Monday, August 5, 2002

The Funniest Distraction Online

When you think of great film critics you think of Shallot, Siskle, Ebert, Roper (whoever he is). Add Mr. Cranky to your list.

By means of an introduction, the best we can offer is a window into this critic's mind. Where many critics review by a system of thumbs or stars, Mr. Cranky measures films on a totally different scale – bombs:

Almost tolerable

Consistently annoying

Will require therapy after viewing

As good as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick

So godawful that it ruptured the very fabric of space and time with the sheer overpowering force of its mediocrity.

Proof that Jesus died in vain.

Since 1995, Shadow Culture has been producing Mr. Cranky (who, it seems, is actually three men writing under one pseudonym). Each week their site, features scathing reviews of current theatrical and rental releases.

The real pleasure of Mr. Cranky, though, isn't his opinion, per se. It's the writing. Each review is so bitter and smart that you'll be hard pressed not to email every one you come across to your email clique. When Mr. Cranky is in top form, when his reviews are so side-splitting that they just have to be read aloud to your co-workers or loved-ones down the hall, than the reviewed film actually becomes irrelevant. In many reviews, the description of the movie-going experience, not the film itself, is the real editorial subject.

There are priceless gems in Mr. Cranky's archived reviews. "The Tigger Movie," "I Am Sam," and "Battlefield Earth" are Cloudjammer's favorites (the latter of these two reviews is responsible for converting me into a Mr. Cranky devotee), but his review of "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows" is not to be missed. This movie-goers tragedy stretched Mr. Cranky's rating system past it's former limit and created the "nuke" rating.

So go check out – we hit his site at least once a week and everyone we've ever directed to it has become an immediate fan. fb

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