When it comes to film, there is a dividing line between fans and fanatics. Those who fall into the latter category make up the majority of the members of Spill.com, whose motto is “If it’s crap…we’ll tell you.”
Spill, originally launched in 2006, is the creation of cartoonist/animator Korey Coleman, the genius behind the Austin, Texas cable-access show The Reel Deal, which had a similar format, according to a March 21, 2008 article in The Austin Chronicle. Reel had a 10-year run, which is remarkable for cable access, given the often short-lived tendencies of its shows.
The site has five main contributors, known as the Spill Crew: Coleman, Chris Cox, Martin Thomas, Robert Cargill (of the film/television site “Ain’t It Cool News“), and Tony Guerrero. Using animated versions of themselves (along with catchy aliases), they podcast ruthless reviews of the latest popular movie releases in theaters.
Each week, the reviews are recorded as audio, and then animated by Coleman into caricatures of the real-life critics. Fair warning: if you feel passionate about your favorite summer blockbuster, and can’t handle it being ripped apart, this probably isn’t the site for you. In fact, it’s fair to say that Spill’s reviews target those who might read, say, The Onion A.V. Club or Rotten Tomatoes.
That said, however, part of the site’s appeal is watching the animated critics tear most popcorn flicks to shreds, just as James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd, makes it his job to verbally and/or physically beat poorly-made Nintendo games (and on occasion, their main characters) to a pulp.
So, while in character, the Spill Crew play their critical counterparts, known as Korey, lover of zombie films and nitpicker of minor logical flaws in movies; Carlyle, who often rebuts the other Spill members’ opinions and is known for his friendship with Ain’t It Cool webmaster Harry Knowles; Leon, identified by his equal loathing of Adam Sandler and admiration of Spiderman 3; Cyrus, the “nerd” of the group, known for his adoration of the Coen brothers as well as comic books; and Co-Host 3000, a sex-obsessed robot with a taste for low-quality film.
How Do They Rate?
The members of Spill each give their own rating to a film, so more often than not, a film will receive more than one rating. Though they don’t use a star system, you could equate their terminology to a 0-5 star scale:
Better Than Sex! (5 stars) – It may depend on which sexual experience you’re referring to, but this rating is usually given to films that the Spill Crew considers nearly flawless. This, however, is the least frequently given rating. Films that have received it have included The Dark Knight, Cloverfield, and District 9.
Full Price!! (4 stars) – The Crew generally gives this rating to films they consider entertaining and worthy of seeing at an evening show in theaters, plus the price of popcorn and a beverage (and Lord knows, these days that’s pretty damn expensive). Some of their “Full Price” films have included Hot Tub Time Machine, Brooklyn’s Finest, and How to Train Your Dragon.
Matinée! (3 stars) – Equal to what you might call a “mixed bag,” films with this rating generally have some likable points, but also several major flaws that keep them from reaching the “Full Price” rating. In some cases, a film has received this rating simply due to being overlong. Among the “Matinée” films are Shrek Forever After, Iron Man 2, and Alice in Wonderland.
Rental (2 stars) – Exactly what it says. Don’t bother seeing these in the theater, or you’ll ask for your $8 back. Examples have included A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Repo Men, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
Some Ole Bullshit! (1 star) – The Crew considers these films truly awful; though they may not rank among the worst of all time, the Spill Crew warns that you may waste an evening renting one. Some of the winners? The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Robin Hood (2010), Max Payne, and The Love Guru.
Fuck You!!! (0 stars…or below) – Considered some of the worst films ever made by The Crew, the “Fuck You” rating is reserved for films that “do everything wrong and do it worse than bad,” according to Wikipedia: Spill.com. In dishonor of those that receive this rating, a unique graphic appears during the video review, featuring Korey giving the finger, accompanied by a sound clip that resembles the theme song from Psycho.
Podcast and Crew
Four weekly podcasts also comprise the main part of the Spill Community: A Couple of Cold Ones; A League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen; Let’s Do This!; and Blu Tuesday. In addition to the weekly podcasts, there is a semi-regular podcast entitled the Spill Call-In Show.
A Couple of Cold Ones (ACOCO) features Korey and Carlyle, and focuses mostly on film. Usually included in the discussion is a list and analysis of the weekly box office rankings, with Carlyle singing the number of the film in that particular slot prior to the two exchanging banter about it. In recent episodes, the show has often been recorded over Skype, and in an ironic twist, this show, along with Blu Tuesday, are the ones that least often feature the hosts drinking.
The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen (LEOG), is the podcast started by Cyrus and Leon, and featuring a cast of their friends: Beau, Jason, Grant, Greg, Jason F., Randy, Harris, Kristin, Allison, Kayla, and Merry. This particular podcast regularly features guest stars, especially those from the comic book field. Appropriately, this show consists of discussions on a variety of topics derived from geek culture: comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, movies, and TV shows.
As it stands, the site’s most popular podcast at present is Let’s Do This!, featuring Korey and Co-Host; a spinoff of A Couple of Cold Ones, it technically has no fixed topic. Recurring subject matter, however, includes film, Internet videos and memes, celeb scandal, and personal narratives.
This podcast, in particular, is known for its in-jokes, especially revolving around the show’s mascot, Goatsie (an imaginary two-legged goat). Goatsie plays a prominent part in launching the show’s opening, in which the hosts shout “Let’s do this!” while playing “Get to the Choppa” by San Diego thrash metal band Austrian Death Machine (clearly a tribute to Arnold Schwarzenegger).
Blu Tuesday, meanwhile, is Spill’s newest podcast, hosted by Korey and Carlyle. During the time slot, the two discuss Blu-ray and DVDs being released that week; the show begins with Korey singing an a cappella version of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.” Of note: the title of the podcast was suggested by fans, and is likely derived from the New Order song “Blue Monday.” Just a theory.
Since its creation, the Spill Movie Community has grown from a group of five guys to a literal “community” of over 33,000.
In a manner similar to MySpace, Facebook, Ning, and Flixster, members can customize their profiles to reflect their personalities, likes, dislikes, and most importantly, tastes in movies. You also have the option of uploading photos, which will appear in a slideshow in your profile, as well as music (in MP3 format only) and videos.
And, like most social networking sites, Spill has its own forum, where members discuss everything from “Rate the Song Above You” to “Top 13 Most Disturbing and Controversial Movies Ever Made.” As in any forum, the discussion topics sometimes devolve into angry debates, but for the most part, people are respectful of one another.
Sound like your type of community? Then click on the link, and see what all the fuss is about. You’ll be welcomed with open lenses.