What I’ve Been Reading

This Thursday, I decided to change things up a bit and discuss my most recent accomplishment: FINALLY completing a book.

Over the past week, the voice in my head has been that of esteemed British film critic Mark Kermode.

As any regular listener to the program he and Simon Mayo co-present on BBC’s Radio 5 knows, Mark is a man of very marked opinions. For those you who are not familiar with The Good Doctor, I refer you to his BBC Blog and his and Simon Mayo’s Radio Show website, where you can subscribe to and download their weekly podcasts.

In his most recent book, The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex: What’s Wrong with Modern Movies?, he has the opportunity to go on a series of no-holds-barred rants about what he feels is wrong in behind the scenes of today’s Hollywood films. In his book he waxes poetic about:

  • The advent of digital projection and the disappearing projectionist;
  • Why 3D is NOT here to stay;
  • The daftness of modern blockbusters, and most crucially,
  • Exactly what are film critics for?

Although I have heard many of these arguments, in the full expanse of the written word, Kermode’s stories take on another dimension. He backs up many of his arguments with a combination of hilarious, unbelievable personal anecdotes and some well-researched data. And you may not totally agree with his positions, but he gets props in my book for calling out some of the unspoken things many of us are probably are wondering. The one that sticks out in my head is: If blockbusters make money no matter what (including poor critical response), why make crappy ones? It is the classic Transformers vs. Inception argument.

This is Dr. K.’s second book; his first book It’s Only a Movie is also on my bookshelf and yet to be read. I promise to get to it … eventually.

For my readers in the UK, stay tuned for Kermode’s announcement of the annual Kermode Awards; for the uninitiated, these are posited as an “alternative Academy Award.” Previous winners of the award include Andy Serkis, Andrew Garfield, Christopher Nolan, Kristin Scott Thomas, David Cronenberg and this guy.


  1. Excellent book review. I’ve heard a number of great things about Kermonde’s writing. And I’m looking forward to his annual awards. Thanks.
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  2. Love that book. He writes just like he talks, passionately!!

    One of the best books I have read in ages.

  3. Hi, iluv and company:

    Great topic!

    I stumbled across Mark Kermode and his work years ago with his eight minute video clip about how washboard band ‘Skiffle’ music evolved into British Rock in the early 1960s. Then discovered that he also reviews films quite well to boot!

    Kermode doesn’t pull punches. When he loves a film, he let’s you know in no uncertain terms and does the same for films he doesn’t.

    Fair and passionate. What more could you ask for?

  4. Hey congrats on finishing a book! I actually haven’t picked up Anna Karenina again in a few days, no wonder it takes me forever to finish it, ahah. This sounds like a great book for movie bloggers!
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    • It definitely is.

      Don’t get me started on the topic of taking forever to finish a novel. It took me nearly 4 years to finish off East of Eden!
      Also, I am in the midst of finishing The Hobbit, An Object of Beatuty, North and South and a few others … I am pretty scatter-brained when it comes to my reading (as you can see).

  5. This book has been on my To Read list for a long time, I should buy it and read it soon; the topics he touches upon are very interesting! Great post, thanks!
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  6. Sounds like an interesting book Iba and Mark Kermode is such an insighful film writer. I will definitely keep an eye out for it.
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  7. I’m always interested to hear Kermode’s comments on film. I often find that I disagree with him and wonder how I’d try to articulate that to him in conversation as the man knows how to build an argument. But I’ll always admire him for claiming that The Exorcist is the best film ever made.

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