Who we are

Failed Critics grew from the ramblings of one man trying to educate himself on film, to a whole team of writers and regular contributors to our long-running podcast. The last published podcast was in 2019 after a long break. Long-suffering editors Owen Hughes and Steve Norman called time on the Failed Critics Podcast after more than 200 episodes (excluding spin-off podcasts Character Unlock, Front Row and Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights.)

We’d like to thank all of the people who joined us on these episodes, from regular friends and colleagues, to those who popped up only once or twice for some our niche podcast topics. And, of course, we’d like to thank you for listening. At last count, the podcast had been downloaded more than 120k times, meaning either there were regularly hundreds  (sometimes thousands) of you downloading and listening to us each week, or it was just our mums trying to make us feel good.

Thanks, mum.

During our run, we never claimed to be experts on film (well, most of us didn’t) and we certainly didn’t try to hide our cinematic baggage under a cloak of supposed objectivity. We just loved films; blind spots, weird crushes, unreasonable prejudices and all. Film was the common language through which we were able to share thoughts, observations and have a laugh with each other for nearly a decade.

At Failed Critics, we were more likely to break hearts than news. We cared not for petty rumours and gossip, and we almost always paid to watch the films we were reviewing out of our own pocket, at our own personal expense, without ever asking for a penny in return. Our personal connection to film was at the heart of everything we did here. Film, like all art, is about the way it makes you feel. The rest is just background noise.

Podcast & Website Editor: Owen Hughes

Five favourite films: Night of the Living Dead (1968), 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now, Jurassic Park, Predator
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Jean-Claude Van Damme (I wish!)
Cinematic turn-offs: Anything accompanied by lyrics at the bottom of the screen
Often heard saying “yeah, I’m not a massive fan of that, but…” on the podcast to all of your favourite films, Owen is the resident prolific film watcher and editor for the Failed Critics website.

Posts | Twitter | Letterboxd

Podcast Host: Steve Norman
Five favourite films: Star Wars IV, V and VI, Escape to Victory, Die Hard
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Despite me wanting to say Brad Pitt or some handsome bastard, it’d be either Jonah Hill in a few years time or the late, great John Candy
Cinematic turn-offs: Musicals. Except South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Podcast host extraordinaire, Steve is a man whose logic defies convention. Stretching this to two lines is his biggest challenge. He succeeded.

Posts | Twitter | Letterboxd

Writers and Podcast Guests:

Name: Andrew Brooker
Five favourite films: Fight Club, American History X, Aliens, OldboyMad Max: Fury Road
Who would play you in the movie of your life: I want Chris Hemsworth. I’ll get Seth Rogen
Cinematic turn-offs: Pointless, shoddy, Paint-By-Numbers remakes. Final films that are split into two.
Andrew spends his days in his office, rehashing sitcom and film quotes wishing he had time to write something meaningful.

Posts | Twitter | Character Unlock

Name: Paul Field
Five favourite films: Memories of Murder, Carry On Up The Khyber, Clerks 2, Paradise Lost, Cinema Paradiso
Who would play you in the movie of your life: The Stath….. No? Alright… Charles Hawtrey
Cinematic turn-offs: Movies made by accountants, usually Lionsgate horrors with a checklist to keep a 15 certificate.
Paul’s father and grandfather were cinema proprietors. This somehow validates him spending an inordinate amount of time sitting in his pants watching films.

Posts | Twitter | Letterboxd | Underground Nights

Name: John Miller
Five favourite films: Reservoir Dogs, Memento, Shutter Island, Edge of Tomorrow, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Who would play you in the movie of your life: The one and only Marky Mark
Cinematic turn-offs: Films that put the location on the screen. I can see the Eiffel Tower, I know it’s Paris!
John doesn’t spend all his time playing and talking about video games; he also does a lot of things he isn’t allowed to talk about in public, although it’s not as interesting as it sounds.

Posts | Twitter | Character Unlock

Name: Callum Petch
Five favourite films: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Inside Out, Zootopia, Alien, Snatch
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Hailee Steinfeld, if The Edge of Seventeen is any indication
Cinematic turn-offs: Sexism or misogyny of any kind, lazily and cynically constructed animated films
Callum Petch keeps getting asked back onto the Failed Critics Podcast for reasons that are a mystery to him. Callum also did not like Two By Two, get over it already.

Posts | Twitter | CallumPetch.com

Name: Matt Lambourne
Five Favourite Films: Fight Club, American History X, Godfather Pt II, Inception, Predator
Who would play you in the movie of your life: James Spader
Cinematic turn-offs: Sacrilegious remakes
Matt’s voyage into cinema began via work experience at 15 years of age as an usher, which led to a natural progression into Cinema Contact Centre busy body. Being able to see new movies for free and having 100% disposable income to blow meant a lot of bad DVD’s were bought and thus a monster was created.

Posts | Twitter

Name: Tony Black
Five favourite films: Die Hard with a VengeanceIndiana Jones & the Last CrusadeStar Trek II: The Wrath of KhanThe Shining2001: A Space Odyssey
Who would play you in the movie of your life: In my head: Chris Pratt. In everyone else’s: James Fucking Corden (seriously, everyone says I look like him, EVERYONE)
Cinematic turn-offs: Wilfully offbeat, experimental filmmaking; anything by Michael Bay.
Tony spends far too much time podcasting & thinking about The X-Files, but when he’s not he also devours films, TV, books and eventually will release his own novels, probably circa 2110’s!

Posts | Twitter | Letterboxd | The X-Cast

Name: Liam
Five favourite films: Harold & Maude, Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Angels With Dirty Faces, Blues Brothers, White Heat
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Tony Hancock
Cinematic turn-offs: Anything to do with comic books. Schmaltzy OTT emotional guff.
Frequently mistaken for a depressed tumbleweed, Liam is proudly ignorant of all forms of modern culture & spends most podcast runtimes saying “Nah, not seen it”.

Posts | Twitter

Name: Brian Plank
Five favourite films: The Prestige, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Hot Fuzz, The Rock, Being John Malkovic
Who would play you in the movie of your life: David Tennant, using his proper accent
Cinematic turn-offs: Disaster porn, where films casually rack up a massive civilian body count
Brian doesn’t get to his local multiplex as often as he wants. You’ll have to speak up; he’s wearing a towel.

Posts | Twitter

Gone but not forgotten (and founder of Failed Critics 2011-2013)

Name: James Diamond
Five favourite films: Back to the Future, Life is Beautiful, Alien, Amelie, Pulp Fiction
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Clint Howard
Cinematic turn-offs: Pointless American remakes of Foreign Language films
James is the founder, former-editor and all-round Keyser Soze of Failed Critics. He walked off into the sunset and nobody knows if and when he’ll ever be back. He still hates Top Gun.

Posts | Twitter | Letterboxd

5 thoughts on “Who we are”

    1. Hi Natalie,

      I can’t believe I haven’t seen this post before! I’m really sorry – I didn’t intentionally ignore your comment.

      That’s so kind, thank you for nominating us! I know it’s a little bit late but I will get started on a reply soon. Thanks so much.


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Home of the Failed Critics Film Podcast and blog, gaming podcast Character Unlock, and cult film podcast Underground Nights

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