We Got Zingers!

In which we introduce you to some of our favorite movie critics.

copyright 2005 by Pat Powers

People say I'm funny, and I am, but probably not in the way they mean. But I am not the only funny movie reviewer out there, not by a long shot.

Mike Nelson

My favorite reviewer is Mike Nelson, former host and head writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000, whose book "Movie Megacheese" has to be the funniest collection of movie and TV reviews ever written. While other reviewers feature the occasional zinger, some of them quite tasty, Nelson's zingers are almost nonstop and have an irresistible effect after awhile, sort of like you're a skier in an avalanche of humor.

Here are some examples:

The visual effect of Draco in "Dragonheart" was achieved using the same technology as that used for "Jurassic Park," wherein hundreds of supercomputers and thousands of man-hours are used to make the visual effects look every bit as realistic as 1920s bendable clay puppet technology.

Seeing [Marlon Brando's] buttery, corpulent mass oozing around in bed with the 30 percent postconsumer plastic recycled body of Faye Dunaway was as horrible a thing as any man could be asked to endure.

According to "The Postman's" recommendations, if you liked "The Postman," you'll also like "Demolition Man" and "Sphere." I don't doubt it. However, if you liked "The Postman," you might also enjoy a nine-hour flight to Fargo, North Dakota, with a small child kicking your seat the entire way.

"The Mirror Has Two Faces" is a fascinating glimpse into the febrile mind of a megalomaniacal lunatic -- and it has a peppy theme song!

Joe Bob Briggs

Joe Bob Briggs' main deal is online, at his website though he does have a book or two out. I'm not going to include any zingers, because Joe Bob loves his drive-in movies. Still, his reviews are hilarious. What's more, if there's a good bondage scene in the film, chances are he'll tell you about it. Good man. Al Aaronson says, check him out.

Pauline Kael

Now, Pauline Kael was not nearly as funny as Mike, but she had a crisp, clean, insightful way of writing and it was never a good idea to piss her ass off because she had a mean pen when she needed it. Here are a couple of excerpts from one of her review collections, "When the Lights Go Down."

[The television miniseries] "Roots" shows how TV could finish off the movies, and "Fun with Dick and Jane" makes it seem like a good idea.

Several veteran directors are fond of calling themselves whores but, of course, what they mean is that they gave the bosses what was wanted. They're boasting of their cynical proficiency. For [Paul] Schrader to call himself a whore would be vanity: he doesn't know how to turn a trick.

Roger Ebert

I'm also fond of Roger Ebert's reviews. He has an entire collection of bad reviews, "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie!" that are great fun to read. He doesn't have Mike Nelson's gift for keeping things consistently funny, but sometimes he gets off digs that are about as sharp as anything you want to read. I don't have the book on hand, but I remember one of his zingers, if not by heart then close to it, because it has such a calm, sad tone concealing the zinger beneath it:

Lake Placid is one of those movies that form the basis for long, sad talks between actors and their agents.

As you can tell, some of these reviewers are almost as funny as we are. Can there be any higher praise? Probably -- but they're not getting it from us!