A few weeks ago Monika (one of my best commenters) nominated me for a Liebster award. This is officially the first award my blog has ever received, aside from a friend saying it “looked good, but the header image is too big.” I was in the middle of responding to her questions when Joel did the same. So, I combined the two posts here.
For those unfamiliar, the Liebster award is a way for bloggers to recognize their peers (and hopefully expose those peers to new followers). Monika and Joel sent me 11 questions, and now I get to pick 11 bloggers I enjoy and ask them 11 questions of my own.
1. Why did you start blogging?
I love movies, and I love them significantly more than most of my friends and family. And while I enjoy reading articles, blog, web sites, and so on about movies, it felt a little one-sided. So I guess I started blogging to add my own voice to the mix, albeit to a very limited (at least as of right now) audience. My wife appreciates me not trying to force 20-30 minutes of discussion after we watch a movie these days, by the way.
2. What do you absolutely love to do and cannot get enough of?
As the father of a three-year-old, I’d say that would be anything that’s just for grown-ups these days, like actually seeing a movie in the theater (which I’ve done 6 times in 3 years).
3. What is the biggest change that you have made or want to make in your own life?
Moving to the UK was a big change, and I guess potentially moving back to the US next year is another. I’ve lived in a lot of different places, but living overseas is always exciting, frustrating, and different.
4. Which movie(s) has/have had the biggest impact on you?
This is a tough one, as I’m not as affected by movies as I am by other media. If you ask my wife, it’s So I Married an Axe Murderer, which she claims (and I kind of see as well) is a perfect representation of my sense of humor, comic timing, and sensibilities. Just to narrow it down a little, films from the past 5 years that have stuck with me are Mad Max Fury Road, The Social Network, A Separation, Kajaki/Kilo Two Bravo, Drive, and Sicario.
5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Venice is my favorite place, but I’m not sure how practical that would be. Especially for movies.
6. Which of the economic, social or environment issues do you feel most passionate about?
7. If you had the chance to be friends with any celebrity (political, social, business, movie star, anyone), who would it be and why?
Kanye West, because everyone needs a friend that crazy. And if he gets too much, maybe Aziz Ansari.
8. What’s your favourite quote?
Although a recent episode of Veep had possibly the most offensive quote I’ve heard in a while (which I won’t repeat here – god bless Timothy Simmons though), one of my favorites is by Churchill: “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”
But I also love misquotations.
9. If you had a time machine, would you go back in time or forward in time?
Back in time.
10. What is the next milestone that you want to achieve in your life?
Finishing a screenplay. But since I’ve been saying that for two years now and am no closer to its completion, I’d say parlaying this blog into something a little bigger. If anyone from The AV Club is reading, I’m available . . .
11. What is your favourite childhood memory?
Since this is a movie blog, I’ll stick to some great movie memories. Return of the Jedi was the first film I ever saw on the big screen, so that one will always be special to me. And I remember one summer my dad told me we could only see one movie that summer and me choose between The Karate Kid and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – but then took me to see both anyway (that can’t be right, as my family always went to the movies, but I remember thinking I got away with something by getting to see BOTH of them in the theater).
1. Last great film you saw?
As anyone who reads my blog regularly (or sees the comments I make on other sites), I think Mad Max Fury Road was the best film of 2015 and one of the best I’ve seen in a few years. A great action movie for sure, but a surprisingly deep film that improves with every viewing.
2. Favourite film starting with the letter F?
Ha ha – is Fury Road a cop out? I’d say Fight Club, with Fargo and A Few Good Men close behind. Plus The Fifth Element as a guilty pleasure.
3. Last film you cried during?
4. Favourite vegetable?
Much like my daughter, I’m not a huge fan of vegetables. Does roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto count? If not, then fresh green beans.
5. Favourite microwaveable food?
Popcorn. Hands down.
6. Favourite actor or actress?
I definitely base more decisions on the director than the actor – in which case it’s Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, and reluctantly Christopher Nolan. Sometimes the presence of someone I know is good will make me more likely to see something I otherwise might not. In that case, Emily Blunt routinely elevates anything she’s in, while Tom Hardy often creates a supporting character more interesting than the “main” character (case in point, The Revenant).
7. Something you wished you saw more in movies?
I wish scripts did a better job of showing, rather than telling (or at least telling well). Too often someone says something like “That’s right, your friend since childhood, who fought with you in the war, and now you don’t speak to.” Was there no other way to communicate that? Phoenix, a movie that should have been more popular than it was, has an amazing final scene that is all body language and yet is still devastating.
8. Something you wished you saw less?
I find overwrought cinematography really distracting – looking at you, JJ Abrams.
9. Favourite thing to do for fun (besides watch movies)?
10. Favourite opening credits sequence?
This is going to shock those who know that I have . . . mixed feelings about Zack Snyder, but I think the opening credits for Watchmen were absolutely amazing. Too bad nothing else in that movie even came close.
11. Best thing that’s happened to you so far this year?
It’s been a pretty great year for my blog (relatively speaking, that is), but probably my best blogging moment was seeing my total views for 2015 broken in one month this year, and then that number more than double the following month. It’s nice to see it’s not just my wife and friends reading this.
1. Film in Philly
Every time I try to write a summary of a film’s plot, it ends up in the generic “character (actor) is so and so who has to such and such.” Which is probably why I routinely skip that part. Kate, on the other hand, always catches your interest with her introduction and plot summary, and she also liked Anomalisa more than I did.
2. I Can’t Unsee That
Jeff watched every Spielberg movie over the course of a few weeks. Lots of great insight into one of my favorite directors from someone who is clearly a fan. Can’t wait to see what the next marathon is. (David Fincher? So maybe just a 5K?)
4. Night Time Critic
Meggan’s site has one of the coolest splash images I’ve seen. Anyone who likes Drive and dislikes Zack Snyder has great taste in film as far as I’m concerned.
Sam has great long form articles (ones I wish I had the time/talent to do) that cover the collected works of various directors. Especially enjoyed the Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman article.
6. Reviews by Jordan
Another fan of Mad Max Fury Road, and author of a fantastic video essay on why Pixar movies are so great. Still working my way up to the video essay, which is clearly what my Mad Max/Bad Boys comparison and Sicario breakdown should have been.
7. Muh Movie Passion
Joseph has some great in-depth essays into why Halloween is one of the best horror movies ever made (agreed) and why the Coen Brothers are great (double agreed).
8. 1001 Film Reviews
Travis is making his way through 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and, like me, he fears that saying “movies” rather than “films” makes us sound like we’re not serious about them.
11. Stories from the Ark
Codie is not afraid to express an opinion (just check out that Twitter feed), but shares my appreciation for British miniseries. If only 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy could have been long form television . . .
1. Best experience ever at the movies (seeing Star Wars on opening night, a great date, etc.)?
2. Film that changed the way you think about an issue.
3. Least favorite “Oscar-bait” film that trivializes a real issue?
4. Biopic that would have been better as a documentary?
5. Favorite comedy? (If you can believe this, at work we actually had a 32-film bracket of comedies which we watched back to back and rated. The winner? Dumb and Dumber. Coming to America was robbed!)
6. Best Arnold Schwarzenegger action film?
7. Zack Snyder – hack or misunderstood genius? Or somewhere in between?
8. Best superhero movie?
9. How long should a film be? (I say 90 minutes for a comedy, 120 minutes for an action film, and 150 minutes for a drama – tops. Anything longer better be damn good.)
10. When did Spielberg stop making great movies and start making merely good movies?
11. What should have won the Oscar for best picture last year?