First the Liebster Award and now this? This is awesome. A few weeks ago Joel from Joel Watches Movies nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger award. I really enjoy Joel’s reviews as they’re a quick way to either see if I’m going to like something he’s seen, or see if our tastes align (and they don’t always – he thinks The Empire Strikes back is overrated (!) while I feel the same about Goodfellas).
It’s pretty to cool to know that other people actually appreciate what you’re doing, rather than just click “follow” in hopes that you reciprocate (always a fear of mine). I started this year with a resolution to take this blog more seriously, and things like this make me feel like I’m doing all right with that pledge. Now for those unfamiliar with the Sunshine Blogger Award, it’s a way for bloggers to recognize their peers (and hopefully expose those peers to new followers). Joel sent me 11 questions, so after answering them I get to pick 11 bloggers I enjoy and ask them 11 questions of my own.
First, Joel’s questions:
1. Favourite film starting with A?
Aliens. Maybe the best action movie ever made. Before it shut down, The Dissolve dedicated a week to it.
2. Favourite movie title?
The Empire Strikes Back. The title literally describes what happens in the movie. “What happens in this one again?” “The empire strikes back.” (And I’m not just trolling here, since I know Joel isn’t a fan.)
3. What music have you been listening to lately?
I live in the UK right now, and unless you live in a big city like London, all you get is Brit pop. I miss my hip hop and alternative, so I usually listen online to 96X out of Norfolk, Virginia (no idea why they played The Connells’ twenty-year-old song ’74-’75 three times in one day last month, but now I have a new song I like).
4. Dream job?
If you can believe it, the US Department of Defense has a position where you act as the military advisor for any film involving official military participation. A friend of mine did it and got a bottle of Cristal from John Woo after production wrapped on a film. This sounds awesome, although for every Top Gun there’s a Stealth.
5. Favourite movie poster?
So hard as I’m not really a poster guy (it’s really the trailer that drags me in). While I appreciate the artfulness of Saul Bass’ old posters and feel pangs of nostalgia for the Drew Sturzan-esque 80s look, I’ll have to go with the only poster I ever displayed on my dorm room wall: Pulp Fiction.
6. Favourite summer activity?
7. Favourite winter activity?
Travel again, and watching college football.
8. Most memorable eating experience?
One of my best friends has been a total foodie since high school (ie, before it was cool). As college students, he and I went to a fine dining restaurant in Boston and our waiter Gene, rather than treating us like two annoying kids who weren’t going to order booze and probably wouldn’t tip well – for the record, we didn’t and did, respectively – treated us like we were VIPs. (We still laugh recalling his “More caffeine, gentlemen?” as he refilled our Cokes.) It remains my gold standard for service, and even the handful of two and three star restaurants I’ve eaten at haven’t matched it.
9. Have you ever walked out of a movie? Which one and why?
Two. Pret a Porter, because I didn’t like it (and was also 17), and The X-Files, because the projectionist had loaded the film incorrectly, rendering the center 20% in focus and everything else blurry, and refused to reload it even though I was the ONLY PERSON IN THE THEATER!
10. Most enjoyable grade in school?
All pretty miserable, but I did have a great fourth grade teacher named Mr. Rakowski who loved science and unfortunately had to explain to us what happened with the Challenger explosion as it happened.
11. Favourite movie director?
I know it’s passe, but if I have to pick one it’s Steven Spielberg. Come for the great films (again, Jurassic Park and Raiders), stay for the always reliable technical perfection (like Bridge of Spies).
Now, my nominees for the award (no pressure):
Gillian’s blog is brand new, but she starts with a classic – Raising Arizona, which we (sort of) agree is the Coens’ best/most perfect comedy.
Like me, Akshay is fed up with bad superhero movies but enjoyed Justin Kurzel’s bloody Macbeth. If only we could replace Zack Snyder with Kurzel . . .
Another new blogger (and fellow hip hop fan) who came out of the gate strong by arguing that The Terminal is one of Spielberg’s ten best films (!) – nothing I love more than a good discussion over someone’s work, even if I think Jurassic Park and Raiders are clearly one and two.
In addition to sharing my plea that Nicholas Winding Refn try something a little more commercial, Andrew does some great in-depth analysis of gender roles and stereotypes in film and videogames.
Vibhor has some eclectic taste – the French new wave, Charlie Kaufman (but also Tom Cruise, so it’s not all highbrow) – and like me feels like loving movies can make up for a lack of formal film education.
6. Dan Council
Dan’s porting his blog over from Tumblr and only has a few reviews up right now (visit his Tumblr page for more), but has by far the coolest “alternative” posters I’ve seen yet.
7. Henry Cooper
In addition to being a fan of perfect summer show Stranger Things, Henry’s got some advice on Justice League for DC/Warner Bros. that they really ought to read.
Michael writes possibly the funniest taglines I’ve read in a while. Rocky IV = 80s: The Movie (it doesn’t hurt that he clearly recognizes Rocky IV as a great film).
Another Stranger Things fan whose examination of modern horror’s shortcomings will be consulted several times as I prepare my wife for the first annual “Shock-tober” (to steal a terrible joke from my favorite bad movie podcast).
10. I’m Jeffrey Rex
Jeffrey and I have had some good discussions about what makes a great superhero film (and agreed that Spider-Man 2 is one of the best).
11. Reel Decisions
A site that is more in tune with my taste than any other I have read: Carol is pretty but not very deep, Trainwreck is 30 minutes too long, and Edge of Tomorrow is a future cult classic.
And finally my questions:
1. Best trailer (even if the film ended up being terrible)?
2. 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.)
3. Scariest movie experience? (In college I saw both The Shining and Alien at midnight and then walked home alone. Yikes.)
4. Name a “guilty pleasure.” (Mine is A Knight’s Tale, which is not a great film but will always get watched if happened across on TV. A friend of mine once said that if you try not to feel bad about it, it’s just a “pleasure.”)
5. Most disappointing film of the past few years? That doesn’t mean it was supposed to be brilliant and wasn’t; maybe you were just looking for a fun/dumb action movie and wasted your time.
6. Best David Fincher movie?
7. Is Christopher Nolan a good action director? Watch this before answering . . .
8. Where do you fall on the Batman v Superman/Suicide Squad fans versus critics divide? Are Marvel movies better, or are critics harder on DC? Or are they all for nerds?
9. Movie you loved but now are embarrassed about? Movies you loved as a kid don’t count – we all had bad taste.
10. Corny/overrated film that you still passionately argue is great cinema? Mine is Titanic. It is the late-20th century Gone With the Wind and is impeccably crafted.
11. Best movie so far this year?