I’m going to start this off by saying I don’t watch tv. On the rare occasion that I do happen to watch tv, I’m reminded as to why I stopped watching. It’s saturated, to the point where entertainment is no longer entertaining, but then I support my favorite shows in a different way, I either show my loyalty on network websites that offer episodes online, or I just purchase the show on dvd season by season. Despite all this, I’m often left to wander among the drudgery of online entertainment… Which is sometimes in itself, dangerous territory.
However, over the years I’ve found myself most entertained by the independent boom of online video reviews. They’re creative, give individual perspective, uncensored, never bogged down by network interference, and highly entertaining to say the least. It’s a part of the internet I can appreciate, because it’s entertainment FOR fans BY fans. Some could say that fans are never satisfied, but this isn’t cynicism, this is criticism on a level where it’s to be taken satirically and humorously. Being a fan of Mystery Science Theater (and knowing that a LOT of these reviewers are fans of it as well,) let’s face it, there are some worse things out there.
So, follow me as I give off my list of¬† the best of online criticism.
1. Angry Video Game Nerd
Real Name: James Rolfe
Website(s): Cinemassacre, GameTrailers, ScrewAttack
Debut: Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
Common Appearance: Basically a Nerd, glasses, pocket protector and the works.
Premise: He plays through really crappy video games.
One can probably say that James is the beginning of this boom in reviewing bad games (or any media in general.) I can say that he was the first reviewer that I actually started paying attention to because he had a certain charm to him. I always find humor in anger, not so much in the violence department, but in the inner-demon, build up of rage that’s within all of us, and all it takes is on crappy experience to bring it out. Another aspect to a probable claim of fame is his unique method of cursing, often combining fowl words in mismatched combination or spouting claims of the most ludicrously disgusting acts he’d rather endure then playing the games he reviews.
Lately, I can’t help but feel that James has become more of a commentator then a explosive ball of rage like in his earlier videos, but there’s only so much you can do before a certain aspect becomes stale. The anger is still present, but less outrageous in some cases, which in my book is alright. It’s all about the game.
He’s probably been around the longest, and despite the fact I can get around some of the toilet humor which is so prominent in most of his videos, I still always look forward to the next game in his extensive library. Not only are his VG reviews great, but he also hosts a number of other video reviews, most of which are now hosted on Spiketv.com and his personal website, Cinemassacre. It always fascinated me how extensive his knowledge of filming history can get, and I always learn the nerdiest of facts of movies I recognize. If you love his AVGN videos, be sure to look up his Monster Madness collections.
2. Nostalgia Critic
Real Name: Doug Walker
Debut: Transformers the Movie (or technically, The Saturday Morning Cartoon Drug Special)
Common Appearance: Common suit and loose fitted tie, glasses and a hat.
Premise: He reviews the dumbest media mostly spanning the 80′s and 90′s era.
It was at some point the Nerd was actually challenged by another critic (whom at the time I had never heard of) claiming a duel after an enormous fanbase claimed he was copying James’ video reviews. This, however, was in no way true. Doug is one of the funniest, most creative and energetic reviewers I’ve seen, and he certainly grew on me. It’s mostly due to the fact that a lot of his reviews reminisce on subjects I’ve myself have grown up on, so in a way, he’s more on a level that I can appreciate due to the age range.
Not only are his reviews hilarious and interestingly observed, I have to say I admire the guy for his heart. He loves Christmas, he performs live on special occasions for charity drives, and though he can be as fowl as the next reviewer, he still seems tasteful and redeeming. Not only that, his website has introduced a number of other memorable video reviewers so he’s certainly not afraid to share the spotlight (at least how I see it.)
Though probably some of his best material stands alone with his Nostalgia Critic videos. Though he has created some other interesting series of videos, some can range to “that was pretty funny” to “Eh, I guess that was kinda funny.” But that’s not to say he’s not a brilliant, diverse actor and writer. It’s also refreshing to see that he’s also gained a terrific cast behind the scenes, including his brother who helps co-write a lot of his material. He’s gained a rather large library of videos since his start, and if you haven’t started watching him, you should. He often debuts a new review practically every Tuesday, and that’s dedication to his work.
3. The Spoony One
Real Name: Noah Antwiler
Website(s): The Spoony Experiment, TGWTG.com
Debut: Adventures of Bayou Billy NES Review
Common Appearance: T-shirt that often has a quote he spouted in a previous review
Premise: Reviews several different mediums with his robot “Burton” in the background
Now here’s a guy that literally came out of nowhere and has, in my opinion, grown to a popularity I couldn’t imagine. I forget where I officially heard of him, but it was probably around the time of his start on Final Fantasy VIII, in which my friend invited me to partake in the ribbing of one of our most despised gaming series. “Spoony” is one of my most watched and favorite reviewers. I truly respect his opinions and commentaries. He’s often very analytical and writes in a brilliant format in which you can tell he knows what he’s talking about. I honestly think Noah is one of the smartest reviewers I’ve witnessed, and I’m not trying to kiss ass here.
Not only the smartest, but the funniest as his humor still reflects that of another MST3K fan (admirable trait.) His videos are very diverse and surround a numerous amount of subjects, from the weirdest PC games, to the oddest finds in video history. What makes Spoony very successful is his exploitation of rare and obscure subjects. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever heard of the game “Phantasmagoria” let alone it’s entirely FMV based sequel. Sometimes I’m often left to wonder, HOW he obtained such weird titles, and to a lesser extent, WHY?
I often look up to this guy, not only for entertainment, but I highly respect his views and often appreciate his take on current movies I’m questionable of. He has this rare observation of pop culture and media that I’ve always found wise. Though recently he’s cornered subjects such as “professional” wrestling, which I can’t honestly say is a subject I want to hear about, but I still can’t help but listen to what he has to say about. It’s also great when he comes to a screeching halt on his subjects and gets into an fit of anger that is almost borderline scary, but you can’t help but laugh because he sounds so ludicrously crazy about it. Spoony certainly deserved the award funniest web series.
Real Name: Lewis Luvhaug
Website(s): Atop the Fourth Wall, TGWTG.com
Debut: Top 15 WTF Moments in Comics
Common Appearance: Brown colored suit, glasses, top hat, green couch
Premise: Looks for the baddest of the bad in comic book literature
While The Angry Video Game Nerd and Nostalgia Critic were among the biggest names in online entertainment, several other video reviewers began to try and mimic their methods. Almost everyone was starting to do video games and movies, but then came along a guy naming himself “Linkara.” I have to admire this guy for his risk in taking online reviewing to the next level, and by next level I mean reviewing a medium that is not touched in a video format. That would be comic books!
At first, I was a little skeptical of his reviews, I wasn’t sure what to think of a medium I rarely looked into, especially since my knowledge in DC and Marvel ranges from the animated shows and movies I’ve watched throughout my life. Once I started, I was hooked on Atop the Fourth Wall. I can actually thank Lewis for somehow getting me more involved and curious in the areas of comic books, being that I’ve always wanted to make comics, but never honestly read a whole lot of them (I have a bias taste, at best.)
Though Lewis at times can be a bit too nit-picky at best, I can’t help but enjoy his views on particular comics, especially when the more deep you get into them, the more banal they can seem. Some of the best lines from his videos span from the comics he reviews, and his added commentary and MST3K-like riffing on illustrated media is just icing on the cake. You also have to hand it to the guy for being so on-the-ball with his work. Like the Nostalgia Critic, when he sets up a time and schedule, he’ll be sure to commit to it. That’s why every Monday I look forward to the next book this guy has to offer. So whenever I step into a comic book store, I suppose I’ll know what to look out for.
5. Nostalgia Chick
Real Name: Lindsay Ellis
Website(s): “The Dudette” on TGWTG.com
Common Appearance: Looking gorgeous… er, well she’s often changing her appearance and outfit
Premise: Has a female perspective on nostalgic media
Now, this one is a little tough because at first I was very skeptical about Lindsay’s videos as at the time, I was still just getting into Nostalgia Critic’s videos. Though in time, I’ve actually grown to appreciate her more as she seems to be more than the “girl” version of Doug Walker.
Lindsay was actually hand picked in a contest for a female lead in That Guy With the Glasses, and I’m not too sure about all the details, but I think she was neck-in-neck with another contest entrant, Krissy Diggs (aka That Chick with the Goggles, who also is a great reviewer, but she hasn’t done very much sadly.)¬† In every video she portrays herself in a different outfit which gives her a little variety compared to other reviewers who often stick to one outfit. Though this goes without saying, I feel that she hasn’t exactly captured a surefire identity for herself in her videos. But in all honesty, who cares? She’s smart, pretty, and certainly proves that it’s okay to be a girl AND a nerd (though I often wonder if she admits that.)
I think her most recent video explains a lot on her stance in critical reviewing, and it often made me think as there is a lack of strong female roles, but what exactly IS a strong female role? Well, it’s probably because I’m a guy and I really only understand writing and connecting with other male roles, but that’s just me. I’m still a bit new to her videos, but I can’t help but be attracted… er… drawn to her charms.
Real Name: Phelan Porteous
Website(s): RedMatter, TGWTG.com
Debut: Mac and Me
Common Appearance: Often in front of a gaggle of transformers, looks like Barry Burton from Resident Evil
Premise: Reviews mostly horror genre media, movies and gaming
Here’s another new one, but is also growing on me. I remember watching a ton of Sci-Fi Channel movies when I still had television, and most of their programming involved some of the dumbest and poorly managed science fiction and horror movies I’d ever seen. That’s pretty much what Phelous is all about. Though I’m not exactly a huge fan of horror genre, he certainly won me with his silly perspectives on them. He also seems to be a big fan of Silent Hill, but feels the same way about the series as I do, and that’s a plus.
I think what I mostly enjoy from Phelous is that he reminds me so much of Joel Hodgeson as Joel Robinson, bringing back another aspect of MST3K into this whole shibang. His speech pattern is something to get used to, but it just adds to his unique personality. One of his side gags is a series of videos called Mortal Komedy, where he and his friends dress up as Mortal Kombat characters and ensue mischief. Another strange, but VERY well done video of his involves another dress-up in Resident Evil characters, creating parody on the most memorable moments of the first of the series.
I think some of the best of the worst often come from slasher flicks, and Phelous definitely exploits them. So if you’re like me and like making fun of some cheesy sci-fi flicks, then you’d definitely be into this guy.
7. Cinema Snob
Real Name: Brad Jones
Website(s): The Cinema Snob, just recently added to TGWTG.com
Debut: Burial Ground: Nights of Terror
Common Appearance: He just looks like the angriest couch potato ever
Premise: Reviews some never before seen worst of the worst movies, mostly exploitation
Now, I have to thank Noah for introducing me (and possibly most of his fanbase) to this guy, because had he never mentioned it, he would’ve passed right by without me knowing the honest to goodness GENIUS that is the Cinema Snob. If you’ve ever wondered how some of those MST3K guys manage to find the kinds of movies they riff on, Brad found a way, and continues to find the worst possible movies created in history. He even states several times in fact, that Bruno Mattei is one of his favorite directors in the fact he rips off so many other movies, but badly.
I have to warn you though, albeit that most of these reviewers are uncensored and tend to have foul mouthes, Brad happens to have the most foul of them all. He could be considered the king of profanity. Though if you had to put up with some of the films he had to, you’d probably be cursing so much even The Nerd would blush.
Though Brad tends to have a bit of a bad camera and dimly lit setting, I can’t hold it against him at all, it just sets the mood to the kind of work he does. It’s a good thing that Brad managed to move from his failed YouTube channel to blip.tv, because some of the movies he reviews are simply golden, and his commentaries just add to the insanity. I certainly salute you good sir, for daring to go where everyone else is too frightened to go. Oh, and if you’re reading this, would you mind filling me in on who the lady with the simply capitol knockers is?
Guru Larry (Larry Bundy Jr.)
Retro Corner – ScrewAttack Europe
Good video game reviewers are hard to find, especially those who happen to find rare or unique games that I’ve never heard of. Thank God we have someone like Guru Larry, (who recently is accompanied by Wesley Lock, aka “Wez”) to give up straight dirt on the games that never reach the US. Though I haven’t seen him upload much new, it’s still great to look back on his classic retro corner videos.
Little Miss Gamer (Lindsey Briggs)
Blistered Thumbs – TGWTG.com
Little Miss Gamer is another one of those reviewers whom I rarely see update anymore, but can’t deny that her videos are high class hilarity and satire. There is a certain creative wit about her that is added to her videos, giving a large variety to her reviews and stances in gaming in general. It’s certainly fun to see her and her friends “skits,” but she has a unique library of games she talks about that you don’t often hear from anywhere else. She’s definitely worth the watch.
Film Brain (Mathew Buck)
Bad Movie Beatdown – TGWTG.com
Here’s another reviewer I’ve recently gotten into, and guess what? He’s British. He’s yet another one of the reviewers I fear has very little identity of his own in terms of a reviewer, but I can’t deny that his reviews can be downright hilarious. I actually found him looking up “Transmorphers” after Spoony had mentioned such a movie during one of his Vlogs, and sure enough, it was dreadful. Though he is pretty new and doesn’t have much at the moment, and there’s no real specific genre he reviews, but that’s what makes him all the more fun to watch because you never know what he’ll be talking about next.
Mike J (Mike Jeavons)
Shameful Sequels – TGWTG.com
There’s a certain charm in watching British accented people, take for example Monty Python, Hugh Laurie, why even Gordon Ramsay sounds pleasant when he yells at you. What I love about this guy is that he’s himself a parody, and that’s what really made his reviews stand out to me. Not only are the movies he reviews so bad, but any moment this guy shows up on screen to say something is priceless. His angle is to review sequels of movies, and we all know that sequels to movies can be some of the worst of the worst. I hope to see more of his reviews in the future, and I’ll drink a spot of tea as well.
Well, that’s it! Hope you enjoyed reading my take on these great internet personalities! if you do intend to seek them out, feel free and enjoy, just remember that they’re not for everyone and please do be cautious because they are for the mature viewer. If you don’t have a sense of humor and can take rude humor in stride, these guys aren’t for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more… research to perform.