Mike Rot – Interviews on Film

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm

This week, our guest on Critical Juncture is none other than Mike Rot. No, he’s not the lead singer in a death metal band. Mike Rot is actually one of the subversive literary minds behind the movie website known as Row Three. According to their own mission statement, Row Three strives “to foster discussion and community for those who like their cinema a bit Hollywood, a bit indie and a bit foreign.” Sounds like music to my ears.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s take a look at Mike Rot in his own words, courtesy of a blurb he provided:

Mike Rot is a Toronto-based writer who, though monkish in his devotion to aesthetic contemplation, will rarely turn down a good scrap in the comment section. He eats film geeks for breakfast and bemoans the culture that chooses to archive cinema rather than experience it. Though an agile master of war, he is but a kind warrior who cries at a good movie and considers each film according to what it aspires to be. In search of the beatnik spontaneous prose and calibrated spirit, he populates the worlds of Akira Kurosawa and Terrence Malick. He had a thought a couple years ago, and one day hopes to write a screenplay.

Now on to the questions…

Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Mike Rot: My very first movie theater experience was Robert Altman’s Popeye.

OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
MR: Last night I watched a Canadian film called Passenger Side, a great L.A. road movie that has been garnering attention on the film festival circuit.

OGM: Is there a particular film that you feel is criminally underrated?
MR: I have one fresh in mind, Lukas Moodysson’s Mammoth which was booed at the Berlinale last year, for reasons that entirely escape me. I think it is a masterpiece.

OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
MR: Easy, Terrence Malick.

OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
MR: If I were to pick one film that I felt needed to be preserved for the merit of its artistry, as something that says this is what mankind can achieve, it would probably have to be Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Passion of Jeanne d’Arc.

OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
MR: Dr. Strangelove.

OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
MR: Citizen Kane is no Citizen Kane.

OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
MR: No. But I have slept through most of Colossal Youth.

OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
MR: To articulate the mixing of minds that occurs when the thoughts of the film encounter the thoughts of the critic. Capture the music, not the notes of what is experienced in the film.

OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
MR: Truthfully I don’t think there will be a film industry in 25 years (watch Chris Smith’s documentary Collapse).

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.
MR: Abbie Cornish (from Bright Star) ought to be huge.

OGM: Who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
MR: I don’t really have a favorite, I have a problem with a lot of them, and actually prefer the blog approach to discussing films as one big conversation like we do on Row Three.

Thanks to Mike Rot for taking part, and be sure to show your appreciation by checking out Row Three’s website. And after you’re finished, you can indulge in more cinematic musings by reading the following:

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