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It's getting easier for this blind film critic to review movies

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Meet Tommy Edison, a blind film critic

Tommy Edison is like most film critics, except he doesn't use his eyes to watch movies.

Edison, who was born completely blind, posts reviews of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters on his YouTube channel, where he has amassed more than 12 million views. He says his condition gives him a unique perspective.

"I'm not distracted by all that stuff that's on screen. I'm really concentrating on the story."
Tommy Edison, blind film critic

The former radio host from Connecticut got started posting film reviews in 2012 out of frustration.

"I was complaining about a particular movie where the end was done with everything but words," said Edison. "So I was able to follow the characters and the story all the way through until the very end when all the resolution came, and I had no idea how it ended."

That movie was Scream 4, and since then, he's reviewed dozens more films that are tricky to follow if you're blind.

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But Tommy says it's getting easier to review films thanks to the increase in movies and TV shows with audio description.

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have vowed to increase the catalog of titles with audio description in the last year. That's great news for blind binge-watching aficionados, but Edison says the 23 million Americans who are blind or have low vision need better access to audio description everywhere.

"For example on TV, with my cable company in Connecticut, do you know where the menu for audio description is?" says Edison. "It's in the on-screen menu. I'll never be able to get to that alone."

Audio description gives Edison an audio narration of what is on screen when there isn't dialogue.

His question comes at an opportune time. The Federal Communications Commission is set to decide whether or no to increase the required amount of audio description on network TV from four hours a week to seven in July.

Still, Edison said not all films need audio description.

"I was able to follow Inception without any audio description at all because it's all right there in the script," said Edison. "It's in the dialogue."

Despite his life-changing condition, Edison says he's not all that different from other reviewers.

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"I'm watching a movie just like anybody else; I'm just not using my eyes for it," he says.

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