2011: A Video Tribute

My best of 2011 list may not be finished quite yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been fervently slaving over a look back at the films of the year. Above is a little project I edited myself in tribute to the movies and images that, in one way or another, moved me in 2011. It’s set to Florence + The Machine’s “Kiss With A Fist”, and any comments you have are totally appreciated.




Kevin Smith tweeted about me.

Today, one of my favorite public figures (not just directors, or even film-related people) not only acknowledged my existence, but shared my story and my review of his film, “Red State”. Yes, friends, Kevin Smith knows who I am, and out of the goodness of his heart, wanted his 1,763,525 followers on Twitter to know it too. I really don’t have much to say (I’m still at a total loss for words), so I’ll just post his tweets in order, and let them speak for themselves.

It’s days like this that keep me doing this.


Letters To The Editor: Young critic draws laughs, insight

Young movie critic brings laughs, insight

I wanted to express my sincere appreciation for the hilarious movie reviews featured in your newspaper this summer.

It is even more interesting to read them because they are the intelligent insights of a very wry, witty and outspoken 12-year-old film critic, Ryan Michaels. 
His latest review on the new “Transformers” movie was so funny and insightful that our family was laughing out loud as we read it. 
Ryan is very sophisticated for a pre-teen critic and we anticipate we will be reading his reviews for years to come. Thanks to your paper for carrying his wonderful commentaries. 

Gail Lutey
Ann Arbor
Young reviewer should stay away from ‘R’ movies
Congratulations and best of luck with the A2 Journal. I look forward to reading a local paper again.
However, I must take exception to the film critic piece by young Ryan Michaels. Putting aside the moral argument of a child of 12 watching an R-rated movie and the message this sends to other 12- through 16-year-olds who are not allowed to buy a ticket to such movies, I found that it was indeed his age that made the review so unbearable.
Movies are rated “R,” not only for violence but because of the adult complexities that they explore. I need that adult understanding to be in a review, in place of the immature observation that an actor, “Looks insanely cool firing off a Tommy gun with one hand.”

Terry Ramsdell
Ann Arbor

Humbled by a twelve-year-old…again

Ryan receiving his award: Michigan Press Association, 2008 Better Newspaper Contest, Local ColumnistBy Pete Cunningham
Pete Cunningham’s Blog, Word on the Street
Posted: February 9, 2008

Wunderkind Ryan Michaels, 12, was honored Friday, Feb.6, by the Michigan Press Association as the youngest-ever recipient of a professional journalism award. As I’m sure you all know by now, Ryan writes movie reviews for the Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader of Heritage Newspapers, Inc., and beat out other journalists (myself included) from weekly papers with a circulation under 4,000 in the category of local columnist.

Motivated by the subsequent jealous rage that accompanies losing to a 12-year-old (see U.S. women’s gymnasts) I wrote a column about Ryan (pdf) back in October, which the MPA printed in their weekly publication, The Bulletin. In addition to publishing my column, the MPA was kind enough to invite me, along with Ryan and his father, Kevin Michaels, as special guests to their annual convention at the Amway Hotel in Grand Rapids.

In my column about losing to Ryan, I wrote that I felt like I was playing second fiddle to him. At the convention, we weren’t even in the same band.


People flocked to Ryan to congratulate him. They would then introduce themselves to Kevin, then awkwardly ask who I was. No one seemed to care, but because I was with Ryan, they felt obligated to inquire.

Here is a rough synopsis of how this all went down:

Person X: It’s great to meet you, Ryan. Congratulations.
Ryan: Thanks. You know what they say, journalism awards today, world domination tomorrow. Here, take one of my business cards (yes, he has business cards) and please visit my website (yes, he has a website.)
Person X: Kevin, you must be very proud of your son.
Kevin: Yes, thank you.
Person X: And you are? (in a real “I don’t care” tone)
Me: Hi, I’m Pete. I haven’t won any awards, but I did write an article about Ryan winning an award, so I got invited, too. I never pass up a free lunch!

One MPA member – confusing me for an employee of the catering company – actually began giving me instructions on how she wanted tables set up in the banquet hall. In a room full of peers and prospective employers, a 12-year-old was on a first name basis with everyone in the room and I was being asked to bus tables.

No one really seemed interested in my article, so I just started saying “Hi, I’m Pete, and I got my ass kicked by a 12-year-old.” This at least got a chuckle out of most.

State legislators, Lt. Governor John Cherry and every other distinguished guest at the convention posed for pictures with Ryan. I, on the there hand, was able to trick one of the cuter hotel staffers into taking a picture with me.

Convincing an attractive female to fake enthusiasm in my presence without having to pay her (I told her it was for an article, easy play at a press convention) provided a temporary ego boost.

Riding my high spirits from the aforementioned deception, I decided it was a good time to check my e-mail. There, awaited a message from a producer at “The Bonnie Hunt Show.” It read:

“Pete, I read your article about Ryan Michaels and would love to get in touch with him. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.”

Apparently, the nationally televised talk show wants Ryan’s perspective on the latest blockbusters.

When I grow up, I want to be Ryan Michaels.


A First: 12-year-old movie reviewer first kid to win MPA award

By Pete Cunningham, Special Writer

Saline Reporter, Milan News-Leader and the Oakland Press

PUBLISHED: February 5, 2009

Journalists from across the state will convene Friday at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids for the Michigan Press Association’s 2009 Winter Convention. Among the event’s attendees will be Gov. Jennifer Granholm, various state legislators and some of the most respected professional journalists in the state, and yet the guest of honor will need his parents’ permission to attend. read article

Will MPA contest winner’s mommy let him attend 2009 MPA Winter Convention?

By Pete Cunningham
Michigan Press Association, The Bulletin

Meet Ryan Michaels. Ryan Michaels is an award-winning journalist who does movie reviews for Heritage Newspapers, Inc. Ryan’s reviews are printed in the Saline Reporter and the Milan News-Leader, published online and occasionally broadcast over the Internet.   read Pete’s article