Mark Kermode (born 1963) is an English film critic who reviews films on BBC Radio 5 Live
, instantly recognizable by his 1950s haircut, his huge flappy hands
and his love for classic horror.
He is, however, most renowned for his rants. He can go on and on about how terrible a movie is with an uncanny verbal virtuosity and a Motor Mouth
to give Yahtzee
a run for his money. His fanbase has coined the term "Kermodian" for a particularly vicious rant.
Kermode maintains a video blog called Kermode Uncut
, in which he discusses film in general. He occasionally sits down to react on comments made on his blog, and he is fair minded enough to quote his detractors as well as his fans.
He has also written a memoir, entitled It's Only A Movie
(a Shout Out
to his favourite film, The Exorcist
). Which he followed-up later with The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex
which... errr.. does what it says on the tin
In unrelated news, he also plays the double bass in a skiffle band called The Dodge Brothers.
Tropes associated with Mark Kermode:
- 3-D Movie: Mark is a vocal hater of the phenomenon and will go out of his way to let you know. You might think you like 3D, but Mark is here to tell you you are wrong about that.
- Ascended Meme: In an offhand comment on Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief, which Mark considered far to similar to Harry Potter, he said they might as well have called it "Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins". Guess what? Somebody actually went and made that movie. And got Stephen Fry to narrate.
- Berserk Button: His hatred of 3D crosses into this. Lampshaded by Simon Mayo: "You must tell me more about your hatred of 3D."
- The Cast Show Off: His video blogs often start with a snippet of music from The Dodge Brothers.
- Catch Phrase:
- "I'm right and you're wrong."
- "I want to be absolutely clear about this..."
- "Hello to Jason Isaacs!" (David Morrissey, Stephen Fry, Fairport Convention, etc.)
- Caustic Critic: A fine intellect powers a sharp tongue, aided by powerful lungs. Mark combines an natural ability to take personal offence to a film with an acidic wit and an encyclopedic knowledge of film.
- Completely Different Title: The German for dilemma is "dilemma". So naturally in Germany The Dilemma is shown as Dickste Freunde — which means Fat Friends. Or less literally Best Friends. This inexplicable transmogrification was riffed on by Mark and Simon. Simon thought Dickste Freunde might have stared in some straight-to-video erotic thrillers.
Mark: Wally Pfister shoots Dickste Freunde, in The Fat Friends!
- Establishing Character Moment / Eureka Moment: Mark calls particularly clunky examples in biopics "Chubby? Hmmm..." moments, after a moment in a biopic of The Carpenters when Karen Carpenter is described as being "chubby".
- Foil: Simon Mayo, his co-host and resident Deadpan Snarker on 5 live. Our thoughts go with you.
- Fourth Wall Mail Slot: The video responses to the comments on his blog.
- Grammar Nazi: He likes to correct listeners' emails, though Mayo sometimes calls him on this. On this Mayo sometimes calls him. Mayo on this calls him sometimes?
- Heroic BSOD: As you can see from this episode of Kermode Uncut, he suffers this after watching The Hangover: Part III.
- Ill Take That As A Compliment: When Werner Herzog called him "Too intellectually warped" to be objective about 3D cinema, naturally Kermode was thrilled.
- In a World: Frequently parodied, with a silly deep American accent (see below).
- The Knights Who Say Squee: Kermode has blogged about being starstruck around various guests on the show (in this case it was David Tennant, and he was in America and couldn't be there in person). Probably his biggest moment was with legendary SFX designer and director of Silent Running and Brainstorm Douglas Trumbull on the 'phone, which was ten minutes of Kermode's barely contained adoration.
- Large Ham: He loves to ham it up if he's parodying something. His wrath at bad movies however is perfectly genuine.
- Like An Old Married Couple: With Mayo. Kermode himself made the comparison.
Mark Kermode: — big hands, and he's completely unable to pay the correct compliments to the other one. The other one is the reasonable jelly who somehow holds it all together. Shall we hear a clip?
- Lampshaded again on March 25th, 2011. In response to a listener complaining about her husband not listening to her opinion on films anymore:
Simon Mayo: "This is for the sake of marital harmony"
Mark Kermode: What, ours?
Simon Mayo: Always listen to your wife...far more than listen to us.
Mark Kermode: Can I just say that as far as this particular radio relationship is concerned you never listen to your wife.
A long pause. Then, later, as Simon reads a listener's review:
Simon Mayo: ...worth a view if you want to please your other half.
Mark Kermode: What does that mean?
Simon Mayo: I don't know — I imagine he's saying —
Mark Kermode: Are you pleased that I saw it?
Simon Mayo: ...Can you just stop that kind of line of thought?
- Even Robert Redford commented on this when he was a guest, much to the live audience's amusement.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Very much averted, if only he knew. While he attempts many impressions of actors, they all sound very much alike, and not much like the impersonated. Mayo often calls him on this, as do his fans. Mark isn't above lampshading it. They are often funnier than a good impression would be. Especially of Danny Dyer.
- Mean Brit: Oh so much.
- Motor Mouth: Mark. All the time. At the end of the show Simon sometimes comments they have two minutes left and asks if Mark can review a film. He can.
- The Nicknamer: Just ask Orloondo Bland, Ikea Knightley, Muriël Strepsil, Snoozy La Beef or David Booey.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Simon Mayo seems to be a rather smart and well-educated man... except when his playing dumb has a chance of embarrassing Kermode in one way or another.
- Odd Couple: With Simon Mayo. The two have been likened to a bickering married couple on several occasions.
- One of Us: That is, if "we" are slightly antisocial horror movie geeks.
- Pet the Dog: His desire to see filmmakers treat female characters with intelligence and respect.
- Recurring Character: Favourite and frequent guest Jason Isaacs.
- Red Oni to Mayo's Blue Oni.
- Running Gag:
- The references to Mark's supposedly huge hands. (They actually spring from an off-hand comment in an episode of The Thick of It.)
- Listeners saying hello to Jason Isaacs, sometimes in somewhat bizarre circumstances.
- Danny Dyer! Danny Dyer! A-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo, Danny Dyer!
- "Listeners writing in to the Fourth Wall Mail Slot giving their qualifications along with their name" — Joe Bloggs, BSc Geology.
- Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Danny Dyer like to this of himself as this. Mark doesn't really care.
- Small Reference Pools: Completely inverted. Kermode will frequently refer to obscure movies, directors or actors while reviewing a particular film. Part of Mayo's job is to get him to explain who, or what, he's talking about:
Simon: Just remind me about him?
- Played straight outside of films — invariably Mark hasn't seen the TV series/Read the book. His knowledge of sport appears only to that which has been featured in film.
- Unusual Euphemism: Since the Radio 5 show is broadcast in the middle of school run time the hosts will resort to some interesting phrases such as the often used 'fruitcake' for another word beginning with 'F' ("Clusterfruitcake" was used once.) The trope is absent from his books though. 'melonfarmer' is also used as a substitute frequently.
- Wittertainment: At its most wittertaining. Comes in two flavours: either long, name-dropping laden digresses in Kermode's knowledge of movie history, or Kermode and Mayo bickering Like An Old Married Couple.
- The word "Wittertainment" became a edit war at The Other Wiki, commented on by Kermode and Mayo: Listeners believed that it was Americans, who don't hear the show, removing the entry for "lack of notability".
- Why Did It Have To Be Pomegranates in a buried coffin, with Bono and a clown?