Rex Taylor Reed (born October 2, 1938) is an American film critic and former co-host of the syndicated television show At the Movies. He writes the column "On the Town with Rex Reed" for The New York Observer.
|Born||Rex Taylor Reed|
October 2, 1938
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
|Occupation||Film critic, writer|
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University|
Reed was born on October 2, 1938, in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of Jewell (née Smith) and James M. Reed, an oil company supervisor. In an interview with The New York Times, Reed stated: "My mother came from a family of 10 in Oklahoma, her second cousins were the Dalton Gang," he said. "And when my grandfather was a little boy, he was rocked by Jesse James on his knee."
He earned his journalism degree from Louisiana State University in 1960. There, he began writing film and play reviews, not only for the university's newspaper, but also for the Baton Rouge Advocate. He moved to New York City after graduating from LSU, hoping to find success as an actor. Instead, he was hired to work at the publicity department of 20th Century Fox. In 1969, he said his job there was to "write those puffy things about Elvis Presley and—you know—Fabian, and tell everybody how great they were when I wouldn't be caught dead seeing their movies myself. [...] Cleopatra came along and rocked the company financially. We were saving on rubber bands and paying Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton to float down the Nile while everybody back at Fox was taking salary cuts, and I was the first one to go-the little guy at the $75 salary, the most dispensable item in the company. I was fired." Later in the decade, he provided many interviews for The New York Times and New York, which at the time was the Sunday magazine of the New York Herald Tribune. In 1966, the year in which the Herald Tribune folded, he was hired as the music critic for HiFi/Stereo Review (now Sound & Vision), a position at which he remained until early 1973.
Films and TV appearancesEdit
Reed has acted occasionally, such as in the movie version of Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge (1970). Reed also appeared in the films Superman (1978, as himself), Inchon (1981) and Irreconcilable Differences (1984). He appeared frequently as a judge on the TV game show The Gong Show in the late 1970s. Reed additionally served on the jury at the 21st Berlin International Film Festival in 1971, and guest-voiced as himself on the animated series The Critic.
Rex Reed appears in the 2009 documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism explaining how important film critics were in the 1970s, and complaining about the proliferation of unqualified critical voices on the Internet.
Before his current job as film critic for The New York Observer, Reed has been a film critic for Vogue, GQ, The New York Times, and Women's Wear Daily. For thirteen years, he was an arts critic for the New York Daily News, and for five years was the film critic for the New York Post. He is a member of New York Film Critics Circle and, because his reviews appear on the Internet, he is a member of New York Film Critics Online. He is the author of eight books, four of which were best-selling profiles of celebrities: Do You Sleep in the Nude?, Conversations in the Raw, People Are Crazy Here, and Valentines & Vitriol. In the sixties and throughout the seventies, Reed was one of the highest-paid and most in-demand writers of celebrity profiles. His writing style was considered an exemplar of The New Journalism and his profile of the aging Ava Gardner was included and praised in Tom Wolfe's anthology, The New Journalism.
Offensive comments in reviewsEdit
What else can you expect from a nation weaned on kimchi, a mixture of raw garlic and cabbage buried underground until it rots, dug up from the grave and then served in earthenware pots sold at the Seoul airport as souvenirs?
In a 2013 review of Identity Thief, Reed made several references to Melissa McCarthy's weight, referring to her as "tractor-sized", "humongous", "obese", and a "hippo". Film critic Richard Roeper said, "This just smacks of mean-spirited name-calling in lieu of genuine criticism." On Twitter, Paul Feig, who directed McCarthy in Bridesmaids and The Heat, wrote, "I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself." The review was referenced at the 85th Academy Awards on February 24, 2013, by the host, Seth MacFarlane, who joked that Reed would review Adele for singing "Skyfall" at the ceremony. In a column for The Huffington Post, Candy Spelling likened Reed's review to bullying.
Once vibrant and appealingly quirky, she disappeared from the screen for a prolonged rest, and re-emerged with an altered appearance so shocking that she could pass for someone on her way to a Halloween ball wearing a badly made Renée Zellweger mask.
In the same review, he also mocked actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s name, calling her:
A lovely actress who has simply got to do something about a name change.
Factual errors in reviewsEdit
Reed's 2012 review for The Cabin in the Woods attracted controversy, due to significant factual inaccuracies in his summary of the film, and his dismissive attitude towards anyone who disagreed with his negative opinion. The L Magazine's Henry Stewart noted: "his review is literally about 50 percent inaccurate—factually, objectively wrong." His professionalism was also called into question when, in addition to the factual inaccuracies, many felt he was needlessly insulting and mean-spirited towards those who enjoyed the film.
In 2013, Reed was the subject of controversy when he reviewed V/H/S/2, despite walking out of the film within its first 20 minutes. As a result, his review was brief and incorrectly summarized Jason Eisener's segment of the horror anthology. Many felt that Reed was unprofessional, with journalist Sam Adams stating that Reed was "making a mockery of a noble profession while intelligent critics scramble for crumbs all around him".
In 2017, Reed once again attracted controversy for his review of The Shape of Water, by seemingly mistaking the film's writer and director Guillermo del Toro for actor Benicio del Toro (the two are not related; he also misspelled Benicio as Benecio). Reed also made an error in describing Guillermo del Toro's native country as Spain, when he actually hails from Mexico, and Benicio del Toro comes from Puerto Rico.
In 2018, Reed stated:
Love is not something that I’ve been really good at. I think people are intimidated by people with opinions. How do you go start looking for a wife or a boyfriend or a significant other? It’s too late. It would be nice, though, to find somebody who’s really handy with a wheelchair, because that day is coming.
In February 2000, Reed was arrested for shoplifting after leaving a Tower Records in Manhattan with compact discs by Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, and Carmen McRae in his jacket pockets. Reed, who had just purchased two other CDs, says he forgot about the other three CDs and his offer to pay for them was refused. The charges were later dropped. According to Reed, several days after the arrest Peggy Lee sent him her entire catalog of CDs, because "she was so thrilled I wanted one of her CDs enough to put myself through so much hell".
- Reed, Rex (1968). Do You Sleep In The Nude?. London: Allen. ISBN 0-491-00043-X.
- Reed, Rex (1969). Conversations In The Raw. New York: World. ISBN 0-491-00043-X.
- Reed, Rex (1974). People Are Crazy Here. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-440-07365-0.
- Reed, Rex (1977). Valentines & Vitriol. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-440-09336-8.
- Reed, Rex (1986). Personal Effects. New York: Jove Books. ISBN 0-441-66220-X.
- Reed, Rex (1992). Rex Reed's Guide to Movies on TV and Video, 1992-1993. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-36206-9.
- Williams, Alex (January 10, 2018). "Rex Reed Bangs a Gong on the Mediocrity of Modern Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- "Rex Reed Biography (1938-)". Filmreference.com. 1938-10-02. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- "Rex Reed". Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2006. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2006
- "Rex Reed". New York Critics Film Circle.
- "Berlinale 1971: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
- "For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (2009) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
- Park, Ed; Lim, Dennis (April 19, 2005). "Rex is Comedy". The Village Voice.
- Reed, Rex. "Declined: In Identity Thief, Bateman's Bankable Billing Can't Lift This Flick out of the Red". New York Observer. New York City: Observer Media. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- "Critic calls Melissa McCarthy 'tractor-sized', 'hippo' in review of new film". Today. February 7, 2013.
- "Melissa McCarthy Identity Thief Review Is "Mean-Spirited," Says Film Critic Richard Roeper". Us Weekly. February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
- Grant, Drew (February 25, 2013). "Rex Reed Got a Shout-Out in Last Night's Oscar Telecast". New York Observer. New York City: Observer Media. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
- Spelling, Candy (February 19, 2013). "15 Minutes of Fame". The Huffington Post. New York City: Huffington Post Media Group.
- "Rex Reed 'The Whole Truth' Review'". The New York Observer. October 19, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
- "Review: Sally Hawkins Sinks in del Toro's 'The Shape of Water' - Obse…". 20 December 2017. Archived from the original on 20 December 2017.
- "The Cabin in the Woods Is a Pixelated Nightmare". observer.com.
- "How I lost my Respect for Rex Reed". The L Magazine. 2012-04-12.
- "Unprofessional Inaccuracies in Rex Reed's Review of Cabin in the Woods".
- "Rex Reed 'V/H/S 2' Review: Controversial Critic Slams Movie He Didn't Finish". The Huffington Post. July 10, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
- "Rex Reed, V/H/S/2, and Journalism 101 - Dread Central". Dread Central. July 10, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
- Adams, Sam (July 10, 2013). "Rex Reed Still World's Worst Film Critic". Indiewire.
- "No Really, How Does Film Critic/Human Disaster Rex Reed Still Have a Job?". www.themarysue.com.
- Tribune Media Services via Buffalo News, June 9, 2006
- "Rex Reed blames his arrest on fever of forgetfulness", USA Today, February 17, 2000
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 26, 2000