Why Rex Reed Thinks Melissa McCarthy Owes Him A Thank You: The Answer on ‘The Originals’ Podcast

The film critic also says 2022 is ”the worst year in Oscar history” in new episode of LAMag’s podcast hosted by Andrew Goldman
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Iconic and controversial 83 year-old film critic Rex Reed reignites his feuds with the living and the dead—and offers his services to the overweight–in the latest special Oscar edition of Los Angeles’ podcast, “The Originals.”

A little background: Back in 2013, longtime Observer film critic Reed weathered intense criticism and calls for his firing after he referred to Melissa McCarthy as a “female hippo” and “tractor-sized” in a review for the McCarthy/Jason Bateman comedy Identity Thief. In a new interview, not only is Reed unapologetic, he claims that McCarthy should thank him since he believes it was his review that inspired her to lose weight and embrace a healthy lifestyle. Reed told host Andrew Goldman that McCarthy was “severely affected” by the review and as a result “has now changed her whole lifestyle.” Says Reed: “She’s being photographed having lost 50 pounds. And she’s even designing clothes that fit her.” 

Reed relates to Goldman that this is not the first time his writing has had a salutary effect on the health of a performer. Decades ago, after seeing a bloated Frank Sinatra perform at Madison Square Garden, Reed wrote in a review that the Chairman of the Board resembled “The Pillsbury Dough Boy.” “He was sloppy,” Reed recalls. “He looked like he’d slept in his clothes. Sinatra was mad at me, but what did he do? He lost 25 pounds!”

Goldman suggests that Reed might have inadvertently hit upon a revolutionary new Hollywood diet: for a fee, Reed could write critical reviews of the appearance of anyone who wanted to drop some extraneous pounds. “I’m available if the money is right!” Reed says. Reed also shares his feelings about the mob who sought to get him fired after the McCarthy slight: “She has an entire cult of fat women who protect other fat women,” Reed says. “They came after me. Did it affect me? No. They stopped reading the Observer. Big deal. Who cares?”

Six other takeaways from the episode:

  • Reed has no use for the Academy of Arts and Science’s younger members.

Reed pronounces 2022 as “the worst year in history for Oscars,” a situation he blames on the new, younger membership of the Academy. “The people who are joining the Academy now are younger people determined to change everything and they have no interest in entertainment,” Reed says. “They want movies that are empty and boring.”

  • Reed assesses several films from the field of 2022 Best Picture Oscar nominees.

Dune: “long, overdrawn, hysterical, undisciplined. No, I didn’t like anything about that.”

Nightmare Alley: “It has flaws but it’s one of the most interesting of all the films this year.”

Licorice Pizza: “I’ve never seen a worse movie. It’s for people with low IQs, people who chew gum and read comic books.”

West Side Story: “A great film. There are very few real, genuine artists left. Spielberg happens to be one of them.”

The Power of the Dog: “I could hardly sit through it, it was so boring. I fell asleep several times.”

Belfast: “Nothing ever happens in it not to mention the fact that I couldn’t understand more than every third word.”

  • Reed shares his no “Cats” policy for his Dakota apartment.

Reed discloses that he recently fielded an offer to buy his apartment in Manhattan’s most famous residential building, The Dakota, which he purchased in 1969 for $30,000. “I just turned down $8 million from Andrew Lloyd Webber,” Reed says. “But I don’t want to sell it. Where would I go? I spent a lot of time getting this apartment just the way I wanted it and I wouldn’t want to start over now.”

  • Reed’s Controversial Opinion #1: Robert Wagner is not a murderer.

Reed says that he’s certain that his close friend Robert “R.J” Wagner had no role in the death of Natalie Wood, and any notion to the contrary has been a result of Lana Wood’s tireless efforts to prove otherwise. “Lana Wood is not anybody that anyone could take seriously,” Reed says. “Lana was jealous of her sister, and it didn’t matter what Natalie did to help her. She never achieved that kind of fame. So yeah, she blames R.J. for things, but…there’s nothing curious about any of it.”

  • Reed’s Controversial Opinion #2: Woody Allen is not a child molester.

Reed, who describes himself a friend to both Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, says he doesn’t believe Allen molested his toddler daughter Dylan. “My tendency is not to believe any of that, Reed says. “I think it all comes under the heading of hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I like Mia. And I like Woody. I don’t believe that story and Mia has told it to me herself. I think it’s very unfair how people have turned on him.”

  • Reed’s Controversial Opinion #3: Michael Jackson had no talent.

Reed was introduced to Michael Jackson at the 2002 wedding reception of his longtime friend Liza Minnelli to producer David Gest, but he was not impressed. “Michael Jackson doesn’t hold one minute of interest to me because he has no talent,” Reed says. “He was second rate.” A flummoxed Goldman asks Reed to name someone who, unlike The King of Pop, possesses “first rate” talent. “Hugh Jackman,” Reed replies. “He’s amazing. I think he can do anything.”

Listen to the entire interview of The Originals here.

Or click over to Apple here.