CinemaSins (sic) are short Youtube-available videos detailing humorous and accurate analyses of cinematic flaws in post-theater run movies, (on DVD or streaming). Armed with scathing, pointed audio critique while showing movie clips, nothing, from the worse cinematic flops to the most beloved and respected classics, is safe from their sarcastic, persnickety and hilarious exams.
WHO SHOULD WATCH:
I can only recommend these shorts for adults because of Jeremy's penchant for language and frequent frat house humor delivered with wit dry enough for James Bond's martini. But for mature people they are both attentively eye-opening and acerbically funny.
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We homeschooled six kids from kindergarten through high school. The last one born is 10 years younger than the oldest. So between the children, their friends and a constant stream of pets, when I say we were outnumbered ….. I MEAN it!! We tried to keep a household with a well-defined set of reasonable rules. One of those rules was that, when you BROKE a rule, if you could make Mom laugh, you would get in less trouble.
This applies, I think, to my favorite fellow reviewer, Jeremy Scott of CinemaSins. He and his buddy Chris Atkinson have a six year library of movie reviews, starting with a castigation of The Amazing Spidermanthen branching out to music videos. Jeremy narrates against a background of film clips demonstrating his complaints, accompanied by a "ding" counter which tallies the sins. The short videos are free and available on the CinemaSins Youtube channel, and to date number 590, with at least one new one added per week.
The video reviews run anywhere from two to 30 minutes long, but are for adults only, spiced as they are with liberal amounts of raunchy off-color jokes and profanity. Normally, I strongly disapprove of content with unnecessary swearing and CERTAINLY do not approve of the innuendo filled throw away lines referencing strip club dances and personal body parts. HOWEVER, I must admit to a soft spot for Jeremy's patter, nonetheless, because, not only is he unerring in his observations but he is very very funny.
And I feel like I owe Jeremy a shout out. My one-way association with this glib contemporary pundit has been useful and educational to me personally. When writing stage plays or film scripts now, I have taken to wondering what would Jeremy say if this were ever produced. He has made me very aware of what he rightly and regularly identifies as "sins" and I genuinely think this has made me a better writer (or at least a less egregious one).
WhiIe, as I mentioned, he also "sins" music videos, my preference is for his movie reviews, so I will confine myself to them. They are, more often than not, extremely well researched, and detailed down to the obscure and arcane.
Though they mostly do kids movies, slasher films and almost every sci-fi, no movie is off limits. They also do classics, musicals, and serious films, even occasionally going where any other critic would fear to tread.I admire his chutzpah.
But by Jeremy's own admission it is all a front, a character he plays. He says he imagines a grouchy curmudgeon who just likes to sit and pick at movies. But in reality he LOVES movies and it is all intended for good natured laughs. To prove this they have even "sinned" themselves.
Be aware, fellow cinephiles, that Jeremy – or his caricature curmudgeon – is predisposed against mushiness. So anything smacking of long talky heart-on-your-sleeve moments will get a "sin" ding as Jeremy announces: "Skip!"
While anything from a continuity goof (such as a stain appearing and disappearing on a shirt in the same scene) to an inaccurate date reference to a historic event can attract the ire of his sin counter, he has certain pet peeves.
The predictable penaltied piccadillos include: narration, long and multitudinous production credit logos at the beginning of movies, cinematic cliches, unexplained character inconsistencies, andarticles in expositional newspapers that cheat using text that has nothing to do with the headlines.
Jeremy uses a number of short hand references for other oft recurring offenses, and each occasion will acquire at least one "sin":
"Gone to the Prometheus School of running away from things" – means running in a straight line away from something, from which you could easily evade by swerving right or left.
Shooting like a stormtrooper – meaning they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn even if they were leaning against one.
Eating an apple is interpreted as an attempt by the director to identify the masticator as an "a**hole," explained in a tweet that this connection seemed natural to them because of Adam and Eve.
Belabored and unnecessary location captions printed on shots that already have a wealth of identifying visual imagery.
Scenes where characters emerge from falls, beatings, and explosions without major injury, also known as "He survived that," sins.
And AH – the Pronoun Game – where someone gratuitously substitutes a pronoun (he, she, it, they) for a common name (daughter, chair, sun room) or a proper name (Fred, Statue of Liberty, Mississippi River), as a clumsy set up for a "surprise" or misunderstanding or jump scare or comic confusion.
He HAS been known to DEDUCT sins as well, such as at the end of Monsters, Inc. when sins are removed for the scene when Sully visits Boo and she says "kitty". As he puts it, he's "not made of stone". But those reductions are few and far between.
I do not always agree with him. For example I thought he missed the entire point of The Greatest Showman, focusing on Barnum's personal flaws and not accounting for the historical context. And Jeremy complained at length about Mama Mia, the MUSICAL having too much music. But this could just be part of his character's "curmudgeonliness". As a friend of mine and I have discovered during the span of a dozen years' worth of emails, when communicating exclusively by computer, it can be very hard to distinguish between sarcasm and misunderstanding .
Either way, I completely respect the CinemaSins adherence to an established set of criteria, despite the fact it is often punctuated with the occasional angry profanity and the high school level sexual joke inuendo.
Jeremy's attention to detail is occasionally astonishing. He will go to the trouble of pausing, enlarging and reading the entire newspaper which only flashes in front of an audience for a few seconds, in order to determine if the content is consistent with the advertised headline. He will measure the length of screen time that actually elapses during a countdown or someone holding their breath to determine if the announced period of time is accurate.
His breadth of knowledge of film is impressive, with references dating back to at least as far back as Donald O'Connor.
All this work has paid off handsomely as CinemaSins enjoys quite a bit of success. As of January 11, 2018, according to Wikipedia.org the CinemaSins channel has 7.4 MILLION subscribers and has had 2.1 BILLION hits. Jeremy and his co-conspirator, Chris, admitted, during an interview, to having tried a number of YouTube channel gimmicks before hitting upon this one six years ago. The interview took place about 4 years ago, just as CinemaSins was finding its legs and audience. The interviewer asked them if they were making any money at it. Jeremy's response was to smile like a Cheshire Cat and say that he and his friend had quit their other jobs and now did this full-time.
Jeremy was also asked if he ever ran into any push back from the filmmakers of the movies or challenges on copyright infringement issues. Jeremy said that, on the contrary, he often received favorable responses from the filmmakers who agreed with him, admitting to flaws in their films which occurred from lack of time, budget, access to talent or simply an oversight on their part. Once again, laughter being quite an effective panacea, in this case for the pain of the critique.
My favorite reviews are of movies I either personally loved, like The Hobbit, or hated, like Assassin's Creed, either exposing hitherto unnoticed flaws or reinforcing my own opinion. But all of the videos are quick, witty, and perceptive.
But as brilliant as Jeremy is, there are few places I can recommend him because of the language and "close to the knuckle" jokes he makes. I have oft noted I believe use of profanity stems from a lack of creativity. CinemaSins is entertaining, cleverly written, astute and intelligently droll DESPITE those flaws. (Maybe I should do a "ding" count for him for every unnecessary obscenity he uses.)
So to paraphrase Joe Harper in A Midwinter's Tale who gently chided a fellow gifted but insecure actor for leaning a might too heavily on his drinking: Don't cuss Jeremy…you don't need it.