Before becoming a professional critic, Mondello spent more than a decade in entertainment advertising, as public relations director for Roth Theaters, a mid-Atlantic chain of movie theaters, where he learned the ins and outs of the film industry, and also for an independent repertory theater in D.C., where he got a working background in film history.
In addition to his weekly reviews, Mondello produces frequent commentaries and reported pieces on the arts, among them "American Stages" (2005) an eight-part NPR series exploring the history, reach and accomplishments of the regional theater movement, numerous pieces on silent films – a bit of a trick on radio – and cultural features he has produced from Argentina.
Mondello also originated the "Mondello Rule for Quickly Judging Films." The rule states that the fewer words you need to summarize a film, the worse it is. The example that he gave in an NPR review was "Schwarzenegger and DeVito are twins: five words."