If you are familiar with Vern and “Ain’t It Cool News,” you are already familiar with Vern’s review style. If you’re not, think about every review you’ve read or seen, turn them upside down, multiply that by a thousand, and you’ve got one sentence in one paragraph of a review by Vern. Here is a man who isn’t particularly interested in delivering the most elegantly phrased opus; he leaves art to the filmmakers. He is, however, well versed in film matters and film history, and though he expresses himself “informally,” he does so credibly.
Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer is a collection of Vern’s reviews and essays, a thick tome that covers a lot of film territory. Some of his reviews start out as such but become observations, remembrances, and sometimes rants about current movie theater issues (i.e., cell phones, talking, automated tickets, pre-trailer commercials) or social commentary (homophobics in light of Brokeback Mountain).
Vern’s movie selections include films from Ingmar Bergman to M. Night Shyamalan to Quentin Tarantino, with stops at some of the very worst and very best films made. Some of the reviews are movies he’d seen in theaters, others are DVDs he rented (and a few are both). There are many classic films, and even more classically bad films. He discusses both well known and unknown cinema. As far as I know, he and I are the only two people who have seen White Dog, Sam Fuller’s polemic against racism (I know this can’t be true, but I’ve never met anyone who has seen it, or remembers it).
Despite his street-grade language and tough persona, Vern is a softie who hero-worships John McClane and finds tragedy in Mary Poppins. One doesn’t expect to come across both The Aristocrats and The Virgin Spring in the same book, yet Vern writes about both (and I was surprised that, although he recommends The Aristocrats, he doesn’t gush about it; it’s more a lukewarm endorsement).