Eric D. Snider

Eric D. Snider's Blog

Friday movie roundup: Feb. 12, 2016

February 12th, 2016

Look at the old graphic I found! I made it myself, if you couldn’t tell. Here are the reviews I’ve posted since the last time I addressed you:

“Deadpool” (R) B
“Zoolander 2” (PG-13) C-
“The Boy” (PG-13) C+
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (PG-13) B-

This week’s other new wide release, “How to Be Single,” is decent counter-programming. I’ll have a review up shortly; in the meantime, you can listen to me and Jeff Bayer talk about it on Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider. (I gave it a B-.)

Over at Mental Floss, I wrote about “Roman Holiday,” a fine film that gave us Audrey Hepburn and Vespa scooters.

Reviews coming soon: “How to Be Single”; “Where to Invade Next”; “Touched with Fire”; “Race”

Thanks as always to the Patrons who keep this enterprise afloat. Your dollars mean almost as much to me as your love.

Checkin’ in – Feb. 5

February 5th, 2016

Happy February, readers! Here are the new reviews I have for you this week:

“Hail, Caesar!” – The latest from the Coen brothers is set in Hollywood in 1951, and it’s wacky with a side of inscrutability. Coens gonna coen.

“The Choice” – Based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, though it’s less insane than a lot of them.

“Fifty Shades of Black” – Ugh.

“Kung Fu Panda 3” – The returns are diminishing, but it’s all right.

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” screened at the same time as “Hail, Caesar!” (not just in Portland but in most markets) because studios like to play chicken with each other. (That’s especially true when one of the studios has a movie that it doesn’t really care if anyone sees.) I’ll catch up with it as soon as I can.

In the Dark, my weekly email newsletter with the latest reviews, Netflix recommendations, and other stuff, is up and running again. You can see an example of what it looks like and sign up for it here.

And if you want to hear me talk about movies with my voice (interrupted frequently by a cohost’s voice), listen to Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider.

In other news, Sundance was great, thanks for asking. I wrote this piece about the films you’ll be hearing about in 2016. Here are the full reviews I wrote:

“The Birth of a Nation”


“The Fundamentals of Caring”

“Morris from America”

“Other People”

(Psst! An archive of all my Sundance reviews since forever is here.)


Just checkin’ in on Jan. 22

January 22nd, 2016

Now that my movie reviews are being supported by patrons, I figured I should update this blog more often so you’ll know what’s happening, what’s about to happen, and what will never happen.

First of all, I’m at Sundance! I’ll be providing some coverage for Film School Rejects. I’ll be tweeting a lot, too, if you want to see quick nutshell reactions to things and complaints about the weather.

For Mental Floss, I compiled a list of past Sundance premieres that you can watch online and pretend you’re at the festival.

Back in the regular movie world, “Dirty Grandpa,” with Robert De Niro and Zac Efron, wasn’t screened for critics. In fact, critics in some markets were invited to a screening and then un-invited (always a good sign). “The Boy,” about the creepy doll, wasn’t screened. I will catch up with both eventually, but not for at least a week.

“The 5th Wave,” also in theaters today, was duly screened but not till I’d left town. For catching-up purposes, this will be third priority, after the other two.

Now, some new reviews that I do have:

There’s no Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider this week because Bayer’s wife had a baby or something. Thank you and good day.

An assortment of Eric D. Snider updates

January 11th, 2016

Happy 2016, Sniderinos! My deepest apologies for addressing you with a racial slur, but I needed to get your attention.

Just wanted to check in and let you know what’s hoppin’ over here at EDS headquarters. First, we had the usual bombardment of end-of-the-year stuff, as follows:

The Best and Worst Movies of 2015

My media inventory (everything I watched and read in 2015)

A handy list of every wide release of 2015

A handy list of everything I wrote in 2015

Miscellaneous data about the films of 2015

(The miscellaneous data is at Thrillist this year. I noticed it had been somewhere different each year since 2012 — Pajiba, then, then Movie Mezzanine — and decided I liked the nomadic tradition.)

The Patreon movie critic thing

You may also be aware that I’ve embarked on a new scheme for writing movie reviews, one where I am paid not by “legitimate publications” or “editors,” but by You, the People. Like the artists of the Renaissance, my movie reviews are now supported by patrons!

It’s going well so far. At the moment, 164 people are pledging a total of $436.05 a month, which works out to about $40 per review. Most patrons are giving the suggested $1 a month. A buck a month ain’t no thing. Others are pledging amounts that are more than $1 a month, and I’ve come up with a couple of rewards for those who do:

– At $10 a month, you’re entitled to politely demand that I review a particular movie that I haven’t gotten to yet — anything released in the previous 365 days. So if you want to make me watch and review “Pixels,” for example, this is your chance.

– At $15 a month, you get the $10 privilege, plus Eric’s Personalized Movie Recommendation service. This is basically my phone number. You can text me questions like: “I know you haven’t posted a review, but have you seen ‘Such and Such,’ and if so, how is it?” Or: “Is ‘Whatever Movie’ suitable for my children, ages whatever and whatever?” Or: “Here are the three movies we’re considering tonight. Which one should we choose?” This service is already used extensively by friends and family, and for $15 a month you can pretend to be one of them.

I’ve also set a “milestone goal.” Once monthly pledges reach $1,000, I’ll guarantee reviews of every single movie in wide release (plus the handful of indies I review, too). As it stands, I have to skip some in order to work on other things. At $1,000 a month, I can say, “Bug off, other things! The People need their reviews!”

To those who have already become patrons, I give my wettest, most heartfelt thanks. I hope you feel you’re getting your money’s worth. I’ve written 20 full-length reviews since announcing the Patreon 57 days ago. In the 100 days before that, I wrote about 10. It’s nice to be back in the saddle again, metaphorically speaking (I would not enjoy being in a real saddle).

Now I’d like your input. I’d like it so much that I’m turning on the comments. What are some rewards I could offer for different pledge levels? What are some other milestone goals I could set? In short, what are the fondest dreams you’ve always had for and movie reviews? We can make them come true (unless they’re dumb)! Let me know.

Everything I wrote in 2015

January 1st, 2016

Everything I published, anyway. There’s a lot to read here! Better get started!

Movie reviews:
The 33
99 Homes
Adult Beginners
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Balls Out
The Big Short
Black Mass
By the Sea
Cop Car
The D Train
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon
The Duff
The Duke of Burgundy
Ex Machina
Far from the Madding Crowd
Fifty Shades of Grey
Furious Seven
The Gallows
Get Hard
The Good Dinosaur
Goodnight Mommy
Heaven Knows What
Hotel Transylvania 2
Hot Pursuit
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Infinitely Polar Bear
Inside Out
Insidious: Chapter 3
In the Heart of the Sea
It Follows
Jem and the Holograms
Jupiter Ascending
Jurassic World
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Knock Knock
The Last Witch Hunter
The Lazarus Effect
Learning to Drive
Love the Coopers
Madame Bovary
Mad Max: Fury Road
Magic Mike XXL
Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation
Night Owls
Once I Was a Beehive
Our Brand Is Crisis
The Overnight
Pawn Sacrifice
Point Break
The Revenant
Run All Night
San Andreas
The Scorch Trials
Seventh Son
Sinister 2
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Steve Jobs
Taken 3
Ted 2
True Story
Unfinished Business
Victor Frankenstein
The Visit
The Voices
We Are Still Here
The Wedding Ringer
What We Do in the Shadows
Wild Horses
Z for Zachariah

Comedy laff-laff chuckle pieces:
The Pitch Meeting for ‘Unfinished Business’ [Complex]
The Film Festival Blurb Generator [Movie Mezzanine]
Love and Sects [Snide Remarks]
Bake Me to Church [Snide Remarks]
Eric D. Snider: Boy Journalist [Snide Remarks]
Eric D. Snider: Boy Journalist (Part 2) [Snide Remarks]

General movie stuff:
11 Forgotten Sundance Gems You Can Watch Right Now [The Week]
Kevin Hart’s Film Performances, Ranked [Complex]
14 Directors Who Did Complete 180s Between Movies [Complex]
‘Spy’ Is Surprisingly Progressive [The Week]
‘Dangerous Men’ and John S. Rad [Vanity Fair]
‘The Hunger Games’ by the Numbers [Vanity Fair]
2015 Movies: The Miscellaneous Data [Thrillist]

Celebrating anniversaries:
‘Stuart Saves His Family’ at 20 [Vanity Fair]
‘Lambada’ vs. ‘The Forbidden Dance’: The bizarre Hollywood rivalry that spawned two legendary flops [The Week]
40 Things That Wouldn’t Have Happened Without ‘Jaws’ [Vanity Fair]
You’re Old: ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ Came Out 30 Years Ago []
You’re Old: ‘The Usual Suspects’ Came Out 20 Years Ago []
You’re Old: ‘Bring It On’ Came Out 15 Years Ago []
Remember When ‘The Running Man’ Foreshadowed ‘The Hunger Games’? []
Remember When the Supergirl Movie Made Us Think We’d Never See a Supergirl TV Show? []
Remember When ‘The Crying Game’ Did the Impossible by Keeping Its Secret a Secret? []
Remember When ‘Edward Scissorhands’ Introduced Us to Johnny Depp’s Weirdness? []
Remember When ‘The Color Purple’ Gave Us Our First Glimpse of ‘Adult’ Spielberg? []

Mental Floss lists of facts:
12 Angry Men
All About Eve
Bicycle Thieves
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Con Air
Days of Thunder
Dog Day Afternoon
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Fifth Element
Good Will Hunting
The Graduate
High Noon
The Hunt for Red October
The Hustler
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Once Upon a Time in America
Raging Bull
Requiem for a Dream
Reservoir Dogs
Singin’ in the Rain
The Sting
Sunset Boulevard
Taxi Driver
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Usual Suspects
Weird Science

Subjects other than movies:
How Portland’s Neighborhoods Got Their Names [Mental Floss]
15 Ways ‘Parks and Recreation’ Is Just Like ‘The Simpsons’ [Complex]
‘Parks and Recreation’ by the Numbers [Vanity Fair]
15 Facts of Life About ‘The Facts of Life’ [Mental Floss]

Wide releases of 2015: a handy list

January 1st, 2016

Here are all the movies that came out in the U.S. in 2015 and played on at least 600 screens. Movies that opened smaller than that and eventually expanded to 600+ screens are included. There were 153 (up from 144 in 2014). I saw 107 of them. How many did you see?? Send me the number in a telegram.

Here are all the movies that came out in the U.S. in 2015 and played on at least 600 screens. Movies that opened smaller than that and eventually expanded to 600+ screens are included. There were 152 (up from 144 in 2014). I saw 106 of them. How many did you see?? Send me the number in a telegram.

1/2 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
1/9 Taken 3
1/16 Paddington
1/16 The Wedding Ringer
1/16 Blackhat
1/23 Strange Magic
1/23 Mortdecai
1/23 The Boy Next Door
1/30 Project Almanac
1/30 The Loft
1/30 Black or White

2/6 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
2/6 Jupiter Ascending
2/6 Seventh Son
2/13 Fifty Shades of Grey
2/13 Kingsman: The Secret Service
2/20 Hot Tub Time Machine 2
2/20 McFarland, USA
2/20 The DUFF
2/27 Focus
2/27 The Lazarus Effect

3/6 Chappie
3/6 Unfinished Business
3/6 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
3/13 Cinderella
3/13 Run All Night
3/13 It Follows
3/20 Insurgent
3/20 The Gunman
3/20 Do You Believe?
3/20 Danny Collins
3/27 Home
3/27 Get Hard
3/27 While We’re Young

4/3 Furious Seven
4/3 Woman in Gold
4/10 The Longest Ride
4/10 Ex Machina
4/17 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
4/17 Unfriended
4/17 Monkey Kingdom
4/17 True Story
4/24 The Age of Adaline
4/24 Little Boy

5/1 Avengers: Age of Ultron
5/1 Far From the Madding Crowd
5/8 Hot Pursuit
5/8 The D Train
5/15 Mad Max: Fury Road
5/15 Pitch Perfect 2
5/22 Tomorrowland
5/22 Poltergeist
5/29 San Andreas
5/29 Aloha

6/3 Entourage
6/5 Spy
6/5 Insidious Chapter 3
6/5 Love & Mercy
6/12 Jurassic World
6/12 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
6/19 Inside Out
6/19 Dope
6/26 Ted 2
6/26 Max

7/1 Terminator Genisys
7/1 Magic Mike XXL
7/10 Minions
7/10 Self/less
7/10 The Gallows
7/17 Trainwreck
7/17 Ant-Man
7/17 Mr. Holmes
7/17 Irrational Man
7/24 Southpaw
7/24 Pixels
7/24 Paper Towns
7/29 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
7/29 Vacation

8/7 The Diary of a Teenage Girl
8/7 The Gift
8/7 Fantastic Four
8/7 Shaun the Sheep Movie
8/7 Ricki and the Flash
8/14 The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
8/14 Straight Outta Compton
8/21 Hitman: Agent 47
8/21 American Ultra
8/21 Sinister 2
8/21 Grandma
8/26 No Escape
8/28 We Are Your Friends
8/28 War Room

9/4 The Transporter Refueled
9/4 A Walk in the Woods
9/4 Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos
9/11 The Visit
9/11 Perfect Guy
9/11 90 Minutes in Heaven
9/16 Pawn Sacrifice
9/18 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
9/18 Black Mass
9/18 Captive
9/18 Everest
9/18 Sicario
9/25 Hotel Transylvania 2
9/25 The Intern
9/25 Green Inferno
9/25 99 Homes

10/2 The Martian
10/2 The Walk
10/9 Pan
10/9 Steve Jobs
10/16 Crimson Peak
10/16 Bridge of Spies
10/16 Goosebumps
10/16 Woodlawn
10/16 Truth
10/23 The Last Witch Hunter
10/23 Jem and the Holograms
10/23 Rock the Kasbah
10/23 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
10/30 Burnt
10/30 Our Brand Is Crisis
10/30 Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

11/4 Brooklyn
11/6 The Peanuts Movie
11/6 Spotlight
11/6 Trumbo
11/13 Love the Coopers
11/13 The 33
11/13 My All-American
11/20 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
11/20 The Night Before
11/20 Secret in Their Eyes
11/20 Legend
11/25 The Good Dinosaur
11/25 Creed
11/25 Victor Frankenstein

12/4 Krampus
12/4 The Letters
12/11 In the Heart of the Sea
12/11 The Big Short
12/18 Star Wars: The Force Awakens
12/18 Sisters
12/18 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
12/25 Daddy’s Home
12/25 Point Break
12/25 Joy
12/25 Concussion
*12/25 The Revenant
12/25 The Hateful Eight

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

For Mormons: A talk I gave in church

December 2nd, 2015

I spoke some words in sacrament meeting several weeks ago, then thought they might be of general interest. (General interest to my fellow Mormons, I mean, not humanity in general.) So the nice people at LDS blog By Common Consent published them. This was before the new policies were announced (if you don’t know what I mean, don’t worry about it), but what I said addresses that issue, too.

Again, if you’re not LDS, I don’t know how interesting or even coherent this will be. You are welcome to read it, of course, but keep in mind that I was addressing a room full of Mormons.

Anyway, here: The Elements of Testimony

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.

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