Matt Overstreet at Critical Juncture
Our next guest on Critical Juncture is the legendary Matt Overstreet, a senior editor and founder of The 8th Circuit, an entertainment site that claims to aim for “nothing less than world domination.” When he’s not reviewing movies and video games, Matt writes the Rantbox column and produces the site’s Circuitcast. According to his tongue-in-cheek bio, he’s also available for weddings and Bar-Mitzvahs.
Check out The 8th Circuit when you have a few minutes, but be careful that it doesn’t turn into an obsession. They’ve got tons of great stuff, including news and reviews about film, literature, comic books and television. For even more on The 8th Circuit, you can check them out on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Vimeo.
Now let’s get to it…
Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Matt Overstreet: I grew up with all the old Disney movies, Aladdin, Lion King, etc. etc. They all tend to blend together for me, though. The first movie that I really remember watching is probably Wayne’s World. Which is weird, because you’d think that humor like that would pretty much go over a child’s head. Which it pretty much did at the time…
OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
MO: I think the most recent movie I watched was Up In the Air, which was actually very good. I had heard a bit of hype for it, so I went in with slightly elevated expectations, which isn’t usually a good thing. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, though, so I was pleasantly surprised with it.
OGM: Is there a particular film which you feel is criminally underrated?
MO: I’m sure someone has said this before, but Idiocracy. Its one of those movies that people haven’t heard of, and yet every time I show it to someone, they almost always love it. Yeah, it can be a bit crude at times, but never without purpose, and I tend to feel like its a pretty accurate portrayal of where we’re heading, sometimes. (I’m always reminded of the scene where the narrator says that the most popular movie was called “Ass, and that’s all it was, for ninety minutes, just one man’s ass.”)
OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
MO: It might be too obvious an answer, but Stanley Kubrick. He may not have had the biggest filmography, but he certainly had one of the most substantial. His earlier work may not have the fame or notoriety of his later films, but they’re still fairly substantial works. His later work, of course, is where he shines, though. Films like Full Metal Jacket, Clockwork Orange, and Dr. Strangelove are all great at what they do. His films represent, to me at least, what filmmaking should be. Not to mention the fact that The Shining and 2001 are possibly two of the most parodied works I can think of, and nothing says “cultural impact” like parody.
OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
MO: I know I just went on about Kubrick, but 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here was a film that dared to put its viewers through nearly three minutes of a blank screen, with nothing but music to accompany it, before the film even started. It was a film that wasn’t about pleasing the audience, it was about presenting a message, and if you were there to view it, then maybe you could benefit from it, but the film doesn’t care either way.
OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
MO: Adaptation. I know, Nicholas Cage isn’t exactly the world’s greatest actor, but Charlie Kaufman’s script and Spike Jonze’s direction just work so well that you end up getting absolutely sucked in to the movie. Plus, its one of those rare films that you can watch over and over again and still gain something from. Not to mention that its a bit of a mindfuck the first time you watch it, and its always fun to talk to people after they’ve just seen it for the first time.
OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
MO: It might be too soon to call this, but I’m going to say Slumdog Millionaire. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit when I first saw it, but I think that the amount of praise that people have piled onto it is a bit too much. I don’t really think it deserved the Oscar for Best Picture, either (though I did predict that it was going to win. Oscars tend to be pretty predictable like that).
OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
MO: No, I’ve never walked out of a theatre while a movie was playing. I have this thing where I always have to see a movie through to the end no matter how bad or unpleasant it is. I’ve been tempted on several occasions, though.
OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
MO: Generally speaking, I think movie critics should just try to give people their opinion on films, and from there it’s up to the reader to find a critic who shares similar opinions on movies. I guess being a good critic really just means having an opinion similar to most other people.
OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
MO: I think there’s going to be an increase in movies capitalizing on 3D technology. I’ve seen it implemented very well in Up and Avatar, and hopefully it’ll go that route instead of being used as a cheap gimmick like it has been in the past. Other than that, I’m a bit of an optimist so I think that in the next decade or so we’re going to see an increase in original films (as opposed to the slew of remakes and sequels that are being released now). The decade after though, there will be another increase in remakes. Things tend to move in cycles, I’ve found.
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.
MO: Oh boy, I guess I would have to go with Sharlto Copley (he played Wikus in District 9). He really came out of nowhere (and he was quite good), and apparently he has a role in the new A-Team movie. I just hope he doesn’t get typecast. Who I’d like to see more of, though, is Summer Glau, I think she’s been great in everything I’ve seen her in so far. Unfortunately she’s really only played the role of “weird girl in a science fiction setting,” so I would like to see her expand her repertoire a bit.
OGM: Besides yourself, who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
MO: I tend to rely mostly on IMDB’s ratings or word of mouth from my friends. In keeping with my idea that a good critic is one who you tend to agree with, I think my friends are the ones who understand what movies I would or wouldn’t like most. But, uh… to anyone reading this, you should still totally check out my movie reviews…
- Derek Miller on Critical Mass – Interviews with Movie Critics
- Derek Miller – Interviews with Movie Critics