TheScarletSp1der Presents: Films That Made Me A Critic

For the love of movies!! What makes a person a movie critic? Well, honestly, the saying is true: “Everyone’s a Critic!” But I recently watched an episode of “Ebert Presents At The Movies” where Roger Ebert, Christy Lemire, and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky presented a list of a few movies each that made them “Professional Movie Critics” (if you will).  Their list (1 from Ebert and 5 each from the other two) included the following titles:

Foolish Wives, Nights of Cabiria, Shoah, Play Time, True Heart Susie, Historie(s) du Cinema, The Wizard of Oz, The Breakfast Club, Magnolia, No Country For Old Men, and Citizen Kane

Inspired by this 30 min segment of “Ebert Presents”, I decided to create my own list of films that made me a critic. Here we go!

No Country for Old Men (2007): This highly acclaimed film by the Coen Bros continues to receive high praise…but not from me. I actually did not enjoy the bore of a film this was. I know I am in the minority on this, but for me there is very little character development, several plot holes, and the ending completely leaves the viewer without a sense of closure whatsoever. Reminding me of the flop Basic, starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson. No Country for Old Men: unique storytelling, but the high praise it continually receives = overrated, and that fact needs to be told by someone.

Saving Private Ryan (1998):Steven Spielberg hit the jackpot with this epic WWII tale! Emotion, cinematography, historical contribution, character development….everything about this film screams “AMAZING!” Saving Private Ryan confirmed that war movies can still be made well and have a place in movie-lovers’ dvd cabinets. Great cast, soundtrack, and story! An amazing tribute to those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for liberty. I watch it every Veteran’s day. (Glory, starring Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, and Matthew Broderick is a close second for me in war movies categories)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994): enough said!……ok, I’ll say a little bit more! Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, prison, the plight of an innocent man wrongly convicted, The Shawshank Redemption proved that a movie doesn’t have to be a box office hit in theaters to be a winner. This film, inspired by a Stephen King novel, did considerably poorly in the theaters but became one of the highest rented films of all time! It’s post-theater performance rivaling box-office performances of several other films!

Twelve Angry Men (1957): starring Henry Fonda, this classic jury film intrigued me in highschool! Amazing to see the influence one person can have over so many, and how easily swayed people can be. I also found it interesting to see how quickly humans seek to find fault in one another. Nominated for 3 Oscars and currently #7 on IMDB’s top 250 movies of all time list, Twelve Angry Men is a must watch and sparked a love for good classic films!

Monsters, Inc (2001): 6 years prior, Disney-Pixar released their flagship film Toy Story, and I never thought that another animated film would ever make me feel the way that Toy Story did. Happy, tearful, loving, fearful, so on and so forth. But, they did it without using the same characters or idea. Monsters, Inc came and another powerhouse for Pixar was born! I remember having movie night in my college apartment, 30 people crammed around 25″ tube television to watch Mike and Sully hide and hurry Boo throughout the entire film! What a wonderful work of art Monsters, Inc is!

Hamlet (1996): Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Much Ado About Nothing), this version of Hamlet trumps all others. Starring Branagh, Kate Winslet, Billy Crystal, Charlton Heston, Robin Williams, Julie Christie, Judi Dench, Rosemary Harris, Rufus Sewell, Derek Jacobi, Jack Lemmon, and countless others, this version of Shakespeare’s great tragedy is one that follows the transcript so well. Oftentimes you can read the play right along with the film! It is so seamlessly performed. The costume design, portrayal of the characters, the flashbacks and imagination, the music, the cinematography…everything about this film is superb. I waited for this film to be released on to dvd for years after I first saw it! Branagh’s greatest directing achievement ever: Hamlet!

Honorable Mentions (look ’em up on IMDB!): Black Hawk Down, Captain’s Courageous, Crash, The Matrix….and it’s subsequent horrible sequels (the spawn of irony and bad afterthought), It’s a Wonderful LIfe,  Gladiator, and the horridity that is Spiderman 3…..(I am a huge Spiderman fan!!….but, I’m sorry. The third one, Raimi, What was that??)

What about you? What movies made you a critic? Leave a comment and share!

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!


up next: “Trailer Time Thursday!”


  1. Oooh, this is a great idea for a post, T, and I love the photo you used up there.

    I’ve heard a lot of bad things about ‘No Country’ In fact, a few of my colleagues who are Coens’ fans either walked off the theater or turned the dvd off. Just from what I read/seen, it’s definitely not my cup of tea. Memorable hairstyle on Javier though, but not in a good way 🙂

    I LOVE Shawshank… a great redeeming film. In fact, that’ll be in a list I’m compiling for Easter.


    • thank you for the compliment! I look forward to reading your segment for Easter! Shawshank is quite appropriate I think!

      I actually wonder what your thoughts would be should you ever catch No Country on FX or some other channel. I was not a fan, and the fact that I didn’t enjoy is why it’s on this list!


      • no, absolutely. I’m glad to answer. All of the praise and recognition that No Country For Old Men kept receiving caused me to say, “Hey, seems like I’ve got to check out this movie.” I had read several reviews, including Eberts and when he says at the end that the film is “a miracle” I couldn’t wait to see it. After watching it I felt cheated. All of the critics praised the great “connected” story telling, acting, cinematography, emotionality, and thrill of the film. I saw only 2 of those 5. Bardem was creepy, but Brolin’s character= almost unnecessary. It seemed to be a lot of scenes tossed together barely hanging on to each other for disjointed connectedness, little explanation of events and Tommy Lee Jones’s character, and a horrible ending.

        I, for one, felt the readers and soon-to-be watchers deserved more explanation from the critics. so, it prompted me to share my thoughts on films more. haha, thanks for asking!!!


  2. I wouldn’t consider my self as critics because ALL my reviews are based on whether I like it or not.

    I AGREE 100% with everything you say about Saving Private Ryan.

    What movies made me a critic?
    I want to answer that with what movie that made me start writing movie reviews.
    Ringu,but it was in my native language (I wrote another review somewhere last year)
    The first one in English is Death Note


  3. Here are my review.
    This one contains spoiler as I put the most memorable moment in the movie as a screenshot> Ringu:
    This one is my comparison of the book, the Japanese movie and the Holywood adaptation> Ringu: The Origin, The Adaptation, the Screw-up:

    I am not a fast reader, I normally read 3 to 4 books a month. I know a lot of people who read 3 to 4 books in a week, they make me a bit envy.


  4. Why you hating on “No Country?” It is an awesome film. I understand your reasons why though. Love your other choices. I haven’t see Hamlet. I need to check that one out. I am trying to get “A Royal Affair.” It just came out and it isn’t showing in my area. I am begging all over the Magnolia Pictures Facebook page. I love those types of films.

    I see why you became a critic. There is definitely a need for truths about a film without all the bs.


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