The Educators of YouTube, Part II
So, I've been working on this site for eight years now. Not only it became one of the few reliable things in my life, but I dare to think I'm getting better at it. I like finding smart things to say about books, movies and records, and I find more and more of these to say. One thing that helped was YouTube. I accidentally became addicted to various YouTube channels last year and it's been a one-way ticket into a wormhole, to be honest.
Critics, in 2017, work on YouTube. Not on blogs, not on Facebook, they shoot videos where they express themselves in whimsical terms and make people feel smarter about themselves, something I aspire to. I've already shared my favorites with you last year, but since my usage of the platform has only been growing, time has come to reveal who my new favorites are. And what your next YouTube obsession is going to be.
Formerly known as Chainsawsuit Original. There are many shows on that channel, but I'm only watching the boss' film criticism series Movies with Mikey. Mikey Neumann's insight is smart, original, meta, irreverent and filled with jokes I don't always understand, but it's never not pertinent. He's one of the best, most accessible critics on YouTube and his work will make you appreciate movies in a whole new light. His John Wick and John Wick 2 videos are particularly great. Follow Filmjoy here.
Lessons from the Screenplay
There's a lot of half-baked criticism on YouTube. Guys hiding behind microphones and making the same analysis you can find everywhere else. Shit, maybe I'm one of those guys. I don't know. Lessons from the Screenplay might look like run-of-the-mill criticism, but it isn't. Instead of giving you bland writing advice, Michael Tucker starts from a successful screenplay and breaks down how it followed that advice sometimes and how it broke from it whenever it needed to. I also bought a couple writing advice books based on Michael's suggestions. Follow Lessons from the Screenplay here.
Todd in the Shadows
Music criticism has been reinventing itself in the wake of Anthony Fantano's monster success and Todd in the Shadows is one channels that emerged from that movement. It offers primarily two things. Intelligent criticism of contemporary pop songs and, what is the channel's calling card, extensive analysis of the career of artists and bands known only for one song. What I like about One Hit Wonderland is that it puts intelligible answers on profoundly unintelligent moments in our culture where we were sold crap or where we weren't fair to genuinely good bands. Follow Todd in the Shadows here.
A blossoming young channel lead by rock critic Luke Spencer. The greatest thing about Rocked is a series called Regretting the Past, where Luke puts himself through albums everybody used to own and pretended to love, and verifies if it withstood the test of time or not. Albums like Fall Out Boy's Save Rock N' Roll, Nickelback's Silver Side Up, Metallica's St. Anger, etc. That excruciating process Luke puts himself through provides insight on the gap between what labels think we want to hear and what is good music. The analysis is surprisingly cohesive from album to album. Follow Rocked here.
Literally found out about this gentlemen yesterday. He's not a critic in the conventional sense of the term, because he doesn't review art. Some would qualify what Ze Frank does as self-help, but it isn't exactly what he does. He's a critic of the self (among other things). A Show is a series of video where Frank tackles common crippling terrors in a critical light. It's enlightening, motivating. I was swept away for the entire evening. Just watch that video above. It's called An Invocation for Beginnings and it's fucking beautiful. Stop whatever you're doing for three minutes, shut up and watch this. Follow Ze Frank here.