Eric D. Snider

Eric D. Snider's Blog

Let’s all make me a film critic again!

November 16th, 2015

Ahoy, friends! Many of you long-time readers remember the days when I reviewed pretty much every new movie that came out. It was a time of peace and security, when you could visit with 99% confidence that I’d have a review of whatever movie you were considering.

Those days have passed, sadly. The freelance gigs that were paying me to write reviews have dried up, and the gigs that pay me to write other things don’t leave me much time (or energy) for extracurricular reviews.

I’ve still been reviewing new releases with my voice, on the Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider podcast. But it’s not the same for you guys. For one thing, it involves listening instead of reading. Totally different skill set.

Well, I’m tired of this. Not writing movie reviews is no way to live.

Starting immediately, I return to being a real Film Critic. And not some lazy dilettante who does, like, one review a week, either, but the old-fashioned kind who reviews pretty much everything.

When a bad-looking horror movie comes out and isn’t screened for critics, I’ll go see it when it opens. I won’t say, “Eh, I don’t feel like it, and nobody’s paying me.” I’ll say, “I DO feel like it, because somebody IS paying me!” And all will rejoice.

What’s that? Who’s paying me? Why, you are! I’m asking readers to pledge $1 a month through Patreon, a crowdfunding site that, um, does this sort of thing. You can use PayPal. Every month that I write at least 10 reviews, you pay a buck. If I don’t meet my quota, you pay nothing.

You can pledge more than $1 a month, of course. If you pledge $10 a month, then once a month you’re entitled to demand that I review any specific movie that came out within the previous 365 days. [UPDATE: because lots of people are pledging this much, we'll have to trust each other. I'll review whatever you request as soon as I can, and you only request reviews you genuinely want, i.e., not just because you can.]

Other amounts between $1 and $10 are also allowed. For example, $2.35. You could pledge $2.35 a month.

$3.12 is also an amount that could be pledged.

That’s basically it, but visit my Patreon page for more details.

And to be clear, I’m writing these reviews whether I get enough pledges or not (at least at first). I’m doing the work “on spec,” as they say in the biz, trusting that the support will come.

Thanks for your support, financial and otherwise, over the years. Here’s to a bright new day where I get to write movie reviews, you get to read them, and everybody wins! (Except Adam Sandler. He continues to lose.)

Some things I’ve written lately

October 6th, 2015

Ahoy, Internet friends! Just a little update on what’s been happening at EDS HQ lately.

I haven’t been writing a lot of movie reviews, on account of the situations wherein people pay me to write them have been sparse. But I’ve been writing other movie-related things, and my podcast, Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider, still has me reviewing movies, only with my voice instead of my writing.

Over at Mental Floss, I’ve been writing list-oriented articles about various beloved films. The idea is to find information about these movies that the average fan doesn’t already know. This can be a challenge, but so far I have not resorted to just making things up.

Here’s my author page at Mental Floss, and here’s what I’ve covered so far:

All About Eve
Con Air
Days of Thunder
Dog Day Afternoon
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Good Will Hunting
The Hunt for Red October
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Raging Bull
Requiem for a Dream
Singin’ in the Rain
The Sting
Sunset Boulevard
Taxi Driver
The Usual Suspects
Weird Science

I also did this comedy ha-ha piece for Movie Mezzanine: a do-it-yourself film festival blurb generator. May it bring you hours of enjoyment.

As always, I will be very grateful for any Facebook or Twitter shares of any of these pieces. The higher-ups like that sort of thing, as it tricks them into thinking they should continue to employ me.

New song: ‘Give Me a Call (A Song for Mom)’

June 2nd, 2015

I have recorded a new song that you can listen to! It’s called “Give Me a Call (A Song for Mom),” and the link is below.

This song came about in a way that had never happened for me before: somebody hired me to write it. I’ve made money (a little bit) from songs before, but this was the first time I was contracted ahead of time to do it. Having now been through the experience of being paid to write a song, I can definitely say that I am a fan.

I was contacted by a friend who works for a film production company that sometimes does work for a particular ad agency. This ad agency asked my friend if anyone at the production company knew anyone who could write a funny song. My friend put me in touch with the ad agency, which was representing a tech client that wanted something it could turn into a viral video for Mother’s Day.

The best part was that they already knew what they wanted the song to be about: helping Mom with computer stuff. With that great premise delivered on a platter, the rest came pretty easily.

Also, for fun (and because ad agencies have a stupid amount of money to spend), they hired someone else (another friend of mine, actually) to ALSO write a song with this premise. They paid us both, and then chose the one they liked better. They chose his, and sure enough, made a video of it. It’s funny and you can watch it here.

If they had chosen my song, we’d have re-recorded it in either a barbershop quartet arrangement or a soft-shoe sort of thing — something old-fashioned and sentimental. I don’t know what the video would have entailed, but I figured that wasn’t my department.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the song. If you’d like to download an MP3 of it for $1, you may do so here, thank you.

P.S. If you want to hire me to write a song for you, I will do that. I charge either more or less than you’d expect, depending on what you’d expect.

Buy This: ‘Real Moms: Making It Up As We Go’

March 2nd, 2015

Lisa Valentine Clark is one of my best friends, one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and now a published author! Her book, “Real Moms: Making It Up As We Go,” combines two of the things she is best at: improv comedy and parenting. You should buy this book (here).

Like Lisa herself, the book is thinner than you’d expect. (It’s a healthy 182 pages, they just used thin paper.) She talks about her experiences as a mother of five children, as a typically atypical “Mormon mom,” and as a creative person trying to balance family, work, art, and church. Her voice is that of a dynamic woman who sometimes seems to have it all figured out, and sometimes is a barely functioning trainwreck.

I say in all sincerity that I can’t think of a mom, Mormon or otherwise, who wouldn’t enjoy this book. (Lisa doesn’t write a lot about religion, but the book is clearly from the POV of someone for whom church-going is part of the parenthood experience. What she says would apply to any denomination.) It’s funny, warm, self-deprecating, and relatable. It’s NOT full of advice and lectures and checklists to make you feel guilty. Lisa is anti- all those things.

Now, you may be asking: “Are you quoted in this book, Eric? On pages 90-91, perhaps?” And the answer is yes. To address your followup question, yes, those are the best pages in the book. But even if that were not the case, I would endorse this slender, sexy volume, and the book she wrote. I’m so proud of Lisa for cranking this sucker out while also doing ten thousand other things, and for doing such a good job of it.

In conclusion, here is one of my favorite pictures of me and Lisa performing together. I think it encapsulates our relationship.

Wide releases of 2014: a handy list

December 29th, 2014

All the 2014 movies that played in wide release (at least 600 screens). Movies that opened small but eventually expanded to 600+ are included. There were 144 of them! How many did you see?? Write down your answer on a piece of paper, chew it up, and swallow it.

1/3 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
1/10 The Legend of Hercules
1/17 The Nut Job
1/17 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
1/17 Devil’s Due
1/17 Ride Along
1/24 I, Frankenstein
1/31 That Awkward Moment

2/7 The Lego Movie
2/7 The Monuments Men
2/7 Vampire Academy
2/14 RoboCop
2/14 Winter’s Tale
2/14 Endless Love
2/14 About Last Night
2/21 3 Days to Kill
2/21 Pompeii
2/28 Son of God
2/28 Non-Stop

3/7 Mr. Peabody & Sherman
3/7 The Grand Budapest Hotel
3/7 300: Rise of an Empire
3/14 Need for Speed
3/14 Bad Words
3/14 Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club
3/21 Divergent
3/21 Muppets Most Wanted
3/21 God’s Not Dead
3/28 Noah
3/28 Sabotage
3/28 Cesar Chavez
3/28 The Raid 2

4/4 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
4/11 Rio 2
4/11 Draft Day
4/11 Oculus
4/11 The Railway Man
4/18 Transcendence
4/18 A Haunted House 2
4/18 Bears
4/18 Heaven Is for Real
4/25 The Other Woman
4/25 Brick Mansions
4/25 The Quiet Ones

5/2 The Amazing Spider-Man 2
5/9 Neighbors
5/9 Chef
5/9 Moms’ Night Out
5/9 Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
5/16 Godzilla
5/16 Million Dollar Arm
5/23 X-Men: Days of Future Past
5/23 Blended
5/30 Maleficent
5/30 A Million Ways to Die in the West

6/6 Edge of Tomorrow
6/6 The Fault in Our Stars
6/13 How to Train Your Dragon 2
6/13 22 Jump Street
6/13 The Rover
6/20 Jersey Boys
6/20 Think Like a Man Too
6/27 Transformers: Age of Extinction
6/27 America
6/27 Begin Again

7/2 Tammy
7/2 Deliver Us from Evil
7/2 Earth to Echo
7/11 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
7/11 Boyhood
7/18 Planes: Fire & Rescue
7/18 Sex Tape
7/18 The Purge: Anarchy
7/18 Persecuted
7/18 Wish I Was Here
7/25 Hercules
7/25 Lucy
7/25 And So It Goes
7/25 A Most Wanted Man
7/25 Magic in the Moonlight

8/1 Guardians of the Galaxy
8/1 Get on Up
8/8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
8/8 Into the Storm
8/8 Step Up All In
8/8 The Hundred-Foot Journey
8/8 What If
8/13 The Expendables 3
8/13 Let’s Be Cops
8/13 The Giver
8/22 If I Stay
8/22 Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
8/22 When the Game Stands Tall
8/29 The November Man
8/29 As Above/So Below

9/5 The Identical
9/12 Dolphin Tale 2
9/12 No Good Deed
9/12 The Drop
9/19 The Maze Runner
9/19 This Is Where I Leave You
9/19 A Walk Among the Tombstones
9/19 Tusk
9/26 The Boxtrolls
9/26 The Equalizer

10/3 Annabelle
10/3 Gone Girl
10/3 Left Behind
10/3 Men, Women & Children
10/10 Alexander and the…
10/10 The Judge
10/10 Dracula Untold
10/10 Addicted
10/10 St. Vincent
10/17 Fury
10/17 Birdman
10/17 The Book of Life
10/17 The Best of Me
10/24 Ouija
10/24 John Wick
10/24 23 Blast
10/31 Nightcrawler
10/31 Before I Go to Sleep

11/5 Interstellar
11/7 Big Hero 6
11/7 The Theory of Everything
11/14 Dumb and Dumber To
11/14 Beyond the Lights
11/21 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
11/26 Penguins of Madagascar
11/26 Horrible Bosses 2

12/5 The Pyramid
12/5 Wild
12/12 Top Five
12/12 Exodus: Gods and Kings
*12/12 Inherent Vice
12/19 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
12/19 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
12/19 Annie
12/25 Unbroken
12/25 The Gambler
12/25 Into the Woods
*12/25 American Sniper
*12/25 Selma

*In limited release at the moment but will go wide in January

What Is My Deal? An Exhaustive Report

December 29th, 2014

I have dwelt upon this Earth for four decades now, and if there’s anything I can say that applies to the entire span, it’s this: it certainly hasn’t been boring. There’s always something.

2014 was a difficult year for me in many respects, a rewarding one in others. On a personal level, many of my relationships with friends and family were strengthened this year, and I made some high-quality new friends. My level of fulfillment from church activity increased. I lost 10 pounds. I went on the record as being a faithful LDS Mormon who is also a gay homosexual, an openness (on both counts) that has brought blessings of its own.* In general, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, things are trending upward for Eric D. Snider.

But mentally, things have been tough. My depression has mostly been kept at bay, but I’ve been going through prolonged stretches of brain uselessness, where I can’t concentrate enough to get any work done, at least not anything requiring creativity. You know, like writing.

I used to be prolific and fast. It was sort of my “thing.” Here’s how many movie reviews I wrote in previous years and this year:

2009: 190
2010: 159
2011: 161
2012: 153
2013: 152
2014: 106

And other movie-related columns — the sort of thing I generally do for a living:

2012: 131
2013: 74
2014: 25

Remember Snide Remarks? I only wrote 14 of them in 2013 and felt bad about it. In 2014, I wrote zero. That’s even fewer than 14!

During these bad phases, which can last weeks at a time, a piece that I ought to be able to write in a couple hours will take an entire day, even two, and is always exhausting. Nothing comes easily. Everything is like pulling teeth. I’ll have a few good days here and there, and I managed to write several things this year that I was proud of, but in general, this state of befuddled low output is how it’s been for more than a year now.

It’s terribly frustrating and demoralizing. You can’t work, but there’s no apparent reason for it, so you feel worthless, and feeling worthless makes you depressed, and being depressed makes it hard to work. Also, not working (when you’re a freelancer) means not making money, which means being stressed about finances, and stress makes it hard to work. And so on. It gets so bad that you start writing in the second person instead of the first.

This is why I’ve hardly written anything all year. What I’ve put out (here’s the whole list) is all I’ve been able to muster, and it’s an embarrassingly small amount — embarrassing, in my mind, because I can’t point to a logical reason for it. True, it didn’t help that two of my regular outlets — and the world/independent section of — went out of business this year, but I can’t blame it all on that.

It’s not as simple as “I’ve been depressed,” although I do think it’s connected to that, and my doctor and I have tinkered with my medications to try to fix it, but with no lasting success. On the days when I’m productive, I look back on these phases and think: Bah, you’re just lazy! But when I’m IN the phase … believe me, it’s something else entirely. I WANT to write. I just can’t focus my thoughts for more than a few moments at a time.

I’m confident there’s a solution to this problem. I’m not worried it will last forever. I’m continuing to talk to my doctor and to try new ideas. Maybe ADHD meds! Maybe sleep apnea is to blame for at least some of the mental fogginess! Maybe there’s a “Flowers for Algernon” situation happening! The possibilities are endless.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you what’s been going on. I probably should have said something sooner, but I kept thinking I was juuuust about to snap out of it. I’ve hardly even discussed it with my friends and colleagues for that same reason, not to mention it’s a little embarrassing, professionally. I can’t shake the idea that it’s somehow my own fault, or that people will think it is. But now it’s the end of the year, and that seems like a good time to reflect and to settle one’s accounts. You faithful readers deserve an explanation for why I’ve been M.I.A. My editors deserve thanks for working with me even though I haven’t been at the top of my game.

I feel so bad about not having written Snide Remarks all year. I still owe you 26 of them from the last Kickstarter, and you will get them, I promise. You have my word, and I am a man of my word. They will be hilarious. I’m wetting my pants just thinking about how hard you’ll laugh.

I also have plans for a couple other projects that I’m excited about. These projects are heavily structured — very helpful to someone who’s having trouble concentrating — and I think you will love them.

Like I said, personally, I’m doing great. Better than ever, in fact. My brain has always been an interesting place — a gleaming, futuristic rollercoaster that also happens to be a deathtrap. This is just the latest adventure. And who knows, maybe it’s leading me toward some new path. In the meantime, while we’re sortin’ stuff out, I appreciate your patience and understanding and continued fervent devotion. Happy new year, and God bless us, every one.


*No, there wasn’t, like, a big announcement. This was it, and you only saw it if you were my Facebook friend. But now that post is viewable to anyone on FB, friend or not, and so there you go. Anyway.

Everything I wrote in 2014

December 28th, 2014

Here’s everything I wrote in 2014. Well, everything I published. I wrote some emails and bathroom graffiti, too.

Movie reviews:
22 Jump Street
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
And So It Goes
The Babadook
Bad Words
Begin Again
Blue Ruin
Brick Mansions
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Cheap Thrills
Cold in July
The Congress
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Discoverers
Draft Day
The Drop
Dumb and Dumber To
Edge of Tomorrow
Exodus: Gods and Kings
The Expendables 3
God’s Pocket
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Grand Piano
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guest
Hide Your Smiling Faces
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The Homesman
Horrible Bosses 2
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1
I, Frankenstein
If I Stay
The Imitation Game
In Your Eyes
Into the Storm
Jodorowsky’s Dune
John Wick
Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
Kill the Messenger
Land Ho!
The Legend of Hercules
Listen Up Philip
Magic in the Moonlight
Million Dollar Arm
A Million Ways to Die in the West
A Most Wanted Man
Obvious Child
The One I Love
Penguins of Madagascar
The Purge: Anarchy
The Raid 2
Ride Along
Sex Tape
The Skeleton Twins
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
That Awkward Moment
The Theory of Everything
They Came Together
Two Days, One Night
Under the Skin
Veronica Mars
A Walk Among the Tombstones
We Are the Best!
What If
Winter’s Tale
Wish I Was Here
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Zero Motivation

Reviews of movies not yet released:
99 Homes
Madame Bovary
The Voices
What We Do in the Shadows

Eric’s Bad Movies:
Chatroom (2010) [GeekNation]
No Holds Barred (1989) [GeekNation]
Nightmares, aka Stage Fright (1980) [GeekNation]
ATM (2012) [GeekNation]
Amityville 3D (1983) [GeekNation]
Red Scorpion (1989) [GeekNation]
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) []

Other movie-related columns:

- Upcoming Movies with Internet-Inspired Titles Like ‘That Awkward Moment’ []
- 11 Movie Titles That Became Part of the Lexicon [Mental Floss]
- ‘Missionary’: Mormons are mainstream enough to be crazy villains [City Weekly]
- 10 Good Movies from 2014 That Made Less Than $1,000,000 [Complex]
- What a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Movie Would’ve Looked Like in the Hands of Other Directors [Complex]
- Interview: Jason Schwartzman, ‘Listen Up Philip’ [Complex]
- ‘Fight Club’ at 15: Marla, Men’s Rights, and the Internet [Complex]
- 20 Years Later, ‘Natural Born Killers’ Isn’t All That Disturbing [Complex]
- More Weather-Inspired Movies [Complex]
- On Robin Williams, Comedy, and Depression [Complex]
- ‘UHF’ 25 Years Later: One Boy’s Story [Complex]
- New TV Shows Will Serve As Prequels to More of Your Favorite Movies [Complex]
- ‘It Practically Writes Itself’: The Pitch Meeting for ‘Maleficent’ [Complex]
- 20 Strikes and You’re Out: Why I’m Not Watching the New Adam Sandler Movie [Complex]
- You’re Old: ‘Look Who’s Talking’ Came Out 25 Years Ago []
- You’re Old: ‘Speed’ Came Out 20 Years Ago []
- You’re Old: ‘Office Space’ Came Out 15 Years Ago []
- 2014 Movies: The Miscellaneous Data [Movie Mezzanine]

2014 Telluride Film Festival reviews

September 5th, 2014

I spent Labor Day weekend in beautiful Telluride, Colo., where the 41st edition of that quaint mountain town’s film festival was taking place, drawing cinephiles and wealthy people from around the world (guess which one I was).

Five of the last six Best Picture Oscar winners were Telluride premieres, but given what I know about Academy tastes and how these things usually go, I don’t see this year’s Best Picture on the list. That being said, nine of the 10 films I reviewed are in the “good” category (to varying degrees), a few of them really outstanding. There will definitely be some interesting conversations this fall and winter.

Here are the reviews. Scheduled U.S. release dates are in parentheses.

Birdman (10/17) B+ [Complex]
Foxcatcher (11/14) A- [Complex]
The Homesman (11/14) C- [GeekNation]
The Imitation Game (11/21) B- [GeekNation]
Madame Bovary (TBA) B [Vanity Fair]
Mommy (TBA) A- [Complex]
99 Homes (TBS) B+ [Vanity Fair]
Rosewater (11/7) B- [Complex]
Two Days, One Night (TBA) B+ [Complex]
Wild (12/5) B+ [Complex]

Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider #221: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Get on Up’

August 2nd, 2014

[Also on Movie B.S. this week, a round of Jeff & Eric's Excellent Adventure, involving time travel.]

Episode 221: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Get on Up,’ Jeff & Eric’s Excellent Adventure

0:00-6:10 – Introduction, the weather, trivia night at Portland’s Hollywood Theatre
6:10-23:30 – “Guardians of the Galaxy” review
23:30-29:25 – “Get on Up” review (Bayer only)
29:25-38:05 – QOTW (outside-the-box superhero actors)
38:05-40:00 – Box Office Challenge update (Bayer is losing a lot)
40:00-52:25 – Jeff & Eric’s Excellent Adventure: Aug. 2, 1991
52:25-55:20 – Summary, goodbye, etc.

QOTW: If you could preserve one movie (or movie series) from ever being remade, rebooted, or otherwise tampered with, which would it be, and why?

Download audio / Listen at / Listen at iTunes


Garrens Comedy Troupe reunion video!

July 28th, 2014

Remember the Garrens Comedy Troupe? Remember when we did a 20th anniversary show? Remember when we released the video of that show?

No you don’t because we didn’t UNTIL NOW! Now there is video! You can buy it for $10 and watch it forever!

It was a really fun show, and the video (shot with multiple cameras, high-def, good sound) captures it. We did a bunch of classic sketches and songs with as many of the original cast members as we could dig up from various prisons and homeless shelters.

Here are a few clips:



Get the digital download here, via Gumroad. We’re also selling digital versions of our old CDs, “The Garrens Comedy Troupe Live!” and “Songs of Love and BYU,” which people occasionally ask about.

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