FOX 5’s movie critic and entertainment reporter Kevin McCarthy regales Washington with his passion for cinema.
Movies are more than a job for Kevin McCarthy — they’re his passion, evident in every area of his life. He met his fiancée Lauren, a film critic, at a movie theater. He proposed to her entirely in quotes from their favorite romantic comedies. Their rescue dog is named Oscar, after the awards. He wears a Heisenberg tie bar every day to commemorate his favorite TV show, “Breaking Bad” and for good luck he keeps a ticket stub in his wallet from the first film he ever reviewed, “Die Hard III.” The 31-year-old critic’s enthusiasm for the craft has earned him fans across the District who tune in to the most-watched morning show in town for his entertainment segment.
WL: How did you get started in your career?
KM: I started off in radio when I was at George Mason University as an intern at “The Sports Junkies,” filing paperwork and helping out the sales team. At the time I was writing movie reviews on my AOL instant messenger and thought I could bring good energy to a movie segment on the show. So, one day host Eric Bickel walked by, I offered him a french fry from whatever fast food lunch I was eating and asked if I could try a movie review sometime. For eight years I did reviews while working a part-time job in sales and in 2013 I got hired full time as a writer/producer at FOX 5 and it eventually switched to an on-air position. You have to understand, when I was eight years old, I fell in love with cinema and cinema’s been my life. I’ve seen movies dozens and dozens of times that I love and now I’m amazingly having the opportunity to meet my cinematic heroes through my job.
WL: Who’s been your best interview?
KM: Steven Spielberg, no question. At the end of the interview, we shook hands and he said, “Why are you doing interviews? You should be a filmmaker.” And then I saw him a week later and he remembered me and told the next reporter, “That guy’s got the stuff. He’s going to be a filmmaker.” When I saw him a month later at the Critics Choice Awards, he told me to make a movie and send it to him, so I got together with two of my college friends, made a short film called “Bump” and we sent it to him and he watched it.
WL: Is filmmaking something you’re looking to get into?
KM: It’s something I’ve always been interested in, which is why one of the challenges that I face in my job is that I want to make filmmaking interesting for the FOX 5 audience. One of the things I love to do is to teach people what to look for in movies. The best compliment I get from a viewer is when they send me a message and say, “Dude I just watched this movie, I remember what they said in your interview and that made the movie a better experience.”
WL: What do you think of the local film scene? Do we even have one?
KM: The movie theaters here are fantastic, I’m a big fan of the AMC Tysons Corner and Angelica in Fairfax. You have the DC Shorts Film Festival, AFI Silver Spring theater, and the AFI Silver Docs film festival is fantastic. Location-wise, a lot of movies have been shooting here — “Transformers” and the Edward Snowden movie recently. It’s a really beautiful place to shoot movies and when they can get approval to shoot [locally] it’s electrifying. Arch Campbell was a mentor [who] took me under his wing. Knowing him and knowing what he brought to the D.C. area inspired me to get into the job I’m in because I’d love to someday be half the reviewer he was.
WL: Quick questions for the critic. What’s your pick for best movie of the year?
KM: “Mad Max Fury Road.” No question. I saw it six times.
WL: Best actor or actress?
KM: Actor of all time, probably Jimmy Stewart. Currently, Leonardo DiCaprio. Actress — probably Audrey Hepburn originally. I like Brie Larson a lot right now.
WL: Favorite movie of all time?
KM: “True Romance.” And Quentin Tarantino is my favorite director.
WL: Best line from a movie?
KM: “I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat” from “Jaws.”
This article appears in the April 2016 issue of Washington Life.