Web Video / On Cinema

It's On Cinema At The Cinema
Originally a podcast which then became a web series, On Cinema is film related talk show hosted by Tim Heidecker and "guest" Gregg Turkington as fictional versions of themselves who "review" movies, generally by awarding films bags of popcorn rather than stars. The reviews are almost always highly positive and they never provide any actual critical insight on the movies they discuss. The podcast and show originally aimed to mock the self-indulgence of the podcast community.

As the series went on, while "reviewing" the movies was still the core concept, Tim has tended to use the show to discuss whatever is on his mind, be it personal issues, alternative medicine, politics and his other projects. Gregg considers himself a film expert generally due to his collection of VHS tapes (usually presented on the show as "popcorn classics") which mostly consists of forgotten films. He desires the show to be exclusivity focused on movies and gets annoyed whenever Tim shifts the focus of the show. The series has since incorporated multi-episode arcs and has a spinoff in the form of the Decker where the characters of on cinema decide to make their own "movie".

Since 2013, they have had an annual Live Oscar special which often gets chaotic due to Tim's behavior.

I Give These Tropes 5 Bags of Popcorn:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Tim "left" the show after season 5 to live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming thus leaving Gregg to host the first episode of season 6 by himself. Tim returned in the following episode however when realizing Jackson Hole wasn't as great has he had thought.
  • Accidental Murder: The vapor device made by Dr. San and given out by Tim at the Electric Sun Desert Music Festival causes the accidental deaths of 20 teenagers and gets San and Tim arrested for Manslaughter charges
  • A Fool for a Client: Tim represents himself in his trial from the second day onwards, after cussing out his defender Mark Dwyer for "not doing his job".
  • A Friend in Need: Joe Estevez to Tim. He was the only person to visit Tim in jail after the Electric Sun Desert Music Festival disaster, which killed 20 people, and shows sympathy and support for Tim whereas Gregg and Mark would rather Tim remain in jail (granted, Tim had treated both of them rather harshly
  • The Alcoholic: Tim. He frequently drinks too much during the Oscar specials which leads to them getting quite chaotic. He admitted he had issues during the third Oscar special.
  • As Himself: The majority of the people who appear on the show, especially if they make more than one appearance, including Tim, Gregg, Mark Proksch and Joe Estevez. Among the few who aren't are Dr. San and Axiom.
    • Averted with "James Dean", who even in the context of the show is clearly not the late actor, though he has Gregg fooled.
  • Award Show: During the 3rd annual Oscar live, they hosted their own movie award show called the Poppies. Almost all of the awards went to Tim for Decker, which technically isn't even a movie. It is implied that Tim was the only voter for these awards.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Gregg builds up one of his popcorn classic segments to seem like the "classic" film featured with be The Blues Brothers, a popular and well received film. Instead, he actually picks Blues Brothers 2000, the film's panned sequel.
  • Beat: Used quite frequently, especially if someone says something over another person which leads to slight awkward moments of silence.
  • BittersweetEnding: The end of the trial episodes when considering the different perspectives of the main characters Tim's trial for the Electric Sun 20 results in a not guilty verdict for one of the victims (who likely died of heroin overdose rather than the vapers) and a mistrial verdict regarding the other charges (meaning that district attorneys would have to order a new trial if they think its still worth convicting Tim). While Tim has contempt charges for his behaviour in court, he is more or less off the hook from the major charges. On the other hand, this means no one will be punished for the disaster (since Dr. San already committed suicide) and Gregg will have to deal with Tim regarding the future of On Cinema. While Tim is already hard to work with, Gregg must deal with the fallout of trying and failing to get Tim convicted by giving witness testimony for the district attorneys
  • Broke the Rating Scale: Tim has at times given films six bags of popcorn despite claiming the highest rating is 5 bags of popcorn (granted, there is sometimes inconsistency with what the highest rating is). It is also common to award additional things to the 5 bags of popcorn like a number of sodas or something related to the film that was reviewed.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Gregg. He is constantly being made fun of by Tim. It is also common in later seasons for Gregg to be annoyed because Tim keeps using the show to discuss non-movie related matters such as alternative medicine and his music career leaving little for Gregg to do. Tim's mismanagement of the Victorville Theater, which Gregg used to program his popcorn classics, and his drug problems also leads to Gregg's archive being burned down and the the theater to get closed due to health violations.
    • Mark Proksch in later seasons is one. His W.C.Fields impression segment Golden Age Comedies gets cut by Tim. While Gregg employs Mark to be a concession stand worker at the Victorville Theatre, he is given very few hours of work and thus little pay. In season 9, Tim hires him as a waiter at his joint gourmet restaurant/theater though Mark is constantly messing up and being rather clumsy.
  • Caustic Critic: Averted. Films rarely get rated less than 4 bags by Tim and Gregg, and when they do, it's for petty personal reasons (such as Tim's jealousy at Gregg's cameo in Ant-Man, resulting in an unprecedented 1 bag).
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Apart from the occasional disagreement about movies, the podcast and the first web video season of On Cinema lacked any generally dark subject matter and is mostly focused on critics giving every film they reviewed a positive score regardless of its actual quality. Season 2 is when the series gradually begins with a more dark tone starting with Tim's health issues and later deals with matters such as abortion, child death, alcohol/drug addiction, and manslaughter
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Both Tim and Gregg. Tim is self-centered, fame-obsessed, ill-tempered, and will bully everyone around him in order in attempt to make the show perfect or promote his pet projects. Meanwhile, Gregg cares very little about anything other than his video tape collection, Hollywood trivia, or proving himself right over other people, to the point where he was more annoyed that his tapes were destroyed in a fire than upset that Tim has a substance problem and almost died in the same fire.
    • Particularly notable with Gregg during the "Our Cinema" Oscar special when Tim goes missing and despite other people thinking Tim might have become suicidal, Gregg doesn't really care and just wants to continue discussing the Oscars
  • Death of a Child: Tim's son, Tom Cruise Jr., is announced to have died near the end of season 7 and the final episode of the season is a special in his honor. It's implied that Tom's death was due to getting treatment by Dr. San rather than going to a professional doctor
  • Downer Ending: A few seasons have ended this way.
    • Season 2 ended with Tim expecting to die as he refused to get brain tumors removed (he insisted they were just blood clots) and doubled in size though its revealed he went through with surgery and was successfully recovering during the early part of season 3.
    • In the season 5 finale, Tim reveals he is leaving the show to move to Jackson Hole, Wynomyn and refuses to be involved with Ayaka (a former girlfriend) and their infant son's life. Ayaka and their son are revealed to be living with Gregg while seemingly waiting in vain for Tim to see them. Tim though does return in season 6 and rekindles his relationship with Ayaka and their son, even successfully proposing marriage to Ayaka in the season 6 finale.
    • In the Season 7 finale, it is revealed that Tim's son has died and the episode is dedicated to honoring his memory rather than reviewing movies
    • Season 8: The season itself had several downer moments such as Tim getting massive burns in a fire he cause which also destroyed Gregg's film archive and most of his clothing. Tim reveals he has not seen Ayaka, who is once again pregnant, since the intervention in episode 8 of that season and is still addicted to vapor smoking. Gregg is getting several complaints from people who lost their items in the fire. The episode ends with Tim revealing he got his band mate's sister pregnant by accident which leads to Gregg to storm off.
    • Season 9: With Dr. San's suicide, it appears Tim will likely be targeted by prosecutors for the deaths of 20 people at the Electric Sun Desert Music Festival. Despite all of the bad things San has caused in his life, as well as his role in harming other people, Tim admits he loved him and even gives a tribute to him. The season ends with Tim getting ready for a hearing though not before threatening Gregg that he will never forget the mean things Gregg and Mark said about Tim while he was in jail.
  • Driven to Suicide: Dr. San is revealed to have hanged himself in jail to avoid conviction for his part in the Electric Sun Desert Music Festival disaster. His death meant that the families of the deceased would instead target Tim who was going to testify against San.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first season lacks the story arcs present in later seasons and generally focuses on reviewing movies in a similar fashion to the podcast series its based on. The recap episode released in between season 8 and 9 doesn't even say anything in particular about season 1 beyond explaining what the format of the show is suppose to be.
  • Forged Message: Tim writes a letter that supposedly is a confession letter by Dr. San in which San claims full responsibility for the Electric Sun 20 disaster and was supposedly given to deckar bandmate Manuel a few hours before his death. Tim's attempt to get the letter admitted into evidence, however, failed as the Prosecution was to convince Manuel to confess that Tim give him the letter, not San
  • Geek: Greg is a massive film geek and claims to be an expert on the medium (though his trivia knowledge as been shown to be quite poor). As such, he gets rather annoyed whenever Tim uses time on the show to cover topics that have nothing to do with films.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tim and Gregg have had their moments though it seems to be winding down in more recent seasons. Tim though does seem to have a very close friendship with Axiom, a member of his band Dekkar.
  • Hologram: Used in the third Oscar Special for Tom Cruise Heidecker to see what he would look like if he didn't die young though it isn't particularly realistic looking.
  • Hypocrite: Tim maintains he is pro-life even though he tried to get Ayaka to have an abortion. Similar thing happened in season 9 when it seems he convinced Axiom's sister to abort her pregnancy as well.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Going by their real life age, Joe Estvez is over 2 decades older than the regular cast but maintains a friendship with Tim and Gregg throughout the series.
  • Irony: Tim states that while performing a song called "save us", written to save his troubled marriage, at the Electric Sun Desert Music Festival several people in attendance begin collapsing and end up dying due to smoking devices given out at the festival
  • Jerkass: Tim, especially from the point of view and often doesn't show a lot of respect towards Gregg and Mark. Gregg especially views Tim as this due to his tendency to focus on non-movie related projects, coming to work intoxicated as well as destroying his film collection twice and the poor management of the Victorville Theater leading to its closure due to mold. Gregg and Mark even spend an episode explaining why Tim sucks
    • Gregg, meanwhile, can be extremely condescending, and deliberately pouts and makes things awkward even when Tim is actually trying to focus on the show.
  • Kangaroo Court: Tim accuses the court, where he was on trial for his role in the Electric Sun 20 disaster, of this several times during the trial. However, one jury member refuses to give a guilty plead like the others thus resulting in a mistrial.
  • Killed Offscreen: Tim announces his son's death in the season 7 finale (medical problems which Dr. San could not cure) and would also announced Dr. San's suicide in the season 9 finale.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Gregg is this according to film producer, university instructor and one time guest Larry Turman. While Turman notes that Gregg might be good at cataloging films, Gregg lacks any qualifications to be film expert. Granted, Gregg has no formal film study education and the "stump the buff" segments that appeared on the show have all resulted in Gregg getting just about every question asked wrong, most infamously the question of which Star Trek film takes place in San Francisco. Tim also takes this view during his manslaughter trial where he tries to prove Gregg lacks the film knowledge needed to qualify to be a film expert in an attempt to discredit Gregg's testimony against Tim.
  • Law Procedural: Tim's trial after the 9th season.
  • The Movie Buff: Gregg thinks of himself as this as he collects a large number of films on VHS and considers himself an expert on film though he is prone to mess up on certain movie facts such as which Star trek film took place in San Francisco (it was the fourth but Gregg insists it was the second). He also claimed to have watched 501 movies in 500 days in order to try to set a world record.
  • Never My Fault: Tim takes little responsibility for the disaster at the Electric Sun Desert Music Festival, claiming the fault rests solely on Dr.San (claiming he didn't know the contents of the vapor systems San used despite designing a strain for it) and the paramedics for not being there on time to save the victims (even though Tim choose not to get any doctors or medicis to be at the festival in the first place)
  • Nice Girl: Ayaka Ohwaki. She is rather friendly and is never hostile to others like Tim and Gregg sometimes are.
  • Nice Guy: Joe Estevez. He is one of the nicest characters on the show and has shown to care for others, even Tim, in their darkest moments.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens during season 9 episode 8 when Gregg and Mark, who have taken control of the show after Tim was arrested, hear that Tim is likely to get bailed out soon. Neither Gregg and Mark like Tim and spent the previous episode talking about how bad he is with the assumption Tim would never see that episode. They barely talk for the reminder of the episode once they hear the news
  • Overly Long Gag: When introducing Joe Estevez in Season 2 Episode 3, Tim spends over 1/4 of the episode just reading off films that Estevez has starred in before showing Gregg's interview with him.
  • Put on a Bus: Ayaka gets deported back to Japan at the end of season 3. However, she is revealed at the hand of season 4 to be pregnant with Tim's child, makes a Skype appearance in season 5 and has had occasional appearances from season 6 to season 8. She has been absent since season 9 though she sometimes gets mentioned. She returns to testify at Tim's trial.
  • Recap Episode: A recap was posted after the end of season 8 that provides a general overview of all 8 seasons and the major plot developments throughout them.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tim is red due to his chaotic behavior well Gregg is blue due to being more level headed, being rather calm even if angry or annoyed.
  • The Rock Star: Tim begins a rock band in season 7 called Dekkar. Their website claims they have released an EP that has become the number 1 download on the web. Tim overall has taken a more rock star appearance including a beard, earrings and occasionally eye liner. To Gregg's annoyance, Tim has since used the show to highlight his group's work, and sometimes invites band mate Axiom to be a guest on the show, instead of discussing movies.
  • Running Gag: In general, the movies reviewed on the show will always get a positive review (typically 5 bags of popcorn), even if the films had been panned by other critics and audience members. This also includes the popcorn classic segments in which the classic films Gregg shows off are either forgotten or poorly received.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: Tim has used the show to promote several of his non-film projects such as alternative medicine collaborations with Dr. San and his music career. He even takes up most of an episode to show off a recording his band Dekkar did and thus leaving no time to review movies. Gregg did promote the Victorville theater, which he served as manager and programmer, quite extensively in season 8 though it was at least film related and was where season 8 took place.
  • Show Within a Show: Tim and Gregg work on the web series, and later a TV show, called Decker throughout the series. The production of Decker can sometimes be shown to create tension between the Tim and Gregg during on cinema episodes.
  • The Smart Guy: Gregg presents himself as this in regards to film knowledge though the Stump the Buff segments, and his claim of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan being the Star Trek film that took place in San Fransisco, proves he isn't as smart as he thinks.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Dr San whom Tim often pays for alternative medicine treatments which often led to Tim developing more health issues. Gregg however does not trust him and has on at least two occasions referred to his treatments as "quackery" and is annoyed whenever San is brought in as a guest. He eventually gets arrested after his vapors cause the deaths of 20 people though he hangs himself before he could be convicted for those crimes.
  • Special Guest: The show has had a few such as Joe Estevez, John Aprea and Payton Reed throughout the series. Gregg is often billed as a guest despite appearing in just about as many episodes as Tim and generally serves more like a co-host.
  • Stage Mom: More of stage dad in this case. Tim had tried to get his son Tom Cruise Heidecker Jr into acting, showing Tom's publicity photo a couple times in hopes of getting offered roles, even though Tom was still just a baby. Tom was even given a brief appearance in the Decker spinoff.
  • Staging an Intervention: Tim's friends attempt this in season 8 episode 8 after Tim gets severe burns all over his body while sleeping after smoking a device given to him by Dr San to which he became addicted. Tim refuses to listen to them and orders them to leave.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Dr. San encourages Tim to take alternative medicine treatments, the results often being disastrous for Tim and the people around him.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Gregg loves popcorn, even once having a popcorn tasting segment on the show. Both Gregg and Tim even tend to award bags of popcorn to films instead of stars. By Season 9, Tim seems to have developed a strong craving for truffle oil.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Both hosts are self-centered, rude, and out of touch with reality.
  • Vanity Project: Pretty much every non-On Cinema project of Tim's, such as his publishing company, his rock band Dekkar, and his EDM project DKR.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Tim reveals in season 9 episode 5 that his right hand was so damaged in the fire that occurred back in season 8 that he cannot move it and his doctors did not see any point in trying to fix it due to how futile those attempts would be. Tim has worn a black glove over it ever since. Axiom does later donate one of his hands to Tim to replace that hand