1. What is the most overrated film of the past 5 years and briefly explain why?
Ha, I think I have no choice but to go with AVATAR. But since I've been really hard on that one lately, I'll also throw in THE AVENGERS. I love you, though, Ruffalo. You were a great Hulk. And I like Robert Downey Jr. and all, but his Iron Man character is a bit of a douche. Joss Whedon tries his best but finally fails at something. I'm sorry to have to be the first person to criticize him. I mean that sincerely; I do like him.
2. What are your favorite 3 television shows currently running?
1) Game of Thrones
2) Breaking Bad
3) Parks and Recreation
listing Mad Men as my number 3, but I didn't like season 5 as much as the others. Parks is a lot of fun and I love the cast/characters; I'm happy to hear that John is watching the entire series. Obviously we're all high on Breaking Bad. At times, I view it as interchangeable with Game of Thrones. But admittedly, if I had two DVDs in my possession - one containing the next season of GoT and one containing the last season of BB, I'd probably watch the Game of Thrones disc first.
3. Name one film and television show you are ashamed to admit to liking?
There's no shame here...Gilmore Girls; suck it, nerds! For film...there's a little more shame. Not that I am a huge fan of these films but here we go: JUNO, THE VILLAGE, GARDEN STATE. Again, with that last one, I haven't seen it since the year it was released, so there's still a chance that only teenage Chris liked it.
Also, I really like THE FALL, but because Tarsem has been such a huge embarrassment lately, I wouldn't exactly go around telling people I'm a big fan of that film...but I am, actually. I like it a lot.
4. What do you look for in a film writer?
Like John, I took this to mean "screenwriter." And for that, I'd have to go with Charlie Kaufman, Luis Bunuel, and Preston Sturges. All three write/wrote intelligent, emotional scripts that can also be completely absurd.
In terms of critical writing, honesty is very important. I also like people who don't take themselves too seriously...that's a good general rule, too.
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.
Like Jeff, I'll preface this by saying that none of these guys are great directors...Terry Gilliam started off strong and has been sucking lately.
Definitely Sam Mendes; I don't care about his body of work one bit.
Mike Nichols only has VIRGINIA WOOLF and THE GRADUATE to hang his hat on....his coat is hanging from a large pile of shit.
I love BACK TO THE FUTURE and all, but Zemeckis annoys the hell out of me (his other films, not necessarily the man himself).
6. What is your favorite film era and why do you think this era speaks so much to you?
Like John, I really enjoy this era because I'm most familiar with it. Also, there have been a handful of great films recently and I still see plenty of room for growth and potential. The possibilities for stories are also endless since no one has to deal with the code anymore. But obviously I love a lot of the Code-era films and they accomplished a hell of a lot while being restricted.
But I also really enjoy the 40s...you have great comedies in CHRISTMAS IN JULY, BALL OF FIRE, MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE, MY FAVORITE WIFE, ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN and great films like CITIZEN KANE, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, CASABLANCA, THE MALTESE FALCON and ROPE. Many of the favorites. One hell of a decade.
7. Name your favorite five working film critics.
I can't name five, but I like Ebert. You guys also introduced me to Glenn Kenny, and although I don't read much of his stuff, the little that I have read was pleasing to me.
8. Name your five least favorite.
Again, I don't have five but Armond White and Richard Brody seem like big turds to me. Oh, and yeah, Jeff...good call on Rex Reed. F that guy.
9. Name a few directors whom you have liked in the past that you are worried about and briefly explain why.
Darren Aronofksy...a bit. I love THE FOUNTAIN but nothing he's made since has been as strong. Apatow for sure. Aronofsky needs something more personal to him. Apatow probably needs to be a little less personal. I still love both guys, though, and look forward to what they'll come out with next.
10. What actor and actress would make you watch an otherwise uninteresting film?
Yeah, for older films...definitely Jimmy Stewart and Bob Hope. Modern films - Daniel Day-Lewis...not that any of the films he's done lately have been uninteresting. I'd see most, if not all of Leo DiCaprio's stuff. Ten years ago or so, I probably would've put Audrey Tautou in this due to having a crush on her. But yeah, I don't think there is a modern actress I'd apply this to, though Jessica Chastain is pretty damn awesome.
11. What director would make you watch a film with an otherwise uninteresting plot and why?
Woody Allen...and he's gotten me to do that plenty of times. The Coen Brothers most definitely. Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Terrence Malik, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Charlie Kaufman, John Ford...to name a few.
12. What film did you feel the most intimidated to like despite some heavy reservations?
UNCLE BOONME...slightly. There are things about it that I really like, but I don't really love it at all. I can't really see myself watching it again. And since Jeff and I see eye to eye on most everything, watching Bresson is slightly intimidating, if I'm honest. I just like his stuff, I don't love it in the way that Jeff does. But that's cool...guess we'll have to settle on agreeing about every other thing.
13. What is your favorite documentary?
If I see a documentary I like, which is rare in the first place, I usually forget about it a week later. I'll go with OUTFOXED due to my hatred for all things insane, stupid, and right-wing...whoops, sorry to be redundant. NO DIRECTION HOME is great, but I'd need to see it again.
14. Billy Wilder or Preston Sturges?
Stur-ges! Stur-ges! Bought the seven-film collection of his on Amazon recently. Money well spent. Wilder is great, too, though...it needs to be said.
15. Jean Gabin or Humphrey Bogart?
Very tough call. I'll go with Bogie, but goddamn...Gabin was one cool dude.
16. Director you want to like more than you honestly do.
Lars von Trier, maybe. I do like some of his films, obviously (Dogville). But yeah, I'm not a big fan or anything. I don't necessarily feel that I need to be either, though.
17. 5 most anticipated films of 2013?
(Jeff's list) Before Midnight, Like Someone In Love, Spring Breakers, Inside Llewyn Davis, To the Wonder, The Place Beyond the Pines. I'll even throw in This Is the End, to switch things up.
18. What is your least favorite current sub-genre or film scene?
Oh, god...modern biopics do suck. Torture porn. Bro comedies like Ted, 21 and Over, The Hangover, and Project X. Shitty action/war movies like the Red Dawn remake or Act of Valor. Emotionally manipulative films like Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
19. Name your 5 favorite unheralded modern day directors in a critical sense.
Yeah, due to the wording of this, I'm not sure that I have an answer. You'll find no Zach Snyder love here.
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 Ten Collaborations...Top Ten Screwball comedies...Top Ten Noir...Top Ten Animated Films...Top Ten Superhunks...I'll keep thinking on this.