Me: What’s the name of this series again?
She: [Sigh] “The Unenthusiastic Critic.”
Me: And how would you describe your state-of-mind right now?
She: Deeply, deeply unenthusiastic.
Me: Perfect. So let’s begin.
She: Suck a dick.
—from The Unenthusiastic Critic's review of Gone With the Wind
My name is Michael, aka The Unaffiliated Critic, and I write about TV and movies at www.unaffiliatedcritic.com.
"The Unenthusiastic Critic" began its life as an occasional series on that site, in which I convinced my highly-reluctant partner "N."—then my girlfriend, now my fiancée—to watch classic movies she had never seen so I could chronicle the experience for the blog. The idea was to introduce her to widely-beloved films she'd never encountered, and get a fresh perspective on some cinematic "sacred cows" that were woven so thoroughly into my own cultural consciousness that I couldn't possibly be objective about them myself. (You can read more about the genesis of the series in our very first post, here.)
Little did I realize that N's sarcastic, wise-ass, profane, take-no-prisoners approach to movies would take on a life of its own, and become—by far—the most popular series on my blog.
In mid-2014, I decided to focus solely on television at The Unaffiliated Critic. N. dearly hoped this meant the end of her long movie-watching ordeal, but alas: I've decided—and she has reluctantly agreed—to spin "The Unenthusiastic Critic" off into its own website.
So this is the new home of The Unenthusiastic Critic, where we shall continue to celebrate the fact that true love means subjecting your partner to movies she really, really doesn't want to watch.
(And I encourage you to support this ongoing form of relationship suicide by suggesting movies for N. to watch in the comments field below…)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is N. a fictional construct of your demented and lonely imagination?
A: No—though I sometimes think she must be. In truth, N. is 32 years old, a self-described "angry black woman," my partner for the past nine-and-a-half years, and the love of my life who has—quite foolishly—now agreed to marry this bald, white, 45-year-old pop-culture obsessive. (If you want to hear what we both sound like, there's a sound-clip at the end of our post on Star Wars, in which you can hear N. do The Worst Yoda Impersonation Ever.)
Q: Do you write N.'s dialogue?
A. No: she really does talk like that. Though I occasionally move around some of her comments and observations to make posts flow better—and edit out some boring bits (mostly mine)—these posts are otherwise faithful transcriptions of recordings I make as we watch movies. (The way you can be certain that I don't invent dialogue for her is that she is much, much funnier than I am.)
Q. N. sure swears a lot.
A. Is that a question? Anyway, she can't help it: she's a fucking potty-mouth.
Q: What happened to your plans to watch [X]?
A: Occasionally, in the past, I've been foolish enough to announce ahead of time the next movie we planned to watch together. But here's the dark secret of The Unenthusiastic Critic: sometimes it doesn't work. We've watched a handful of movies together which, for whatever reasons, didn't generate a lot of useable material. (Blue Velvet was the first movie I remember this happening with: for some weird reason, that film just didn't put N. into a "funny" sort of mood, and the resulting conversation was sparse and not particularly entertaining.) The worst example of this happening—and the one she still holds against me—was when I had the brilliant idea that we would sit down and watch the Twilight movies, which neither of us had seen: we were both naively unprepared for the overwhelming, utterly joyless awfulness of those films, and they just put us both into a silent funk that would have been stuporously depressing to transcribe. (N. still refers to that experience as "seventeen hours of my life that I'll never get back." But she tends to exaggerate.)
Q: Why do you post so infrequently?
A. Look, I'm lucky she agrees to do these at all: getting her to do them every week would be pushing my luck. Besides, they take a long time to write. (N. only has to suffer through each movie once, but I have to watch them several times, and laboriously transcribe the conversations.) That being said, I'm hoping we'll be able to get something new up every few weeks. Stay tuned, and follow me on Twitter or Facebook to be alerted to new posts.