Everyone's a critic

By Kristen Fiandaca

Chris Withers, film critic and FSU student.

Chris Withers, like many moviegoers and videogame players, hates when a filmmaker or developer makes a “bad” movie or game. “You really want to make them pay for it … someday I hope to make developers of bad videogames cry,” says Withers.
Withers is an English/professional writing major who has always been fascinated by film and videogames. He hopes to turn his passion into a career by becoming a professional film and videogame critic someday.
His desire began when he was just a kid. “My dad is a film buff … the interest was always just there,” says Withers. He sees the FSU English program as a stepping-stone for his future career, but notes that film and game critics don’t get paid much, and knows that the English degree can provide other opportunities. “[The program has] a variety of backups built directly into the degree,” he notes.
What motivates Withers to write his reviews is “the sad state of both industries,  and how good film/game reviews can just be bought and paid for,” he says. He’s most aggravated by bad Hollywood remakes and games with more cinematics than gameplay.
Withers contributes to a blog on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie database that provides movie reviews and information on films. “I update it occasionally whenever I see a new movie,” says Withers.
With a multitude of film and videogame critics on the web and in print, distinguishing oneself from the herd can be a challenge. So what trait does Withers have that will help him succeed in the industry?
“I think what any critic can say is that they think they’re funny,” says Withers. “The more successful critics have a great pool of knowledge they can call on to make jokes about the thing that they are reviewing. To quote Woody Harrelson, ‘You lure them in with the humor, then you make them think.’”
Withers continues to submit his reviews to newspapers and hopes to someday get published on The Escapist or That Guy with the Glasses, both film/game websites.