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Channel Awesome Was Not So Awesome

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As you may or may not have heard former members and content creators of Channel Awesome began speaking out against the media production company. Telling their shared and seperate experiences of being cheated out of money, belittled, harassed, or terminated for no justifiable reason. For a while now the former members have stated that they plan to compile said experiences in a single doc.

And it's just been put my friends: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WZFkR__B3Mk9EYQglvislMUx9HWvWhOaBP820UBa4dA/preview#

And just a heads up it's got a total of 69 pages, give it read when you can.

Edit:

Quote

Doug knew nothing tech-wise to the point of endless frustration. He didn't know how to record commentaries; he would just have people in Chicago sit close to the camera and record it on the on-board mic. When he had to record the Moulin Rouge commentary over Skype, he asked me to sit in and record it. I was not part of the Moulin Rouge crossover, he just wanted me to press record and sit there. Phelan called him up and explained, step by step, how to use MP3 Skype Recorder, which requires the simple press of a button to use. He ended up calling Nash and having him record it.

Jesus christ.

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I've known about how terrible TGWTG was for a while from anecdotes from former  members. I didn't know about the specifics of a lot of this stuff though so this is still interesting.

It's been apparent for a while though that Micheal, Doug and Rob were awful at what they do and I stopped watching them years ago. It was kind of disappointing to see how many fans they still have when their content is worse than it's ever been and they stepped all over a lot of people.

It's nice to see some of them find success without him though. Lindsay Ellis(Nostalgia Chick) Is still doing movie critique and she's putting out some of the best stuff out there right now.

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1 hour ago, Josh said:

I've known about how terrible TGWTG was for a while from anecdotes from former  members. I didn't know about the specifics of a lot of this stuff though so this is still interesting.

It's been apparent for a while though that Doug and Rob were awful at what they do and I stopped watching them years ago. It was kind of disappointing to see how many fans they still have when their content is worse than it's ever been and they stepped all over a lot of people.

It's nice to see some of them find success without him though. Lindsay Ellis(Nostalgia Chick) Is still doing movie critique and she's putting out some of the best stuff out there right now.

Question, what bad things has NC done.

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If you're talking about Doug himself, while he isn't as awful as some of the other people mentioned like Michael, who sounds like a complete scumbag of a person from this document, he was incredibly passive regarding everything and inept, so to speak. It's well documented that Doug isn't someone who really takes charge of situations and can handle management things. Plenty of people IIRC have said Doug himself is a relatively nice guy, but he's far too passive for his own good and should not be included in these business talks when he is included in them because he doesn't really know a lot about it. 

He's done a few other things mentioned in the document, like having different views on comedy like "your funny voice has to be taken from something" when the producer kept repeatedly stating that it wasn't and not having the backbone to directly confront the issues producers were having, as well as not announcing the NC leaving to producers before TBF.

That said, Doug is nowhere near the height of the issues here and even Rob has his moments of doing something that's supposedly kind (When two producers were completely exhausted, pissed off and explained their situation to Rob during a car-ride to a TBF shoot, Rob flat out made a executive decision to drive back to the hotel, cancel the shoot and let them rest). It seems mostly to be the upper management of the CEOs who are complete and total bastards and have been doing this to the producers. 

I've watched NC and other producers like AJ, Linkara and such for years but fucking hell, Channel Awesome is a fucking disgrace.

 

Having finished reading, Doug ultimately seemed a lot less caring of producers as you'd be lead to believe. Rob and Doug has done a lot of shit that has only added to the site's issues, as well as their inaction when producers were in trouble. 

I'm honestly disgusted by Channel Awesome now. I'm just happy that people who got hurt by the selfish actions of those in control of the channel have found success on their own terms. 

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Having read through the document the part where the 'CEO' flat out tells Gonzo that his tribute idea video would work cause he's a nobody and he'd get Doug or Linkara to do it just after JewWario's passing was disgusting. My jaw literally dropped reading that bit.

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1 minute ago, Monkey Destruction Switch said:

This makes me relieved that I lost my interest in Channel Awesome. Personally, I kinda think this shows the woes of starting something big from the ground up when you honestly don't know what you're doing. Yes, there's a very large element of some people being jerks, and even downright horrible people, involved too, but at the same time, I can't help but feel that if the entire thing had been more competently run, it may have been easier to get rid of or not have to rely on the worst people involved (or not turn to them in the first place), and there may have been less temptation to not care about others' concerns. And of course, the risk of screwing people because of your horrible mismanagement would be reduced. Obviously it doesn't have to go like this, and in most cases nothing remotely close to this will happen, but I think it's safe to say that Doug was very deceived by his online popularity into thinking he was capable of more than he thought he was, and this not only resulted in incompetence that had a big damaging effect on others' lives, but in enabling outright abuse.

As Lindsay says in her section, in terms of Doug and Rob, it's most definitely ego, especially when it comes to the likes of the anniversary specials. People with far too big egos jumping head first into something without the slightest idea of the inner workings of it. It's especially well-documented that a part of the mess is Doug's own passiveness. Rob isn't brought up a lot in this, apart from a few odd mentions, but I've heard a fair bit that Rob and Doug didn't want to handle ownership of the site. Doug is an entertainer, and he wanted to do his stuff in peace, which is how the fucking Nostalgia Critic became an IP that is no longer even owned by Doug anymore. 

It is absolutely mishandling and total incompetence. Doug's own passiveness especially got rid of probably one of the sheer few pieces he had to help producers. Like it or not, Doug Walker is the face of Channel Awesome, and is brought up so many times in that document over the TBF incident because of how badly it'd impact the viewership of Channel Awesome. If Doug or Rob had the common sense to not give up the rights to their own flagship character, they would have a lot more control than they have now.

This Mike guy, the complete scumbag who's in control of Channel Awesome literally owns Nostalgia Critic, and the only thought running through my mind is that if Doug and/or Rob had the guts to step up and defend their fellow producers, and contest this asshole's orders, they could've likely held onto the rights to NC and they'd have the power to fire or order this Mike guy around, or hell, quit Channel Awesome altogether and do something else entirely. Instead, they likely gave up any final control they had because they don't even own the web series or character that makes Channel Awesome so popular in the first place.

Obviously, we don't know if Rob/Doug would've done anything to help producers, or fix the absolutely horrifying conditions that was happening in Channel Awesome, but the sheer fact that Doug doesn't even own his flagship character anymore? That speaks to a whole new level of incompetence and on top of that, means the completely disgusting higher ups of Channel Awesome likely can't even be contested. 

It's insane just how much Doug's own incompetence led to this, led to the horrid effect on the lives of his fellow producers. It's horrifying that him and Rob would even let such people still bully and operate like this.

11 minutes ago, InfiniteVoid said:

Having read through the document the part where the 'CEO' flat out tells Gonzo that his tribute idea video would work cause he's a nobody and he'd get Doug or Linkara to do it just after Jewario's passing was disgusting. My jaw literally dropped reading that bit.

That's had to be one of the most awful things to read in all of this. Absolutely disgusting. IIRC, there was also a controversy back then that JewWario's tribute was monetized so that leads even more evidence to the fact the 'CEO' just wanted fucking ad money and exposure.  

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Another story, actually from someone not on the document, but left recently. Mike J.

Mike ended up leaving because he was being treated as a lower class reviewer and as if his content didn't have much value. The higher-ups of Channel Awesome were incredibly secretive and extremely elitist about everything according to Mike. It felt like instead of a team dynamic, Doug, and the other big name contributors were the only ones "worthy" of big information while the other contributors got totally screwed over and treated like shit.

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Had to take a break after reading the drunken skype harassment and sexual cupcake chaser. But sweet lord, poor Gonzo dude was fucked over hard even when wanting to do something good for goodness sake. Fuck Mike, that bumbling asshat masqurading as a business man. Son of a bitch wanted to profit off a poor soul's tragedy.

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I remember controversy being brought to light over the Walkers and Mike before, but I guess my mind pushed it aside.  With this recent surge of information, I've finally made the decision to unsubscribe.  This kind of abuse is just unacceptable and I feel like I can no longer support the channel with my viewership.  I'll be honest that the only people I ever consistently watched from Channel Awesome were Linkara and the Nostalgia Critic, mostly the latter.  The fact that one of my favorite internet producers is apparently such an enabler, managed by even worse people... it boggles the mind.

I'm a bit ashamed to say that the thing that ultimately coerced me to seriously look into this was Linkara's leaving the site.  It just struck me as particularly egregious when even someone who probably enjoyed the single most profit and time in the limelight next to Doug himself no longer felt comfortable being a part of the site.  And according to his blog post, it was a long time coming.  Hopefully everyone that's left will be able to prosper, even without the Channel Awesome banner.

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So the doc finally got made eh? Cool. Scrolling through all their collective Twitter accounts and blogs was getting quite tedious, though still being incredibly insightful.

There's a lot of nostalgia I have tied into my discovering Channel Awesome back in it's original form as "That Guy With the Glasses". I still enjoy the likes of Kickassia and a lot of the older videos made during a simpler time when they all felt like a family. The loss of Spoony was the first real crack in the armour for me of course. He still did stuff at the time and even had crossovers with some of the people he was still friends with but the more time flew by the worse his mental state and work ethic seemed to become. Watching the Down the Rabbit Hole episode about him really made me feel sad. 

As more and more time passed, the less interesting the site became. I was still checking in frequently, even when the Demo Reel nonsense was going on. Despite this, I was still enjoying all the stuff from Linkara, Angry Joe, Brad Jones, MarzGurl, and especially Lindsay Ellis. Lindsay is so much more informative and coherent as a person with actual knowledge of film study that comparing her stuff to Doug's is actually kind of amazing. You can feel the professional difference between what they say and how they say it just by comparing some of the videos they've done on similar topics. It's really fascinating.

That label of "Nostalgia Chick" that she had really was a huge disservice to her as a person. Hell, the idea behind it's conception was something that, even I at the time, was smart enough to realize didn't quite make a whole lot of sense. "I have a dick so I can't review girl shows and movies" is such an incredibly strange thing to say.

Eventually, I discovered that the people I followed the most had Youtube channels and I just ended up subscribing to them there. It was so redundant for me (and for them) to even have a connection to Channel Awesome that a lot of them jumped ship and I just stopped bothering checking in on the site. A lot of the contributors that I thought were still with the site had left and a lot that I thought had left were still there... then they left shortly after.

I think Brad and Joe are the only ones still there that I care about. Even then, neither of them really need to be. Joe has 2 Million subscribers on youtube. A full million more than Channel Awesome does. It's odd.

A Nostalgia Critic video hasn't been something I've gotten excited about in years. It's different when it comes to the others. Either way, it doesn't matter now. I can't say I have too much respect for the site now regardless.

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6 minutes ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

"I have a dick so I can't review girl shows and movies" is such an incredibly strange thing to say.

What I thought that meant at the time was "I am not part of the intended demographic, so it would be a disservice to the media in question if I reviewed it from such a perspective."  It's a sentiment that I can somewhat respect, despite the odd delivery.  A lot of entertainment written for women would be hard to do justice when men have no experience with the subject at hand.  Even in 2018, I feel there's a notable divide between genders in terms of understanding, almost like the two are part of a different culture.  There shouldn't be one, but I sometimes feel like there is.

But now that we have the information that we do have, I do tend to question if that was just my mind filling in the blank spots with altruistic virtues and assuming the best, despite commonsense.

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13 minutes ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

That label of "Nostalgia Chick" that she had really was a huge disservice to her as a person. Hell, the idea behind it's conception was something that, even I at the time, was smart enough to realize didn't quite make a whole lot of sense. "I have a dick so I can't review girl shows and movies" is such an incredibly strange thing to say.

To be fair, while that's the incredibly short-sighted way NC as a character would see it, I would assume Doug saw it at the time as "I have no nostalgic connection to the majority of products aimed at females, therefore I can't review it". Keeping in mind that back then, he was obsessed with cut-off dates because with a few exceptions like Pokemon, he wanted to have some kind of nostalgic connection to the things he reviewed.

I do agree with you, Lindsay is an incredibly talented and informative reviewer and deserves to be recognized far beyond "Nostalgia Critic - but for girls" and shouldn't have her content limited to just products aimed at girls. But in terms of that original logic, you can pinpoint where Doug is coming from because he was so obsessed with ensuring that whatever he reviewed had some kind of nostalgic connection to himself, and with very few exceptions - kept that policy going right up until he came back after Demo Reel. I still think the idea is pretty stupid (Limiting content between reviewers is stupid as fuck), but Doug did have a reason for it beyond "well im a boy and i dont wanna review girl things". I believed he wanted to ensure whoever reviewed stuff aimed at girls had the same nostalgic connection to them that he had to the stuff he reviewed. 

6 minutes ago, Nix said:

They posted an "apology" on Twitter awhile ago if anyone cares.

"we sincerely regret you felt that way".

v66gU6x.gif

The best part about apologies is when they don't apologize at all and manage to incriminate themselves even further.

As if my respect couldn't fall further. You know what actually might've sounded sincere? Having Doug post an actual heartfelt video instead of some bullshit corporate garbage that looks like something spewed up by EA.

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5 minutes ago, Nix said:

They posted an "apology" on Twitter awhile ago if anyone cares.

"we sincerely regret you felt that way".

v66gU6x.gif

The best part about apologies is when they don't apologize at all and manage to incriminate themselves even further.

God, even the apology letter sounds like something an abusive father would say. =/

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1 minute ago, Tara said:

God, even the apology letter sounds like something an abusive father would say. =/

Please tell me I'm not the only one imagining that one line Rick says to Beth in Rick and Morty when Beth calls him out for his bullshit as a father.

"Look honey, I'm sorry....you think you deserve an apology". 

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6 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

 

As if my respect couldn't fall further. You know what actually might've sounded sincere? Having Doug post an actual heartfelt video instead of some bullshit corporate garbage that looks like something spewed up by EA.

Let's be honest though, they'd monetize the fuck out of that video faster than you can say "channel awesome".

and then they'd post this letter on their twitter page

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I think I said this in a status update or a reply to a status update... but I'll say it again: Ho-lee shit, ever since "To Boldly Flee," every time I learn something new about this website, it's always gets worse. I just spent some time reading through the Doc and it hurt reading all of that. It really did. I remember at one point in my life, I finished watching Kickassia and thinking how fun it would be to become a critic/producer and become a part of the community...  If I had only known.

I can't belive how someone as cruel and immature as Mike could have this much power for so long. Eff that heartless bastard for trying to profit off of Jewwario's passing and Eff him for treating so many producers so cruelly.  

I got into Phelous's videos recently... While I can see why people wouldn't like his content (I do feel that his jokes can drag sometimes) I am enjoying them a lot and even watching one as I type. Jesus, I feel so awful for him over how he was treated during the making of To Boldly Flee.

Hell, I feel sorry for everyone who was treated horribly on this website. I'm really glad many of these producers have departed from this toxic website and i hope they're successful in their future endevors. Reading through them made me want to watch some of their videos again and show some support.

22 minutes ago, Nix said:

They posted an "apology" on Twitter awhile ago if anyone cares.

"we sincerely regret you felt that way".

v66gU6x.gif

The best part about apologies is when they don't apologize at all and manage to incriminate themselves even further.

I knew they were gonna respond soon... and I knew it was going to be a half-assed "apology." 

God, why do most internet celeb apologies end up obviously being a load of bull? I mean, christ, how hard is it to say your sorry without making it seem like you're not in the wrong?

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2 minutes ago, Emperor Robrainiac said:

I think I said this in a status update or a reply to a status update... but I'll say it again: Ho-lee shit, ever since "To Boldly Flee," every time I learn something new about this website, it's always gets worse. I just spent some time reading through the Doc and it hurt reading all of that. It really did. I remember at one point in my life, I finished watching Kickassia and thinking how fun it would be to become a critic/producer and become a part of the community...  If I had only known.

You and me both. I remember years ago when I originally found NC, and it was before TBF, around the time of the first AVGN crossover, or a little after it, and I thought how cool it would be to be a critic like that, because I loved AVGN and NC's videos.

To find out the real story behind this scummy company. It hurts, badly. It feels like a betrayal considering how long I've been following Nostalgia Critic. I also watch the likes of Linkara, Phelous (I agree with you in that it can be hard to get his content, I think a part of it is his voice also sounds somewhat cynical and always bored, but I also really enjoy some of his jokes and how informative the likes of his DBZ videos or Real Ghostbusters retrospectives are). I'm incredibly happy that the majority of reviewers jumped ship when they managed to do so. No one deserves the kind of disrespect, or torment that Channel Awesome had been doing to it's hard-working producers and words don't describe how happy I am that these producers are finally making it known and trying to stop new content creators from undergoing the same hurtful treatment they had to go through.

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Still can't believe how badly handled those movies were. Like all Doug had to do was look up the basics of productions and what to setbacks you might end up seeing, like the guy thought everything was going to go smoothly and get it all wrapped up in an hour or too. Couldn't even give them and refreshments to the staff. It's common knowledge FFS, how did they not think of that?

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I had already been losing a lot of my interest in Channel Awesome. I had heard at least enough to not subscribe to them. I would still watch the Nostalgia Critic occasionally, but it got put more to the wayside. It was less something to look forward to, and more something I would watch between the videos I was actually looking forward to.

But hearing all this now, I dunno if I'll even give NC that much. This is awful what I'm hearing, and I can only hope this company goes under to give Mike and company a good kick in the pants.

Doug and Rob? They really need to look at what's going on here, but I doubt they will. I don't even have the confidence to believe it's even in the realm of possibility.

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2 hours ago, Tara said:

What I thought that meant at the time was "I am not part of the intended demographic, so it would be a disservice to the media in question if I reviewed it from such a perspective."  It's a sentiment that I can somewhat respect, despite the odd delivery.  A lot of entertainment written for women would be hard to do justice when men have no experience with the subject at hand.  Even in 2018, I feel there's a notable divide between genders in terms of understanding, almost like the two are part of a different culture.  There shouldn't be one, but I sometimes feel like there is.

But now that we have the information that we do have, I do tend to question if that was just my mind filling in the blank spots with altruistic virtues and assuming the best, despite commonsense.

That very well could have been the case. I just remember him talking about his dick a lot in the initial announcement video. It wasn't worded very well. It gave off the sense that it was just for the sake of splitting the genders for some reason. I also did forget that he used to be pretty strict when it came to cut-off dates and making sure everything was actually of nostalgic value like @Ryannumber1gamer mentioned. If he didn't grow up watching the more female oriented stuff, he probably wouldn't feel his perspective would mean much.

Either way, it doesn't matter now. As we've all learned, there's far worse things.

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3 minutes ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

That very well could have been the case. I just remember him talking about his dick a lot in the initial announcement video. It wasn't worded very well. It gave off the sense that it was just for the sake of splitting the genders for some reason. I also did forget that he used to be pretty strict when it came to cut-off dates and making sure everything was actually of nostalgic value like @Ryannumber1gamer mentioned. If he didn't grow up watching the more female oriented stuff, he probably wouldn't feel his perspective would mean much.

Either way, it doesn't matter now. As we've all learned, there's far worse things.

I actually don't fault Doug for having strict standards when it comes to the quality of his show.  It makes sense that a show that is fueled by nostalgia to the point where it's the first word in the title should be looked at from a perspective of nostalgia.  At the time, the show was targeted towards 80's kids in their mid-20's who were just starting to feel the first real wave of times long past.  So even if some of the quality control was misguided, I can't really fault him for having it.

What I can fault him for was having these standards without bothering to communicate them properly, punishing people who didn't abide by them to the letter particularly when the error was a result of his or his management's own incompetence, and a complete disregard for the mental health and safety of the people that were contributing to his little projects.  Having an artistic vision isn't a bad thing; abusing others to achieve that vision most certainly is.

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Ladies and gentlemen Film Brain has left the site

 

Quote

 

I Have Left Channel Awesome

As of today, I am no longer a part of Channel Awesome. This is a difficult thing to write, as they have been a part of my life for the past decade, and it is hard to close any chapter in one’s life; in many ways, they are a large part of where I am today, which is why I have many reasons to thank them. I’m thankful that they saw talent and potential in me while I was writing blogs on their website in its infancy. I’m thankful that they supported me during my shaky transition to video reviews and giving me a platform to showcase my work to a wide audience (my review of Equilibrium was so infamous that apparently I was a lesson told to many a member picked up after to me to not cause backlash while starting out, amusingly). I’m thankful that I was invited to participate in the anniversary movies, which is something they did not need to do considering the expense of flying someone out from the UK, and the roles which they had written for me, which I enjoyed playing despite the difficult productions those films had. But the thing that I am most thankful for is that they introduced me to so many like-minded people that I would call my closest friends, no matter how far the distance between us, and only wish I could be able to meet in person more frequently. My existence on Channel Awesome proved to me that I was not alone, and there were people ready to embrace my shy-but-opinionated self for who I was. Given how many of these people I came to know during my tenure, I have much reason to be grateful.

However, I do feel that the time has come for me and the site to part ways. I have largely kept my head down and worked hard, trying to produce higher quality videos over the years, and the site left me free to my own devices and did not tell me what to review; I made those decisions for myself, and I preferred it that way. However, as my approach evolved, I feel that what the audience of the site wanted from my work and what satisfied me as a creator disagreed with each other. I feel for that reason that that it would be best for me to continue away from the website, and I hope that those that follow and enjoy my work will continue to do so as I begin this new chapter.

I know these last few weeks have been a tumultuous time for not only my friends and collaborators, but also their viewers and fans. I want to reassure you that the friendships and connections I have made do not end today; we will continue to work together and thrive off of each other in the way that we always have and I will try to seize every opportunity I can to consolidate that and expand further. I am enriched by my friends, as I hope I do the same for them. The close bond that people saw in our work and connected with was never an act; not to me, anyway. My advice is this: if you enjoy someone’s work, and I know that we have helped many in times of their deepest need (which has never ceased to move me greatly), then show your support as best you can. Spread the word of their work by discussing it and sharing it social media, pledge to their Patreon if you can, or just simply tell them how appreciative you are for what they do. I’ve never considered myself to be popular – my Equilibrium review quickly taught me to be humble about what I do – but I am extremely grateful for my fans and viewers, who I do not take for granted and that trust and enjoy hearing my opinions. I want to extend my warmest thanks every one of you. Spread the love in the way I’ve seen you do many times over.

If you wish to support me, you can pledge to my Patreon, where you can see my reviews early, among other perks. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel, and almost all of my backlog can be found on DailyMotion. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr to keep informed of my latest work and developments. You can also see me log the films I’ve watched and text reviews on Letterboxd.

Thank you for reading, and your continued support.

 

 

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