Anghus Houvouras with his five best YouTube movie channels…
I’ve been writing film columns and reviews online for 20 years. And the truth is that film commentary is as good as it’s ever been. There are so many quality creators out there making fantastic content that it felt like time to call out some of these great channels and recommend them in the hopes of directing you, the gentle Flickering Myth reader, to check them out. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our own quality YouTube content being produced each week (which can be checked out here). However, the goal here is to present some bias-free examinations of the highest quality content creators. So without further ado, here are the Five Best YouTube Movie Channels (in no particular order)…
The team at RedLettermedia has been creating content online for years. They first made a name for themselves with ‘The Plinkett Review’ where an elderly curmudgeon did a multi-part review of The Phantom Menace eviscerating the film and everyone involved for all of its glaring flaws. The Wisconson-based crew created more Mr. Plinkett reviews and eventually transitioned into more traditional critical reviews with the always-entertaining ‘Half in the Bag’ where hosts Mike Stoklasa and Jay Bauman discuss the latest cinematic releases (and occasionally television) in the guise of two shiftless layabouts who work at a VCR repair shop. They also indulge in some hilarious satire with their Nerd Crew Podcast segments and do deep-dives of classic movies in their Re:View segments. Some of their most entertaining work comes from their ‘Best of the Worst’ segments where they analyze terrible movies at great length to determine which one deserves the faintest hint of praise and which one should be ultimately destroyed.
RedLetterMedia feels like the natural evolution of the movie websites of the early 2000s where film geeks congregated and discussed pop culture ad naseum. The entire team (including the irreplaceable Rich Evans) have created a channel chock-full of geek-friendly content that demands to be watched.
Recent Highlights: A multi-part series where life-long Star Trek fans Mike and Rich absolutely destroy Star Trek: Picard.
Lindsay Ellis may be the best film essayist creating today. Transitioning from ‘The Nostalgia Chick’ on Channel Awesome into more refined analysis of film and television. In fact, calling Ellis’ a ‘Movie YouTube Channel’ feels like it doesn’t quite encapsulate the wide range of topics she has explored. Some of her most interesting pieces have examined everything from the difficult relationship between art and artist to molecular examinations of fictional character canon. She’s also a big fan of musicals which has spiraled into a musical podcast (Musical Splainin’).
Ellis’ video essays are consistently exceptionally well-written, entertaining and funny as hell. There are few people working at her level and it shows in each new video.
Recent Highlights: A follow up to an essay “Death of the Author” where Ellis examines the difficult relationship between Harry Potter fans and J.K. Rowling.
Adam Johnston, creator of the YouTube channel Your Movie Sucks, is a character in the best definition of the word. The word ‘sharp’ feels like an apt way to declare his intellect and delivery. While declaring movies to be hot garbage isn’t exactly the sport of kings, there’s a sweet science to the way he breaks down movies, TV shows and other popular media with his reviews. I’ve always been a fan of his work, but recently he’s achieved some new heights. The kind of rarefied air that most creators will never inhale.
While some people would be content reviewing a terrible movie, Adam has done a multi-part examination of The Lion King which is absolute genius. Not everyone is going to appreciate a two-plus hour breakdown of an old trope that Disney stole the plot of their blockbuster from a Japanese Story, Kimba the White Lion. But it might be the most fascinating debunking I’ve ever seen. Where most people are content just accepting certain stories as being the truth based on how long they’ve been around, Adam watched the entire Kimba series to obliterate age-old claims of plagiarism. Your Movie Sucks is a great channel for both short-form and long-form content.
Recent Highlights: Adam’s Kimba the White Lion analysis is the YouTube pop culture equivalent of Oliver Stone’s JFK.
Maggie Mae Fish is a criminally underrated creator who zigzags wildly across the pop culture spectrum to create essays that are both fun and ridiculously insightful. Her current series examines the work of Zack Snyder where she makes some incredibly interesting points and forced me to reconsider his works. There are a lot of critics and columnists who try to fortify their perspective with “you didn’t get it”. Maggie Mae Fish is one of the few creators that may actually make you wonder if you did.
She deftly analyzes pop-culture in a way that feels unique among a slew of creators. In particular, her examination of Tim Burton’s work and deconstruction of faith-based films like Kirk Cameron’s Fireproof & Saving Christmas show remarkable insight and creativity. She also deserves props for the slick polish that’s present in all her videos.
Recent Highlights: Right now Maggie is three installments deep into her Zack Snyder deep dive and I’m eagerly awaiting part four.
Like Maggie Mae Fish, Jenny Nicholson swerves wildly from pop culture mainstays like popcorn blockbusters to in-depth examinations of more random topics like terrible fan fiction or the history of Bronies. There’s something wonderfully random about Jenny who always manages to provide intelligent insight infused with a pinch of pleasant personality. Jenny’s channel feels like it exists on the opposite end of the spectrum from Redlettermedia, which constantly feels like its speaking in a familiar voice.
Jenny’s voice is unfamiliar and her perspective diametrically different from my own. And yet, her videos are always providing me insight into the world of pop culture that I feel I wouldn’t get anywhere else. She also genuinely seems to enjoy her fascination with movies, TV shows and random things she finds online. She presents her work in a way that feels critical but never possessing animus. I’m always convinced she goes into every screening/reading/viewing with the hope that the end result will be a positive experience. Her energy is infectious enough to keep me invested in content that veers away from traditional pop culture discussions like Josh Hutcherson fan fiction analysis and a road trip vlog to purchase a man-sized stuffed spider.
Recent Highlights: Jenny’s examination of BronyCon and the My Little Pony fandom is a must-watch. Even for those of you (like me) who knew nothing about it going in.
Any of these creators would be worth the investment of your time and the occasional smashing of a like button.