I Was Nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award (a long time ago)


So over eight (!) months ago, Lindsay Acland nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  Lindsay was one of my first followers and my first commenter, and her interest in what I was writing gave me huge boost of confidence as my blog was just starting. In other words, I am a total jerk for taking this long to respond. Hopefully my previous post explained some of the reasons behind the delay, but nonetheless I still feel bad. Not sure if I’m too late to give any relevant answers, but here they are anyway.

Again, if you’re unfamiliar with the Sunshine Blogger Award, it’s a way to recognize fellow bloggers you enjoy and also find out a little more about them in the form of 11 somewhat random questions. Lindsay sent me her questions, and now I’m answering them and sending my questions to 11 bloggers I enjoy.

First, Lindsay’s questions:

1. If you could make any actor/actress/filmmaker/writer just disappear to continue their reign of terror in another dimension, who would it be?

Is it too redundant to say Zack Snyder at this point? I’m also not a huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan, and feel like more interesting actors could play most of his roles.

2. Is there a city where you would really love to set your own film/book, and what would it be about?

Venice is my favorite city I’ve ever been to, and I’d like to do a Game of Thrones-style show about life there during the Turkish Wars.

3. Have you ever visited a city/country because it was featured in a film or book?

Not necessarily, but I did read about the Aran Islands in a National Geographic when I was 17 and eventually make it there at age 31.  Slight digression: on the same trip to Ireland, however, I met some girls who went to a very specific (and very cool) bar in Dublin because it was in the decidedly uncool movie P.S. I Love You. Needless to say, they were weird.

4. Were there any TV shows/movies/books that you lived and breathed when you were a child/teen?

I was super into Robotech. Every attempt I’ve made to reengage with the series has resulted in embarrassment I ever liked it so much though.

5. Is it better to make a classic, respected novel into a movie, or better to adapt a poor novel and try to improve it?

I think no matter what the source is, the writer and director need to find their own voices. Prisoner of Azkaban was my least favorite Harry Potter book and by far the best movie of the entire series, and it’s all because Cuaron didn’t treat the source like holy writ.

6. Is there a movie you liked better than the book?

Jurassic Park the movie is so superior to Jurassic Park the book that it’s not even close. I think Gone Girl the movie is somehow darker than the book, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.

7. Are there any actors/actresses/writers/directors that you feel are vastly underrated?

I think Brad Pitt is underrated as a comedic actor. I prefer him immensely in weird supporting roles like Burn Before Reading compared to big screen mush like Allied.

8. How do you feel about all the sequels/reboots etc? Still love ’em or bored?

Bored out of my mind with them because so few do anything different with the source material. Like I said in my answer to question 5, there’s nothing sacred about anything. That said, it still has to be a good movie (case in point, Ghostbusters).

9. Do you have any favourite books or websites that helped you learn about blogging/writing/film criticism?

The Dissolve, as I have essentially rethought my approach to this blog based on its rise and fall.

10. Are there any films/books on your shelf still begging to be read?

The list of films I need to see is basically endless. A random selection includes Midnight Special, The Age of Innocence, In the Mood for Love, Sorcerer, Do the Right Thing, and Jodorowksy’s Dune. Sometimes I wish I were Steven Soderbergh.

11. Who (is) are your favourite film directors/novelists (of all time)?

Favorite director is Spielberg, hands down. It shouldn’t be so cool to hate on him.  See Patrick (H) Willems’ video essay about how his background in horror allowed him to perfectly pace the T Rex attack in Jurassic Park.

Now, my nominees:

1. In the Mood for Films

Lamees’ blog features great reviews and some striking stills highlighting great cinematography.  And when faced with the choice, we also both picked Baby Driver over Dunkirk.

2. Understanding Illusions

A great site that features shorter posts but expanded podcast episodes about each topic.  Definitely the direction I’d like to take my site.

3. A Mouthful of Celluloid

Zachary has some great opinions about what makes some movies work better than others, and we both found the same exchange in The Force Awakens especially eye-rolling.

4. Rewrite Cinema

This site takes what I try to do with my “script doctor” posts to the next level.  I’m still not ready to unpack what I didn’t like about the Star Wars prequels, but we can agree that Spiderman 2 is THE BEST superhero movie made to date.

5. Shaun’s Reviews

Solid reviews from someone who also thought Dunkirk was a bit of an emotional puzzle and Logan was the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight.

6. Cineguise

Georgia has some great in depth pieces, and like me she felt that Suicide Squad was a missed opportunity more than anything else.

7. Film Noird

When I first started my blog, I tried to limit my reviews (as opposed to my longer pieces) to 300 words or less; I rarely achieved it.  Gary routinely accomplishes what I failed to do, but I have to disagree with him that ANYTHING in Mad Max: Fury Road was overkill.

8. DAJAWR Review

Reviews that cover everything (including a lot of Games of Thrones spoilers – be warned), but also some posts on great action scenes.

9. Exploring Cinema

Akash has some great thoughts on Rogue One and has just started a Christopher Nolan retrospective I’m looking forward to.  Like him, I also think House of Cards changed from a mediocre but interesting show to a bad show.

10. Hacking Cinema

Christine shares both my lack of formal film education and love for cheesy 80s movies (I had forgotten how awesome the soundtrack to LadyHawke is).  And who can argue with a Coen Brothers retrospective?

11. Title Roll Reviews

These guys have some great pieces on Looper and Blade Runner, both of which have got me really excited about non-franchise sci-fi again.

Finally, my questions:

1. What franchise stayed fresh (or is still fresh) for the majority of its run?

2. What movies do you wish had been long form television a la True Detective and vice versa? (Mine is a little non-traditional: I think Crazy Stupid Love would have worked much better as a 10 episode mini-series. There would have been more time to develop the characters, and reveals like Nana = Hannah would have made perfect cliffhangers.)

3. What should have won Best Picture last year?

4. Favorite science fiction film?

5. What is the best super hero movie ever made? Or has it not been made yet?

6. What do you like or not like about horror movies?

7. Last movie that made you cry?

8. Go-to movie snacks? (For me, popcorn and a Coke are required, Sour Patch Kids are optional, and Snow Caps can be substituted for Sour Patch Kids under certain circumstances).

9. Do you like theaters with “fancy” features – reclining leather seats, food service, alcohol – or are you a traditionalist? (For me, the perfect setup was realized in the late 90s with stadium seating – anything else is overkill.)

10. Favorite action sequence? (I think you all know mine . . .)

11. What is your opinion of movie musicals, either classic (Singing’ in the Rain) or modern (La La Land)?

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