Sorry, you won’t find life’s bare necessities on this page. Life’s sort-of, not entirely annoying, mildly amusing leisure accompaniment? That sounds more like it.
I suppose that means welcome to this week’s Failed Critics Podcast, featuring the saddest sentence you’ll ever hear another human say, plus hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by Callum Petch as they attempt a review of Disney’s latest adventure movie, The Jungle Book.
As usual, we start the show off with a quiz, but unusually we don’t conclude it until the very end of the show. I blame Steve. In between all that we also try to round up the week’s film news, specifically looking at: the potential live-action Pokemon film series heading to our screens; our first reactions to the Ghost In The Shell remake that’s in the pipeline; and whether or not it’s fine to use your mobile phone in the cinema. We also squeeze into a packed show our regular ‘What We’ve Been Watching’ section, which sees Owen battle Batman Returns, Callum dances in step with Frances Ha and Steve goes all 30-year-old dismayed podcasting homo-sapien on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Series two of Front Row with Owen and Paul is off to a flyer as the Bucks101 Radio show returns in a new timeslot (Tuesday’s at 5pm), but with just as much sport, movies and general shenanigans as ever.
Our featured movie review, after a short hiatus, sees Owen Hughes taking on the violent, extreme and nauseating action film, Hardcore Henry. Meanwhile, Paul Rutland rounds-up both the good and the unfortunate from the past week in sport – clearly, neither Owen nor Paul are qualified doctors.
Only one minor adjustment has been made to Front Row’s format since last series, with the choice of music in the live radio show being centred around a unique theme. In this episode, the pair were tasked with choosing tracks that remind them of films. We’re looking for suggestions from you, our loyal listeners, for different themes to adopt in future episodes. “Drop us a line” at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @ohughes86 or @p_rutland96 with your topics.
You still won’t find music in the podcast, but as always you can listen to the tunes from every episode of Front Row on our YouTube page.
As Fifty Shades of Grey hit the big screen in February, we invited Matt Lambourne and (for the first time ever) Paul Field onto the podcast to review the not-so-erotic erotic-thriller. It was almost left up to Paul to review the movie on his own as both Steve and I welched and Matt did his best to ruin Valentine’s Day. The podcast also featured reviews of two other new releases, with Will Smith’s con-film Focus and the sci-fi indie movie Predestination.
Quickly becoming one of our favourite guests on the show within just three months, Andrew Brooker was invited back onto the podcast again to discuss Neill Blomkamp’s latest action thriller, Chappie. Also joining us that week was Jack Stewart – then of Not This Again fame, but now one part of the Wikishuffle trio. It’s fair to say that there were some mixed opinions about this new release!
If you’re actually a fan of the Failed Critics Podcast, then April 2015 was quite the month for you as we put out 15 individual episodes, including a five-hour long triple-triple bill podcast with Matt Lambourne, Andrew Brooker and Paul Field, to celebrate reaching a pretty incredible milestone of 150 episodes. It was also the episode where we debuted our new logo and theme tune, which was a remix of the old tune by professional musician James Yuill.
Andrew Brooker was back on the podcast as we reviewed the film that would go on to win first place in our Top 10 of 2015 list at the awards, Mad Max: Fury Road. From the way Brooker and Jackson Tyler reacted to it back then, it’s hardly surprising it had such a lasting impact. This was also the podcast that saw us change our opening quiz format for the first time to some degree of success, as I made up a few Albert Pyun film descriptions.
With the legendary Sir Christopher Lee passing away, it seemed somewhat fitting that we had our resident horror expert on the podcast that week in Mike Shawcross. We paid tribute to the iconic film star, as well as reviewing the biggest film of the year, Jurassic World.
In our first podcast of the second half of 2015, Callum Petch joined us to review one of the highest grossing movies of the year, Minions. We also had some-time guest writer Nick Lay join us for review of yet more low-budget indie movies. We also ranted once again about another Spider-Man reboot news.
After much persuading by Paul Field, the ‘slice’, he convinced us to dedicate and entire episode to the work of British actor Danny Dyer … and it turned out to be our most downloaded podcast of the entire year! A lot of work went into it, with Paul watching every Dyer film in existence. We even got professional stand-up comedian James Mullinger to appear on the show, as well as an interview with film producer Jonathan Sothcott, who co-authored the book The Films of Danny Dyer with Mullinger.
With Steve on a week’s break, Jack Stewart was back on the podcast – but this time in the host’s chair. Phil Sharman (also from Wikishuffle) appeared on this episode, fresh after the pair of them won Best Comedy Podcast at the UK Podcaster Awards. Andrew Brooker also helped join in the collective sigh of disappointment at Legend, starring Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy.
Inadvertently spawning a new catchphrase, my review of a Columbo TV movie (that Steve forced me to watch) led to ‘it’s Columbo’ causing a few chuckles amongst our guests. Both Tony Black (of Pick A Flick and The X-Cast fame) and Brian Plank helped us to review the latest James Bond film and somewhat underwhelming SPECTRE.
In a re-hash of an idea we tried out in 2014, we invited listeners to send questions in to us and our guests for the episode (and world cinema aficionados) Liam and Andrew Alcock. We also discussed the new Cristiano Ronaldo documentary that had just been released, as well as lesser known international movies Nocturna, Green Butchers and Train of Life (yeah, I hadn’t heard of them either!)
Every October, we have a Halloween special podcast. In April, we celebrate the “birthday” for Failed Critics. In December, of course we always have a Christmas special episode. It was the last of the year that both Steve and I were on (as he missed the end of year awards and I was booted off the Star Wars: The Force Awakens episode) so why not listen to both of us (plus Andrew Brooker and Brian Plank) spread some Christmas cheer!
Some others not mentioned above:
Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Fred’s Pocket – Although I didn’t appear on this podcast, I am its Producer and Editor! Paul Field and James Mullinger started off their new podcast series with a look at their favourite Canadian films and interview WolfCop director Lowell Dean.
TV Specials: 2.5, (S3, Ep1) and (S3, Ep2) – In 2016 we’ll be hosting our first Netflix Original podcast, but earlier this year we hosted three TV specials, including episode 2.5 with Paul Field and Andrew Brooker, which reviewed Entourage: The Movie, and then again with episode 3 split into two parts. James Diamond (founder of Failed Critics) and Matt Latham (creator of The Bottle Episode) joined us in part 1 for a chat about the Emmy’s and in part 2 to talk more generally about our favourite TV shows.
The Blair Witch Project (Commentary) – Less of an actual film commentary and more like a watch-along (as I tried to explain on my blog), Steve, Matt, Brooker and I all watched cult 90’s found-footage phenomenon The Blair Witch Project and released our running dialogue as an episode people could either listen to whilst watching the film themselves, or just as a stand alone podcast. We’ll be trying it again at some point in the new year. If there’s any suggestions as to what we should watch next, leave a comment in the box below!
2016 is already shaping up to be another successful year for us. The first three months of podcasts have been scheduled and we’ve got two Corridor of Praise episodes lined up, our usual Oscars special, a world cinema triple bill, episode number 200 (!!) and of course all of the big releases including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Hateful Eight, Creed and loads of others too.
Welcome to possibly the most offensive, extraordinarily explicit episode of the Failed Critics Podcast to date. Which probably suggests our guests this week need no introduction! But for the sake of posterity, hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by Andrew Brooker and Paul Field.
To tie into last week’s release of Entourage: The Movie, a spin-off from the popular HBO series, “the boys” have turned this episode into a TV Special. Not quite a full continuation of the first two entries to our previous TV Specials (part 1 & part 2), this is more like a TV Special 2.5 with a full third entry coming in the next few months.
In it, the quiz gets a TV-make-over, the team talk about what TV shows they’ve been watching lately and we have a full review of the Entourage film. We’re even releasing this episode a couple of days early as it will take you a week to finally finish listening to it as it comes in at an impressive (daunting?) 1 hour and 45 minutes long.
Join us again next week as Callum Petch joins us to review the animated comedy Minions, a spin off from the highly successful and popular Despicable Me franchise.
Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas to every single one of our beautiful listeners (we hope the less good-looking ones have a decent time as well), and as an early Christmas present to you we present our favourite Christmas films. Well, three of us do anyway. One of the team decided that they wanted to be different and chose some films that might have a bit of snow in them, possibly a tree in one of the scenes. I wonder who…
We’ll be back on New Years Eve with a review of the year destined to be bigger, more bloated, and even less self-aware than late-period Marlon Brando. There’s still one more day to vote for you favourite films of 2012 by visiting the site here – rock the vote!
In honour of this week’s main review we thought about splitting this podcast into three full-length episodes, or recording it at twice the speed, or even inviting old guests back for needless cameos (except we’ve never had a guest on the podcast).
Instead we felt the story of a short, hairy old man and his companions resonated enough with us hear to avoid such frippery.
This week sees the Failed Critics dissect Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-Earth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We’ll give you the low-down on the new 48fps technology, discuss the wisdom of turning a short ‘children’s book’ into a dark and epic trilogy, and two of the team confess to falling asleep at some point.
It’s one of our more argumentative podcasts so far, and there are some very passionate criticisms and defences of the years last blockbuster.
We’ll be back on Christmas Eve with our Christmas Films Triple Bill, and then on New Years Eve we’ll be looking back on 2012 and revealing the first ever Failed Critics Award winners.
A year ago today I started a blog called The Failed Critic. It was the latest in a long line of attempted blogs and aborted hobbies that I tried to define my personality with. I planned to watch every film on the IMDB Top 250 list (including the ones I had seen) and record the whole experience for posterity.
Since starting the blog I have managed to add only about 30 films to my ‘watched’ list. But the year I’ve had has been one of the most fun and exciting I can remember.
The blog started off very slowly, with a few friends reading the odd post if I badgered them enough. That is until I ‘met’ Steve, Gerry, and shortly after that Owen. That’s when the Failed Critics podcast was born.
We’ve since recorded over 40 episodes of “the slightly shambolic weekly film review podcast”, and one of those episodes has been described as “pretty good”. It even attracted the attention of Carol Morley (director of the brilliant Dreams of a Life). The podcast has been through a number of reboots and guises, but it’s currently better than I ever hoped when we first sat down on Skype and shyly said hello to each other. Despite having never met them, I’d describe each of the team as a friend – and without them I’m pretty sure I would have given up on Failed Critics like I have every other blog.
One of the greatest pleasures I’ve had has been reading some fantastic writings from people who just wanted to get involved. It’s been a genuine honour to be able to publish the work of these great writers. In the next twelve months I hope that even more brilliant writers will want to get involved with what I’ve been lovingly building here. We’re not professionals, and pretty much everything we’ve reviewed has been paid for with our own hard-earned pocket money. We’re just fans of films – and I hope that comes across.
It’s been an amazing year, and we’re only just getting started. I can’t wait to see what 2013 holds for me, and for the Failed Critics readers.
This week’s podcast returns to the bread and butter work of reviewing the latest releases, and the spotlight is on Martin McDonagh’s follow-up to the brilliant In Bruges – Seven Psychopaths. Boasting a brilliant cast including Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken half of the podcast team (yes, I know…) give their verdicts.
Also in this episode James tries to cement his hipster art-house credentials while sporting the worst French accent since ‘Allo ‘Allo with his glowing reviews of Amour and Intouchables; Gerry finally gets around to watching Prometheus; Owen gets confused and somehow watches Predators instead of Predator; and Steve goes to great lengths to test the podcast theory that we can watch any film which stars The Rock by reviewing Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
We’re back next week with a Tolkien-inspired special episode with our first thoughts on The Hobbit.
We’d like to welcome you all to the first ever Failed Critics Corridor of Praise induction. The C.O.P. has been set up to honour the work of those legends of the movie world who have either never sought the acceptance of the Academy, or who have been shunned by those bestowers of baubles.
In this podcast we are honouring the first recipient of our recorded adoration.
He has a career spanning six decades, and his films have grossed over $6b worldwide. At one point 4 of the top 6 grossing films of all time featured him, and in 1997 Empire magazine named him as their No.1 movie star of all time.
As well as the iconic roles he is known for, and that we will no doubt discuss shortly – he has appeared in films as diverse as What Lies Beneath, Working Girl, and The Fugitive Of course I am talking about the one, the only, Jack Ryan…Indiana Jones…Han Solo himself. Harrison Ford!
Also in this week’s podcast we review The Master, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Rise of the Guardians, Room 237, and Miracle on 34th Street.
This week on the Failed Critics Review we look at the cop film that French Connection director William Friedken described as the “best movie about cops ever made”. Can James get over the found footage angle? Can Steve suggest a way he would have done it better? Can Gerry get around to seeing it? (No).
Also on this week’s podcast we look at James’ future wife Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone, and discuss films as varied as Network, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and The Devil’s Backbone.
Next week’s episode is the launch of the Failed Critics Hall of Fame, where we award some poor Oscar-less schmuck with some award I’ll try and rustle up on Photoshop.
Bond is back on the big screens, and to celebrate Failed Critics recorded a podcast devoted to all things Bond, James Bond. To discuss the latest outing of 007: Licence to Kill we gathered Steve (Licence to Thrill), Owen (Licence to Ill), James (Licence to Grill), and Gerry (Licence to Pop Down t’Mill – because he’s a northerner).
We also discuss some classic (and not-so-classic) Bond films, and attempt the most shamefully embarrassing Pop Quiz of all time.
Join us later in the week for the second of our Bond Specials as we discuss our favourite non-Bond performances from Connery, Moore, Lazenby, and Craig.
Welcome to this week’s Failed Critics Review – unfortunately delayed due to technical issues.
Gerry is technically an old man who can’t stay up past 11pm apparently.
Anyway, better late than never! On this week’s podcast we review the latest instalment of the Big Fish in the Found Footage pond – Paranormal Activity 4. We also catch up on what the critics have been watching in the past week, including the wonderful Safety Not Guaranteed, the utterly bonkers Holy Motors, and the little-seen Speed Racer. Steve also finally got around to watching The Raid.
Join us at the weekend for Triple Bill where we discuss the films that have scared the crap out of us – and next week the Review returns with a review of Skyfall and a BOND SPECIAL!
In honour of this weeks Triple Bill – TV-to-Film adaptations – we upped the budget slightly and went to the continent on holiday to record it. Owen booked us into an unfinished hotel, James got drunk on local alcoholic concoctions, Gerry got into fights with all the foreigners over sunbeds, and Steve found love.
The end result is flashier, but ultimately less satisfying than the original series – unlike our choices of our favourite TV-to-Film adaptations!
Next week we return to normality with the Failed Critics Review covering Paranormal Activity 4, and in Triple Bill we choose our scariest moments in cinema.