On Cinema

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On Cinema
Genre Comedy, film
Created by
Directed by Eric Notarnicola
Starring Tim Heidecker
Gregg Turkington
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 90
Production company(s) Abso Lutely Productions
Original network Adult Swim
Original release 2012

On Cinema (later renamed On Cinema at the Cinema for the video series) is a comedic film review web series starring Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington as a pair of hapless movie reviewers (using their own names). The series, which currently airs online through the Adult Swim website, began in 2012 and is now in its ninth season.[1]

The show started as an independently released, audio-only podcast from 2011 to 2013, before being picked up as a professionally produced web video series by Thing X in 2012–13 for its first two seasons, and Adult Swim starting in its third season in 2013.

Early audio episodes of On Cinema were quite short, frequently no more than one or two minutes long. Heidecker and Turkington would "review" films on these podcasts without actually providing any meaningful information or critical insight. Nearly every film that has been discussed or mentioned on On Cinema since the podcast's inception has received a "5 bags of popcorn" rating on a scale of five from the two reviewers, regardless of its reception elsewhere in the press or with the viewing public. Heidecker and Turkington began making the podcast as a "prank" and a mockery of the "self-indulgen[ce]" of the podcasting community.[2]

With the series' growth into an online video series, episodes grew to an average length of eight to twelve minutes. Although reviewing films remains a central conceit, the focus of the series quickly shifted from a mockery of amateur podcasting to an extended character study of the two podcasters. Heidecker, in character on On Cinema, frequently uses his time on camera to discuss anything on his character's mind except film, especially his bizarre ailments, personal crises, and right-wing political views, or to simply berate and belittle Turkington. Turkington's character fancies himself a "film expert," his primary qualification being an enormous collection of forgotten and arguably forgettable mainstream films from the 1980s and 1990s on VHS. The series continues to provide reviews that purposely offer no real critical insight.

Several seasons of On Cinema have discernible multi-episode plot arcs as Heidecker and Turkington explore the dynamic and characters they have created both in the series' actual episodes and, simultaneously, on social media. Notably, Turkington's Twitter account under his own name is currently written entirely in character as his On Cinema alter ego.[3]

Guest appearances have included Jordan Hoffman, Jimmy McNichol, Joe Estevez, Lawrence Turman, Sally Kellerman, Candy Clark, Mark Proksch, John Aprea, and Peyton Reed. Each season includes a Live Oscar Special.[4] In addition, On Cinema spawned a spinoff web series in its fifth season, Heidecker's Decker, a simultaneous spoof of both the political-thriller genre and homebrew video intended for the web. In 2016, Decker received a TV adaptation on Adult Swim, Decker: Unclassified.

In 2013 the On Cinema Film Guide app was released, featuring the voices of Turkington and Heidecker reviewing over 17,000 films.[5]

Season One[6][edit]

Tim hosts his web series On Cinema with Gregg as the guest of every episode, never referring to Gregg as more than a guest each time. Gregg starts his weekly segments "Popcorn Classics" and "On Cinema On Location" where he brings in obscure, forgotten VHS movies to showcase and travels to filming locations of obscure movies, respectively. Tim begins using "60 second soap box" to talk about current political issues with a conservative narrative, much to the annoyance of Gregg. Tim uses a rating scale of six "bags of popcorn" while Gregg uses five, creating tension and confusion throughout the season.

Episode Air Date Movies Reviewed
101 December 4, 2012 The Man with the Iron Fists, Flight
102 December 4, 2012 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2, Anna Karenina
103 December 4, 2012 The Frozen Ground, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
104 December 4, 2012 Red Dawn, Life of Pi
105 December 4, 2012 Skyfall, Lincoln
106 December 7, 2012 Playing for Keeps, Hyde Park on Hudson
107 December 13, 2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Les Miserables
108 December 21, 2012 Zero Dark Thirty, Monsters, Inc. (3D Re-release)
109 December 21, 2012 Jack Reacher, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
110 January 8, 2013 Parental Guidance, Django Unchained
Special January 17, 2013 End of Season Bonus: The Best of On Cinema (Season One)

Season Two[6][edit]

Tim reveals he has blood clotting in his head but does not want to get surgery because of "side effects, the whole medical industry, and Obamacare" while Gregg pushes for him to get surgery. In episode 208, Tim introduces the first special guest, Ayaka, a foreign exchange student from Japan staying with Tim's family.

The first Live On Cinema Oscar Special airs, where Tim and Gregg live stream during the Oscars and drink alcohol. Tim gets very drunk and throws up on some of Gregg's VHS tapes which causes Gregg to walk off the set.

Episode Air Date Movies Reviewed
201 February 7, 2013 Side Effects, Identity Thief
202 February 14, 2013 A Good Day to Die Hard, Escape from Planet Earth
203 February 21, 2013 Snitch, Dark Skies
204 February 28, 2013 21 and Over, Jack the Giant Slayer
205 March 7, 2013 Oz the Great and Powerful, Dead Man Down
206 March 14, 2013 Carrie, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
207 March 21, 2013 The Croods
Special March 21, 2013 The First Annual Live On Cinema Oscars Show
208 March 28, 2013 G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor
209 April 4, 2013 The Company You Keep, Jurassic Park 3D
Special April 5, 2013 A Tribute to Steven Spielberg in 3D
210 April 11, 2013 Oblivion, Scary Movie 5
Special April 18, 2013 The Future of Cinema
Special April 25, 2013 Tim and Gregg's Top 5 Films of 2013 So Far

Season Three[6][edit]

Season three begins with Tim in a head bandage and clearly in physical pain as he went through with surgery for his blood clots. As a result of him going through the surgery, Tim's wife divorces him and this is the last time his family is referred to throughout the series.

Gregg begins his goal of making the Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the first person in history to watch 500 movies in 500 days.

Tim kicks Gregg off the show after Gregg drives all the way from Hollywood to San Francisco to make a video alleging the location of a Star Trek filming location, after he and Tim had disagreed on it before.

John Aprea and Ayaka are guests on the next episode, where Tim reveals he is dating Ayaka and says he loves her for the first time.

In the season finale, Gregg returns to the show as Ayaka was deported back to Japan.

Season Four[6][edit]

Tim begins season four with many health problems and introduces his personal doctor, Dr. San, an alternative medical doctor treating Tim with acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and other "natural" medicines. Dr. San begins coming onto the set with Tim, despite Gregg's objections. However Tim's face becomes infected from the acupuncture and he denounces Dr. San.

Ayaka sends a letter to Tim on the show saying she is pregnant with Tim's child.

The second Live Oscar Special, Tim and Gregg drink (with Tim getting much more drunk than Gregg). We are introduced to Mark Proksch who does impersonations of W.C. Fields and Charlie Chaplin.

Season Five[6][edit]

Tim moves to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and buys a motorcycle to commute back and forth between there and Hollywood for the On Cinema taping.

Tim announces that Ayaka has had an abortion, despite remaining pro-life on the topic, saying "when you are in that situation, choices have to be on the table." However, Gregg brings Ayaka onto On Cinema via Skype from Japan, revealing she did go through with the pregnancy and naming the boy Tom Cruise Heidecker Junior, after the actor Tom Cruise. Ayaka moves back to America with Tom Cruise Junior and into Gregg's apartment. This upsets Tim and he moves permanently to Jackson Hole. He makes Gregg host of the show and hands off all responsibilities to him in the season finale.

Season Six[6][edit]

Gregg begins his first season as host, but after he is unable to find a guest, he records himself having conversations with himself and plays VHS video of his conversation during the episode.

Tim returns as host in episode 602 after he realized his new friends in Jackson Hole were white supremacists. He rekindles his relationship with Ayaka and moves into Gregg's apartment with her and Tom Cruise Junior. In the season finale, Tim proposes to Ayaka and she accepts.

The third Live Oscar Special airs, while Tim and Gregg get drunk while Tim, once again, gets much more drunk than Gregg and becomes belligerent. Peyton Reed comes on the Special to promote his new film Ant-Man and announces that Gregg has been cast as a minor character in the movie, which upsets Tim. In the finale segment, Gregg introduces James Dean, the former actor who was believed to be dead since 1955. After reading on a message board about how Dean faked his own death and wrote a memoir called "I'm Alive: How I Faked my own Death" he brings Dean on set as his return to the public. Tim does not believe this is the real James Dean, leading to him verbally and physically threatening Dean before trashing the set.

Season Seven[6][edit]

Gregg moves to Victorville, California and opens the Victorville Film Archives in a storage locker, where he also lives.

Tim gives Ant Man a rare one-bag of popcorn which upsets Gregg, leading to him accusing Tim of paying $15,000 to have a minor role in the new Fantastic Four movie, which Tim denies.

After meeting a man at Guitar Center named Axiom, Tim starts a rock band named "Dekkar" with him. Their debut single Empty Bottle is released on the show, which upsets Gregg as it is not movie related and was played instead of his Popcorn Classic segment.

Gregg tells Tim that Dr. San, who Tim has been looking for since he infected Tim's face with dirty needles in acupuncture in season four, is Ayaka's boss at her job. Tim walks off the set angry that he had not realized this. However, the next episode is "The Doctor San Forgiveness Special" where both Tim and Dr. San forgive each other. Dr. San takes over as Tom Cruise Junior's new pediatric doctor.

By the season seven finale, Tim announces that Tom Cruise Junior has died. He plays a musical tribute to his son with Axiom and Dr. San.

The fourth Live Oscar Special is the biggest one yet, with periodic musical performances by Dekkar (much to the annoyance of Gregg), the "Oscar Olympics" featuring three games, officiated by Joe Estevez, and a DNA test by Dr. San of James Dean, which proves that he is in fact, James Dean. Tim hides the fact he has been drinking alcohol during the Special while no one else is, and he becomes angered by the DNA results. He proceeds to kick Dr. San off the set. An animated rendering of Tom Cruise Junior as a young adult comes on stage, in which Tim and the animated Tom Cruise Junior come out against vaccination.

Season Eight[6][edit]

Season eight moves the show to Victorville, where Tim has now moved into the storage unit with Gregg. They both buy an abandoned movie theater and open it as the "Victorville Film Center" where instead of playing new releases, a nightly showing from Gregg's VHS collection of Popcorn Classics is played. Attendance is minimal because of the obscurity of the films. Mark Proksch is hired as a concessions cashier.

Dr. San prescribes Tim a "nutritional vape system" in which Tim replaces all meals and food with an electronic cigarette full of supposed nutrients. However, Tim's physical condition worsens as the season progresses, as he comes to the set sweating, bruised, hallucinating, and unfocused. Despite this, he continues to use his nutritional vape system. After he cannot take the physical pain and symptoms of the vape system, Tim goes to an actual doctor who informs him the vape and his blood is full of Lsd, cocaine, and multiple other drugs – both legal and illegal. Tim quits the vape system and swears off Dr. San once again.

Tim announces that Ayaka is pregnant with their second child. After Tim tries to get Ayaka to get an abortion, she leaves him and moves back to Japan. Tim begins an romantic relationship with Axiom's sister, Juliana.

A fire is started in the storage unit after Tim's vape pen overheats one night, burning the entire facility down including the Victorville Film Archive. Tim suffers third degree burns on all of his body, including his face and hands. After insurance will not cover the cost of the fire, he returns to the show in bandages so he can keep working to pay for the damages and lawsuits, which exceed $1,000,000 according to Gregg.

However, in Tim's return to On Cinema, he is surprised by an intervention by Gregg, Joe Estevez, John Aprea, Mark Proksch, Ayaka, Ayaka's father, and Axiom. They encourage Tim to live a healthier life, which upsets Tim. He yells and kicks everyone but Axiom out, and announces plans to start an electronic music version of Dekkar, now called "DKR".

The season finale ends with a remixed, electronic version of Empty Bottle and Tim announcing that Juliana is now pregnant with his child while Ayaka will go through with her pregnancy too.

Season Nine[7][edit]

Season nine begins with Gregg informing the audience that the Victorville Film Center has burnt down while he speculates Tim may have done it to collect insurance money.

After Gregg and Tim move back to Hollywood, Tim opens up "Six Bag Cinemas", a new movie theater concept with recliner chairs and a waiter (who is Mark) that brings food to customers during the movie. Gregg constantly criticizes the theater and food.

After Tim stops using the facial cream for the burns on his face, his skin dies and he needs a skin transplant. After a selection process in which Tim volunteers most of the potential donors himself, Manuel from DKR is chosen and donates skin off of his lower back and buttocks to Tim.

Tim and Dr. San are arrested and jailed on murder and manslaughter charges. At Tim's "Electric Sun Desert Music Festival" in Apple Valley, California, Dr. San allegedly gave out free samples of his nutritional vape system, the same one Tim uses, resulting in 20 deaths. Gregg takes over as host with Mark as his co-host, and the two spend an entire episode blaming Tim instead of reviewing movies.

Tim returns on bail, and finishes the last three episodes of the season with Turkington. Together with his lawyer, Doug Lyman, Tim has decided to pin the 20 deaths on Dr. San and the Apple Valley authorities who did not respond in time. In the season finale, it is revealed that Dr. San has committed suicide in jail, and that the relatives of the 20 who died are now primarily blaming Tim for the deaths. At the end of the final episode, Tim reveals to Gregg that he did in fact watch the episode where Gregg and Mark insulted him, and that he will never forgive Gregg for what he said.


  1. ^ Evans, Bradford (2012-11-09). "Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington Are Your New Siskel & Ebert". Splitsider. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  2. ^ "Faux movie-review web series 'On Cinema at the Cinema' develops a real future". Dailycal.org. 2014-01-25. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  3. ^ "Gregg Turkington". Twitter. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  4. ^ Evans, Bradford (2014-02-25). "Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington Are Doing a Live Oscars Special". Splitsider. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  5. ^ Wild, Matt (2013-04-30). "Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington’s On Cinema is now a very meta app · Newswire · The A.V. Club". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Adult Swim (2016-10-05), A Beginner's Guide to On Cinema at the Cinema | On Cinema | Adult Swim, retrieved 2017-04-04 
  7. ^ "Watch On Cinema Original Web Series for Free from Adult Swim". Adult Swim. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 

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