6:00pm // 4.3.2024

I'm not entirely satisfied with the following screed, as I feel it doesn't capture everything I dislike with RLM and that it is perhaps too negative. But no matter, this is my damn site and I'll dump whatever nonsense on it I want!

Red Letter Media are some of the OGs of YouTube. The early Plinkett Reviews of the Star Wars prequels were some of the early videos to set the standard of what was to be expected from reviewers and commentators on the platform. However, the cracks in RLM's particular brand of criticism that I'm going to expound upon were evident all the way back at the beginning. Before we get into that, though, I want to make it clear that I do enjoy RLM. They've got strong production value and their videos are entertaining. I just think that they're not as infallible as some might think.

I believe that almost all the issues plaguing RLM can be summed up in the person of Rich Evans. The portly, jovial man with the grating laugh could well be considered the face of the channel. As although Mike may be the most frequent person seen on camera, Rich's presence is felt in almost every video. Whether he's playing Mr. Plinkett on screen or making sets and filming behind the scenes. My grievances with him and the channel on the whole can be summed up in a few key points:

  • Reddit Commentary: The conception of movies almost as a logic puzzle to solve, rather than a piece of art.
  • Anti-Anti-Woke: The attempt to remove oneself from politics by acting above it all, while still pushing particular political and philosophical viewpoints where they don't belong.
  • Bad Humor: Jokes that fall flat, bad skits, or filler nonsense that lets them pretend they are filmmakers.

Reddit Commentary

Baked into the very DNA of RLM is their hatred of the Star Wars prequels and a disdain for George Lucas. This is evident in their most recent video on Andor, in which Rich Evans opens by saying something along the lines of "George Lucas is too stupid to write dialogue this good". Really? George Lucas is stupid? An, at worst, very competent film talent who was involved in countless great movies throughout the late 20th century? I've generally found this to be the mark of what I would describe as a "materialist filmgoer" or a "Redditor". Those who view film as a sum of its components and nothing more. You take the story + acting + writing + cinematography and that gives you a movie!

Mike and Rich are both of this mindset, which leaves Jay the only one with the capacity to appreciate anything beyond a standard Hollywood film. And I don't dislike standard Hollywood films, but viewing film in this manner leads to a denial of the art of a movie. It is tiresome when everyone looks at Jay and says he watches "weird movies", leading to what almost amounts to a rejection of filmmakers like David Lynch.

I really dislike the film Prometheus, but it serves to illustrate a key point here. You may recall a particular sequence where a character was running from a giant rolling ring that threatened to crush them. Audiences overly fixated on the question of "why didn't she run to the side?" and ignored everything else about the movie. In their eyes, it didn't matter what else the movie had to offer, it was already anathema. The same occurred with Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Cries of "Martha, Martha!" replaced any real criticism.

And you know what? This line of criticism is fair, even if I disagree with it. Their preferences are their preferences. But it does mean it's occasionally hard to take them seriously. Really? Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire "wasn't that bad" while Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker is a cinematic abortion? I struggle to see the difference, frankly. At least you get some decent criticisms and comments in their re:View series, which they seem to take more seriously.


I really don't mind the Reddit Commentary that much. It sometimes means their criticism is either unfounded or nitpicky, but in the grand scheme of things that's not really a big deal. No, the thing that grates the most is what I would term "Anti-Anti-Woke". In a backlash to "conservatards" who are annoyed that every new show and movie seems to be created for a non-existent audience of black transgender women, they take the stance of being above it all. Neither woke, nor ant-woke - they scoff at the whole thing!

They addressed this most blatantly in their recent Half in the Bag for Ghostbuster: Frozen Empire, where they laughed at a lesbian relationship in the movie while not really saying much of note about it. Then they lamented how so many "grifters" would make videos about how "Ghostbusters had gone woke" and how horrible that was. Really? Nerdrotic is a grifter for explaining what is going on in the movie and why he doesn't like it? He's a grifter for putting "woke" in a video thumbnail? You would think a channel like RLM that dedicates a fair amount of time to reporting the sorry state of the film industry would be against blatant attempts to pander to random social issues, but nope. It's the people who disagree with that who are evil! You'll watch your Rings of Power and you'll like it! But at the same time, apparently, The Boys was really smart and clever for doing the same shtick with "Girls Get It Done".

RLM still makes plenty of political statements, of course. Rich Evans seems to be the one who engages in this the most. You'll frequently hear him complaining about "bad Christianity" that is against homosexuality. Generally unprompted and for no reason. Yes, Rich is an enlightened atheist or agnostic with no particular worldview of his own beyond a vague liberalism that wants to let people do as they please. It's surprising that they don't whole-heartedly endorse every other attempt to force political nonsense into every other film. Especially when they're friends with annoying DNC agents like Patton Oswalt. But their criticism of these things is generally in the vein of "this was lazy pandering that didn't go far enough, actually!" Give me a break. It's as if they are embarrassed by the portions of their audience that are tired of this nonsense and simply want a return to watchable movies that don't feel like a struggle session about how white men are evil.

Bad Humor

Oh boy, another bad joke and annoying laugh from Rich. You've gotta love it... While many of their videos still manage to be very funny (especially their Nerd Crew ones), the extended bits at the beginning of some Half in the Bag episodes seldom work. I particularly despised one episode where they spent 10 minutes on a COVID-19 joke that would've been tiresome a year prior. I can't reacall which video this was for, but trust me, it happened. I don't even feel like the skits, which are less common than they used to be, are worth mentioning beyond saying that they're there and they don't do anything for me.

Rich Evans is the one member of the RLM crew that has seen the biggest decay from this perspective. Their Canadian friends were never funny, but Rich could have his moments, at least! He has not had any such moment in a while. This extends beyond any video discussing a recent film, but even touches their Best of the Worst series. However, he's a bit more insulated from it there, as there is more content to latch onto that is funny in its own right.

In Summation

RLM is still a good channel with plenty to offer, but their commentary and humor gets worse as time goes on. Maybe it's because there is barely anything even interesting at the movies anymore, maybe it's because I don't particularly care about new movies anymore, or maybe it's because they've lost the motivation. They certainly seem more interested in pumping out long trivia competition videos than doing anything that could be considered "constructive" and "original". And Rich Evans grows more and more tiresome with each appearance. For someone who has complained about lack of character growth in movies, I feel we've not seen much from the man himself. At least nothing but a continued decay of the soul and mind sitting in his pudgy, rotting flesh.

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