[Questions courtesy of the great Brandon Musa]
1. What is the most overrated film of the past 5 years and briefly explain why?
I'm not sure. The first thing that springs to mind is Steve McQueen's
SHAME. An awful and obvious film with nothing to say that is ultimately
filled with hackneyed contrivances in a lame attempt to seem bold and
edgy. This is the type of bad faux-expose cinema that seems rampant
2. What are your 3 favorite television shows currently running?
1. GAME OF THRONES
2. BREAKING BAD
3. MAD MEN
p.s. my two favorite shows of all time are THE SIMPSONS and SEINFELD.
3. Name one film and television show you are ashamed to admit to liking?
Film: I'm almost ashamed to admit how much I like PRETTY IN PINK.
Almost. Other than that, there are probably several Ben Stiller/Will
Farrell/Adam Sandler movies that aren't good that I still laughed at.
I'm only human!
TV show: FRIENDS
4. What do you look for in a film writer?
genuinely fascinating ability to read and interpret film (structure,
shots, technique), draw connections, and write clearly and
persuasively. I like writers who are more interested in what they are
writing about than themselves. Gimme some passion.
5. Name a great director (in your opinion) who also has enough problems
to make you wonder why you hold him/her in such high regard.
Nolan - Actually wouldn't refer to him as a great director, but I do
like him despite how obviously flawed (and full of logical and
continuity errors) his scripts are. He needs to work on simplifying his
shit, and also needs to cut out the
repetition-of-previously-heard-dialogue motif. It's not that clever.
Michael Haneke - impeccable formalist with an arrogant sense of
superiority over his viewers and a penchant for shock value. I can
recognize his hang-ups, even if I still like him a lot.
6. What is your favorite film era and why do you think this era speaks so much to you?
the 30s or the 40s. I like old things. And I just think the films
were leaner and more dreamy back then. In the the formative years of
the talkies, film just seemed to glow like lambent fire. Also, they
seemed sweeter and more genuine back then. They were for all ages.
They made the soul swoon. All that good stuff.
7. Name your favorite five working film critics?
8. Name your five least favorite.
Armond's become too much of a joke to even take one's hatred for him seriously at this point. So I won't include him.
Kyle Smith/Rex Reed (The obvious hack category)
Zacharek (Controversial pick, I'm sure. She's a good writer, but she
doesn't know much about film yet argues like she thinks she does)
Calum Marsh (Don't even get me started on this twerp)
Richard Roeper/Peter Travers (Lumping them together because neither of what these two write could ever be considered "reviews")
Richard Corliss/Richard Schickel (Two idiots who work for TIME)
Whoops. That's a lot more than 5.
9. Name a few directors whom you have liked in the past that you are worried about and briefly explain why.
David Gordon Green. Obviously.
Aronofsky. I thought his first few films were more auteur driven, but
his latest seem to lack a personal touch. I don't have the highest of
hopes for NOAH.
Judd Apatow. He's made some very funny
films, but he seems to be quickly running out of ideas. Stoked for
THIS IS FORTY-FIVE in a few years.
I must be missing some?
10. What actor and actress would make you watch an otherwise uninteresting film?
I'd basically watch anything with Cagney or Jimmy Stewart in it. Ginger Rogers too.
Modern actors? I can't think of anyone. I'm drawn more to filmmakers than actors when I watch movies today.
11. What director would make you watch a film with an otherwise uninteresting plot and why?
of my favorites. I suppose Terrence Malick is the best choice just
because his films are so visually immaculate that the plotting hardly
seems essential to appreciating him.
12. What film did you feel the most intimidated to like despite some heavy reservations (be honest here)?
don't think I understood L'AVVENTURA at all when I saw it. But it was
supposed to be one of the greatest films of all time, so I felt bad for
not being immeasurably stunned by it. I haven't seen it since, so I
don't know how I'd feel about it now.
first time I saw THE RULES OF THE GAME I felt a similar pull to love it
despite not really being all that impressed. But seeing it again with a
more knowing eye changed that entirely. It's an indisputable
masterpiece and deserves to be considered one.
13. What is your favorite documentary?
don't watch a lot of documentaries. But I do really love Bob Dylan, so
I suppose my favorite is either DONT LOOK BACK or NO DIRECTION HOME. Also, highly respect NIGHT AND FOG and the bits and pieces I've seen of SHOAH.
14. Billy Wilder or Preston Sturges?
suppose I'm going to go with Billy Wilder just because in addition to
the many great films he made (in many various genres) he also wrote some
tremendous screenplays for Ernst Lubitsch and Mitchell Leisen. This is
a really tough call though. Shit. I change my mind. It's got to be
Sturges. I can't live without HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO or SULLIVAN'S
TRAVELS and he's the better writer. But wait. I also can't live
without STALAG 17 or DOUBLE INDEMNITY or NINOTCHKA and Wilder's probably
the better director. I don't know. I want both.
15. Jean Gabin or Humphrey Bogart?
Bogie, but again, another tough call just because of how much I love Gabin.
16. Director you want to like more than you honestly do.
really like Cassavetes and Altman but I'm not in profound love with
them like I feel I should be. I wish I were. I also wish I knew more
about Brian De Palma and Jonathan Demme, but I feel less bad about
mostly ignoring these guys.
Oh yeah. And Eastwood. I wish I liked Eastwood as a director.
17. 5 most anticipated films of 2013?
Like Someone In Love
Inside Llewyn Davis
To the Wonder
The Place Beyond the Pines
That's 6. Oh well. I'm probably forgetting a bunch. I'm also not really sure what's coming out later this year.
18. What is your least favorite current sub-genre or film scene?
modern biopic is pretty soulless and terrible. I'm pretty much over
superhero movies, and I'm sick of fantasy/CGI-fests like OZ and JACK THE
GIANT SLAYER. Take your pick of any of these.
19. Name your 5 favorite unheralded modern day directors in a critical sense.
I'm not sure. I think most of the better directors today (or at least the ones I like) have all gotten some amount of praise. Hmmm. I have no idea.
20. What top 5 or 10 list would you most likely do in the near future if offered by a handsome member of Film Club?
Top 10 westerns? Top 10 musicals? You bet.