Who runs CinemaSins? Stephen Ford calls YouTube channel 'smart', Internet says 'not remotely'

Actor and director Stephen Ford was trending on Twitter after he called the film critique channel 'smart, silly and entertaining with valid criticism'

                            Who runs CinemaSins? Stephen Ford calls YouTube channel 'smart', Internet says 'not remotely'
A screenshot of the CinemaSins website (CinemaSins)

If you are a film buff, chances are you might have heard of CinemaSins. The YouTube channel has a cult following as well as haters for its rather unique take on Hollywood's best and worse offerings. Actor, writer, and director Stephen Ford joined the legions of fans on July 26 with a tweet but quickly ended up starting a war on the value of the channel. His tweet led many users to slam CinemaSins, while a few came out in support. 

Ford's tweet isn't the first time a YouTube channel has ended up in the middle of a culture war on social media. In March, YouTube suspended Rudi Guiliani's channel, much to the delight of some users, while others slammed the "censorship". Political commentator Stephen Crowder found himself in hot soup the same month after he referred to farmers of color in an episode on his YouTube channel. The company also saw considerable heat after banning Right Wing Watch, before reinstating the channel hours later. 


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As the above examples show, most YouTube controversies are reserved for political channels and groups, where freedom of speech is a key issue. CinemaSins appeared to break that monopoly, thanks to Ford's tweet. At the time of reporting, there have been over 3,000 tweets on CinemaSins, as people debated its value. Wondering what the debate is all about? We've got you covered!



Who runs CinemaSins?

The YouTube channel is dedicated to critiquing Hollywood films, with a long-running series called 'Everything Wrong With..'. It was founded by Jeremy Scott and Chris Atkinson in 2012. The story is quite something. The duo reportedly met in 1999 while working as movie theatre managers in Nashville, Tennessee. The two cinephiles would spend Thursday night previewing films meant to release the next day. "You end up every Thursday night watching one, two, maybe three," Scott told The Tennessean. "And the great majority of them are not good." 

The duo reportedly took great joy in pointing out plot holes, cliches and technical mistakes. But it would be years before they could do something about it. In 2011, YouTube had already gained fame as a video platform, when the duo decided it was time to act. They first launched 'The Cussing Channel', while keeping their regular jobs. Scott worked as a writer for ReelsSEO and also founded The Viral Orchard, an internet marketing firm. Atkinson was writing a movie review blog.

Jeremy Scott (L) and Chris Atkinson (R) founders of CinemaSins. (@cinemasins/Instagram)

In 2012, after a few unsuccessful attempts, it appeared the duo had struck gold. On December 11, they released 'Everything Wrong With The Amazing Spiderman In 2 Minutes Or Less'. The video instantly went viral, thanks in part to a Buzzfeed article. By 2014, the format gave birth to CinemaSins, where the duo works full time now. "Because the suspension of disbelief is forfeited... we start to have fun with a bad movie's “to hell with it all” spirit," they said in 2013. The format has proven to be an insane success. Today, the channel has 9.13 million subscribers and has also given birth to the SinCast podcast and a wide variety of associated merchandise. 

Created "just for laughs", the channel has gone on to become one of the most popular YouTube channels around, without studio interference. Most studios, like Disney, are known to be very strict about showcasing film footage, but to date, CinemaSins has been able to tear films to pieces, without getting sued. "I got a call from a studio president two years ago, raving about a video... The first words he said to me on the phone were 'F-ing hilarious'," Scott recalled. 

Now, Ford has joined the long list of fans. On July 26, he tweeted, "If you don’t like CinemaSins, fine, but they’re good people who have taught me a lot. I think too many people misread their channel and go way too hard. It’s smart, silly and entertaining with valid criticism in the same way as RLM and every other commentary YouTube channel." 



CinemaSins did 'irreparable damage to film criticism'

Unfortunately for Ford, it seems like his views were an outlier. Social media was quick to disagree with the actor. "For the sake of clarity, I think CinemaSins is a shit channel. I Just also think it's hilarious when idiots blame his work for everything they don't like in stories," one person tweeted. Another said, " I highly disagree, if you enjoy the CinemaSins style of content sure you can but its not smart. There are a lot of factual errors, they misrepresent the films which leads people to believe something is worse than it actually is. Its less satire and just lazy paint by numbers."




"CinemaSins is not remotely smart. I simply don't watch the channel anymore because I grew out of it and I don't really like what it did to film criticism. I'm not asking for it to be canceled or anything but it's certainly not smart and it shouldn't teach anybody anything," one user tweeted. Another said, "While Cinemasins is trending, I might as well say that I think they actually did irreparable damage to film criticism online by boiling it down to surface level Nostalgia Critic-tier observations, moreso in their later videos when they stopped doing it as a joke."




A few others came out to defend the channel, but most of the tweets appeared to be criticizing CinemaSins. It doesn't seem to have affected Scott and Atkinson in any way. The duo hasn't responded to the controversy, but their channel doesn't seem to have lost any followers. Love it or hate it, CinemaSins is probably here to stay. 

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