May 9, 2014

Overused Review Quotes from Movie Critics

Coming up with something snappy when writing a review can be a daunting task at times; normally I’d be quite happy to merely describe a movie as “Rad” and that should be enough to sell it. Alas, that is not always the case and more needs be said, rather than simply celebrating the movie’s radness.

However on pretty much every DVD, Blu Ray or movie poster, there is a pattern of the same old tired words and terms which keep appearing and have done for years.

So I am putting my foot down right now and saying “Stop using these terms to describe movies!”


I need to give props to Felix Vasquez, Alex Hush and Omar Maldonado for reminding me of a few too.

“A High Octane Thriller”: I have always hated the term “High Octane”; it has been used for over 30 years in critic reviews of movies. I’ve never seen a movie described as low or even medium octane.  People sometimes ask me “what does high octane even mean?” Well, it means Energetic, forceful, action packed or very powerful and is easily the most overused and lazy term to describe a movie.


“Pulse Pounding”: Actually I think I’ve used this before to try and sound cool but failed miserably. Has anyone ever come out of a movie and said “Wow, my pulse is really pounding after that?” I know I haven’t; my first thought is normally “I need the toilet!” but that may not look so good on a DVD cover. Although to describe a movie as “pant wettingly awesome” night be a new way to go… particularly with visual aids.

“A Rollercoaster Ride”: Did you scream like a school-girl while waving your hands in the air watching the film? No. Then it wasn’t a rollercoaster ride. Next?

“No Holds Barred”: I think I’ve used this one before too; man, I suck. It means without restrictions or rules in wrestling terms but is also used to describe movies that don’t hold back. I don’t really hate this one but it has been used far too much.

“A Tour de Force”: This is usually used for more arty films which are apparently an outstanding display of skill. It shows that the critics are smarter than you because they can use French in their reviews.

“Edge of Your Seat Thrills”:  I don’t think I have ever sat at the edge of my seat in a movie theatre; there just isn’t enough leg room. Really you should say “A sit back in your seat with your feet up, growing large with food experience”.  Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue so easily though.

“An Action Filled Romp”:  “Hi honey how was your day?” “Well I had a great romp at work…” See, nobody uses the word romp, do they? Possibly in the Carry On films of the 70’s where people would say “Howdy missus, fancy a romp in the bushes?” “Oh ya cheeky blighter” and so on. But I digress, stop using this word in reviews; this is no longer the 70’s!

So henceforth I will try to be more creative with my pull quotes; not that anyone actually cares, but just in case somebody does and then I can finally see “A rollercoaster, high octane, edge of your seat romp” on a movie poster and then I know I’ve made it.


About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.

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