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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, his love for classic horror and his hatred of most other movies in general.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 examines the state of the modern film experience and explains how things have got so bad.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.
The comments on Mark's hands. Initially an off-hand remark on The Thick of It, but Mayo ran away with it and years later we're still hearing about them.
Berserk Button: His hatred of 3D crosses into this. Lampshaded by Simon Mayo: "You must tell me more about your hatred of 3D."
Michael Bay is also a rant dead cert, what with mixing several of his least appreciated aspects of modern blockbuster production (unoriginality, crummy dialogue, trope abuse, cardboard characters, over-egged production including 3D and near-constant reliance on jittercam in badly plotted action sequences, randomly cacophonous sound effects, pornographic sensibilities, misogynstic attitudes, racist stereotypes done really badly, mercantile grasping, zombie franchising... and, that's not a complete list). In just one person.
B-Movie: The quick way into his heart is to make good, B-Movie, popcorn plot and dialogue work well on screen. Yes, he also loves high concept art house offerings you've probably never heard of, but that doesn't mean he doesn't love a bit of good, solid fun, too.
Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In his review of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, he reveals that the thing he hates more than football and conceptual art is conceptual art about football.
The Cast Show Off: His video blogs often start with a snippet of music from The Dodge Brothers.
"Hello to Jason Isaacs!" (David Morrissey, Stephen Fry, Fairport Convention, etc.)
Simon says "Put it on the poster!" whenever Mark comes up with a particularly unique phrase with which to describe a film.
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.
Compliment Backfire: When Richard E. Grant was on the programme, Mark told him that he really liked Hudson Hawk (a box office bomb in which Grant starred), to which Grant replied, "It was a pile of steaming hot donkey droppings, and you are an idiot."
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!
Getting Crap Past the Radar: During the review of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, he points out that the word "clusterfuck" (or "clusterfruitcake" as he calls it) is invoked in what is essentially a childrens' film. He then goes on to explain what the word "clusterfruitcake" means. Then he invokes the word himself by saying that "the last sixty minutes of Transformers is a clusterfruitcake" and briefly touching on some potential pornographic subtext within those sixty minutes. Between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. The same time children would be coming home from school.
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?
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mark can be a very snarky divisive arse, but all in all, he just wants good cinema and is very polite with guests, even if the film isn't up to his standards.
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.
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.
Mark and Simon identify themselves as Newt and Hermann from Pacific Rim.
And as Holmes and Watson (from the review for the first Ritchie film).
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.
Then there's the voices he puts on for comic effect. You will either find them utterly hilarious or utterly irritating. In fact he gets letters from Radio 5 listeners asking him to stop.
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.
Considering how big our various Nightmare Fuel pages can get, well, like we're ones to talk... He's also quite happy to use the words "trope" and "MacGuffin" with malice aforethought and will just pile that malice on when any poor, unsuspecting trope has been just plain misused near him. Nothing bugs him more than an abused trope.note Unless it's abusing the whole medium of film with pointless 3D and crappy projection, of course... Also, heaven help you if you don't appreciate The Exorcist, the TroperifficThe Princess Bride and anything by Guillermo del Toro. You are so going to be locked out the loop. See Mark's explanation of why Pacific Rim is so much better than Transformers. Very much one of us.
He forced himself to sit in front of Charles Dickens's England for TWO! HOURS! TWO! HOURS!
He and the audience at the first showing of Movie 43 sat and watched the film in "what can only be described as deathly. Gobsmacked. Jaw-dropping silence."
During his review of Terminator Salvation, he launches into an epic rant against McG, and says that the real reason people don't like McG is that he "CAN'T! MAKE! FILMS!"
The Rant: Part and parcel of why some (OK... most) tune in. Although, the not-going-to-rant-about rants that then go on to thoroughly skewer, deconstruct and stomp on pointless plot-lines, characterisations and gimmicks at length are usually the classic ones. "Kermodian" is a description for a reason. Beware, however, expecting him to rant on what you would otherwise consider a dead cert going on the trailer, poster, production posse and premise of an upcoming film alone. He's amongst the first to remind you that Tropes Are Tools and that you should Never Trust a Trailer.
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:
Although Mark will challenge anybody claiming that a modern blockbuster movie is the "Worst Film Ever" to come to his house and watch some of his obscure erotic and horror movie video tapes to see the real worst films ever made; "A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell", "Over-Sexed Rug Suckers From Mars", and "SS Experiment Camp" being some named examples.
Stock British Phrases: In contrast to his usual well-spoken manner, he has a delightful habit of sometimes spicing up his speech with exaggerated British vernacular. For instance, he described the beginning of Gravity with "Blimey, charlie, big trub coming!"
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.), and 'melon-farmer' is also used as a substitute frequently. The trope is absent from his books though.
"When most people think of 'epic' they think of David Lean, when Michael Bay thinks 'epic' he thinks of David St. Hubbins."
He sometimes refers to this trope by name, talking about when a concept is taken Up to Eleven.
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".