A Children’s Treasury of Male Readers Telling Female Film Critics What They Can’t Review


So Ted 2 is out today, and it’s terrible. Many, many critics have said so, but few with as much delicious venom as the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, who writes, “Mr. MacFarlane can be funny, but Ted 2 is insultingly lazy hack work” — and she’s just ramping up.

Seriously, give it a read, and be sure to skip the comments, which include — alongside the typical “turn off your brain” blockbuster defensiveness (“It’s a teddy bear that curses and smokes dope — you were expecting a Bergman flick?”) — such keen insights as, “We would all have been better served if A.O. Scott reviewed this” (thanks, “Dave”!) and “Why does the Times continue to assign reviews of obviously low-brow, gross-out comedies to the one staffer least likely to find them funny?” (well said, “BC”!).

You see, as countless MacFarlane defending readers (*cough* white dudes *cough*) insist, Ms. Dargis had no business reviewing a Seth MacFarlane movie, because she just doesn’t get it, man. And this kind of thing happens all the time—and not just in the pages of the New York Post, but in the comments section if a woman dares review a fanboy-friendly “guy movie” and doesn’t fall all over herself about it. Don’t believe me? Take a look.*

Stephanie Zacharek on Guardians of the Galaxy (Village Voice)

Ms. Zacharek is one of our wisest and wittiest film writers, but when she dared to write a mediocre review of last year’s Marvel smash, the comments section got so ugly, editor Alan Scherstuhl had to pen a note to the site’s readers. Among the grossest comments:

We live in a world where 1000s of people are being beheaded and murdered throughout the world each and every day and this harlot has the nerve to knock it because it’s too fun?

(Um, “harlot”?)

She’s just pissed because she lives in the Village full of gay men and no one wants any of her old, dried out pie.

Why “Greenarrowmn,” you’re a regular Oscar Wilde! And, of course:

She should stick to reviewing chick flicks only.

This is a bit of a recurring theme.

Amy Nicholson on The Avengers (Box Office)

You see, mouth-breathing fans get especially worked up when a female writer dares to critique the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Amy Nicholson found out when she published the first negative review—not even a pan, just an admission that the movie merely “almost works”—of Joss Whedon’s 2012 mega-hit. And then the trolls came out. The general tenor is best summarized by this bon mot from the commenter/misogyny-robot “3490314”:

She asked her boyfriend what score she should give. Just stick to rom-coms, bitch.

In another thread, the same credit to humanity offered up this zazzier version of that witticism:

This what happens when you send a woman with Katherine Heigl posters on her bedroom walls to review a comic book movie.

And in yet another (busy day for this guy, must’ve had a long lunch break to waste down at the think tank), we get this lovely bit of full-on sexism:

Her boss/lover says it’s better than having her make the coffee and answering phones and besides what else was she going to do with that creative writing degree daddy paid for?

“DVDA” (look it up if you don’t know what it stands for—y’know what, take that back, don’t) muses:

See internet, this is what happens when you give your PA the change to write reviews because it’s cheaper than hiring a proper male writer.

Ah yes, a proper male writer. Anyway, these assholes got the review a lot of attention, boosting Nicholson’s name and visibility; she eventually landed a cherry gig at L.A. Weekly. So, living well is the best revenge, I guess?

Jen Yamato on Avengers: Age of Ultron (The Daily Beast)

The Daily Beast’s Yamato was one of many high-profile critics to take issue with the mustiness and clumsiness of the latest Marvel special, but we’re willing to bet Mick LaSalle, Andrew Lapin and (yes) Kyle Smith didn’t get comments like:

I just don’t know how little I care what this writer feels think or cares about this movie or the Marvel universe. She needs to go back to her outstanding reviews of real movies like the Hunger Games or one of those great Vampire jumping a Wolf movies pure excellence.


Guess you’ve never read a comic book, eh Jen? It must kill you to be assigned to critique movies like this.


This type of review reveals the bias of the reviewer, her life must be so caught up in drama that she cannot believe that anyone can be interested in clarity and action. I am sorry for her pain, nah not really. Emo wimps like her deserve all the pain they garner, because after all it is what defines her.

Somehow, in all the writing about Smith’s wild misreading of Goodfellas, I’m pretty sure no one blamed it on the writer being “so caught up in drama.”

Allison Willmore on The Expendables 2 (Movieline)

The esteemed Ms. Willmore was one of many critics who slammed Stallone and his Has-Been Club’s second all-star movie as lazy, fan-serving garbage. And, as if on cue, commenter “Helmi” fumed:

This movie is for guys. It doenst [sic] try to have a deep story. It focuses on action and 80s style jokes. Every man who likes pure action movies will love this one. But why the fuck do you let a woman write a critic about a movie like this ? Im [sic] sure as hell not gonna judge movies like the notebook or Sex and the city. Movies like these are made for women, i cant say one good thing about them.I`m just not in a point to criticize them. And so is this female critic not in a point to judge a movie like Expendables.

Here’s the best part: the morons who agree manage to top him! “Desert_Myrrh” adds:

Dude, I just loved your comment. Every time i say that, some crazy chick accuses me of machism [sic]

Yeah, those crazy chicks and their “machism” accusations, am I right? But no one can top the classiness of “Bitchinbob,” who stirs his martini, adjusts his monacle, and opines:

It’s true Balls are required to enjoy this film, Alison come scratch them and I will try my best to explain why it’s a guy thing PS “trim your nails first plz” 😉

Excuse me while I go burn down the Internet.

Lisa Schwarzbaum on Sucker Punch (Entertainment Weekly)

When EW’s much-missed Schwarzbaum dropped a “D” on the “pounding, monotonous violence and derivative videogame scenarios” of Zack Snyder’s 2011 bomb Sucker Punch, the Snyder Brigade rushed to their hero’s defense. “sam” offered up this insight:

now im talking to E.W here,lisa by her own nature does not like these type of movies,I believe that in truth she hates them.So when she gets a chance and in her line of work she gets her fair share of chances to destroy a film like this she gets some sort of sexual pleasure in knowing her so called review can hurt its chances of being a successful film. Know i understand that my view of movies is based only to myself but i consider my self a movie buff. i say chose for your self love batman

Kickstarter for a Chrome plug-in that adds “i say chose for your self love batman” to the end of all comments like this.

Kate Erbland on That’s My Boy (Film School Rejects)

When the odious Adam Sandler/Andy Samberg vehicle hit theaters in 2012, our pal Kate Erbland dubbed it “revolting, moronic, despicable, deeply unfunny, wildly offensive, and frankly disturbing.” This did not sit well with commenter “Maynardsabeast,” who opined:

i bet i will find this one funny. screw a uptight movie critic, especially a female one

To their credit, his fellow commenters (aka the “Rejects Nation”) called him on his bullshit—and good ol’ “Maynard” doubled down:

maybe im just not a politically correct scared to offend anyone MALE, who actually does realize that there is a huge difference in tastes and opinions between the two sexes and acknowledges that fact of human nature. but nice try, you either sound like you watch “sex and the city” or you are either delusional or just scared to speak the truth

Fun fact about “Maynardsabeast”: Because you can look this stuff up, we find his most recent commenting activity was over at Emma Sulkowicz’s blog, which he summarized as “This dopey girl giving out jerk off fodder to men disguised as a statement.” So, yeah, classy dude!

Anyway, Ant Man is out in a couple of weeks, so let’s all look forward to more panting male fans directing female critics to go review Paper Towns.

*Disclaimer: Yes, I know that thanks to the anonymity of Internet commenting, we can’t be 100% sure that some of these commenters are men. But, I mean, c’mon, you know.