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It's Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,151 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
For all those who grew upbelieving that Planet of the Apes explains all there isto know about politics, that Slade in Flame was a savage exposé of the pop world, and that The Exorcist revealed the meaning of life, then you probably spent far too many of your formative years at the cinema. Just as likely, you soon realized that there was only one career open to you—you'd ha ...more
Paperback, 343 pages
Published November 4th 2010 by Arrow (first published February 4th 2010)
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Especially for a book I bought two years ago to find info that wasn't even in it, this was a lot of fun.

The first couple of chapters I liked so much I thought I'd be giving it 5 stars. The nostalgia was perfectly pitched - childhood 70s cinema, 80s leftwing student politics and journalism. That was being a "proper student", because of course, being a kid at the time, that's when my idea of how students were was formed. First time I tried to read it all the way through, it was kind of overwhelmi
Andy Wixon
Feb 16, 2011 Andy Wixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Kermode is one of those people who drifted around on the fringes of my awareness for years before I actually became aware of him as an individual: initially as the 'double bass player with a doctorate in horror films' on the house band of even-obscure-at-the-time-it-went-out talk show Danny Baker After All, then as the film bloke on The Mark and Lard Show, and so on in various other capacities until I finally twigged that there can't be many horror-loving film commentators who dress like un ...more
May 15, 2016 Woflmao rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Fans of Mark Kermode will not be surprised or disappointed by this book. Each chapter contains an episode of Kermode's life, told by him as if it were a movie "based on real events". Along the way, he introduces, reviews and rambles-on-about the movies that shaped his life or at least his career as a film critic (if you need some inspiration which movies to watch, this is a good guide). The book reads essentially like a long version of Kermode's film reviews, which is a good thing if you like th ...more
Oct 11, 2016 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Kermode is a devisive figure but I find him hilarious.
This book is funny, he is witty and self deprecating and will admit his own foolishness.
I don't always agree with his reviews, if I did I probably wouldn't like him nearly as much as I do.
A fun read.
Jan 19, 2011 Gavin rated it liked it
I love the Kermode, make no bones about it. The man is -by some margin- the most engaging and honest voice out there when it comes to films. Whether he be wrong or right. Personally I think the alchemy of the man himself is the most interesting thing about him: A God-bothering Old Trot feminist who loves splatter movies and can easily laugh at himself? How did that happen? And you get to look at that between the lines here, but not nearly as much as I had hoped.

When he's talking about himself, h
May 20, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, film
Although I haven’t always agreed with Mark Kermode’s assessments (which, surely, is the point of criticism), the fact that he worked in the mainstream media and was interested in the same kind of cinema as me drew me in time and again. Reading this sort-of-memoir - we get bits of his life, his thoughts on films and some adventures he’s had along the way - made me like him all the more, from the laught-out-loud funny “Jim Lea knows my name!” (and those of us who’ve been lucky enough to meet creat ...more
Feb 18, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like sitting down to tea with the great man himself. If I drank tea, which I don`t. Maybe it`ll be a bacon sarnie instead then. Except Marks a veggie. You get the picture though... ...more
Jul 04, 2015 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short but (hopefully) sweet review: Loved this book, laughed a lot, and adored Mark Kermode throughout. Definitely recommended, especially film fans!
Oct 31, 2016 Henry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I daily become ever more convinced that the most important thing in life is natural enthusiasm.

Which is why I read this. If I watch five movies a year, it is probably an exaggeration. But Kermode is certainly that most entertaining of critics, the real enthusiast, which always makes interesting and invigorating company.

Enough autobiographical detail, of his student days as that 1980s Manchester cliche of light Trotskyist pretensions, of junior journalistic hustle, of road trips to Soviet film
Annie Cole
Jan 02, 2017 Annie Cole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Kermode is my fave, and this is his life as a movie starring Jason Isaacs. Dead amaze and totes emosh.
Paul Reid
It's got Mark in it, a bit about films, some real life experiences and some half made up stuff.

It jumps about a bit and witters off in different directions for no reason but that's why we listen.
May 05, 2011 Lee rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not unfond of running. A few times a week I slip on my running shoes, then get up and vow to be more careful next time, then I go for a run. I'm not sure anyone really likes running while they're doing it, it's all pounding and sweaty and leg achey, and every single time I'm convinced I won't make it back home. At the end I collapse in a gasping, sobbing mess on the floor, swearing on my mother's socks to never run again. And then – clichéd but true – endorphin starts oozing everywhere and w ...more
May 23, 2013 Ewan rated it liked it
Shelves: film-and-music
If you're reading this book, you're no doubt familiar with Dr Kermode from his weekly radio show and podcast with Simon Mayo. I am a fan of the show myself, and also fondly remember Mark from when he used to introduce films on Channel 4 in the late 90s. If you've been following the show or the podcast for a while, some of the material in this book will be familiar to you, though fortunately not all of it. Through the introduction and the first chapter or two, it seemed that this was entirely goi ...more
Joseph R.
Oct 08, 2012 Joseph R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
One of our Anglophile obsessions is listening to the podcast version of the Friday afternoon movie review show on 5Live featuring Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo (or is it Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode?). Mr. Kermode is a highly opinionated film reviewer who has had a long and interesting career in the movie reviewing and film analyzing business.

His first book, It's Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive, came out in 2010 and chronicles his life growing up as a movie fan. He goes off t
Jul 24, 2012 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About four years ago at a barbecue in a 'back garden' in south Dublin, a friend of mine told me he'd just heard a really great rant from a film reviewer about the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I went home, checked out the BBC website, and then discovered that this show -- Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode's film reviews on BBC 5 Live -- had a weekly podcast version as well. Sold! I listen every week, even when Mark Kermode's buddy Nigel Floyd steps in while Mark's on vacation.

If you're like
Aug 11, 2011 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiographies, 2010
This book was quite a funny read as I guessed it would be due to Mark Kermode's satiorical view of the world. However it was not the hilarious laugh out loud read I antcipated it would be. Mark Kermode was his usual opinionated self but it just didn't come across as funny as it is when I listen to him on Radio 5 Live. Don't get me wrong parts of the book were pure comedy gold such as Kermode's travels across Russia and the final chapter where director Werner Herzog is shot whilst Kermode is inte ...more
D. Jason
Aug 29, 2013 D. Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, film
For some reason, this was not the book I was hoping for.

It was the book I ought to have expected from Kermode, a critic whom I love even as I mostly disagree with him.

What I thought it would be: An awful lot about movies, with bits of his life thrown in.

What I got: Kermode going on at great and considerable length about his life, in which movies do figure, but mostly digressing left, right, and center from the way he began, rambling on as only Kermode can, before eventually returning to the poi
Feb 01, 2013 Janet rated it really liked it
As an avid fan of Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's weekly films review podcast from their radio show on BBC 5 Live, I was looking forward to reading this memoir very much. I enjoy Mark's ability on the radio to yammer on endlessly (and often without much time to catch his breath) about films while also making the listeners laugh with his descriptive sense of humour and ongoing bickerings with his co-host.

Reading this book was an experience very similar to listening to the podcast (albeit with the a
Victoria (daisyduck)
I am a huge fan of Mark Kermode and love his film review show with Simon Mayo, so I was really looking forward to this book.
However, I agree with other reviewers that it's rather a confused affair; is it an autobiography or is it a book about film? Well... it's both... sort of.
Most of the book is a series of anecdotes from Mark's career, most of which I found interesting, even though I had heard a fair few of them already in short form. Occasionally, they went on for far too long and I think t
Having read and loved The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex last year, I got my hands on It's Only a Movie, expecting more of the same. However I was pleased to discover a different but equally entertaining reading experience awaited me.

An autobiography told by a film lover, the book was an amusing journey through Mark Kermode's early experiences with cinema and how he built a career around a subject he is so passionate about. The book was hilarious, written with a wry and self effacing tone that
Nov 25, 2011 Matthew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Despite having fairly high expectations of this book, it is a 100% bona-fide stinker. It's neither an autobiography and it's not Kermode's views on film, it's the worst thing you could imagine, it's that ramnbling crap you normally skip through on the podcast. I really like Kermode and I have a lot of time for his views on film so what you want is some of his insight. Instead you just have his terrible brand of humour, fitting neatly into what you'd consider 'middle aged Dad gags' and his 'anecd ...more
Saul Masters
Dec 13, 2012 Saul Masters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Kermode's intelligence in his area of expertise is likely to be overshadowed by his infamous rants concerning the likes of Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy or anything by Michael Bay. But all these rants are motivated and engineered by the subjects that Kermode discusses in this book. We get the tale of how a young Kermode fell in love with film at North Finchely's Phoenix cinema and how cinema morphed his life, taking over it and forging his career in film journalism.

It r
This book gives a fair rendition of Mark Kermode's appealing motormouth radio schtick, but, much as I like his broadcasts, this does not really work as a 'book'. It is in 9 'reels' (not chapters), each of which ends with a small chainsaw logo (he is a Doctor of Horror, you see) and most of the writing (in big type) is just a series of (presumably) well-worn anecdotes from his interesting life as a critic, from the early days in Manchester to the heady heights of Cannes and hanging out with Werne ...more
Elizabeth Coldwell
Yes, I have a weakness for opinionated autobiographies by people connected to the world of film, and Mark Kermode provides a perfect example. His view on films (and the world in general) is 'you may disagree with what I think, but you're wrong', which makes for very entertaining reading. If you've listened to his radio reviews or read his blog on the BBC website, you already know many of the stories in the book, but his experiences - blagging an interview with one of his idols, Linda Blair, endu ...more
Steve Gillway
Mar 11, 2011 Steve Gillway rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Mark Kermode is a double-edged critic and this comes across in his book. Firstly, he is a breath of fresh air in the corporate world of film. He speaks his mind honestly with experience and knowledge. However, he is a teenager who never grew up. He obsesses over and holds in high regard things from his formative years. while others would jettison the Rubettes as they got older, he stays firm and unswerving in their defence. This book gives the reader the flavour of his opinions and persona which ...more
i agree with most other reviewers have said it is written in the style of his ramblings on the Radio show. however that is no bad thing when his ramblings are as laugh out loud funny as this.Oh why oh why is he not the BBCs regular film critic on television he is so much better that the current double act of Winkleman and (that guy who no one can remember).
I found it a fun and quick read written by someone whose obvious love of films shines through and the anecdotes of various incidents with mov
Claire Hamilton
This made me laugh out loud in public, which is always a good sign. I have always enjoyed Mark Kermode's film reviews - and trust his judgement on most things. He is extremely self-deprecating, which is appealing - making it seem as though his career has almost been an accident, which of course it can't have been! Well written - it's also a little light in places, which is why I only gave three stars. I felt it was a bit rushed in places .. though I loved the stories about Helen Mirren and Werne ...more
Apr 26, 2014 J K rated it liked it
Didn't enjoy it as much as his 2011 book Good, Bad and the Multiplex, it felt more rambling and biopic, which is fine but his frustrations in the other book were much more focused. Despite this, this had plenty going for it, the highlights being his doomed Russian excursion, and the memorable interview with Werner Herzog (runs off to YouTube to witness it). His reminiscences about working with Mark and Lard on Radio 1 in the 1990s brought up some fond memories as well! Worth reading to get a sen ...more
I have listened to Mark Kermodes' radio podcast pretty religiously for the last two years. I knew he had an interesting history and I have warmed to his film reviewing style even if its skewed to the obscure sometimes.

The book in itself is interesting on his early political ferment, his transgressions on films he loves or loathes and the various other film related digresses, but the scopes on his personal encounters with filming or stars is a little tiresome. I would have happily read a book tw
Ishaan Tiwari
Jul 01, 2016 Ishaan Tiwari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The book written as a "based on true events" movie narrated by him would not really work for people who are not already fans of his work. But to those who like to follow his charades the book is pretty entertaining. Each chapter contains set up and description of a significant event in his life mostly related to how he got where he is in his career. There's tons of blabber between the actual content which is actually pretty fun too. There are a lot of running gags that can get old especially if ...more
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“we were alive, together, and conscious, aware of our own mortality, but thrilled by the fact of our own ridiculous existence.” 5 likes
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