The internet has given birth to plenty of interesting alternatives to traditional media. Streaming sites such as YouTube have led to plenty of unique shows and personalities gaining their own following. And nobody know this better than Brad Jones, who is best known as his movie reviewing character “The Cinema Snob.” The show spotlights a number of different types of films, with a heavy emphasis on exploitation movies. In addition to the popular series, Jones contributes a few other shows to the Cinema Snob website, such as “Midnight Screenings” in which he discusses films with friends, and “Brad Tries,” in which he reviews food and beverages.
I&T Today: What made you originally want to get into reviewing movies, especially as the Cinema Snob character?
Brad Jones: I had a lot of free time [laughs]. This was ten years ago. I made movies for a long time, and I still do. And before I started the Cinema Snob I had done three microbudgeted exploitation movies and the job that I was working at the time was very, very part-time. I was really only there in the early morning and late morning. And, at the time on YouTube, there wasn’t a lot of spotlighting going on of exploitation movies and some things that I enjoyed and really grew up on. So I wanted to take a shot at doing an internet series so I created this character called the Cinema Snob that was based on some people that I kinda knew from the film festival circuit and also kind of a satire of mainstream movie reviews but of exploitation movies. Like when Siskel & Ebert reviewed Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter. So it was kind of having a laugh along with some movies and really satirizing this character type and getting more and more people interested in this kind of movie, good or bad, just different sub genres in and of themselves.
I&T Today: I was going to ask what the actual inspiration for the character was.
Brad Jones: The black suit and the glasses came from, I attended a screening back in 2000 of Monkey Shines and George Romero was there doing a Q & A and there was a guy in the audience that was a lot like the Cinema Snob. Actually he looks more like me now than I did then because he did have a shaved head like me and he kinda had on big glasses and a suit. So the look and kinda the tone I sort of based on that guy. Also a lot of dealings I’ve had with local film circuits here in Springfield and, yeah, the humor that you can get from watching a review for Silent Night, Deadly Night done by Siskel and Ebert, so a lot of it really came from that.
I&T Today: I was going to get into how you do some of the more obscure exploitation, horror, and even adult films unlike most of the more mainstream internet reviewers even now. So was that pretty intentional to stand out?
Brad Jones: It wasn’t so much like, “Oh, this will make me stand out from everyone else.” Because this was ten years ago so there wasn’t a lot of anybody else. Like there were maybe some here and there in terms of comedy reviews and things like that. But it certainly wasn’t as prevalent as it got. I started spotlighting exploitation movies and things like that and little-seen horror movies simply because there wasn’t a lot of people talking about them, not necessarily because this will make me stand out from other reviewers because there really weren’t a lot of reviewers at the time, so that wasn’t an issue. And plus, it’s a type of movie that I grew up on. It’s a type of movie that I like watching and I can sit there and just enjoy on my own. And in doing this I can seek out interesting stuff and watch it on my own and have an audience to talk about it with afterwards.
I&T Today: You’ve done crossovers with other big online personalities such as The Nostalgia Critic, Obscurus Lupa, Phelan Porteous. Is there anyone else you’d really like to do a video crossover with?
Brad Jones: Off the top of my head, it would be fun to talk abut moves with the guys on DoubleToasted.com or Cinemassacre or Red Letter Media or alot of those guys, it would be fun to shoot the breeze with about moves or anything in general. Crossovers are fun to do whether they’re scripted or it’s just kinda shooting the breeze about movies. I kinda like doing the more freeform stuff a little better, where you’re just sitting there, shooting the shit about a topic. But the scripted stuff is great too, that’s a blast to do as well. Cause it’s fun to write for other people. And it’s fun when other people write something that involves a character you’ve created. Just collaborations in general are really entertaining to do. I’ve never had a bad experience in that regard.
I&T Today: In addition to the Cinema Snob series, you’ve been releasing for series such as “Brad Tries” and “Midnight Screenings”, is there one that you enjoy doing the most?
Brad Jones: Yeah, Midnight Screenings. It’s probably my favorite show on the site because you kinda get a fairly close look at what it’s like when my friend and I do get together and shoot the breeze about movies. Cause that’s what it it, we go to whatever new movie came out, and then immediately afterwards we talk about it i the car together and we share our thoughts about it. And it’s a very “first impressions” series too, because it’s literally right after we get out of the movie theater we go right to the car and we start talking about it. For better or worse. Because there’s some movies you see where a week will go by and you’ll go “maybe I was a bit too hard on that movie” or “maybe I was a little too easy on that”, but it is interesting seeing something that’s very geared towards having a first impression on a movie. And that’s what me and my friends have been doing since we were born and since we’ve been hanging out together. We’ve been talking about movies. And so that’s my favorite thing to do. It certainly gets me out of the house. Same with them too, they’ll be like “oh cool, I got out of the house for the evening.” Gets us out of the house, we go see a movie and it’s my favorite time of the week because even if the movie’s bad, at least my friends and I get to hang out together and talk about movies for a little bit afterward.
I&T Today: So it’s the same thing you’ve always done but now in a car with a camera and talking about Saving Christmas?
Brad Jones: Yeah. (laughs) Since we go to see everything, or pretty much everything there is certainly movies that we wouldn’t have seen if it werent for that show. But because of that we can maybe discover something pretty good that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. But on the flip side of that we see a lot of junk (laughs).
I&T Today: Speaking of, this ended up being a good segue, as the Cinema Snob, you’ve reviewed such critically panned films as A Halloween Puppy, Caddyshack 2, and The OogieLoves. What can you honestly say is the worst movie you’ve reviewed?
Brad Jones: A movie called Nukie. I would say that that’s still about the worst. Objectively I don’t know, I’m sure I’ve seen a lot of films that were more poorly made than Nukie was, but Nukie was just a collection of everything bad. Yeah, it was poorly made, it was poorly edited. But so is everything else about the movie. Maybe I’ve seen some movies that are worse made than Nukie but maybe they had some other things about them that were slightly better. Nukie was about the angriest I got while watching a movie. And it’s not like that happens a lot. I’m a pretty laid back, chill dude. Nukie was just something that was so insultingly inept and grating that I was just in a bad mood for that week. It honestly took me a couple of days to watch it, it was so bad, I could typically always get through something in a day when I’m getting the episode written. That one, no, I had to take a break halfway through and just go do something else and rethink my life for a little bit.
I&T Today: I need to watch this review, because the one’s I’ve seen you do – those movies seem pretty bad. So I really need to see this one.
Brad Jones: It’s a tough one, man. That one is especially hard to get through. To Catch A Yeti was. Chatterbox. A movie called Night Of Horror was, like, mesmerizingly bad to watch. …Those really loud, just grating on your nerves kids movies, for me are among the hardest ones to get through.
I&T Today: On the contrary, is there a movie you’ve reviewed that you actually enjoy?
Brad Jones: Oh, all the time. There’s actually very few that I sit and watch and I’m mad at like I was with Nukie because, like, this is another reason why I like that we have a show like Midnight Screenings cause we can talk about things you should go see in theaters or maybe things to avoid. We get to more or less be ourselves in those. But for The Cinema Snob for ten years I’ve really made sure that it’s not one of those film hate shows where it seems like it’s just made to be cynical or it’s made out of hatred for movies. You kinda see a lot of that, especially within the past ten years where there could be a series that seems like it’s made for and by people that just shouldn’t be watching movies, where as the Cinema Snob I’ve always tries to go at it in a much more loving way, like Mystery Science Theatre, where you’re kinda just having a laugh along with the movie and making some jokes and talking about it and having a good time with the movie and with the audience. Now with that being said, yeah, there are episodes where the movie is really, really bad. Certainly. And there’s ones that you can have a lot to genuinely say about it, if it’s something like God’s Not Dead or Old Fashioned or a movie like Wired. But you know, I also like choosing the kind of movies where you’re turning people onto this kind of move. This kind of exploitation movie or comedy or action movie. If it’s like an Italian zombie movie or an Italian cannibal movie or maybe like a funny porno spoof. But also episodes where the character is used though satire of really showing good qualities about a certain movie like Mommy Dearest for instance. The episode on Mommy Dearest, which is really kind of a tribute to that movie. Or Heaven’s Gate for even Bill Lustig’s Maniac or things like that. I’ve really tried to work in all different kinds of episodes that hopefully keep people interested in this kind of movie.
I&T Today: Totally. I do think that’s important… to use satire and to make actual comedy out of it. You can point out things that are bad, but also make it an actual entertaining thing. I think that’s really important.
Brad Jones: Yeah and there’s episodes that are purely a riff episode. Typically a porno spoof episode is more or less a riff episode. You’re kinda just making jokes along with the movie or putting words in a character’s mouth or finding something that’s not there to pretend, like really amping up the snobby persona, like, “Mmm why did they end that sentence on a preposition?” Something that’s obviously a joke and obviously meant to amp up the snobby persona of the character.
I&T Today: Recently you did a special, the “Midnight Gaming” review of Beavis and Butthead for Sega Genesis. Is that something you want to expand on, kinda move into a different kid of reviewing?
Brad Jones: Sure, it wouldn’t be something as regular as Midnight Screenings or something like that but I’m always wanting to put new types of series on the site. Like our Lloyd animated series which is one of my favorite things on the site or a miniseries or some live action series that we’ve done. In terms of the Beavis and Butthead thing, it was sorta just testing it out, seeing if there was an audience there for it on the site. And it went over really really well, so it’s something I’d like to try out again. And this time bringing in people to play something with me. There’s no shortage of that kind of show on YouTube certainly. What i would do would be certainly providing a unique voice to a familiar format. Like the Beavis And Butthead Let’s Play. It was really me just sitting there and explaining the game and my history with the game. And teaching you how to play it and what to do. And I would like to do that with some other games too.
I&T Today: You’ve been releasing online content for years now, it’s your ten year anniversary, do you have any advice for anyone out there wanting to start their own show, especially in the online world where you have all the tools to make your own show?
Brad Jones: Just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. If you have a good idea and it’s something you’d like to try out and you’d like to see if there’s an audience there for it, make sure you have a unique voice certainly, make sure you’re knowledgeable about what you’re talking about. And throw your content on there, and see how well it goes over. And pay attention to any kind of constructive criticism, it can help you grow, it can help you notice what ideas work better than some others. If you’ve got the time, and you’ve got the willpower and the drive, go for it. There’s no guarantees it will bring in a giant audience, but make sure you love doing it. Cause I did this for a few years before I was able to start doing this fulltime. But I really like doing it, I continued doing it because it was something that I really enjoyed doing. And that certainly paid off after awhile.
Shows that Brad Jones hosts such as The Cinema Snob, Midnight Screenings, and Brad Tries can be found at http://www.thecinemasnob.com/.
Featured image a screenshot from the Cinema Snob YouTube channel.