with a motive, he ends up talking to every Toon who had gotten a bad review ("We must have spoken with every Toon in Hollywood"). And as it turns out, the attacker was the only Toon whose show was being cancelled because of bad reviews.
- In The Simpsons, when Homer Simpson became food critic he was at first the opposite of this and praised everything, but when another critic told him to be more critical he took it too far and started giving negative reviews to everything. The food critic he replaced was herself an example, as evidenced by her retirement party where she criticized the cake.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Spice Up Your Life", Rarity and Pinkie Pie try to help a failing ethnic restaurant, the Tasty Treat, impress Zesty Gourmand, a super-snooty food critic with very particular tastes in food and decor. Ultimately, though, they convince the citizens of Canterlot to reject Zesty's strict, cookie-cutter ideas of what a fancy restaurant should look like.