Critic School

(Alex Cox, cult film director and the most passionate, honest film critic I’ve ever encountered)

‘So how do you become a film critic?’  No one asked me, ever. I mean why would they? It’s easy! All you have to do is go see a film, drink some coffee, write 700 words about the pre hype for the movie, 200 words on the movie itself, make sure there’s a gif every 100 words and then go home and roll around on your big bed made entirely of money! How hard can it be?


Being a shitty film critic is easy.Being a good film critic?




With a tip of the hat to Robert Rodriguez’s 10 Minute Film School, I present 6 Point Critic School.


1. No one cares about you.

Seriously, no one does. They care about the film and whether it’s any good, not what you had for breakfast, what theater you saw the movie in or your childhood interaction with the works of the director. You’re an interpreter not a Herald and you are no one’s favorite critic aside from, maybe, other film critics.


2. Don’t Believe The Hype

Chuck D is right about many, many things and this is but one. Do not report, after watching the movie, on how much fun the press conference was, or the infidelities of one of the stars. Don’t dignify the often constructed ‘He said what when?!’ bullshit by letting it murder even more electrons and brain cells than it already has. Do not, under any circumstances, believe or participate in, the hype.


3. Watch the Movie

Watch the movie.

Not the press, not the hype, not the pre-press.

The Movie.

Watch the movie.

Watch the movie.



4. Write About The Movie

Analyze your feelings about the movie. Write about those feelings. If it made you cry, why? If it made you angry, why? Be honest. You can tell if you’re doing this because it’ll feel difficult and unpleasant. Do it anyway.


5. Say it in 1000 words or don’t say it at all

Are you being paid to write a 3000 word treatise on the film you just saw?


Are they hiring?

If you’re not, then keep it brief. People wander off around the 1000 word mark online which means you have 1000 words and ideally should get it done in 800. Play with this sort of framework


Set up-200 words

(Premise of film)

Para 1-300 words

(What works)

Para 2-300 words

(What doesn’t work)

Conclusion-200 words


6. Redraft

Write your piece and ignore it for 24 hours. Then go back and redraft it. It will always be a better piece of work when you’re done.


Boom. You’re a critic.


See? Told you it was easy.












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