Cinematic trailers often look incredible, with heart-pounding action shots and fast-paced cuts, but more often than not, the actual movie is a letdown (looking at you, “Suicide Squad”). One solution to this all-too-common situation is to hear from someone who has already watched the film and can tell you honestly if it is worth your time and money. Look no further than YouTube, where several successful channels create hugely entertaining videos that offer their own take on various feature films. There are many such channels on the streaming platform, but the following three in particular feature wildly entertaining content that projects a quick-witted attitude and an analytical sense of humor.
ScreenJunkies is an online movie magazine as well as a YouTube channel owned by Fandom, a global entertainment brand. It currently has 6.74 million subscribers and one of its most popular series is “Honest Trailers,” with its most recent episode receiving over 1 million views. The series, which makes satirical trailers for both TV shows and movies, was nominated for the 2017 Emmy for outstanding short form variety series.
This channel’s first-ever “Honest Trailer” was presented by Ptolemy Slocum, but it was thought that while his voice was funny, it was not quite right for the channel’s content. He appeared alongside other narrators later on, but the first trailer, “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace 3D,” was his only video as the sole commentator. Gannon Nickell was the series’s second narrator and worked on 12 videos before being called into military service and getting replaced by the current narrator, Jon Bailey.
The web series, which first went online in 2012, has been going on for a while now. What started as an original idea has gone a bit stale as other content creators have mimicked its premise. The more frequent uploading has also precipitated a decline in quality. Don’t get me wrong, though: “Honest Trailers” is still funny and one of the best sources for entertaining content; it’s just lost the edge that it used to have when it just started.
Narrated by Lee Boucher, CinemaWins is excessively positive about the things it reviews. It doesn’t create parody trailers like ScreenJunkies; rather, it tallies the “wins,” or positive aspects, of the movie or TV series under review.
The About section of CinemaWins’ YouTube page reads: “Because liking things is more fun than not liking things,” which seems like pretty good reasoning. The page adds that the channel is meant to be an inversion of the more cynical CinemaSins, which is discussed below.
The videos generally advance through the film or TV series while displaying the number of “wins” on a counter on the screen, occasionally accompanied by a funny comment. This takes up most of the video time, but this segment is usually followed by a broader review of the movie or show. The channel currently has 1.67 million subscribers, with the most recent video, “Everything GREAT about the Invisible Man! (2020),” receiving 196,000 views.
If you prefer to balance out the favorable reviews of CinemaWins, then go to CinemaSins. Despite the names, the two aren’t managed by the same people. Just don’t take the criticisms of your favorite movie to heart, because it’s all in good fun. The “sins” are generally awarded for lousy writing, factual flaws, lousy acting or clichés, all while the movie or TV show is gleefully ripped to pieces.
Jeremy Scott and Chris Atkinson manage the channel and currently have 9.02 million subscribers. One of their more recent uploads, “Everything Wrong With Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 18 Minutes Or Less,” received more than 312,000 views. The channel’s catchphrase is “No Movie Is Without Sin,” accurately demonstrating that even the best movies aren’t perfect.
Unsurprisingly, CinemaSins has received a lot of backlash. A channel so relentlessly critical of films and TV shows, which are usually a source of pride for filmmakers, will obviously rub some people the wrong way. Critics have claimed that the channel fails as genuine criticism because it goes over the top in nitpicking faults and generally lacks understanding about the industry. It has also been called mean-spirited, with Jordan Vogt-Roberts , a director, tweeting: “Things like Cinema Sins simply suck the lifeblood of other people and are often just wrong about intent or how cinema works. It’s terrible.”
Some “sins” awarded are trivial, but on the other hand, the hyperbolic criticism is entertaining and can be balanced out by the upbeat positivity of CinemaWins. Still, some of the points that CinemaSins make are entirely valid and are helpful when deciding whether a movie ticket is worth the price.
Since the pandemic began, everyone has been strapped for cash, so if you need help deciding what movies to spend your money on, head to YouTube.