It’s no secret that many fans of Channel Awesome/That Guy with the Glasses want to be a part of TGWTG themselves, bringing with it the perks of some sweet Internet dolla’ dolla’ bills and hot convention babes to boink at a seedy motel with no air conditioning and a pay toilet because those sweet Internet dolla’ dolla’ bills didn’t go as far as they were led to believe. Because of this, it’s no surprise that there is no shortage of wannabe TGWTG contributors putting their work up on sites like Blip and YouTube in hopes of catching the oh so discerning eye of the TGWTG higher ups so they may graduate to the major leagues and live the high life like some bitchin’ Internet rock star. Most of these come off as lazy, half-hearted imitations of other well-known personalities, today’s subject is no different, yet still managed to get folded into TGWTG proper as of 2011. I am of course talking about ERod, the Blockbuster Buster.
For this post, I’ll be focusing mostly on a single video, but there are a few general things to go over first.
1. His website (found here)
Hey guys, did you know Angelfire is still a thing that people can use? I sure as fuck didn’t? I wonder if he looked up an HTML tutorial on Ask Jeeves. This is really pathetic. I know not everyone can afford their own web space, domain, or learn the web design skills to make a presentable looking page but this isn’t 2005 either so that’s not an excuse. It would take much less time to open up an account on Blogger or WordPress than it took ERod to make this page, and it’d look a damn sight more professional too.
2. “Voicing the rage of fanboys everywhere one movie at a time”
As far as I can tell this is ERod’s tagline. I sort of touched on this when I talked about Angry Joe but it represents one of the many things I’m sick of about the video reviewing scene; that these people are some kind of “champion of the people fighting the man.” This shit has got to stop. You’re not sticking it to anyone, you’re bitching feebly about shitty movies that no one cares about.
ERod isn’t exactly setting the world on fire with his commentary either; I’ve watched the better part of his output and have yet to find him say anything provocative or insightful about a film. It’s all just sort of bland and vanilla; not adding an interesting voice to the conversation. Do you really want to sit through another guy telling you why some movie you give zero fucks about is terrible and an affront to “fanboys” everywhere? The things he’s saying about these movies are the same things people were saying when they came out. The “fanboys” don’t need you as their mouth piece ERod, they have mouths of their own.
On a side note to this, ERod reviewed The Little Vampire! In 2011! I sure as fuck want to know what circles he’s rolling with that The Little Vampire is even a thing all the “fanboys” still remember, much less are still fuming over.
Moving on, we’re going to be looking at ERod’s review of 2004 film Van Helsing.
The video opens with a short skit where ERod, walks into his home and immediately senses the presence of a poorly realized work of fiction that he must put a stop to, unfortunately for the viewer it’s not the video you’re watching and he’ll go on to spend the next ten minutes delivering an awful film review. I hope you enjoy his crappy intro, this dude is suiting up and ready for some serious shit, a hard man watching a bad movie, a true Internet folk hero!
After the intro ERod gives us the rundown of what he seems to think constitutes the film’s production history by telling us that other monster movies exist and stuff. He does this in a dramatic fashion that evokes memories of me and my friends in the hallways of my old high school trying to reenact Gandalf’s confrontation with the Balrog in Fellowship of the Rings. It’s during this segment that ERod informs us that there was a movie made called “Bram Stroker’s Dracula.” Let that sink in. I really shouldn’t have to go any further, that one example of ineptitude rings true of what you can expect of ERod’s material to this very day.
After a bit more of his ramblings we finally get to the meat of the video about 3:05 in. At this point nothing has been said about Van Helsing itself, we’ve just been treated to some meandering nonsense about other monster movies that’s been propped up by ERod to make it look like he’s going to be providing commentary on a subject broader than just the film at hand. So we get to the actual body of the review and whaddya know? He’s content to just summarize large swaths of the film’s plot to us, crack bad jokes, and occasionally provide generic criticisms that come off like a bizzaro version of DVD Box review quotes (“Everything about this movie fools you into believing that it’s gonna fucking rock.”).
The video well and truly falls apart about 4:26, when ERod, a purported film critic, fails to understand the concept of the MacGuffin. We’re told in the video that “A MacGuffin is a plot point that is brought up in a movie, but ends up bearing no importance to the overall plot” and that “when used well, a MacGuffin, or a Red Herring, can serve as a distraction for a big reveal later in the story.”
This is not what a MacGuffin is. Full stop. A MacGuffin is an element of the story that is used to drive the plot, but the element itself is not important. A key element of a MacGuffin is that its function is irrelevant and that it could be anything, but the existence of the item provides the thrust of the plot. For example, a story where the characters are trying to find a buried chest of gold, the gold is the MacGuffin, but if you replaced the chest of gold with something else, like a lost artifact or something of the sort, the plot would still remain the same; the characters are trying to get a something, the something is just different.
So ERod has a fundamental misunderstanding of what a MacGuffin is, he thinks the MacGuffin is just a red herring; that the MacGuffin is any plot thread not picked up on or that exist as a distraction. His notion of what constitutes a MacGuffin is flawed from the ground up. It’s not like it’s even that hard to find out what a MacGuffin is. I’ve known what one was since I was a sophomore in high school, way back in the heyday of Anti-Shurtugal. It’s not and advanced concept, this is basic stuff. He’s woefully misinformed about something he could check up on in 10 seconds with a quick Wikipedia or TV Tropes search. Mistakes like this inspire zero confidence in what this person has to say about anything.
This guy was picked up by Channel Awesome and began posting new videos on That Guy with the Glasses in 2011. The fact that people in charge at Channel Awesome think this style of content constitutes a good review says volumes about what is valued on that site.