Top 5 Reviews: Personal Favourites

By Dear Cast & Crew

Mailed on March 24, 2017

Dear Fans of DC&C,

We do this site out of pure love – a love of watching movies, writing about movies, and reading about movies. As a collective of film nerds, we get off on finding different ways to look at a film’s production or think about its meaning. And after five years, there are times we feel we’ve done that better than others.

So here they are, each critic’s favourite reviews they’ve written during the DC&C Era (past five years) – which rarely correspond with our favourite films from the past five years (that Top 5 coming soon!).

Please note: not ranked – but with a small description for each.

Christopher Redmond’s Top 5 Fav Reviews

Jared once said he liked this review, which automatically makes it one of my favourites. Plus, when I interviewed Denis Villeneuve a few months later, I asked him to shout-out a below-the-line crew member that he thought wouldn’t otherwise be recognized. He praised Bruce Hamme. Blew my mind.

Another review for a Villeneuve film, but writing this one somehow made me understand (or at least enjoy) the film more.

Dream House
When you have a chance to take your anger against the sub-prime mortgage crisis out on an appallingly bad movie called Dream House – you hit that shit hard.

American Reunion
It’s so simple, but it works. At 149 words, it’s one of our shortest reviews too.

The 16 Sexiest Roles on a Film Set
I’ve written a few dozen essays over the years, so I wanted some representation of that. They aren’t usually this silly, but the real goal was to give every on-set department some praise, peppered with a bit of insight. That’s the whole goal of the site, after all.

Honourable mention:

The Artist
Not only my first review, but the first DC&C review, period. It was intended as a proof-point that we could make the site’s concept work writ-large and a template I personally tried to follow for not including a standard plot synopsis, taking a slightly ironic approach (writing to a sound tech on a silent film), and referencing the recipient’s previous work. Not my favourite review by any means, but a meaningful one.

Jared Young’s Top 5 Fav Reviews

Olympus Has Fallen
I still can’t decide how sarcastic I was being with this five-star review, but I nonetheless enjoyed writing a little paean to the awesome action soundtracks of my youth.

The Dark Knight Rises
Me at my most self-righteous.

The anatomical review that started a Dear Cast and Crew craze.

Straight Outta Compton
I still struggle with some of the questions I posed in this review: how do you reconcile with the work of an artist who commits terrible acts in their private life?

Mr. Turner
I’m not sure I can clearly explain why I’m so fond of this particular review; it was a tough one to write, but it turned out to feel (to me, at least) very genuine. Also, it’s written to a guy named Dick Pope.

Casey Tourangeau’s Top 5 Fav Reviews

The Lucky One
My first full-length review for the site. Sometimes the first time is the best.

Sorry, The Lego Movie is the Best Film of 2014
I had a lot of trepidation naming a movie best of the year for such personal reasons, but the resulting piece justified its selection.

The Wolf of Wall Street
This review was as much a reaction to some criticism I thought was invalid (attacking it for the actions of its real-life subject, instead of how it’s treated on screen) as it was review of the movie itself. Either way, it forced me into a deep dive I rarely get the chance to take.

A Good Day to Die Hard
As much fun as I had systematically taking this apart, I wish my review could have simply been what the person sitting next to me yelled during a scene in which the sound drops out in an effort to inspire awe: “BOOOOOOOO!!!”

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
This must be the most aggressive I’ve ever felt writing a review. The fact that it was aimed at a cynical children’s film made it feel all the better.

Di Golding’s Top 5 Fav Reviews

Grudge Match
My first review for DC&C. I showed my first draft to Tim McEown (my friend of 16 years who lovingly refers to me as Her Vagesty, Queen of Ascerbia), and he recommended I maybe scale back my hostility until I’d established a rapport with the rest of the team. So I sent a toned down revised draft to Christopher Redmond who asked if I could maybe amp up my vitriol. I knew then that I’d found my people.

Still Not Over the Canyon: Thelma and Louise at 25
What I love most about writing for DC&C is the freedom I have to write what I want, how I want. This essay is about one of my favourite films, and what has (and hasn’t) changed for women in front of and behind the camera in 25+ years.

I do my best to go into a film with minimal expectations. That said, I thought I knew what this film was going to be, and I was glad to be wrong. If I could go back and give it another star, I would.

My DC&C compatriots revere a film from the mid-70s that went on to spawn a franchise that has endured for the last four decades and is poised to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So do I. Theirs features a Wookie. Mine features an Italian Stallion. Apologies to Jared Young who somehow always gets the unenviable task of editing one of my Rocky pieces (three and counting).

We Need to Talk About Adam
As long as his movies keep getting greenlit, we will never not need to talk about Adam.

Tim McEown’s Top 5 Fav Reviews

Kubo and The Two Strings
Most fun review because I got to talk about Noh theatre, Ray Harryhausen, Samurai and Monkeys. Hard to beat that.

Mistress America
Sometimes it’s childishly fulfilling to be able to sincerely dump on people’s sacred cows.

This was, for me, the most difficult review I’ve had to write because the film was so technically complex. I worked harder on this than any other review I’ve written.

This was the first review where I began to understand what exactly I wanted to do when writing about films.

Hail, Caesar!
Best time at the movies I’ve had in a very long time. So easy to write.

Nat Master’s Top 5 Fav Reviews

Elle is the Best (and Angriest) Film of 2016
I got to rage against The Patriarchy, which is always fun (and essential).

The Night Before
I enjoyed writing this so much I briefly considered formatting all my reviews as poems going forward, but then I changed my mind, so you were all spared my haiku on the undercurrent of misogyny in The Peanuts Movie.

I feel like this one makes me sound really insightful and smart, which is a marked departure from my usual stream of cursing and complaining.

You guys don’t even know how many truly awful 3D dick puns there were in my original draft.

A Hologram for the King
The guy I addressed the review to actually sent us a lovely, gracious email expressing thanks for my comments, which was so nice because I am constantly paranoid that addressees will be super-offended by my reviews and @ me all like, “Hey, fuck you!”

Ankit Verma’s Top 5 Fav Reviews

Gods of Egypt
I love going on a good rant. I find it therapeutic. Chicken soup for the soul. Gods of Egypt gave me so much ammo to unleash, I found myself in a zen-like state of pure bliss by the end.

Magic Mike XXL
Magic Mike XXL was the first review where I was so sure about my pick for letter recipient, that I hammered out a draft in under 20 minutes. Plus, I got to use the phrase, ’ass-less-iest of ass-less chaps’ which is historic in its own right.

Sometimes it’s good to go into a movie with low expectations so you can be blown away by how utterly real it is.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Call it nostalgia or call it bad taste; I have a strange soft-spot for lame 90’s action movies. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was the ultimate throwback.

Captain America: Civil War is the Best (and Worthiest) Film of 2016
2016 was a fantastic year for critically-acclaimed movies. So, when it came down to choosing the best of the best, I stuck with my gut and chose a superhero movie that transcended its genre and exceeded all of my expectations. I still get death threats to this day. Good times.

Cory Haggart’s Top 5 Fav Reviews

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Humility is important, and revisiting your past mistakes keeps any critic in their place. Coming off of watching the BBC series, I was downright angry about the liberties taken with the story. Every day since that review, I've grown to like this movie more and more and can honestly say that I was mostly wrong.

Trading Places
Brevity is the soul of...

The Expendables 2
Easily my most SEO-friendly piece, I had a ton of fun with stretching the concept way past the breaking point. I think I was inspired by Jared Young's early review work.

Rock of Ages
I in no way expected to like this movie, which made me have to think really hard about what exactly was happening to me.

Synecdoche, New York
A great movie, so fun to review, but I see that I called PSH's death two years before it happened. It wasn't The Master or a confusion of drugs that did him in. It was this movie.


Dear Cast & Crew

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