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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (63)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 2 July 1963Barnet, North London, England, UK
Birth NameMark Fairey
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Mark Kermode began his career in film journalism and broadcasting in the 1980s after studying English at Manchester University, where he wrote his Ph.D thesis on horror fiction. After starting work as a van driver (he claims he was appointed as a film critic after he crashed the van), he began working for magazines such as City Life, Time Out and the NME and since then has also worked for The Independent, The Guardian, Vox, Empire, Flicks, Fangoria, and Neon among others. In the early 1990s he moved into radio broadcasting, contributing to and presenting various programmes and shows on BBC radio networks. He also worked as film critic and presenter for Channel 4's 'Extreme Cinema' strand, introducing notorious films such as Crash (1996) and Man Bites Dog (1992), and he wrote and presented many documentaries for Channel 4 and the BBC such as On the Edge of 'Blade Runner' (2000), and Scream and Scream Again: A History of the Slasher Film (2000), The Fear of God: 25 Years of 'The Exorcist' (1998) and The Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing 'The French Connection' (2000) etc. His trademark intense, often frightening rants about various films which he likes or dislikes has earned him something of a 'cult' following in the UK.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: teknofobe

Trade Mark (1)

50s rocker style

Trivia (23)

Maintains that The Exorcist (1973) is "the greatest film ever made".
Believes that It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is the second greatest film ever made.
Frequently writes as well as presents his documentaries.
His ten favourite films of all time are: Stairway to Heaven (1946), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), The Seventh Seal (1957), Les yeux sans visage (1960), Mary Poppins (1964), The Devils (1971), Don't Look Now (1973), The Exorcist (1973), Brazil (1985) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006).
He described The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006) as "the cinematic equivalent of tertiary syphilis.".
Cites his favourite directors as William Friedkin, Terry Gilliam and Ken Russell.
He is a big fan of Bill Forsyth's Local Hero (1983).
Known widely for expressing his dislike of 3D films that he has gone as far as listing the 3D converted re-release of The Lion King (1994) as one of the ten worst films of 2011, which would be original 2D version, describing the conversion as pointless. The first film that he recommended to watch in 3D was Gravity (2013).
Has signed autographs as Jesse Birdsall when stopped in the streets by fans who believed that it was the actor they were meeting.
His reviews can be heard every Friday afternoon on Radio 5 live with Simon Mayo. Among other things, also writes for the Guardian. [February 2004]
His worst films of each year from 2005 include: Last Days (2005), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Sex and the City (2008), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), Sex and the City 2 (2010), New Year's Eve (2011), Keith Lemon: The Film (2012), Pain & Gain (2013), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Entourage (2015) and Dirty Grandpa (2016).
He was ejected from a screening of Idioterne (1998) at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for heckling.
His pet hates include the music of Giorgio Moroder (whom he has described as "the worst composer ever") and Annie Lennox.
Kermode's strong family connections with the Isle of Man has led to him playing an active role in Manx culture and the arts. Part of this has seen him host various talks on the island including; An Evening with Mark Kermode at the Ballakermeen High School. He is also heavily involved with the annual Isle of Man Film Festival.
Kermode has been described as "a feminist, a near vegetarian (he eats fish), a churchgoer and a straight-arrow spouse who just happens to enjoy seeing people's heads explode across a cinema screen".
In the mid 1980s, Kermode was an "affiliate" of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and was involved in the Viraj Mendis Defence Campaign, against the deportation of one of the group's members to Sri Lanka. This developed into a high-profile national campaign involving people from left-wing groups such as the RCG, local residents of Manchester, and extending to church leaders and Labour Party Members of Parliament. Kermode describes himself in this period as "a red-flag waving bolshie bore with a subscription to Fight Racism Fight Imperialism and no sense of humour.".
Kermode played double bass for a skiffle/rockabilly band called The Railtown Bottlers in the early 1990s. The Railtown Bottlers were also the house band on the BBC show Danny Baker After All for a series, starting in 1993, where he performed with Madness lead singer, Suggs. In 2001 he formed The Dodge Brothers, playing double bass in the skiffle quartet.
Kermode is sometimes critical of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the censor for film in the UK, calling for horror films from abroad to be shown in their uncut versions. However, in recent years, he has stated on numerous occasions that the BBFC do a good job in an impossible situation, and expressed his approval of their decisions.
Kermode was 75th on The Guardian's 2010 Film Power 100.
Is a fan of Elvis Presley, ABBA, The Smiths and Morrissey.
He considers Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) to be the worst film ever made.
Kermode is a patron of the charitable trust of the Phoenix Cinema in North London, which was his favourite cinema during his childhood in East Finchley. The tenth anniversary episode of Kermode and Mayo's Film Review was broadcast from the venue as part of its relaunch celebrations in 2010.

Personal Quotes (63)

The problem with Sex Lives of the Potato Men (2004) is it is absolutely, indescribably horrible, vulgar, stupid, tawdry, depressing, embarassing, filthy, vile, stinky, repugnant, slimy, unclean, nasty, degenerative, mind-numbing ...
[on Club Dread (2004)] Surely there is a law against allowing people to make movies in which a rastafarian with a posh English accent is considered to be the height of hilarity?
The Deer Hunter (1978) is one of the worst films ever made and a testament to the fact that, if allowed to do whatever they want, filmmakers will take their cameras and crawl up their own backsides.
[on Elizabethtown (2005)] Things got so bad I half expected oxygen masks to drop down from the ceiling while red and white lights guided us all to the nearest exits.
[on Good Luck Chuck (2007)] A really, really horrible film.
Sting is total pants in everything, even Quadrophenia (1979), but then I can't stand his music either, droning, self important dirge.
[on Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)] Clearly the worst film ever made, a totally irredeemable pile of stinking celluloid donkey droppings with nothing to be said in its favor . . . except that the mad-as-nuts Ennio Morricone soundtrack is actually pretty terrific.
[on The Holiday (2006)] Firstly it's very long, I mean it's over two hours long and it should really have been at tops, absolute tops, 88 minutes, because then it just would have been vomit-inducingly ghastly. It's one of those films in which the saccharine sugary coating is so badly done that you think that you're watching a pastiche, you think somebody is doing a joke about just how badly these things can be put together. It desperately wants to be Love Actually (2003), and it is Toilet Actually.
Watching Guy Ritchie's Revolver (2005) will make you want to pour petrol on your head and set fire to yourself. It's not that Revolver is just bad - it's that it's so mind-buggeringly, intestine-stranglingly hideous that you actually start to worry about the mental state of its creator. Honestly, if I was a doctor and somebody walked into my surgery and pitched Revolver, I would reach for the medicine cabinet forthwith.
[on Eyes Wide Shut (1999)] The inane ramblings of a man who needed to get out more.
[on Death Proof (2007)] Infantile, adolescent nonsense. Quentin Tarantino has turned into your embarrassing uncle who turns up at a wedding in a leather jacket and tells you how swinging he was. He's a money-grabbing sellout who can't write, can't direct and has run out of ideas.
[on Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)] Never was a film more accurately named. If you pay money to go and see Pirates of the Caribbean it's your own fault and you're bringing down the collapse of western civilisation.
[on The Exorcist (1973)] It's the greatest film ever made. There's a theory that great films give back to you whatever it is you bring to them. It's absolutely true with The Exorcist (1973)- it reflects the anxieties of the audience. Some people think it's an outright horror-fest but I don't. It was written by a devout Catholic who hoped it would make people think positively about the existence of God. William Peter Blatty, who wrote the book, thought that if there are demons then there are also angels and life after death. He couldn't see why people thought it was scary. I've seen it about 200 times and every time I see something I haven't seen before.
[on Littleman (2006)] The movie's billed as a comedy and to say that there were no laughs is really to understate the level of no-laughter. I lost track of the number of people, sane, sentient, open-minded people who should have been offended by Little Man. I have seen some films that I consider to be grotesque but I struggle to think of one more grotesque than Little Man. It is, in every way, an evil-minded, bad, profoundly depressing indictment of the way in which the modern movie industry works. It is the most retrograde, horrible, nauseating, inward-looking, smug, repulsive, grotesque, ill-advised, badly-judged film. You sit there thinking, "Is it me?", or is everyone in the cinema taking a collective breath and thinking, "You can't really have made this film, you really cannot have sat in script meetings and decided this was a good idea". There is no pit deep enough in the world to dispose of every single copy of this film. It is, and I say this seriously, it is evil, and if you go and see it, shame on you. I have spent my whole life defending movies that people tell me are evil and they're not. Little Man is bad for the world. It's bad for the whole world.
[on The Devil's Rejects (2005)] After not making a very good debut, Rob Zombie now comes up with this story of these people who are essentially Mansonites: roaring around the desert, being unpleasant, being nasty to each other. And he thinks that somehow through all the unpleasantness we will find these characters interesting like rebels and outlaws, and we will end up siding with them. Let me get this absolutely clear, anyone who thinks that Manson was an interesting character as opposed to a cheap, scuzzy, verminous git who deserves to rot behind bars for the rest of his life is an idiot. It's just adolescent, infantile twaddle.
[on Bride Wars (2009)] It's the first film I've seen in 2009 and I'm already fastforwarding to the end of 2009 and thinking, if this is not in my top 10 worst of the year, top 5 worst of the year, then the year will have been so bad that I make you this promise now: if Bride Wars isn't in my top 10 worst films of the year, if there are 10 films worse than Bride Wars this year, I quit. Every now and then you have to make a stand and this is it. If there are 10 films worse than Bride Wars this year, I quit.
[on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)] At one point he's in an old people's home, then he's in a brothel, then he's in a street, then he's in a boat, then he's fighting World War 2, then he's doing something else - you're going "Yes, where is he going, why is he going there and when he gets there is there actually going to be any point in it?" The answer to all the above is "Don't know, don't care and no".
I just review things as honestly as I can. As long as you say: "It's only my opinion," people don't get upset. For example, I think the Star Wars films are terrible. There's no point in me saying Star Wars has got no story, no proper characterisation and is badly defined. Clearly, millions of people don't agree. I'm just giving my opinion, I just think it's the right one, although the weight of popular evidence is against me.
A critic can draw your attention to a movie you might not have seen. I wrote a lot about the Dutch version of Spoorloos (1988) which encouraged people to see it, the same for Pan's Labyrinth (2006). Half of a critic's job is praising movies. Critics getting behind obscure films can help them find a space in the market.
[on Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)] The experience of this felt like being in a room with an adolescent for two hours who won't engage you in conversation because all they want to do is play you clips from their favourite movies. I ended up feeling parental, I wanted to say, "Quentin, get out of your bedroom, pull your trousers up and go and get a proper job because you can do better than this."
[on Babel (2006)] This is art with a capital F.
[on Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)] I saw the film, I didn't laugh, it wasn't funny. I think I laughed twice, which is not enough for a comedy movie.
[on Angels & Demons (2009)] It is the stupidest film I can remember seeing and I'm including in that Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). It is intergalactically stupid.
I don't do moderation.
[on Enter the Void (2009)] Imagine ingesting a vast amount of hallucinogenic drugs while skim-reading "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" and watching the final reel of 2001, and then sticking your head into one of those machines that makes pink candyfloss - in a strip club.
[on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)]: So I want to be absolutely clear; yes, the film is mind-bendingly terrible, it is incredibly long and incredibly loud and incredibly boring and nothing happens very loudly about a hundred times. So all those things aside and because of the way the robots are now animated, to be honest you neither know nor care which bit of robot tree is hitting which other bit of robot tree. And there's some weird sort of back story about why the Transformers are back cos as we know, we thought they'd gone away but essentially it is robots turn into cars, turn into robots, start hitting each other with added 'WHOARRR' all the way through and I'm sorry, but I have now got to the point that I have lost patience with this. Now I think its not enough to just say; This is rubbish. Its actually time to say; No, enough is enough. We really cannot just embrace a world in which this is now being given to us as essentially, middle of the road, multiplex fare, its not good enough, it really isn't good enough and I'm quite serious when I say this; Its not that just that its a bad film, its that its a film with a rotten heart. The only thing that's at its heart is a big ringing cash till. And its like seeing somebody just getting a towel with money in it and just squeezing the money out and you can hear the cash registers, they go: 'OK, we're hitting all the points, we're doing all this stuff, we're doing as far as we can get away with' in a way that has no artistry, no invention, no wit, no nothing at all, it is just there to milk the money out of the largest possible audience in the most cynical, most dreary, most boring possible way. I hated it!
Andrea Riseborough gives a fantastic performance in Madonna's W.E. (2011) - unfortunately the film is one of the worst I've ever seen.
[on Imagine Me & You (2005)] The only selling point of this Ealing-BBC presentation is a Sapphic twist which casts Piper Perabo and Lena Headey as cinema's least convincing lesbian lovers, proving that persons of all sexual persuasions now have equal rights to utterly rubbish films.
[on The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)] It's one of my all time favourites - a dark, strange work featuring an extraordinary performance by David Bowie.
[on Don gato y su pandilla (2011)] I just sat there thinking, "You know, of all the things I didn't want in the world, this is pretty much top of the heap."
There are some qualifications that a professional critic has to have, and one of them is that you must love cinema. No matter what state you think it's in. The minute you don't go into a Sandra Bullock film thinking: "You know what, this might be a work of genius," you have to stop.
As far as I'm concerned, 3D is nonsense and is not the future of cinema. There's a reason why 3D has failed in the past. Have you ever seen a movie and gone: "Oh, that was great, but I just wish it wasn't so flat?"
[on Avatar (2009)] As with much of James Cameron's later period, it's overwritten, baggy, creaky and wooden. There are, however, some things in it that are "wow" and are £8.50's worth of entertainment.
You don't obsess with The Exorcist (1973) for 30 years unless you're interested in religion. As Stephen King and others have said, many horror films have a morality that would make a puritan smile. The Exorcist is a profoundly Catholic tract. It was written by a guy who was educated by Jesuits who wrote it as a sort of Pauline conversional text: people would read it and go, "Oh, there are demons so therefore there may be angels." So, no, those things don't conflict with me at all. I do think there is a very big thing about cinemas and churches. The cinema is a sacred place and you do have an experience which is communal and is about transcending the here and taking you somewhere else entirely.
[on New Year's Eve (2011)] The film is so loathsomely putrid and terrible, that actually even people's expectations that have diminished beyond belief, hate it. I think its quite interesting in that even the most undemanding, most uninterested, y'know critics all the time get accused of being snobs - Oh you like snobby cinema, you don't have any idea what people actually like - Nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody will enjoy New Year's Eve, nobody. Even people who love this sort of nonsense will feel ill. It's so bad even stupid people will hate it.
My favourite Ridley Scott film to date is Blade Runner (1982). I prefer the director's cut, which takes away the voice-over, has the harsher ending and indeed restores the unicorn, which is the key to the fact that Deckard himself is an android. It's an extraordinary vision, a wonderfully realised future world. In fact, arguably one of the five best science-fiction films ever made.
Still for me the best of the Alien movies. What do I love about Alien (1979)? Well, extraordinary design by H.R. Giger, a wonderful script by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, fantastic central performances from Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt, and of course some genuine moments of shock. When I made a documentary about Alien (1979), Ridley Scott talked about watching The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) in the run up to prepare for that film. When it was first advertised in cinemas, it was described as The Exorcist (1973) in space. That's something very hard to live up to, but I think it does it.
[on A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)] I wrongly maligned it when it first came out but now believe it to be Steven Spielberg's enduring masterpiece. Years later, having been told to do so by others, I went back and looked again at A.I. and was amazed by how much the film really worked - it really engaged me, it moved me, it made me cry, which I still think is one of the highest aspirations of cinema - a film which makes you cry is doing something right. I love A.I. and I got it wrong.
[on 21 & Over (2013)] Every single good joke is in the trailer and in the trailer I counted no good jokes at all.
You cannot equate box office figures to how much people enjoy movies. There's loads of movies that take a huge amount of money that people still think are rubbish. That's a well recorded phenomena.
[on Pain & Gain (2013)] I thought the film was absolutely loathsome and morally repugnant and vile and evil and bad.
[on We're the Millers (2013)] Lowest common denominator crass stupid humour, which is a shame because there are some people in it that I quite like.
The funny thing about Riddick (2013) is that it thinks it's quite funny and that's the really annoying thing.
[on One Direction: This Is Us (2013)] As manufactured pop groups go, they do songs that I like, they do 'One Way Or Another', and they do the other stuff, 'That's the thing that makes you beautiful is the fact that you don't know you're beautiful', that one, but it's a pop movie that's manufactured by Simon Cowell, therefore what you see is what you get, there's no rough edges but it's quite funny.
[on Sex and the City 2 (2010)] My expectations were low and I have to say they were met. It's ghastly. It made me want to be sick.
[on Spandau Ballet documentary Soul Boys of the Western World (2014)] I'm not a fan of that music, I'm certainly not a fan of those clothes and the hair is just unspeakable. By the time they get to doing some of those big stadium gigs, Bono's mullet is but nothing compared to what your man Martin Kemp is wearing.
[on Grace of Monaco (2014)] It is worse than Diana (2013) but it's not more fun than Diana. It's just rubbish.
[on Magic in the Moonlight (2014)] It's very light, very airy, very breezy, very inconsequential, and at times rather clunky, but kind of charming in a totally unimportant sort of way.
[on Pan (2015)] You know Peter Pan is timeless? This is absolutely of its moment. It's here now and once you leave the cinema it will be gone. It's a shame. It's not terrible, it's just not any good.
[on Taken 3 (2014)] They took his daughter, they took his ex-wife, they took him. Now they're going to take his daughter - hang on, didn't they already do that? - after doing something even worse to his ex-wife. But he will find them and he will kill them. Again. And again. And again.
[on Dirty Grandpa (2016)] I just don't want the film to exist. I wish I hadn't seen it. I wish I could un-see it.
[on Sex and the City 2 (2010)] Simon Mayo: This is the Old Trot at the Barricades? Mark Kermode: I'm sorry, this is. This is the point at which I started going [singing the Internationale] "Then comrades come rally"
[on Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007)] I laughed once and I have to say I think it was by mistake.
[on Sex and the City 2 (2010)] I can't believe you've just done this. You've gone... You stinking with wealth consumerist dripping with gold, shoes, blah-de-blah-de-blah. He, doesn't have enough money to go and see his wife. And what you've seen in this isn't horrible, staggering inequality of just... Corpulent filthy Lucre but... "Ooh yes we both have the same problem which is to do with being apart from our loved one."
[on Sex and the City 2 (2010)] It is an orgy of dripping wealth that made me want to be sick!
[on Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)] It's incredibly boring. Most of it is Marlon mumbling. It is completely self-indulgent waffle of the highest order.
[on The Martian (2015)] I really enjoyed it, so much so that I could have sat down and watched the whole thing again from the beginning immediately afterwards.
[on Julieta (2016)] I know some people have been slightly lukewarm about it - I've read some reviews that refer to it as an incidental work - I disagree; I thought it was magnificent.
[on Ben-Hur (2016)] It all looks like an out-take from Hail, Caesar! (2016), which I enjoyed infinitely more.
[on Allied (2016)] All the way through, when it's kind of making these references to Casablanca (1942), the thing that it reminded me of was there's this Sydney Pollack movie from 1990 called Havana (1990), which is Robert Redford and Lena Olin, which is basically a movie which is trying to be Casablanca but being in Havana, and I was watching this and kept thinking, "This isn't even not Casablanca, it's not even Havana!", despite the fact that Brad Pitt appears to morphing into a younger Robert Redford.
[on From Paris with Love (2010)] In the production notes there are hilarious descriptions of why John Travolta did the film - because he thought the script was "really interesting". No, you didn't think the script was really interesting - the script was mind-numbingly stupid and it basically consists of your character running around and just doing an awful lot of shooting. Here we go: "What attracted you to the role?" "As an actor, I'm first attracted to what a character can do that's different to what someone else can do with it. This was an outrageous character and it gave me something to do as an actor. I was able to do someone different than myself." I was able to do someone different than myself?! Yes, John, that's called acting.
[on Fist Fight (2017)] It's rubbish. It's utter, utter, utter rubbish.
[on Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)] It's one of those films that doesn't only deserve reappraisal - it deserves to be sung from the rooftops. It is one of the greatest horror movies of modern times. People just weren't looking for that - they just wanted a Twin Peaks film.

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