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Reviews Comments: Point, sneer, toss hair, repeat Bad Movie Beatdown whole series review by johnnyfog

A sign of a bad critic is unintentionally making a bad thing look good; when the critic is such an insincere bully that you feel a protective twinge toward the crap in question.

Film Brain is one of those peripheral TGWTG contributors who is just there. Like all internet comedians, he exploits every flaw, big or small, for comedy. So far so good. The problem is that Matthew Buck doesn't have any jokes. His shtick remains the same. No smiling, no content; just a haughty, arrogant voice and a scowl. And a lot of nodding. Now, this second part has always puzzled me. Why does Matt always nod at the end of every punchline? Stay with me here: I'm exercising more analysis than Film Brain ever does. The fact that every joke is delivered in the same sarcastic monotone could be evidence of Film Brain's essential inexperience and lack of confidence in front of the camera. Judging from vlogs, he's a mild-mannered nerdy guy who got into the reviewer game by aping the angry style of others. Hence, the head jerk as punctuation. I'm tempted to mail him a drum set.

It doesn't help that he wags his finger at a lot of 'stupid' things so benign that they barely warrant a quip — let alone eyerolling and and unremitting head-banging. He gets angry at characters being thrown backward by a bomb blast, for christ's sake. But hey, reviews don't write themselves.

Do I even need to talk about how SUYMBOLISM!!!1 has become Film Brain's crutch? This kid has obviously not watched The Simpsons. OK, so it was funny once. Now he pulls it out whenever anything vaguely symbolic happens. You'd think that all symbolism is nothing but pretentious wanking by directors. In truth, he's just way too over-reliant on that goofy fist-pump.

You don't laugh at Film Brain's rage; you wonder what he's getting so worked up about. If his jokes are like Pavlovian tests, and he doesn't even try to be invested in his material, how is this a good reviewer?


  • maninahat
  • 24th Jan 12
Decent review. I've avoided reviewing him myself, because I know I'd only end up spraying angry, irrational bilge about the place.

Asides from all the reasons you put forward, I especially hate his delivery, his voice, his appearance, and a whole bunch of other things which should not normally deserve comment. Contrariwise, I really like Spoony, so imagine my conflict when the two joined forces once for a cross-over episode. So yeah, thanks for reviewing him in such a calm, reasonable, and thoughtful manner.
  • Gweskoyen
  • 25th Jan 12
If you think that Film Brain is a "bully" (the word doesn't mean what you think it means), you obviously never watched his Projector reviews where he reviews stuff that came out in the UK but not the US. When a movie is good, he says it. I never noticed the head toss. He uses the symbolism gag far less than you imply, in fact, I think he uses it more in crossovers than in his own reviews since it is expected. I *do* laugh at Film Brain's rage. maninahat, thank you for showing all that is wrong with Spoony's fanbase (I myself like Spoony).
  • Tylea002
  • 25th Jan 12
It's ironic because you're doing exactly what you say Film Brain does wrong, by ranting on about everything you percieve to be bad. It's cool if you don't like him, he's a human being and not 100% of other humans will appreciate his humor, but you're overexaggerating the negatives for a reaction. Exactly the job of a TGWTG style critic.

Now that's symbolism. Or Parallelism. Or something.
  • maninahat
  • 25th Jan 12
@Gweskoyn: How do I represent what is wrong with Spoony's fanbase?

@Tylen: I don't think the reviewer overexaggerations (aka "exaggerations") were unfair. He captured the essense of Film Brain quite well. Also, it isn't a rant, because the reviewer calmly provides reasoning that illustrates his familarity with internet critics, and explains Film Brain's failings as one. A proper rant would be something on the lines of: "I HATE HIS FACE! I HATE IT! I HATE IT! ARGGHGH!" That's how a TGWTG rants.

  • Calum666
  • 25th Jan 12
I personally enjoy Film Brain's reviews. He's one of the only few critics I watch consistently.

I think people should check out his "Projector" series, where he gives honest reviews of films currently in cinemas. I know a few people who dislike his regular reviews but enjoy "Projector".

Still, calling him a bully for picking apart silly things in silly movies is a trifle unfair. I also think, as opinion is subjective, this review of FB does occasionally smack of someone using objective phrasing. "You don't laugh at Film Brain's rage" rather than "I personally don't laugh at Film Brain's rage." Because, I know I do and many others also do, otherwise he wouldn't be one of the critics on the front page.

I also feel he's one of the critics who has changed the most, along with The Nostalgia Chick. As both Brain and Chick started reviewing straight for the site rather than starting on Youtube or Reviewtopia, they had a year or two of "trial by fire" on the site itself. In the last year or so, Brain's picks have been at more glaringly stupid things, rather than insignificant details. His style is more mannered and mature and his gestures and nodding have been diluted.

This is also true for his shouting of "SYMBOLISM!!!" In the first year or two of his time on TGWTG he used this multiple times in reviews. Now you'd be lucky to see it done five times in the last year, and again, when it is done it's used for the absolutely worst type of film imagery imaginary. It's used when the filmmaker believes his film really deserves symbolic imagery, but doesn't.

In fact, I personally think that a lot of these criticisms can be levelled at Film Brain on his first year or so on the site but less so now. I don't know obviously, but it sounds to me as if the reviewer is writing this review based on past reviews from their recollection of the early days of Film Brain's time on the site. Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm only guessing here. Film Brain seems to have toned down or made milder these things many of these criticism.

Again, just my two cents. I also am not pretending to speak for everyone and above all, this opinion is just one subjective opinion of many. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day.
  • johnnyfog
  • 26th Jan 12
This is a review of Bad Movie Beatdown. Not the Projector series, or any of Matthew's other projects on tgwtg, which I actually like.

My problem with Film Brain is this angry persona of his; a performance so plainly forced and fake, that it sends my brain into rebellion. Besides which, his plug n' play approach to reviewing basically boils down to glaring haughtily at the camera and reading off a list of grievances.

The chasm between Film Brain's likability on BMB and his appearances in other videos is proof that his "angry reviewer" gimmick should have been dropped years ago. The only people I can imagine liking BMB are those who like to feel superior by riffing on movies. I riff on movies to have fun, not because I'm a judge, jury, and executioner.

@Calum666 - You're repeated what I said in the review, only with different words. Symbolism — especially in B-films of the type covered by Matthew — is thrown in for fun's sake and is not a symptom of Kubrick-style meglomania or hubris. Film Brain seizes upon it for the sake of his running gag. A better question is why Film Brain needs a catchphrase for fun's sake. Whether it is the audience's fault for wagging the dog, I can't say.

@Film Brain - If you'd read past the first line, you would have recognized that it's your shtick that's grating, not your real personality. In New York we have a critic named Michael Reidel who is a perfectly swell guy and a nice interviewer, but whose job is to fucking demolish Broadway musicals and print lurid gossip about the producers. It's his bread and butter, so that's fine, but then it's no surprise that people flood to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. He's so obviously exploiting his column for personal ends that no one takes it seriously.

You've made it, buddy. You're a tgwtg reviewer. Now stop acting like a greasy youtube imitator.
  • Calum666
  • 26th Jan 12
You bring up some good points, and even though I disagree with you quite a lot, on almost every point. (Other than the overuse of "SYMBOLISM") I still appreciate that your points are well argued.

Personally, I love his reviews and I never miss an episode of Bad Movie Beatdown, and I personally don't look down on movies to do so. But you still argue your points well.

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