WHO’S BAD? Worst reviews, and the books, music and movies that provoked them.

Posted about 11 months ago by Alfreda Payton

In early January 2023, HBO Max and TV writer-producer, Charlie Grandy had the idea to launch a redux of the 1970’s Scooby-Doo and the Gang cartoon, but with a diverse and snarky twist. They called the show VELMA, and cast comedy writer and actress Mindy Kaling to voice its lead: Velma Dinkly. This re-imagined story of teenaged detectives was T-R-A-S-H-E-D. I had no idea that there was a new Scooby-Doo cartoon or an Indian-American Velma before I’d been told by social media and critiques that it was an unforgivable failure. It was offensive to watch! A fine example of Left-wing Wokeness falling on its face and a Right-wing attempt to mock diversity and re-enforce stereotypes. I was very confused, and completely drawn in! I had to see this disaster. I wasn’t surprised when Velma’s In-Demand ratings increased 127% by the end of January. Dumpster fires are almost beautiful if you stay upwind. In that spirit, here’s a list of bad reviews and the books, music, and movies that inspired them. All are available through Richmond Public Library in print or as downloadable media. FEEL THE HEAT!


“Reading it is like immersive theatre: one of those elaborate warehouse productions where you stumble about from tableau to tableau, trying to piece the story together … The novel is long on atmosphere and short on sense. There are slick, movie-style conversations…the obligatory bit of survivalism (would it even be a McCarthy novel without an episode involving tinned foods and roadkill?) … We think these books are unflinching. Really, they are kitsch….A con trick is being practiced …That’s how you garner comparisons to Hemingway and Faulkner — when, in fact, you’re a mediocre hybrid of both.”

Claire Lowdon – The Sunday Times UK

“….since the author is nearly 90, there was a flicker of hope that either McCarthy had quit writing or learned how to do it. Both those hopes were completely dashed this year, when McCarthy released not one but two sloppy, incoherent, misogynistic, lazy, almost unbelievably self-indulgent novels, starting with this one…”

Steve Donoghue – Stevedonoghue.com

Stella Maris and The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy

Available in print, eBook, and eAudio

“…relatability also turns out to be the absolute bête….. noire of this collection, cropping up again and again to recast Sedaris not as the antsy everyman we grew up with but rather as some kind of moneyed Asperger’s case.”

Dan Brooks- gawker.com

Happy-go-lucky by David Sedaris

Available in print, eBook, and eAudio

“And the real abomination in Rowling’s writing is not her treatment of a (spoiler redaction) character….. It’s her treatment of most any character Strike and Ellacott meet……. At least six of these witnesses are simple types — broadly drawn, speaking in dialect and about as accurately portrayed as Benny Hill characters”

Bethanne Patrick – LA Times

“The latest book, ‘Troubled Blood’, quotes me on the back cover, from a review I wrote of the third book, ‘Career of Evil’; I had noted in that review that the duo ‘make you wish desperately for a new installment,’…. Well … be careful what you wish for. ‘Troubled Blood’ is a deeply frustrating and ultimately unpleasant experience…”

Moira MacDonald – Seattle Times/ Chicago Tribune

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K Rollings)

3rd novel in a series; available in print, ebook, CD audio
and downloadable audio

“…reads like an extended version of one of those high-price talks … these lectures have the effect of making audiences feel instantly smarter, without troubling them with the kind of soul-searching questions that might ruin a good night’s sleep or the conference cocktail party … Despite the pose of scholarly detachment that characterizes most of the book, Ferguson also betrays several striking biases in his closing chapters … History also offers many examples of the social and economic havoc that can result from such maddening inequality, but those stories may not go over so well with the well-heeled audiences that await Ferguson back on the speaking circuit. Safely vaccinated and wealthier than ever, they’d
rather not picture that gray rhino.”

Mark Whitaker – The Washington Post

DOOM: The Politics of Catastrophe by Niall Ferguson

{available in print and eBook format}

“Denby could have written the most concise, insightful, artfully balanced, and expertly argued book about snark and still come off like an Internet-age Andy Rooney, wagging his finger from his rocking chair at the boisterous kids on the lawn. And he has not written the most concise, insightful, artfully balanced, expertly argued book about snark. I’m sorry, did that sound snarky? “

Adam Sternbergh – New York Magazine Review

Snark: A Polemic In Seven Fits by David Denby

Available in print and eAudio Book


“With 12 tracks, including Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’, Bob Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’, Elvis Costello’s ‘Watching the Detectives’ and The Doors’ ‘Crystal Ship’ …… it is 54 minutes and 29 seconds of pure hell, according to music experts at Q magazine.”

“Let’s start with the obvious, a band of British meterosexual pop stars covering a Public enemy classic, ‘911 is a Joke’…..First off,
‘911’ isn’t even the number they’re used to, and I’m guessing nor is police and national oppression…” –Zmev – (user) Sputnikmusic.com

“it turned out pretty badly” – Ken Scott – sound engineer of Thank You, Thank you album

Thank You, Thank You– Duran Duran (Pop Rock)

Available though through RPL/Hoopla Music

“Lou Reed and Metallica’s collaborative album based on German playwright Frank Wedekind’s plays about a social climber-turned-prostitute has been preemptively crowned ‘The Worst Album of All Time’.”

Stuart Berman – Pitchfork Media

“An album….that opens with a lyric in which the female protagonist offers to ‘cut my legs and %!$* off’ clearly isn’t intended to be a barrel of laughs. Even so, it’s impossible to over-emphasize just how grueling the hour-and-a-half you spend in the company of Lou Reed and Metallica is.”

Alexis Petridis – The Guardian

LULU– Lou Reed and Metallica (Rock/Metal)

Available through RPL/Hoopla Music

“I promise this is the worst album I have ever heard…I don’t even wanna think about this album ever again. Dax is the most egotistical centrist whiney b$!#* I think I have ever heard….he literally has a line where he basically compares himself to Emmet Till and Harriet Tubman (keep in
mind, he has…..TOM MACDONALD ON THIS ALBUM)….do yourself a favor, and never listen to this album.” hiphopcritiques –Albumoftheyear.org

“a perfect case of hypocrisy in the christian faith by it’s people, the album equivalent of Jimmy Swaggart or rather Joel Olsteen.” fyfayas – Albumoftheyear.org

Pain Paints Paintings– Dax (Rap/hiphop)


“Like taking a treasured pet to a taxidermist with disappointing results, the personality and spooky-ooky-ness of The Addams Family has been lost in this new outing directed by Sausage Party’s Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon – a mostly unfunny family film with depressingly bland character animation…..It’s also a waste of a killer voice cast…the film….has a storyline stitched together from a dozen family films you’ve probably already seen. What’s missing is a heartbeat.”

Cath Clarke- The Guardian

The Addams Family (2020 animated feature)

Available on DVD

Need help finding the right (or oh so wrong) book?

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Alfreda Payton

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