Who we are

Failed Critics is a website devoted to cinema, television and broader popular culture.

Founded in 2012 by James Diamond, a vehicle for his ramblings in learning about film, the site soon grew to include an entire team of writers and regular contributors to the Failed Critics podcast, which ran in its original run from 2012 to 2019, edited by Owen Hughes and hosted by Steve Norman, who shepherded the podcast over two hundred shambolic episodes.

The site was ‘rebooted’ in 2022 by A. J. Black, an author, former contributor to the podcast and website, and chief of the We Made This podcast network, which Failed Critics joined with a view to the podcast being revived. Steve remained as host, rejoined by many old favourite guests and lots of new faces.

Podcast / Website Editor: A. J. Black

Five favourite films: Die Hard with a VengeanceIndiana Jones & the Last CrusadeStar Trek II: The Wrath of KhanThe Shining2001: A Space Odyssey
Who would play you in the movie of your life: In my head: Chris Pratt. In everyone else’s: James Fucking Corden (seriously, everyone says I look like him, EVERYONE)
Cinematic turn-offs: Wilfully offbeat, experimental filmmaking; anything by Michael Bay.
Tony spends far too much time podcasting & thinking about The X-Files, but when he’s not he also devours films, TV, books and procrastinating on all the writing he is supposed to be doing.

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Podcast Host: Steve Norman

Five favourite films: Star Wars IV, V and VI, Escape to Victory, Die Hard
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Despite me wanting to say Brad Pitt or some handsome bastard, it’d be either Jonah Hill in a few years time or the late, great John Candy
Cinematic turn-offs: Musicals. Except South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Podcast host extraordinaire, Steve is a man whose logic defies convention. Stretching this to two lines is his biggest challenge. He succeeded.

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Writers and Podcast Guests:

Name: Andrew Brooker

Five favourite films: Fight Club, American History X, Aliens, OldboyMad Max: Fury Road
Who would play you in the movie of your life: I want Chris Hemsworth. I’ll get Seth Rogen
Cinematic turn-offs: Pointless, shoddy, Paint-By-Numbers remakes. Final films that are split into two.
Andrew spends his days in his office, rehashing sitcom and film quotes wishing he had time to write something meaningful.

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Name: Paul Field

Five favourite films: Memories of Murder, Carry On Up The Khyber, Clerks 2, Paradise Lost, Cinema Paradiso
Who would play you in the movie of your life: The Stath….. No? Alright… Charles Hawtrey
Cinematic turn-offs: Movies made by accountants, usually Lionsgate horrors with a checklist to keep a 15 certificate.
Paul’s father and grandfather were cinema proprietors. This somehow validates him spending an inordinate amount of time sitting in his pants watching films.

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Name: John Miller

Five favourite films: Reservoir Dogs, Memento, Shutter Island, Edge of Tomorrow, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Who would play you in the movie of your life: The one and only Marky Mark
Cinematic turn-offs: Films that put the location on the screen. I can see the Eiffel Tower, I know it’s Paris!
John doesn’t spend all his time playing and talking about video games; he also does a lot of things he isn’t allowed to talk about in public, although it’s not as interesting as it sounds.

Posts | Twitter

Name: Callum Petch

Five favourite films: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Inside Out, Zootopia, Alien, Snatch
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Hailee Steinfeld, if The Edge of Seventeen is any indication
Cinematic turn-offs: Sexism or misogyny of any kind, lazily and cynically constructed animated films
Callum Petch keeps getting asked back onto the Failed Critics Podcast for reasons that are a mystery to him. Callum also did not like Two By Two, get over it already.

Posts | Twitter | CallumPetch.com

Name: Matt Lambourne

Five Favourite Films: Fight Club, American History X, Godfather Pt II, Inception, Predator
Who would play you in the movie of your life: James Spader
Cinematic turn-offs: Sacrilegious remakes
Matt’s voyage into cinema began via work experience at 15 years of age as an usher, which led to a natural progression into Cinema Contact Centre busy body. Being able to see new movies for free and having 100% disposable income to blow meant a lot of bad DVD’s were bought and thus a monster was created.

Posts | Twitter

Name: Liam

Five favourite films: Harold & Maude, Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Angels With Dirty Faces, Blues Brothers, White Heat
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Tony Hancock
Cinematic turn-offs: Anything to do with comic books. Schmaltzy OTT emotional guff.
Frequently mistaken for a depressed tumbleweed, Liam is proudly ignorant of all forms of modern culture & spends most podcast runtimes saying “Nah, not seen it”.

Posts | Twitter

Name: Brian Plank

Five favourite films: The Prestige, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Hot Fuzz, The Rock, Being John Malkovic
Who would play you in the movie of your life: David Tennant, using his proper accent
Cinematic turn-offs: Disaster porn, where films casually rack up a massive civilian body count
Brian doesn’t get to his local multiplex as often as he wants. You’ll have to speak up; he’s wearing a towel.

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Gone but not forgotten (and founder of Failed Critics 2011-2013)

Name: James Diamond

Five favourite films: Back to the Future, Life is Beautiful, Alien, Amelie, Pulp Fiction
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Clint Howard
Cinematic turn-offs: Pointless American remakes of Foreign Language films
James is the founder, former-editor and all-round Keyser Soze of Failed Critics. He walked off into the sunset and nobody knows if and when he’ll ever be back. He still hates Top Gun.

Posts | Twitter | Letterboxd

Gone but not forgotten (and editor of Failed Critics 2014-2019)

Name: Owen Hughes

Five favourite films: Night of the Living Dead (1968), 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now, Jurassic Park, Predator
Who would play you in the movie of your life: Jean-Claude Van Damme (I wish!)
Cinematic turn-offs: Anything accompanied by lyrics at the bottom of the screen
Often heard saying “yeah, I’m not a massive fan of that, but…” on the podcast to all of your favourite films, Owen is the resident prolific film watcher and editor for the Failed Critics website.

Posts | Twitter | Letterboxd

5 thoughts on “Who we are”

    1. Hi Natalie,

      I can’t believe I haven’t seen this post before! I’m really sorry – I didn’t intentionally ignore your comment.

      That’s so kind, thank you for nominating us! I know it’s a little bit late but I will get started on a reply soon. Thanks so much.


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Slightly shambolic pop culture writing & podcasting

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