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Imagine you’re a full-time film critic. Fun, right? You’ve got a YouTube channel. Nice! You have fans who will harass anyone for even the blandest criticisms against you. Um…hm, well…oh, and you’re bad at your job, despite all this success.

You just might be Gracie Fandolph!

Here’s the headline for Gracie’s latest video:

The Mitchells vs The Machines REVIEW – Netflix 2021

Well, I’m not sure why it says “Netflix 2021” at the end, but sure! Let’s hear what Gracie has to say.

I had a real love/hate reaction to The Mitchells vs. the Machines. So let’s get down to it!

Yes, I am in.

My biggest problem with the film by far is the depiction of getting into film school.

So your biggest problem with the movie is one of the least consequential aspects of it? The way a character gets into a school? Which is only tangentially relevant to the plot?



But OK, let’s give Gracie a chance. I’m sure she has something substantive to say about this criticism in the section of her video entitled…no, this can’t be serious. Surely, she’s joking. She’s not joking?

(Heavy sigh) “Film School Lies.”

Katie, our lead character, wants to go to film school. And she gets in…and a lot of people want to go to film school. I know a number of you want to. And I went to film school.


And I’ve never seen a more simplistic and misleading interpretation of what it takes to get into film school.


This movie is not doing anybody any favors. This is a piece of entertainment. Do not take it as any kind of advice on how to pursue a career in film.

Weird, this is what I tell people about your YouTube channel when they talk about wanting to become a film critic.

Anyway, this has to be a joke, right? The way Katie gets into film school is purposefully vague and efficiently explained. We don’t see her go through the process of applying or anything like that, we just know that she sends a film as part of her application. It’s “simplistic” because the film doesn’t dwell on what would be an extremely boring plot point, but Gracie demands realism in college applications for animated movies that aren’t really about that, you see!

But for some odd reason, Gracie is blasting this film for doing something it’s not doing at all, which is telling kids that it’s easy to get into film school. Weird, you’d think someone whose job it is to review movies (and who went to film school) could do so competently, but alas.

Now, to get into film school — I’ll help you out, here.

No, please, Gracie, no. Anything but that.

You need to demonstrate not just a strong artistic ability, but sensibility.

Yes, “sensibility.” The thing that has nothing to do with your artistic ability. The two are completely separate, according to the person who allegedly went to film school.

You need to have some idea of what you’re doing and why.

…which Katie clearly does?!

And even if she doesn’t in your opinion, the whole point of film school is turning your raw talent into a vocation??

Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be fully formed


That’s what film school help you do

Does…does Gracie just not want Katie to go to film school out of spite, then?

I mean we even see a clip from one of her films showing how she references and even subverts a famous line from They Live in her comedy about a dog cop, so…why is this happening?

But you have to have some direction, you know?

You’re just…you’re just saying words, you’re not even making an argument! You do this for a living!

It has to be clear to you and also to the people looking at your work that, you know, these were intentional choices. With something of a bigger picture in mind.

Gracie. Gracie. I don’t think you should be criticizing anyone when it comes to, ahem, intentional choices.

Now, Katie’s work…it’s depicted in my opinion as just playing around. Like the filmmaking version of doodling.

This criticism definitely makes sense if you think making films isn’t “fun” and you can’t play around with the medium as a way to show your passion. As a teenager. You know, in an application to film school. According to Gracie, only short films on the short list to Cannes can get you into film school, naturally.

Really, really glad Gracie Fandolph isn’t a college admissions advisor, because yikes.

And just to put a fine point on it, Katie builds practical sets and uses computer effects to develop her “doodles” into impressively realized short films with flavor and energy. They are extremely the types of films that show promise, even if they’re not “fully formed.” And going further, they match the thematic energy of the overall movie and her perspective as a main character. If her application to film school had been more serious and “fully formed,” it would clash with the tone of the movie, and I have a feeling you would just criticize that.

It seems like she’s better suited for the AV club, like she never gets beyond AV club than for a career in entertainment.

Counterpoint: you are extremely bad at film criticism. None of this relevant, helpful, or entertaining. Why am I doing this right now.

Also, is the argument here that people in AV club don’t get into film school? Because, well, false?

And I find it really hard to believe by the way, speaking of the AV club, that there wasn’t a single student in her high school or even a teacher who shared her love of weird. Especially because today, weird has never been more popular.

Is there a word for nitpick that is even lesser than nitpick? It’s certainly possible for a kid in Michigan to go to a school where she doesn’t really click with anyone. The movie doesn’t claim that she lacks friends (she probably has plenty). It just points out that she’s not around people who are quite as weird as her, which…sure? She’s pretty weird and even says it took a while for her to figure herself out? Why is this happening?

Again, Gracie considers this her biggest problem with the movie. It’s like saying your biggest problem with Shrek is that a Donkey would like waffles.

So again, I feel it’s just…I feel like the…I don’t…it’s just not at all realistic and I found that very frustrating

Well put, Gracie. Bulletproof argument, there.

Then on top of all that, I actually did not care for Katie’s actual work.

Good thing you pointed that out, we were all really on the edge of our seats wondering where you stand on that.

I found it unfocused and not particularly original

Is this…is this a parody of a film critic? Like the bit is that she just watched the trailer, hence the YouTube channel name, and is reviewing this as if she saw the whole movie?

Snarcasm reader, by all means, go watch The Mitchells vs. the Machines and tell me if 17-year-old Katie’s short films are “unoriginal.”

Wasn’t there an art teacher at the school?

Yes, this is “bad art” according to high school standards. Yes. Definitely.

Why is this happening.

It’s also extremely pop culture based…

For the love of God, Gracie, can you please just review the movie? This is an 11-minute video. ELEVEN UNHOLY MINUTES. And you have spent the first three minutes ranting about how much you hate a teenage character’s goofy short films. Like, OK, we get it, you yourself are artistically bankrupt and feel the need to lash out at a cartoonish depiction of a cartoon film school student’s work because it makes you feel superior to someone who doesn’t exist, isn’t that nice and transparent.

I can tell you that film school hates anything that celebrates pop culture in the mainstream

Yes, every film school, and you speak for all of them. And oh look, you actually pasted Martin Scorsese’s head on the video to make your point. Yes, Scorsese, the guy who hates pop culture. Yup.

(internally screams as literally nothing about Katie’s films celebrate pop culture in the mainstream but Gracie passes them off like her characters twerk constantly while talking about the Kardashians and how is this video 11 minutes long, please no one mention that this is the same studio that put out The Emoji Movie).

Seriously, Gracie hasn’t even touched on the plot. She hasn’t talked about what this movie is, anything about the animation style, none of it. She’s just ranting about the pettiest aspects of the movie at the top and is clearly projecting her insecurities on filmmakers who can clearly run circles around her when it comes to making art, clearly.

I guess there are lots of levels of film schools these days

AND YET YOU’VE SPENT 3 UNGODLY MINUTES RANTING ABOUT HOW YOU’RE THE AUTHORITY ON…ok, sorry, I can’t. I just can’t. This is too dumb. Too unbelievably insulting to everything that is coherent and true. I can imagine the director of this movie coming across this video and questioning the entire state of film criticism to see a YouTuber with this big a following trashing their work with nary a curious or thoughtful insight to provide.

Rule of thumb if you want to be a critic. If you’re going to criticize a piece work, at least put a fraction of effort into your work that the filmmaker put into their’s. Anything less is just useless and mean-spirited.

For the same reason you should never waste a second of your time on this woman’s videos, I’ll just end it right here. Snarcasm over. It’s certainly easy and worthwhile to find valid criticisms of The Mitchells vs. the Machines, but how can anyone look at this tripe and not get the instant takeaway that Gracie’s being purposefully contrarian for attention? I mean she’s grasping at straws that are just miles away, and look! She got a view out of me! It worked! Now thanks to the algorithm, I have to spend the next week or so seeing her “artistic abilities” filtering my content.

Don’t make the same mistake as me. Don’t go beyond this trailer of Beyond the Trailer.

Jon Negroni

Jon is one of the co-founders of InBetweenDrafts and our resident film editor. He also hosts the podcasts Cinemaholics, Mad Men Men, and Rookie Pirate Radio. He doesn't sleep, essentially.

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