Rex Reed

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Rex Reed
Born Rex Taylor Reed
(1938-10-02) October 2, 1938 (age 81)
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Occupation Film critic, writer
Years active 1967–present

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 currently writes the column "On the Town with Rex Reed" for The New York Observer.

Personal life

Reed was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 2, 1938, the son of Jewell (née Smith) and James M. Reed, an oil company supervisor.[1][2] He earned his journalism degree from Louisiana State University in 1960.[3]

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.[4] 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."[5]

He lives at the Dakota apartment building in New York City. Reed is good friends with gossip columnist Liz Smith.[6]


Films and TV appearances

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) and Inchon (1981), and was a regular on the TV show The Gong Show in the late 1970s. Reed additionally served on the jury at the 21st Berlin International Film Festival in 1971,[7] 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.[8]


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 exemplary example 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 reviews

In a 2005 review of the South Korean movie Oldboy, Reed wrote: "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?" The Village Voice, which stated that "online forums erupted in protest" at the review, then mocked Reed by imagining him applying similar logic to films from other countries.[9]

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".[10][11] Film critic Richard Roeper said, "This just smacks of mean-spirited name-calling in lieu of genuine criticism."[12] On Twitter, Paul Feig, who directed McCarthy in Bridesmaids and The Heat, wrote, "I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself."[12] 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.[13] In a column for The Huffington Post, Candy Spelling likened Reed's review to bullying.[14]

Factual errors in reviews

Reed's 2012 review for The Cabin in the Woods[15] 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.[16][17]

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.[18] As a result, his review was incredibly 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."[19][20]


  • Reed, Rex (1968). Do you sleep in the nude?. London: Allen. ISBN 0-491-00043-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (1969). Conversations in the Raw. New York: World. ISBN 0-491-00043-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (1974). People are crazy here. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-440-07365-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (1977). Valentines & vitriol. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-440-09336-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (1986). Personal Effects. New York: Jove Books. ISBN 0-441-66220-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (1992). Rex Reed's Guide to Movies on TV and Video, 1992-1993. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-36206-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (2013). Do You Sleep in the Nude? (ebook edition). Memphis: Devault-Graves Digital Editions. ISBN 978-0-9882322-6-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (2013). People Are Crazy Here (ebook edition). Memphis: Devault-Graves Digital Editions. ISBN 978-0-9882322-8-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (2013). Valentines & Vitriol (ebook edition). Memphis: Devault-Graves Digital Editions. ISBN 978-0-9882322-9-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reed, Rex (2013). Conversations in the Raw (ebook edition). Memphis: Devault-Graves Digital Editions. ISBN 978-0-9882322-7-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. "Rex Reed Biography (1938-)". 1938-10-02. Retrieved 2010-09-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Rex Reed". Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2006. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2006
  3. "Rex Reed". New York Critics Film Circle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Rex Reed blames his arrest on fever of forgetfulness", USA Today, February 17, 2000
  5. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 26, 2000
  6. Tribune Media Services via Buffalo News, June 9, 2006
  7. "Berlinale 1971: Juries". Retrieved 2010-03-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism at the TCM Movie Database
  9. "Rex is Comedy", Village Voice, April 19, 2005
  10. Reed, Rex. "Declined: In Identity Thief, Bateman's Bankable Billing Can't Lift This Flick out of the Red". New York Observer. Retrieved 15 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Critic calls Melissa McCarthy 'tractor-sized', 'hippo' in review of new film", Today, February 7, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Melissa McCarthy Identity Thief Review Is "Mean-Spirited," Says Film Critic Richard Roeper". Us Weekly. February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Grant, Drew (February 25, 2013). "Rex Reed Got a Shout-Out in Last Night's Oscar Telecast". New York Observer. Retrieved March 4, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Candy Spelling, 15 Minutes of Fame, The Huffington Post, February 19, 2013
  15. "The Cabin in the Woods Is a Pixelated Nightmare".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "How I lost my Respect for Rex Reed".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Unprofessional Inaccuracies in Rex Reed's Review of Cabin in the Woods".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Rex Reed, V/H/S/2, and Journalism 101 - Dread Central". Dread Central. July 10, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Adams, Sam (July 10, 2013). "Rex Reed Still World's Worst Film Critic". Indiewire.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links