Youtube: A look back at Honest Trailers as they release 100th Video

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When you’re a fledgling YouTube film reviewer it’s very easy to get lost among the masses. With the internet’s democratisation of criticism comes the inevitable problem of an overcrowded marketplace. Now, only a select few people can really break through. Chris Stuckman, Jeremy Jahns, and the Schmoes Know have all managed it. But most just get drowned out in the noise. Therefore it’s pivotal to have something of a USP, a distinguishing quality which singles you out from the herd. Cinemasins have their “Everything Wrong With” videos (which have now devolved from funny critiques into tedious, pedantic nitpicking) and Screen Junkies have their flagship series “Honest Trailers“.

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Credit: Screen Junkies

The ingenious set-up is that, once a week, they take a film, or on occasion a TV show and essentially review it by making a parody trailer, in which the voice-over guy playfully mocks the flaws of the subject in question. Immensely popular with fans the videos are the main pull for the Screen Junkies channel. Their own trailer even acknowledges this, championing the series as “The hit show our subscribers truly love” and relegating the rest of their content to the “other stuff we make when we have the time.” Consistently funny, the reviews work best for those who’ve actually seen the films being lampooned, as they pick apart plot holes, and character motivations. Sometimes they even carefully replicate the style of the film’s actual trailer, à la their one for Boyhood, which features a parody of Family of the Year’s ‘Hero’, the song which plays over the real trailer for the film.

This week marked their 100th episode and it’s one of their strongest to date as well. For the milestone occasion, they aim their sights on the trauma inducing 50 Shades of Grey. You get the feeling that they’ve been saving this particular film for this very occasion, after all you don’t celebrate such a landmark achievement with just another Divergent or Maze Runner. As usual they revel in highlighting the idiocy of their subject matter, personally I’m so glad that they picked up on the whole “he controls what she eats” thing because that was just weird. This is Honest Trailers as its very best.

If you haven’t gathered by now I’m something of a fan. Its a testament to their quality that I have come to know Tuesdays as “Honest Trailer’s day,” but what’s most impressive is that unlike many other gimmick based film reviewers (*cough* CINEMASINS) Honest Trailers haven’t lost any of their former mojo. In fact it might be accurate to say that they’re actually going from strength to strength, honing their craft and developing even sharper writing. They’ve also been doing weekly Honest Video Game Trailers and they’re shaping up to be just as good: check out the Candy Crush one it’s perfect.

The only downside to Honest Trailers is that it ends up overshadowing the rest of Screen Junkies exemplary output. For example, take a look at their Movie Fights Show. The episodes are long but if you can get on board with that then they’re a blast, bringing together some of YouTube’s best movie reviewers for interesting debates. Kind of like the internet’s equivalent to The Avengers.

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I have the enviable skill of making TV watching, Video-game playing and ranting about films appear to be a legitimate form of work. It's exhausting. Oh and I am the Culture Editor now... that too!

8 Comments

  1. avatar
    George Seabrook on

    I’m kind of torn here: on the one hand I really love Honest Trailers. On the other hand, whilst they are certainly better than Cinema Sins, I think you’re giving Cinema Sins a bad rap. A lot of what Honest Trailers do is nitpicking itself – I mean they literally spell it out in their one for The Winter Soldier. Cinema Sins nitpick, and they started off with nitpicking. Then after they did the video on themselves, they leaned even harder into the nitpicking – assuming everyone got the joke. With good films, films they say they love like Edge of Tomorrow (which I adore) they will still do that. They try to make it funny and sarcastic. IT’s almost like a parody of the worst stereotypes of IMDb user reviews, and the actual professional critics who just don’t get it.

    Their methods aren’t great by any means, but their sins for Trans4rmers for example cannot be called unjustified, just unbelievably lengthy. For an unbelievably long film.

  2. avatar
    Harrison Abbott on

    I would have agreed with you almost word for word 6 or so months ago. Now it’s just the same jokes over and over again, and it just feels so half arsed. I USED to really enjoy them.

  3. avatar
    Harrison Abbott on

    ALSO those “how to make” videos are terrible! And so are the rest of their spin-off videos like Brand Sins etc

  4. avatar
    George Seabrook on

    I do love the way they’ve started retracting sins for really cool stuff. Like “Goddamn you Byamax, you are so adorable, I must retract a sin right now.” Also the honest trailers version for TASM 2 with “The maintenance closet is the most clichéd hiding place ever”

    They did an “Everything Wrong With” the latest Star Wars trailer, and by the end they remove all the sins (which were flimsy of course).

    Sin for “Repetitive humour is repetitive” I think 😛

  5. avatar
    Harrison Abbott on

    I will give you that one. The retracting of sins was a nice addition, especially for films that have a lot of flaws but do some stuff really well. As someone who thought Godzilla got too much crap from people , it was nice to see them acknowledge that a lot of it (the fire-breath fatality, the first roar) was really cool. So I did like that.

  6. avatar
    George Seabrook on

    GODZILLA WAS REALLY COOL! I haven’t seen it since the cinema, which I’m not sure is a shame or not. Some of the best looking and constructed set-pieces of last year. The Hawaii Airport scene was just amazing, and I loved the tease ending SO MUCH

  7. avatar
    Harrison Abbott on

    Exactly. I’m also gonna voice a very controversial opinion here. I liked the surprise death.

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