Thank you, for your Nostalgia Critic program, on YouTube. It’s helped John, my autistic brother, gain a better understanding and interest in film.
Before John became a fan of yours, the only films he would watch were animated and slapstick comedies (The Three Stooges). While these films were fun to watch with him, our family wanted to expand John’s interest, by exposing him to other kinds of films. Yet, nothing we showed him interested him. Fortunately, through John’s interest in Family Guy, it opened many doors for him, including the door for cinema. Family Guy, introduced John to films, like Ted, Police Academy, and The Sound of Music. But your program kicked that door of cinema wide open.
After watching your program, for a few weeks, John started to describe films from a simple, “It was funny” to “It had a strong opening, but depending more on gags than plot”. Our family was floored. John was critiquing these films with terminology, as though he was in a college film theory class. When we asked him where he was learning how to critique films, he told us about you.
Excited that we, his family, took in interest in what he was watching on YouTube, we watched the A Troll in Central Park review with him. As John laughed, I was stunned by what I saw. I didn’t know what to make of you, or your humor. It was hard to see why John liked you. You were talking so fast, I couldn’t make out two-thirds of what you were saying.
Later, so I could better understand why John liked your program, I watched the A Troll in Central Park review, four more times. Then it hit me. Your high energy and enthusiasm are similar to John’s reactions when he gets excited about something that he deeply cares about, whether it’s Pokémon, or political satire, with John Oliver. And, like John Oliver, you are well read and passionate about your subject. You also explain film structure and theory, which can be very complicated, in a simple, funny, yet, educational way.
Because of you, Doug, John was exposed to films he would have never watched, or heard of. He was motivated to venture out to films beyond animation. For example, John has watched and been deeply moved by films, like Gandhi, Sullivan’s Travels, and Kinky Boots. He also watches documentaries and mini-series.
John has also become an amateur film critic. After we take John to a movie, he’ll critique everything about it, from the structure of the film to the characters, and the soundtrack. He’s a big fan of DreamWorks, Pixar, and Illumination Entertainment. But, after listening to your critiques, John will never go near anything affiliated with Michael Bay, or M Night Shyamalan.
Every Tuesday, John and I watch your show. Then, we talk about the film, or topic you covered, and compared to other movies that we like. Your emphasis on what is a good story structure has helped John better understand story structure for other forms of media like television, video games, and fan fiction. He also uses the story structure formula, he learned from you, for his own fan fiction chapter stories. This has helped improve his basic writing skills, far beyond what writing skills he had in high school.
Thank you, for the impact you’ve had both on John, and for encouraging original ideas, in a world focused more on blockbuster and franchise films, rather than original ideas. I’m sure there are other people like John, who enjoys what you do, and can’t wait to see you every week.
P.S. John’s favorite character on your show is the Mercenary. He’s surprisingly both serious and funny.