Profile: Uncle Cliff
I receive so much mail here at Top Crap headquarters that the time has come to clear out my in-box and answer some of it. Sure, I could get my PA to do it, but interacting with the general public is something I take a great pleasure in doing myself.
I'm not hiding behind some bullshit scripted media statement.
This is the real me.
Enjoy, dear reader, enjoy.
And who knows, you might find an answer to a question you wanted to ask me yourself!
Dear Uncy Cliff. Hey, you're a cool guy. How did you get to be so cool?
– Alison McKenzie, Idaho, USA
Hey Alison, I'm glad you asked. Unfortunately I'm currently working on a self-help book and DVD which addresses this very topic, so my advisors tell me I can't really talk about it now. Let's just say that if I saw any of the guys from high school today they wouldn't be so quick to spit in my sandwiches and shit in my library bag. Metaphorically speaking of course. That didn't happen to me. Someone I knew.
Uncle Cliff? What's with the name?
– JediMC, Caroline Springs, Australia
Time for a trip down ol' memory lane. When I was in high school all the cool kids were always getting cool nicknames given to them. Mutta, Jammin, Bluey, Sinny, Spider, Vegas Joe, Chops, Birdman, Smithy. Actually that last one was just someone's surname with a 'y' tacked on. Anyways, they called me Pucey. Pucey. Not as bad as some of the names the computer club geeks got given, but definitely no "Vegas Joe". Man, that guy was pretty cool. Why did they call me Pucey? Well it was all because one casual clothes day I wore a puce Hyper-colour t-shirt to school. That's it. I kept saying "Fellas, if you'd only touch me you'd realise my t-shirt is really Aqua!" but sadly no-one took me up on it, and so Pucey I remained up until the end of high-school. Then I started calling myself Uncle Cliff. Thank you for your query.
Hey. Just wondering what your favourite film of all time is. Mine is End of Days . Cheers.
– Chip Smith, Newport Beach, USA
Chip, stop reading this web site. Now. And don't ever email me again. If you do I'll get my friend's brother to hack into your computer and tell the world what web sites you look up when you think everyone's gone to bed. End of Days . Jesus.
Yo G. Y yo gotta hate on so many filmz, dogg? If yo gotta playa hate keep it to yoself beatch. No1 wanna hear you dissin flicks like yo all dat. Cracker beatch.
– Matthew Bradley, Victoria, Australia
Hello Matthew. My PA happens to have minored in Ebonics at university and was able to decrypt your email for me. Saying nice things is boring, as I'm sure you and your "homies" would agree. There's also only so many different ways to say something is "good" as opposed to the many different ways you can say something sucked "like yo mamma at a cock party", for example. It's like if a girl (a bitch) looks nice, you can say she looks nice, but outside of that you're stuck for further compliments. But if a girl looks rotten, there are probably several reasons why, and it's much easier to point out all these flaws to her. It's the same with films. I hope this answers your question, my brother.
Do you actually have any qualifications for reviewing films? What makes your opinion more important than anyone elses?
– Name withheld, Eltham, Australia
In high school I studied Media under the highly esteemed teacher Mr. Wood. You may have heard of him. He told me a lot of people had. He taught us all about diegetic sound and verisimilitude and cinematography and also about what exactly a best boy grip does (Don't ask me now, I can't remember). He then got fired because some kids told the principal that most days he would just sit at his desk eating and not actually teach anything. He was the best teacher I ever had.
Howdy. If someone gave you all the money in the world to make a film what would it be?
– Melissa Smith, Utah, USA
Wow. If there were a Nobel Prize for questions you would get it. Funnily enough I have envisioned such a scenario myself and just happen to have written a screenplay in preparation for when that day comes. It's called Countdown. to BOOM! It's pretty complex, so I can't really elaborate here without doing it a grave injustice. What I can do is give you an excerpt from my review of the film that I will one day direct from my screenplay.
Hello Top Crap Cliff. Why are like 98% of the reviews on this site from you? Don't you have anything else to do with your time except to watch movies and then bitch about them?
– Sarah, Glasgow, UK
Hahaha, you're certainly a funny one Sarah. Why I have loads of other hobbies that keep me busy, most of them involving hot women that I can't go into without having to get one of those NetNanny I.D's for this website. Of course I do all the normal things everyone else does, like gardening and walking, but any spare time away from the ladies I like to spend reading the screenplays I have written, and writing screenplays to read. Then if there's anytime left in the day I might squeeze out a Top Crap review before bed. So you see this website only takes up roughly 7% of my life. The real question is don't you have anything better to do with your time than write in emails to me ? Probably not, and I find that very sweet and curious. Next time include a photo, please.
Hey Cliff. I am an aspiring movie reviewer myself, and was just wondering if you have any tips you'd like to share. Your reviews are a roller coaster ride of fun, wit, and mirth! Keep it up!
– Leonard Maltin, New York, USA
Hey Leonard. I'd share my secrets with you, except they are truly a secret from me as well. You see, when I sit down in front of the computer often I will often experience what I can only describe as a trance-like state, and it is only when I snap out of it minutes later that I realise another 4,000 words have poured out of my soul and onto the page. I guess this means I'm just naturally gifted. However, for those of you who actually have to work on their skills, here's some pointers from me to you.
- Be true to yourself.
Don't let yourself be swayed by other's opinions, or by the free popcorn the cinema offers if you're one of those "professional" reviewers. Those guys are like prostitutes for that popcorn, which is why even really really shit films will often get two stars.
- Trust your instincts.
If you are sitting there thinking; "this film is so crap I wonder if it'll get any better", it probably won't. Spend the second half of the film writing your review instead.
- Keep your bias at bay.
If you hate Tom Cruise so bad, that's fine, but keep it to one or two paragraphs at least. Keep in mind there might actually be a few people out there that like Tom Cruise, so starting your review by saying "Jeez, Tom Cruise sucks dick" will alienate them immediately. What you want to do is start by talking about something else like the direction, or dialogue, you'll think of something, then hit them with the Cruise missile when they're sucked in half way through.
- Write from your heart.
Your heart knows if you are watching The Godfather or Analyze That . Listen to it.
- Be readable.
Perhaps the most important lesson of all. If you are not readable then people cannot read your review. I cannot stress this enough. Try reading your review yourself after you're done as a test.
Well Leonard, good luck. With these tips you should be writing for a hack movie review website in no time.
You make me laugh so hard that I sometimes spit.
– Ricky Jones, Manchester, UK
Rick, Rick, Rick. I'm glad I make you spit, but you must realise I'm not always trying to be funny. Sometimes my reviews are serious. I actually loathe film reviewers who try to work in some of their pathetic shtick into their reviews like pathetic frustrated comedians. However I also think I am much, much funnier than these knob jockeys, and so I feel I have to prove myself by seamlessly working in phrases like "knob jockey" into my work. I'm glad someone out there picks up on these subtleties.
UncleCliff!!! You keep calling yourself a geek, but you shouldn't be so hard on yourself! You don't sound totally pathetic.
– Kelly Lee Leah, Kansas, USA
Thanks for the kind words Kelly, but you should know that it is no longer a cultural crime to admit to being a geek. It actually holds some kind of cool cachet these days, especially on this big network of computers I like to call; The Internet. It's much like how the homosexuals have taken back the word "fag", how Negroes refer to each other as "black", or how the feminists call each other "dirty sluts" nowadays. You see, the point is that after years of torture and having their library bags shat into the geeks of the world can now label themselves "geek" without fear of it being an insult hurled at them much like someone might hurl a balloon filled with watery feces at someone (again, not me). It's also a banner under which these geeks can unite and come together to discuss the merits of science fiction, fantasy, films, computers, what Vulcans would be like in the sack, and so forth. Of course this is all mostly highly delusional rhetoric from fat-assed pimply losers who still probably live in their parents basement and jerk-off to Babylon 5. Fucking geeks make me sick.
Don't you live in your parent's basement? I thought I read that in one of your reviews.
–Diane Skinner, Queensland, Australia
What? No. Don't be ridiculous. My parents don't have a basement.
But you still live with your parents, right? Hey, aren't you a grown man?
– Maxy Porter, Calgary, Canada
Hey, What kind of stupid fucking name is Maxy? I don't know if you are a girl or a guy Maxy but chances are either way that you have no penis. Loser.
Hi Uncle Cliff! I love your reviews. I especially love it when you totally disregard the English language and make up your own words! That is so Smidgenous! See, I can do it too! Aren't I smarterous! There I go again. So hip! So cutting edge! So Coolimonious! Tee-hee, what fun! PS: Are you fat. You sound fat.
– Uncle Cliff eats penis, UncleCliffeatspenisville. USA
Fat? What? No I'm not fucking fat. Dammit, why does everyone think that? Wait, yeah I am fat. But with a "PH"!!! .Actually that would make the word "Phfat", which kind of sounds like a fart noise, or at least like the sound a balloon filled with watery feces makes when it connects and explodes. But I guess you know that don't you Captain English? By the way you missed a question mark when you asked "Are you fat". And also "Tee-hee" was picked up on my spell-check as not being a real word. It looks like it's back to school with you, you Spoofbucket. How's that for a made-up word?
Hey Cliff. I think you sound really sexy. Reading your words melts me into a quivering puddle of ecstasy.
– Lisa, in bed thinking of you.
Phew, is it hot in here! Seriously though, thanks Lisa. Always good to hear from a fan. You sound hot too. I like people who email from bed. You are hot, right?
Jesus that's cool.
Your reviews get me so, so hot.
Holy Shit! Okay, okay, let me get one. Ahh, here's my Revenge of The Sith review. A classic, if I do say so myself.
Mmmm, I love that one, it's so.hot. When I read it I wanted to —
Okay, here it is:
"So strongly felt I after seeing this new Star Wars film that everyone would feel the same way I did about it that I almost wasn't going to write a review at all."
But I did, and what a review it was! And did you notice the cool Yoda-like syntax joke at the start? That had me high-fiving myself for days.
Ohhhh, yeah, it was —
And here's my Return Of The King review - the first real review I wrote - listen to this:
".this is a minor gripe considering the utter stupidity of the 'army of the dead, cursed men'. Is this Pirates Of The Fucking Caribbean? Where did these ghosts come from?"
Oh, man I'd forgotten about that bit.
Ummm, I'm still hot here —
I think in another review I call Pirates of the Caribbean "Pirates of the CRAPibbean", which is much funnier. I've really come a long way as a reviewer. Man, these are good, I'm gonna go back and re-read all of my reviews again!