Kevin McCarthy

From critic to creator

From critic to creator

By Octavia Silva

Courtesy of Kevin McCarthy

When he was 8 years old, he bribed his parents to let him see “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” a strictly R-rated film, in exchange for good grades. They agreed and so began a lifelong love for all things film. This memory is one Kevin McCarthy cherishes to this day, and one he looks back on as the turning point in his life. Impressively, he’s managed to parlay this cinema fanaticism into considerably more than a hobby.

Originally from Newport News and a George Mason University alumnus, McCarthy graduated in 2006 with a Communications degree and concentrations in media production and criticism. Since then he has stayed in the Metro-D.C. area, working at CBS and quickly becoming a bona fide film critic on the side, interviewing revered film talents from Bruce Willis and Russell Crowe to favorite directors Quentin Tarantino and Sam Raimi. Interviews and reviews are published on Nerd Tears, a website McCarthy created specifically to platform his film affinity. He’s also shared his views on 106.7FM radio show “The Junkies” and TV’s “FOX & Friends.”

Spielberg has been his most memorable interview to date; Not because of its ease or because he got an inside scoop, but because it’s led to continued interaction way past their initial meeting in 2011. “Why aren’t you making movies?” the interview tables were slightly turned. They talked shop about their shared love for the industry—the classic art of filmmaking and 8 mm films. Just two fans geeking out.

Soon after this first interview, he got the chance to meet Spielberg again. At this point a memory had been made in both of their minds. Spielberg remembered. It was this second meeting that may have changed everything for McCarthy. Spielberg told him he should be a filmmaker—worthy advice, to say the least. After McCarthy’s interview was over, it was another journalist’s turn to gather information from Spielberg. As this shift was taking place, Spielberg was recorded referring to McCarthy in quite a memorably affable way—“he’s got the stuff.” A cliché statement like that can be easily forgiven if uttered by certain people, Spielberg definitely being one of them. Some might think that the Spielberg cliché marked the end of their interaction, but that is not the case. They met again about a year later, their most significant interaction yet. Spielberg’s advice took a more specific turn when he told McCarthy to make a short film and send it to him. McCarthy wasted no time. In just two months, “Bump” was made and sent.

Cut to almost present time—their fourth interaction at the 2013 Critics’ Choice Awards this past January. McCarthy made sure to let Spielberg know that he made the short film and had sent it to him a few months back. Spielberg replied that he’d watch it. McCarthy later received an email from Spielberg’s producer stating that they had indeed received the film.

“We did the best we could and we’re very proud of ‘Bump,’” says McCarthy. “I’m satisfied knowing that a key person in his life has it.” And that is the tentative end to the Spielberg/McCarthy saga. Hopefully there’s much more to come.

Check out McCarthy’s rants on the latest films at, and his summer flick picks in the May 2013 issue of Northern Virginia Magazine.


(May 2013)