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Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  11,111 ratings  ·  2,470 reviews
**Your Favorite Movies, Re-Watched**

New York Times opinion writer and bestselling author Lindy West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle's alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film with brutal honesty and giddy irreverence. In Shit, Actually, Lindy returns to those roots, re-examining beloved and iconic movies from the past 40 years with an eye
Hardcover, 243 pages
Published October 20th 2020 by Hachette Books
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Jena Best The Fugitive
Love, Actually
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Forrest Gump
The Notebook
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Back to the Future II
Top Gun
The Fugitive
Love, Actually
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Forrest Gump
The Notebook
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Back to the Future II
Top Gun
The Santa Clause
The Rock
Bad Boys II
Jurassic Park
Lion King
Rush Hour
Garden State
Terminator 2
Reality Bites
The Shawshank Redemption
American Pie(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  11,111 ratings  ·  2,470 reviews

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Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
I desperately needed this book. I cannot adequately describe to you how much I needed this book right now, today, National Sandwich Day Election Day in the US. If you are American or live in a country even vaguely American-adjacent (that’s gotta be most of you, sry), you are probably also very anxious today. You may have even been anxious for many days, weeks, months—maybe years (four, exactly?? Who knows!).

I am right there with you friends. And if you are trying to quiet that sense of impending
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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As a millennial 30-something who has seen movies, I was totally curious to see what this other millennial 30-something who has also seen movies would say about movies. Here's the thing: I don't actually watch that many movies. Some people are film buffs, and some people are like, "Yeah, I've never seen the Godfather," and I am the latter category (and yes, truefax, I have never seen the Godfather). But I love Lindy West and I love readin
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: film-criticism
Comedy gold actually. This skewering of Nineties movies made me giggle, chortle and smirk. I loved it! Lindy West is hilarious and now I am required by law to read her other books. I am really looking forward to Shrill.

Unfortunately, I had seen the majority of these movies, only "missing out" on Twilight and Rush Hour. Although, the way West describes it I would honestly like to see Rush Hour. I, too, believe that Jackie Chan is a sweetheart and that Chris Tucker is funny, but Brett Ratner, the
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it

Crashing a pharmaceutical gala when you are a fugitive literally drenched in blood? This movie is from 1993, but that’s a 2020 mood.

The Fugitive Is The Only Good Movie Rating: 13/10 DVDs of The Fugitive

Once upon a time, Lindy West was the movie critic for Seattle's alternative newsweekly The Stranger before moving on to write about more serious, political topics. Locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic as she was finishing this book of essays intended to reconsider the movies she loved as a you
when i first saw the blurb for Shit, Actually, i was EXTREMELY concerned that i wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate this book.

after all, i’ve barely watched any movies that most people would consider essential rites of passage, or woven into the very fabric of existence as a person in the west (“you’ve never seen the breakfast club? HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK??” shit, actually… i must have been, karen!!!!).

love actually, whomst? rush hour (1, 2, 3, and possibly 4)? any movie starring n
DNF at 7%.

I thought this was going to be mostly humorous commentary on what's problematic about various movies. Instead, the first chapter is a long, funny, blow-by-blow summary of "The Fugitive." I haven't seen this movie, and despite West's ebullience, I was bored. I read a little into chapter two, and it appears to be a long, funny, blow-by-blow summary of "Love Actually," which I have seen but too long ago to fully appreciate West's take. Although I share West's dislike of "Love Actually," S
Larry H
Oct 22, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

With Lindy West's new book, Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema in hand, you won’t look at certain movies the same way again!

Have you ever watched a movie from the 1980s, 1990s, or early 2000s and realized how ridiculous it was? Have you ever thought how a movie like that might never work in the context of today’s society?

Well, even if you haven’t, West has. This book contains essays on 23 movies that were part of the cultural zeitgeist of their ti
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it

Why you may not like this book: While this is quite different from Lindy West's previous outings, if you don't like her sense of humor, I mean, yes, skip this one too. This is almost relentless with how snarky it is, which is something that worked for me, but may not work for others who want something more commentary with a side of snark. And while this is meant to be more lighthearted commentary on movies, her politics come out to play, too.

Also, if you are the type of person who can only read
Jessica Woodbury
If you are looking for a gift-y book for a smarmy pop culture lover, this is not a bad choice. For lovers of smart-ass recaps, there is much here to enjoy and it's a good one to keep on a coffee table. I would have liked more from it, but I have to acknowledge that if you look at it just as a gifty thing, it is not so terrible.

Lindy West's Love Actually recap from years ago has become a tradition, reshared every year around Christmas to remind the movie's fervent fans (there are still weirdly a
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2020
Picture me cackling out loud, alone in the stillness of my empty house. The cats raise their heads in annoyance and try to go back to sleep; eventually I'm laughing so hard they both get up off the couch and leave the room in a huff. Read in one fell swoop, this book had me wheezing and wiping away tears, so that was very nice. ...more
Jan 14, 2021 rated it did not like it
This book was shit, actually. Every chapter was like reading a Twitter thread that starts with "buckle up, chucklefucks". I wish I was exaggerating but that is EXACTLY what it's written like. It's not even insightful or entertaining criticism: what is the point of criticising the way Alan Grant puts on his seatbelt in Jurassic Park??? I'm annoyed ...more
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It made me laugh so hard I cried." Is that REALLY a thing? People say it all the time about books, but I don't think it's ever happened to me... until now.

Acknowledging that humor is subjective, Lindy West's $hit, Actually felt like it was written for the exact DNA of my personal funny bone. That means: I'm not offended by bad language, am a left-leaning American, grew up watching the '80s/'90s/'00s films Lindy rates and reviews, and am a huge fan of snarkasm. If you're not any of those things
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Does anyone else feel like everything was 1970 until 2008 and then it abruptly switched to 2015 until 2017 when it became 2020 and has been ever since?

This is a collection of 20-odd essays focusing on a wide range of popular movies that seemed to have defined the cultural zeitgeist upon their first release, from Love, Actually to the Twilight, Harry Potter, Back to the Future and American Pie franchises (the latter, which West points out, grossed something like R1 billion).

The words ‘definitive’
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I requested this book immediately because I’m a big Lindy West fan. I love Shrill (both the book and the TV show) and West’s unflinching feminist commentary always makes me both laugh and think.

This book is worth reading for the hilarious “Love, Actually” chapter alone. I also really enjoyed her analysis of “American Pie” and “The Fugitive.” Unfortunately I wasn’t as big a fan of some of the other movie choices. Movies like “Speed 2” and “The Rock” don’t really interest me enough to keep me inve
Crystal Starr Light
May 17, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, humor
Bullet Review:

I'm listening on audiobook and apparently no one has collated all the movies in this, so here's my list to help others like me and give a few of my thoughts on the movies/Lindy's opinions.

The Fugitive - Never seen, kinda sounds like a lot of Harrison Ford, now Liam Neeson, films.
Love, Actually - Maybe that's why I can only tolerate like 2 or 3 of the stories...
Honey I Shrunk the Kids - This one is a step away from her typical format of snarkily relating the plot.
Forest Gump - I nev
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, library
The joy that it brings me to find that someone else loves The Fugitive as much as (if not more) than I do! And hates Love, Actually as much as (if not more) than I do! Lindy has such a hilarious turn of phrase, and such a great way of pointing out just completely whack-a-doodle things that happen in movies that we never noticed before. Why DO they have Sandra Bullock, a civilian without a valid license, keep driving the bus in Speed?! How do you say, "Honey, I shrunk the kids?" and your wife not ...more
Nov 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, audio
This was really fun -- basically, this is your snarky gal pal recapping old movies with you over a cocktail, and for the movies I had seen, I enjoyed the commentary. I will say that the failing here is that because it's more recap than analysis, if you've not seen the movie, it falls a little flat. But I still enjoyed giggling along with West, whose work I pretty much always enjoy. A nice little bonbon of a book! ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Snarky reassessments of 1980s and 1990s movies ranging from brotastic action movies (Bad Boys 2, Top Gun, Face/Off), family fare (Lion King, Honey I Shrunk the Kids),movies that were bad when they came out (the Notebook, Twilight), Christmas Movies (Santa Clause and the titular Love, Actually), and classics (Shawshank Redemption, the Fugitive). Other than the Fugitive, very few of these movies comes in for a good time, loving reassessments that are 9 part reassessments, 10 parts dis, and 1 part ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Delightful and exactly what I needed to read right now. I even rewatched the Fugitive after reading this review. It was funny even if you don't remember the movie or have no recollection of ever having watched it. ...more
Elizabeth Addison
Feb 16, 2021 rated it did not like it
I won’t pretend Lindy West doesn’t have a way with words— this book did make me chuckle aloud at certain parts, but my brief and fleeting moments of amusement were completely drowned out by my utter and consuming rage.

I completely understand making fun of some of these movies. They can be fun to mock! But to me, the fun thing about making fun of beloved movies is finding what made them beloved, what made them classics, and a good essay would find that amongst the fun nit-picking, or, at the ver
Not all of the jokes landed for me, but most did! I found myself arguing with her about some things, but also agreeing with a lot of it. (I like Love, Actually! I do, can't help it.) Mostly I was just very entertained.

Take this excerpt from her Lion King essay:
"So then [Scar] decides to just murder Simba and resume his position as Mufasa's number two. Say what you will about Scar, but when the dude has an idea, he commits. Simba isn't just a baby, he's a KITTEN. Can you imagine if there was a k
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Lindy West has done us all a favor and re-watched some iconic movies of the past 40 years so she could let us know how well they hold up in pop culture history during the dumpster fire year of 2020.
West immediately informs us that The Fugitive is the most perfect movie ever made and it is by this standard that she rates all other movies.

Forrest Gump, The Notebook, Twilight, Terminator 2, and Face/Off are just a few snarky reviews you’ll find in Shit, Actually. There were some literal lol moment
Lindsay Nixon
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it

I looked forward to this book all year. From the moment I heard about it, I preordered and waited... and waited... and waited...

and then my copy arrived on the heels of the election.

It wasn't the right time.

When the election was over, and I was tired from dancing and crying, I laid down on my couch and what poked my side but this little gem. It was like finding one last cupcake way in the back--and my absolutely favorite flavor at that.

Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
2021 March 4

Despite having been told by reliable sources that there are many fine and funny or uplifting or otherwise pleasing longer and shorter works available for my viewing pleasure, I have watched almost nothing during the pandemic. Perhaps the desire will return. Certainly "go and see any movie jammed into a theater full of human beings enjoying a shared experience" is high on my list of things to do in the aftertimes. I will stand in line and pay for the privilege of watching The Care Bea
Traci Thomas
This book starts so so strong and then sort of flatlines. West is funny and some observations and jokes are really funny. It just gets old about 3/4 through. It’s good audio for chores and walks. Nothing ground breaking but a fun listen.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I didn’t even know Lindy had a new book coming, but when I saw the audio advance copy available through this month, I immediately felt like listening to it. Each chapter in this is Lindy rewatching one of her old favorite/popular movies and critiquing them based on how well they hold up now, or just how not great they actually are. As someone who didn’t grow up on Hollywood, I didn’t know many of these movies and hence share no nostalgic memories of them, but Lindy makes the narration a ...more
Laura Noggle
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Literally laughed out loud more than once. Satisfactorily entertaining, although by the end I was ready for it to be over and had kind of lost interest in her mocking American Pie. I think there was only one or two movies I hadn’t seen, but I can see this book not landing at all if you haven’t seen the majority.

“Of course, it must be acknowledged that The Fugitive is a movie all about men, where women don’t do very much except die or sometimes hold a clipboard. It’s all men who are the boss, but
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Super funny. I actually have seen most of the movies in the book, which is kind of a miracle? I don't watch many movies.

Seriously, in most essays, especially those in the first half of the book, there was so much out-loud laughter. I think I was bothering my husband with it, that's how much I was laughing.

Thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for the ARC.
Kasa Cotugno
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
The amount of pleasure a reader can derive from this collection is in direct proportion to their familiarity with the movies West skewers herein. I must admit there were several I hadn't seen (despite going to many), but still, I laughed at parts, cringed at others, and even when I didn't agree, found something to appreciate in each. ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Lindy West is FABULOUS. This book more than her others resembles her most irreverent, hilarious Jezebel posts, and it's all about big movies, and it opens with an essay about how The Fugitive is the only good movie, and she's so sharp and spicy and silly: FAB. Do yourself a favor and pick this up. ...more
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Lindy West is a columnist at The Guardian, a contributor to This American Life, and a freelance writer whose work focuses on feminism, social justice, humor, and body image. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Vulture, Jezebel, The Stranger, and others. She is the founder of I Believe You, It's Not Your Fault, an advice blog for teens, as well as the reproductive rights ...more

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