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Rex Reed Still World’s Worst Film Critic

Rex Reed Still World's Worst Film Critic

The movie reviews of Rex Reed inspire fierce debate: Questions like, Is he the worst critic alive, or the worst critic in history? Is he a terrible writer, or a terrible person who happens to write? Is he a a greater waste of column inches or oxygen?

Reed’s latest affront to the profession — of which he may be counted a practitioner only on account of the fact that he was not always an affront to sentient life — is his review of V/H/S 2, which he reviewed after walking out somewhere in the first 20 minutes. (I say “walking out” even though Magnolia, which distributed the film, regularly provides DVDs to critics, since I’m unsure how Reed would operate a player without opposable thumbs.) Granted, it must be hard for any movie to hold Reed’s attention that does not promptly offer him an opportunity to deride an actresses’s physical size, but even so, it takes serious cojones to bail on a four-part anthology film having seen the work of only one of its directors and still review it.

Reed’s review is short, so Criticwire is reproducing it in full, in part because at this point it’s clear that the New York Observer is simply running Reed for the hate-clicks: The subhead, which reads “V/H/S 2 is unwatchable from start to finish” amounts to a juvenile taunt. Frankly, I’m reluctant to give any further attention to a writer who draws a paycheck for making a mockery of a noble profession while intelligent critics scramble for crumbs all around him. (I know it’s hard to find qualified film critics in New York. Maybe try throwing a rock at the next Film Forum screening.) But seriously, this has to stop.

In this indescribably gory, violent, plotless and deranged purloin of every horror movie ever made by amateurs with a wobbly, nauseating handheld camera, seven unknown directors hell-bent on remaining that way enter a dark, deserted house containing a pile of VHS tapes. One by one, they insert the tapes, and onto the screen flash five [sic] episodic creep shows involving a mountain biker pursued by flesh-eating zombies, a cult of Satan worshipers and a sleepover invaded by psycho kidnappers told from the perspective of a GoPro camera attached to the back of a dog. V/H/S/2 is a diabolically psychotic, sub-mental and completely unwatchable disaster that I happily deserted when a man with a retinal implant scooped out his bionic eye with a sharp object, splattering blood all over the camera. Your move, and you’re welcome to it.

Read more: G/T/F/O: V/H/S 2 is unwatchable from start to finish

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Living in England I had never heard of this guy until I stumbled across a review of the "The Master" from an IMDB link.It astounds me that a reviewer can appear to be both shallow and unbalanced. I typed into Google "Rex Reed awful critic" nad it came up with this blog. I am so pleased I am not the only person to have these views.


    I did the exact same thing, but with another movie.

      Andrew Will

      Same here, for his review of Logan. He obviously wasn’t paying attention to the movie at all, went in thinking crappy genre film.

        Jeremy S.

        Yeah, the Logan review was kind of amazing. Reed’s all, “I love Hugh Jackman and his delicious bod on Broadway and I hate comic books and superhero movies, so this sucks even though I probably didn’t actually even watch it.” I thought, maybe someone who hates a movie before they’ve seen it is a poor choice to review it?

Rob D'eath

Gee, you sure hate Mr. Reed. He must hit too close to the bone.


This guy is Liberace with a pencil. I would think that any flaming fag would be less judgmental about an actress's weight, especially when she out-grosses his income by about 100 times.


Ppl under 30 can't come to terms with (or even comprehend) how us older ppl cannot stand their fully corporatized culture. Bravo Rex Reed for pointing out the humongous flaws of contemporary cinema.

Andrea Ostrov Letania

You gotta admit that his style is very very gay.


Storm in a teacup? Every few weeks there's a new online drama that the blogosphere is supposed to be outraged by. I suppose talentless writers have to find something to blog about between their weekly trashing of M. Night Shyamalan and occasional posts proclaiming Christopher Nolan as the saviour of the Hollywood blockbuster. So, is Rex Reed the world's worst critic? Hard to say. At a time when genuine film criticism is pretty much dead (or at least as far as the mainstream culture goes), any two-bit gossip columnist with a sponsored blog and a copy of The Great Movies by Roger Ebert can roll their sleeves up and start spouting off their own uninformed opinion as it were a fact. Scores, ranking and consensus have long since replaced individual analysis and interpretation and reviewers (I refuse to call them critics) are more than ever playing to the tastes of the masses. It's almost as if they're too afraid to go against the majority or show any kind of personality for fear of incurring a backlash against their site. If Reed is the worst critic, you only have to look at Rotten Tomatoes to find his legacy of bitchy putdowns, uninformed hype and pure egomania is positively thriving.


Reed's review isn't all that bad — pretty much captures how I felt after watching the first V/H/S film (although I've read the second is far superior). I think the problem isn't this review, but previous reviews. Last year, he panned CABIN IN THE WOODS, and his review revealed tons of inaccuracies about the film — it was later claimed by those at the same screening, that Reed was actually sleeping during much of the movie. Certainly, it would seem he is at a point in his career when he is tired, jaded, and done, but doesn't want to leave it behind.


The guy at Dreadcentral covered this too, making a sort of point by point analysis of the "review".
It makes em look a bit picky but it may be an interesting read somehow :

Rob Morris

Thanks. I read Indiewire about once a year. Diatribes like yours serve as a reminder to steer clear for another 12 months.

See yah next July!


Really? Worse than Armond White? Jeffrey Wells? He must reeeeeeeeeeeeally suck.


The world's worst film critic is David Ehrenstein, obviously. Oh wait, he's not really a critic – really he's just the internet's most ubiquitous and annoying presence. And one of the world's worst spellers.

By the way, I know some people in the USA, people who would KNOW and I can tell you all that is a well-known fact among people in the USA that Ehrenstein is straight.

Marlon Wallace

My question to Sam Adams is how do you know that Rex Reed "literally" walked out before finishing the whole movie? Are you basing his walking out on the second-t0-last line in the review? Was an interview published from a reputable news source that claimed he literally walked out before finishing it, or did you actually call Rex Reed and confirm that that's what he did? The second-to-last line could be figurative and not literal, so if you're basing this whole article on what you infer that second-to-last line means, then I can't answer the questions in Sam's first paragraph, but questions of how good a reporter Sam is now enter my mind, unless he has more to the story that he simply didn't post here.

David Ehrenstein

In a Fanboy dominated culture Rex is FAR from the "worst" anything. That he walked out and/ or turned off a film he loathed and then wrote about the experience is the very definition of a serious critic's job.

Arthur Redko

I don't know, I think Eric Kohn gives him a run for his money…


If 'VHS 2' had included a segment populated by stuffy Brits playing royals, he might have stuck it out.


I like Reed's review. It is minima, and to the point, to labor on about an idiotic gore fest film is beneath most critics….right? He is basically saying, "if this floats your boat, but all means, enjoy…" I am among who will not bother to watch VHS 2, I have enough VHS tapes I donated to the library long ago

Dan Heaton

It's hard to get even riled up about Reed, who is so far off the rails that it's comical. Still, he's being paid to write about movies, so what he does makes all film critics look bad. And that's really unfortunate.

Bill Thompson

As I said last time the subject of walking out of a film was broached on this site, there's no reason for a paid film critic to walk out of a film. He gets paid to do a job, and he needs to actually do it. This would be the equivalent of me ignoring a patients complaints of chest pain because "I already know all I need to know from the first five words you told me, so you're fine."

I'm nowhere near a professional critic, but even in my small, and never visited, corner of the critical world I manage to finish every single film I write about. There's no reason that anyone writing about a film shouldn't finish the film. Even outside of the he's being paid to do it argument, it's simple courtesy to stay and watch a work of art that a group of people poured their time and effort into.

Tom Sutpen

"Maybe try throwing a rock at the next Film Forum screening"

" . . . and do me a favor, Fink. Throw it hard."

I would add that Pauline Kael wrote a much longer, negative and quite dismissive review of Bob Rafelson's 'Head' after having walked out of it midway through.

I mention this only to point out that such occurrences are not unknown.

(Noble profession? Seriously??)


Thank you, Sam. Looking forward to your tenure as editor here.

In other news, my least favorite people: Ed Rendell, Tom Corbett, and Rex Reed. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they turned out to be the SAME self-exceptionalizing, fat, intolerant white guy.

Will MacAdam

I've always viewed Rex Reed as a gossip columnist who happily expresses his personal uninformed opinion about films when anyone will give him the time or space. Just a notch above Rhona Barrett and below Liz Smith, NOBODY takes his criticism seriously. He's a glorified fan who saw his dream job come true. He knows what he likes and he pontificates whenever possible. But seriously, to react with alarm at anything his says is just a waste of time and energy.

Justin Jagoe

Interesting how Mr. Reed knew that 'V/H/S/2' was "unwatchable from start to finish," despite apparently walking out a mere 20 minutes in.

Melissa McCarthy

It seems unnecessary to worry ourselves with the rantings of Mr. Rex Reed. This poorly-educated, tastless, self-righteous, sedentary windbag looks as if he already has one foot in the grave with the other foot about a step behind. Life is full of mean people, people who spout their feelings like they matter, people who are so out of touch with what is normal that they are only capable of criticizing. Understandably, critical comments can be beneficial, assuming the comment is rooted in legitimacy. Unfortunately there are those who seem to criticize only because they lack the feelings, the insight, the ability to empathize as a normal person does. Rex Reed is a bitter and horrible person, this is true. However, his antisocial behavior most likely is a manifestation of his own bitter feelings toward his father for molesting him so terribly as a child. The ruthless sodomy that he endured as the hands of his father for all of those years almost certainly played a role in creating this sad person that the world knows as Rex Reed.


well, he’s seen it all….most critics base their reviews as i write on reviews rex reed did 50 years ago. he has a wicked sense of humor. in one of his books, i don’t remember which one, he states that barbra streisand wouldn’t begin their scheduled interview until she was through with her eye makeup, which included sequins on her eyelids…he commented, “…I don’t see why I had to wait through all that preparation….I’ve seen ladies without their sequins before…” he’s not a mean man at all…but he never was starstruck….people were people and their had their odd quirks which he sometimes poked fun at…he’s amusing…

Ernie Laureys

This guy is terrible. I have been a very avid watcher of thousands of movies in my lifetime, and I have read reviews of critics throughout the years, and still continue to do so. I have seen my share of good critics that I can honestly say have decent reviews (one of them is Richard Roeper). However, Rex Reed always seems to direct negative reviews on every good movie that comes around (examples are Deepwater Horizon and Lights Out, along with The Nice Guys—how do you give this 0 stars out of 4?). He has had reviews that stated that movies were terrible from beginning to end, yet continues in his articles that he never stays through the entire movie. Another example is his review of Deepwater Horizon…he states that the “cast does yeoman work in roles that can only be called generic, in the long haul they can’t save the script and direction from being sometimes boring and always predictable. The disaster was complex, but by trying to over-explain to us what happened, the writers have crammed the screenplay with so much extraneous technical jargon about cement logs, blowout preventers, deep pressure controls and corporate greed that Deepwater Horizon seems more like a documentary than a docudrama.” Is this simply because he doesn’t understand what they are talking about in the film…that he prefers no-brainers rather than actual intelligent films? One more review that caught my eye lately is the new film Arrival. Rex gave it 1 star out of 4 (while everyone else gave it positive reviews–it was at 100 percent Tomatometer before Rex put his two cents into it!). He said he liked Prisoners and said this was the only film Denis Villenueve has made…then he makes this post about Arrival: “This promising relationship has come to a heartbreaking finale with every film since. Enemy and Sicario were unspeakable disasters, and Arrival, the director’s latest exercise in pretentious poopery, gives me every reason to believe I have parted company with Denis Villeneuve for good.”

I don’t see how Rex Reed can still consider himself a true critic. He comes up with complete nonsense in his reviews, and slams movies that are very good (in my opinion, just to make a movie have a negative review while everyone else likes it–just to say a movie is terrible when it isn’t). I think he likes to stand out as “different” regardless of if a movie is truly good or not. He is a hack critic, and one that I have not trusted on the review end for years. He is not worth the read, and it is sad that his reviews (as a top critic on RT) is taken seriously enough that he can pan a movie for really no reason whatsoever and yet this deters a movie from getting better reviews. I hope he retires….SOON!


had to add my two cents after reading his review for the blackcoat’s daughter – a film about which i do not feel particularly strong one way or another. the movie certainly has its faults; but aside from taste, rex relays the wrong plot to the reader, which is just blatantly bad reporting. i think the world of cinema is developing in a way that leaves poor rex’s tender sensibilities in the dust and he’s bitter. let’s be kinder to him. it’ll be good riddance when he’s gone

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