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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2010
I'm happy this exists. Nabin's writing is great and it's great that these columns are collected with a good amount of new material.

I'm glad that someone cares enough about these failures to write at length about them, and that he takes the time to find positives.

It's also fun, (yet depressing), to count how many of these movies I've paid good money to see in the theater.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Since the Medved brothers invented the genre, dozens of reviewers have published collections of reviews of bad movies. Even Roger Ebert is in the game. Mostly these books are very similar to each other, with jokes about the bad set design or scripts, or the wooden acting, some rumination over the repeated bad career choices made by those involved, and some analysis of how such movies came to be. My Year of Flops blazes no new territory in these regards, and it will be liked by those who like the genre, disliked by those who don't.

That said, Rabin deserves credit for complimenting the good things in the bad films he discusses in this collection. He charmingly notes the quality of Duayne Johnson's performance in Southland Tales. He also distinguishes himself by interviewing cast members in some of the films; he discusses their thoughts about the process of making these flops and what if anything went awry in filming. The high point of the book is probably his review of the "Bratz" movie, as it gives Rabin the chance to hold up a moral standard. I particularly respected his contempt for the marketing person assigned to the film ("who'd he kill in a prior life?") The book is generally best when using individual films to discuss broader issues, such as Ishtar being an excuse to discuss Elaine May's curious career. I also liked the quip that "John Travolta makes so many flops that when other actors fail they have to pay him royalties."

Weak points? Too much verbiage. We don't need to be told that somebody shrieked loudly. Being told she shrieked is enough; you can't do it softly. In some points I think he was unfair. Calling Sam Elliott a "longtime mustache enthusiast" is funny, but I think it also belittles the actor, suggesting he is nothing more than mustache, when in fact he has been in many excellent films over his career. The book is at times quite vulgar. The discussion of Anne Hecht in the Psycho remake can't even be summarized politely. If that is likely to bother you, stay away.
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on May 22, 2012
A.V. Club editor Nathan Rabin's regular column "My Year of Flops" is a fun read. Ever wonder what makes a movie a failure? Ever wonder what makes a movie a fiasco? Rabin takes movies that didn't quite live up to their expectations and gives them a critical and cheerful eye. What I appreciate about this book (and its accompanying column) is the love and appreciation that the author seems to have for these cinematic oddities. You won't find Rabin ridiculing these flops, so if you are eager to find some Mystery Science Theater 3000esque riffing, you probably won't be quite satisfied with this. Instead, you'll find a somewhat revisionist take on many of these notorious movie failures.

MY YEAR OF FLOPS is engaging, well-written, and interesting. Most of the entries here are engaging enough that, if you are not at all familiar with the movie, the commentary will still be worth reading. This book leaves me hoping that other editors from the A.V. Club will bring their similar columns to trade paperback form.

I'd recommend this book to pop culture nerds, film geeks, and trivia buffs. If you enjoyed Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists, this book serves well as a spiritual successor.
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Nathin Rabin’s book My Year of Flops is a hilarious and enjoyable journey through cinematic failure.

The book is divided into genres (sci-fi, musical, etc.) and within each section are 3-4 page descriptions of a movie within that genre. The accounts are factual and funny. Mr. Rabin really has a way with words and makes even the worst movie sounds like it could be fun to watch! At the end of each movie summary he decides if it was a Fiasco, a Failure, or a Secret Success.

While I’m not a huge movie fan, I do enjoy reading about the decisions that lead to flop movies, and while Mr. Rabin’s book does not delve too deeply into the behind the scenes moments there is just enough to give you a taste of what went on. Additionally, for some of the movies he was able to interview actors, or others involved, and get their take.

Because of this book I added quite few movies to my Netflix queue I’ve never heard of before and look forward to watching the disasters unfold on screen.

As an added bonus there is a play by play of the movie Water World at the end of the book that is really funny.

All in all… a great book for anyone who likes to laugh and loves the movies.
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on January 22, 2012
Not even being a fan of The A.V. Club, I had no idea who Nathan Rabin was, but I am an afficianado of bad movies, so I picked this book up and am loving it. Rabin writes about some classic "bad" movies, some I am familiar with and some I am not (mostly because they are too obscure), and determines, through their cultural impact and the intention of the filmmakers, if they are a flop, fiasco or secret success. His writing style is enough to keep me interested, and I have certainly laughed out loud many times, but it is the subject matter that really enthralls me. If you enjoy bad movies, like I do ("Zardoz," anyone?), then this is definitely one for you.
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on July 22, 2015
It is great how Nathan can capture the Zeitgeist that can explain the failure of a movie. Wheter it is for economic, social, cultural or any reason, Nathan gives you great insights about the origin of flops. His wit makes every article a delight to read.
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on January 7, 2014
If you are a fan of Rabin's 'Forgotbusters' on The Dissolve, you'll love this book. Hilarious insights into blockbuster movies.

Rabin continues what might be the most important and insightful film criticism around.
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on July 29, 2013
I was a fan of the feature in The Onion, so it's no surprise the book is great. It features a lot of new material... I still need to track down some of the hidden successes the author identifies.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2013
I had no idea what this book was when buying it. I thought it was something different. Not sure what I thought it was but I for sure thought it was going to be funny. It's not fun. I'd skip this book as it's more of long winded rant that's hard to follow.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 17, 2011
Even at the forty cents for which it was going at a local closeout sale, I knew this book was a gamble entertainment-wise, coming as it did from the head of the comedy team that titled a list of popular songs on domestic violence "The hits just keep on coming." And indeed, the book's right in that vein, too clever by half; it purports to be an honest reassessment of notorious cinematic commercial failures but is too distracted by itself ever really to get there.

I'm trying to figure out why author Nathan Rabin's style doesn't work for me here. Much of it has to do with how there's not much actual wit or humor in the book, just lots of the faux-wacky overstatement that characterizes bad blog writing: the theory that if you repeat "OMG" and "totes" and "!1!1eleventy!" enough (not the words Rabin chooses, but...well, you'll see), or if you're impishly transgressive enough to write about "Interracial Gang Bang Sluts Vol. 7" in your review, you'll have enough Processed Humor Substitute to get by and won't have to worry about the lack of the real thing. Second is that his priority isn't so much examining the films themselves as pandering to his audience's pop-culture prejudices: revisiting these films is an opportunity to assert that George Lucas is an out-of-touch hack, Schwarzenegger a swaggering lunkhead, etc. Regardless of your position on such matters, it seems facile to spend a whole what-is-ostensibly-a-review stoking your audience's self-righteous ire at total strangers' personal dramas like they're the Maury Povich studio audience. As a side effect, we don't get much about the actual movies, and how Rabin arrived at his Failure-Fiasco-Secret Success rating for each film at the end was often a complete mystery to me.

It's also, like much blogging, distractingly self-absorbed; Rabin has to go on and on about why he loves Cameron Crowe or how brilliant his bosses at The Onion are long beyond the point where these topics have served their purpose in the review. This tendency dovetails with a frequent surfeit of self-disclosure: I don't need to read your George H. W./Jeb Bush slashfic, or share your obsession with celebrities' sexual proclivities based on call girl tell-alls, or learn (in this setting) how your traumatic group-home life led you to identify with "The Cable Guy."

It's a good premise for a book; it's just not well-executed. Guess I'll wait for the remake.
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