The Film Addicts at Critical Juncture

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 9:47 am

It’s time once again for another round of Critical Juncture, a weekly feature where I interview film critics and film bloggers to determine what’s running through their noggins. This week, I’m fortunate to have the members of The Film Addicts, a top-notch site dedicated to movie news and movie reviews. If you’re looking for a group who tells it like it is, then you’ll be delighted by their enthusiastic take on cinema both modern and classic.

NOTE: Film Addict Tony Northrup, who helped me put this piece together, is no longer associated with the site. While I’ve still included all his info, I felt it was only fair to point this out. So whenever the interview mentions four members of the Film Addicts, just mentally subtract one. Simple, right?

Now here’s an introduction to give you an idea of what the Film Addicts are all about, written by the aforementioned Tony Northrup:

“For me, it started when there was a show on Reelz Channel called Movie Mob–a movie review show with people from all over reviewing films each week. From there, I met some of them on Facebook and became friends. When the show got canceled, the remainder got together and formed the Screen Team, and I watched their show. From there, some of the viewers became friends, and we wanted to do our own review page, but not try to compete with ST. I feel we at FA have our own style, thoughts, commentaries on films and all things related.

There are four of us: Katie, the ‘lil sister’ of the group. She knows more about classic black/white films than most adults do. I respect her as a friend, a reviewer, and a student studying the art of film. She knows her stuff!

There’s Benny: a young fella that loves not only films, but art and comics. His passion for the graphic art world is as strong as the love of a parent for their child.

There’s Scott: he holds it all together. He knows and loves films, but his passion is sci-fi and mostly horror. He doesn’t just go for ‘slasher films,’ but has expanded his mind to horror from other countries, independent films, and finds comfort watching something low budget or independent. He states his opinion, and he sticks to his guns. You gotta respect that.

And then there’s me: Tony. I’m flexible, I can watch classic black-and-white, turn around and watch The Lovely Bones, and then watch Evil Dead. I’m a 80′s generation guy, and I think that was probably the best decade for films (that is debatable), yet I can watch just about anything. However, when it comes to my reviews, I like to put a bit of my personal self into each one. I write about where I was and what I was doing when a big film was released, like when I was at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood in 1985 and saw the first Star Wars Trilogy. I recently had the honor of interviewing director Mick Garris for The Film Addicts, and it was a great experience for us.

One thing we all have in common with our reviews: we speak the truth. No sugar coating it. Like our motto says, We Tell it Like it IS! As far as where Film Addicts would like to be, I think we just want to be as honest and true to the public as we can. We owe them that because they’re trusting us to give them the review, so the least we can do is give them the best one possible. I hope we can reach more people over time and go as far as we can. Most of all, we’re doin something fun that we really enjoy.”

Still want to know more about The Film Addicts? Well, here are bios aplenty!

Katie Carter is a 19-year-old movie fanatic. Born in Florida, she currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she attends St. Louis Community College at Meramec as a film major and has two jobs: cashiering at Stein Mart and writing movie reviews and articles for the St. Louis edition of the website www.examiner.com. Katie wasn’t big into movies until her freshman year of high school, when, for some unexplainable reason, one night she watched the Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall classic, Key Largo, on Turner Classic Movies. She fell in love with it and began seeking out other movies, starting with the classics and working her way up to more modern films. Her favorite movie is 1977′s Star Wars, but she also loves everything from musicals and Disney movies to classic horror and pre-code dramas. Katie’s other hobbies include: reading, writing, drawing, painting, playing piano, knitting, and the world’s biggest time-waster, The Sims 2!

Scott Ruth is 39, from Pennsylvania, and he’s been a movie fanatic since he was a toddler. Star Wars is pretty much the root of his love for the cinema. His passion is horror and he will gladly (well, maybe not SO gladly) admit that he sometimes tends to be more aggressively opinionated than perhaps he should. But this is, for the most part, due to the fact that he is so very passionate about what he loves. Scott is engaged to Lisa Fritz and the pair are planning a Halloween costume wedding. He is working on a sci-fi movie script, as well as a multi-media horror event.

A few years back, the same year that Empire Strikes Back came out, Benny Sierra was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico.. Not much has happened since: I grew up, got married, had a girl, got divorced and finished studying to become a professional Massage Therapist. In the meantime, I was turning into a movie lover as well. That love became a passion, and now it has turned into an addiction. I’m also a writer who draws and paints from time to time, and I’d like to be immortalized through my work, not my name!!!!!

Tony Northrup: Films have been a part of my life since 1975, when I first saw Jaws at the drive-in. From there, I’ve spent MANY long hours in the dark watching movies. It’s not just because I love movies, it’s because I RESPECT them for what they are: art. They’re an art form, and you have to treat them as such: the good, the bad, and the why did they bother. I don’t just watch films; I study. I’ve not only watched and respected films, but I’ve been in and around the industry for many years. Been in commercials, I have friends in the business, and I’ve lived right in the heart of the film industry–the San Fernando Valley. People think it’s Hollywood, but that’s for tourists. The Valley is where it happens. (NOTE: Since departing The Film Addicts, Tony has received a gig as a contributing writer for an Italian website concentrating on horror movies. He’s also working on his own site, and fans can expect it to launch as early as July.)

Now that we’re able to put names with faces, let’s dive in and talk some cinema with the members of The FilmAddicts!

Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Katie Carter: I remember seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the theaters during some sort of re-release when I was very little. It scared the crap out of me.
Scott Ruth: I loved the monster movies on the UHF channels on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the ’70s. The first movie I remember watching was The Amazing Colossal Man from 1957.
Benny Sierra: Star Wars: A New Hope, I was maybe 4 or 5. I remember crying because my dad turned the TV off and the movie wasn’t over (or at least I thought it wasn’t over) because the bad guy (Vader) wasn’t dead, and bad guys always die.
Tony Northrup: As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a Film Addict…uh, sorry, thought I was doin by Bio. My first film was in 1975, the ULTIMATE CLASSIC: Jaws. It was in a drive-in in Long Island, NY. I knew right then and there that my love for films had begun, and, for the most part, she’s always been kind to me.

OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen? (NOTE: This interview took place a few weeks ago)
Katie: I just finished watching Escape to Witch Mountain (Disney again) a couple hours ago. My family has introduced me to many of Disney’s live action films of the 60s and 70s, but I hadn’t seen that one until now.
Scott: Tom Six’s controversial horror movie, The Human Centipede. A film that will forever be emblazoned into my mind. Pure brilliance.
Benny: Iron Man 2, awesome movie!!!!
Tony: Well, I’m seeing Iron Man 2 tomorrow, but I watched Hearts in Atlantis on DVD last night. It’s from a Stephen King novel.

OGM: Is there a particular film that you feel is criminally underrated?
Katie: There’s a romance film from 1948 called Portrait of Jennie that I feel is highly underrated. It’s one of my favorite movies, a gorgeously shot story of an artist who finds inspiration in the ghost of a young woman. It’s a beautiful story, and, although it’s largely black and white, has some very interesting experiments with color at the climax.
Scott: As much as I know it has it’s followers, I’d have to say Kalifornia. Brad Pitt’s greatest performance ever.
Benny: I’m gonna go with a whole movie genre here and say Anime movies are usually underrated. Sure, they get their Oscars every now and then, but the genre as a whole is still seen by many as cartoons made for children and not as really genuine pieces of art.
Tony: That’s a tough one, but what comes to mind…The Shawshank Redemption. I just don’t think people realize just how PERFECT that film is in EVERY way.

OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
Katie: Alfred Hitchcock. He is my favorite director, and I have never seen a movie of his that hasn’t thrilled me, and that includes his early films. He has a hand in every part of production, and when you really start to pick apart films like Vertigo, it’s amazing how detailed everything from sets to lighting to dialogue is.
Scott: Quentin Tarantino. The guy can do no wrong in my mind.
Benny: Tarantino, Bar-None.
Tony: I think Steven Spielberg has done AMAZING films with great storytelling. I mean, the BEST films of ALL TIME came from him. Also, Martin Scorsese has done a respectable amount of total classics, as well.

OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
Katie: Casablanca, mainly for the screenplay. It’s the only movie I’ve seen that I would say has a perfect script: not only is it a fascinating war movie/love story, but every single line of dialogue is spot-on.
Scott: Star Wars. Lucas forever changed the landscape of cinema.
Benny: Star Wars. It showed that it could be done.
Tony: I think It’s a Wonderful Life is not only a perfect film, a classic, but that there’s a message there of not only love and family, but HOPE. Because, if you hold on long enough, things WILL happen for you. Also, it proves that family and friends DO matter, not money and thinking there’s a better life out there somewhere else.

OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
Katie: Star Wars: A New Hope. Need I explain?
Scott: I suppose for me, as well as for many fans of cinema, that can change over time. Right now, I’d say Metropia is my current favorite movie, but overall, my absolute favorite movie ever is David Cronenberg’s film, Crash.
Benny: This changes over time; right now I can say Kick-Ass, but I always think of The Empire Strikes Back as the best movie ever when asked that question.
Tony: There’s no question about it: Martin Scorsese’s immaculate film, Goodfellas. This showed us the darker side of the mob that filmgoers had never seen before. Sure, The Godfather was first, but Goodfellas took it to the next level.

OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
Katie: I thought Avatar was a bit overrated. I did really enjoy it, and the special effects were revolutionary, but aside from that, it’s pretty average story and acting wise.
Scott: Titanic. Hands down. Terrible movie, and, for me, it borders on unwatchable.
Benny: I always hear overrated and think about huge box office success. Titanic was overrated and overlong, but, then again, I remember going into the Sixth Sense thinking it was gonna be the best movie ever because of the word of mouth, and, while it was a good movie, for me it wasn’t the big movie experience everybody was having.
Tony: There are 2: Titanic, because they made SUCH a big deal over Leo and the “romance” part of it and not about the voyage as it should have. Plus, the money it made…crazy. The second: Twilight. I’m from the “old school” of horror and especially vamps, and I’m sorry, vampires DO NOT sparkle, go out in the daylight, or act so wimpy as the Twilight vamps do. It’s an insult to all vampire films before it.

OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
Katie: I have never walked out of the theater during a film and never will.
Scott: The Godzilla remake from 1998. Garbage.
Benny: Nope, I have never. I pay to see a movie, I’m gonna see the movie. I almost walked out of Terminator 3, though.
Tony: No, I try to give every film a chance. The way I look at it, someone went out there, made their image happen and wants to share it with the world. The least you can do is give them that few moments of your life to see what they did. I have ran out to the lobby because I was scared (Halloween 3…hey, I was eleven).

OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
Katie: To present a film’s main themes and ideas to a prospective audience who might not otherwise appreciate them. And to just get the word out about movies in general; (hopefully) warn people against the bad and encourage them to seek out the good.
Scott: For me, it’s to get the word out about great movies. I’m a very critical viewer, but my main focus is to spread the word for a movie that many people may not otherwise see.
Benny: Speak his mind, tell it like it is. Give a review that will make people understand what they are in for if they ultimately decide to go see a movie.
Tony: To tell the truth. Be as honest as possible. Like our motto says: We tell it like it is. For me, if someone reads my reviews and they really take it to heart, they go and see the film and come back & say “Yeah, Tony, you were SO right…you nailed it,” then I’ve done my job. Or, if I suggest a film and that person says how much they like it and were glad I suggested it, then I’ve done my job.

OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
Katie: I think 3D, although it’s all the rage now, will fade out by then. I don’t think remakes and sequels will ever stop though; they consistently appeal to large audiences due to their familiarity, and so long as studios keep making money, they’ll keep churning them out. I’d like to see independent movies getting wider releases in the future, too.
Scott: What I’d like to see is back to basics. More originality and less remaking of classic movies. Movies, as a whole, have lost their originality.
Benny: I see a lot of competition on how to make it bigger, better, more realistic. Sad thing is, I see all this in the special effects department and the CGI room, not on the storyboard. The good thing is, that out of all this remake thingy, a new generation of writers is growing, and even if the ones that are out there now don’t listen about stopping with the remakes, those new “up coming” guys might do it.
Tony: Movie theater prices will be through the roof, technology will blow our minds, and I think films like Avatar (tech. wise) are just the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come.

OGM: Here’s another chance to predict the future. Name a relatively unknown actor or actress who’ll be a huge star within five years.
Katie: Chloe Moretz. After Kick-Ass, she already has a growing fan base. Logan Lerman is another possibility.
Scott: Saoirse Ronan, the young actress who played Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones. She is brilliant in that movie, and I can see her hitting it huge in the future.
Benny: Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) She has been around but only as the “cute lil girl on that movie”. Now I see her getting more and more leads after Kick-Ass.
Tony: Saoirse Ronan from The Lovely Bones and Christoph Waltz from Inglorious Bastards.

OGM: Who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
Katie: Currently, Roger Ebert, because he’s witty, intelligent, and has seen so many movies it’s obvious he knows what he’s talking about. We don’t always agree, but that’s okay, because he’s just such a great writer in general.
Scott: Leonard Maltin. His taste seems to most fit my own. I may not always enjoy every film he endorses, but, more often than not, I tend to agree with him.
Benny: Well, I’m tempted to say me, but that would be too Tony Stark of me so I will go with Leonard Maltin. I like the fact that he doesn’t seem to be married to any particular studio, and he will always try and give the goods and the bads of the movies he reviews.
Tony: When I was younger, I used to watch Siskel and Ebert every Sunday. I used to like how they sometimes argued about a film. Sometimes, they wouldn’t give a film I liked a good review, and I’d get SO mad. They are critic icons. But Leonard Maltin is great, too. I used to know him, and I respect him cause he REALLY loves films, but, more importantly, he knows his stuff. And I like reading my Film Addicts partners (Benny, Katie, & Scott) cause they speak the truth, and I respect that. I also like The Screen Team, cause they make reviewing truthful but fun to watch, and that’s what going to the movies is all about: having FUN!

I’d like to thank the Film Addicts for taking part in this edition of Critical Juncture, and be sure to tune in again next week for another exciting installment. In the meantime, here are some past interviews that you might be interested in:

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2010 at 9:47 am and is filed under Movie Critic Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The Film Addicts at Critical Juncture”

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May 21, 2010

Linsey Hofman

Sweet post.

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