Scott Nehring – Movie Critic Interviews

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Critical Juncture is back with a vengeance, and this week’s guest is Scott Nehring. Scott runs Good News Film Reviews, an excellent site that provides movie news, reviews and trailers…all from a Christian perspective. Scott’s insight into the world of film has been featured in such impressive resources as Reuters, USA Today, FOX, and the Chicago Sun-Times, and now he’s sitting down with Only Good Movies.

By the way, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that Scott Nehring has a book coming out soon. It’s called You Are What You See: Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens. Here’s what his publisher had to say about the project:

You Are What You See: Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens by Scott Nehring will be published May 2010 by RightLine Publishing. In You Are What You See, film critic Scott Nehring introduces readers to the power and meaning of Story and affirms that educated, alert audiences are the key to both a healthy culture and improvement of the Arts.”

And if that wasn’t enough, Scott also took a minute of his time to express his own thoughts on the project. Listen up, dear readers, because the man definitely has something to say.

“Here is my bottom line – I am a Christian, which wasn’t always the case. I believe that one of the problems with our culture is that Christians are not engaged. This leads to A) Christians being woefully ignorant to what is going on around them and therefore being far too reactionary in their responses and B) the mainstream culture to be missing a vital voice that can help our culture maintain a sense of morality and restraint that is part of a healthy development of the arts. What we need is MORE free speech, more voices – EDUCATED VOICES. My book calls for Christians specifically to reconsider how they are reacting to culture, and asks for all audiences regardless of their theological outlook to DEMAND that the cinema return to becoming an art form instead of being a mere arm of marketing campaigns. It doesn’t take a great deal of insight to see that our culture is stagnant, and the only way to grow is to open the arts and develop a new movement based in speaking to the people in the streets instead of the numbers on the spreadsheets.”

But before you run off to Amazon to search for Scott’s book, take a look at his answers to our Critical Juncture questionnaire:

Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Scott Nehring: Bambi, during the 1975 re-release. I don’t remember too much, other than the fire. I also remember seeing The Apple Dumpling Gang around the same time. I was six, so things are a little blurry.

OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
SN: The last film I saw in the theater was Book of Eli (don’t bother). Last film on DVD was Street Thief.
(OGM Note: It took me a few weeks to get this posted, so Scott has probably seen more recent films at the cinema.)

OGM: Is there a particular film which you feel is criminally underrated?
SN: Idiocracy. It is a seriously flawed movie, yes. It is also a dead-on satire of where this culture has ended up. If for nothing else, the “Because it has electrolytes” scene in the White House pretty much sums up 80% of business meetings ever held.

OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
SN: Kurosawa. There is no other answer.

OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
SN: Citizen Kane is the obvious and standby answer (and probably the correct one). I will toss down John Cassavetes’ Shadows. I can’t imagine American cinema being the same if it hadn’t been made.

OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
SN: Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is simple and solid. A film I can see over and over and not get sick of.

OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
SN: Avatar. If you put the technical aspects behind, you are left with one of the most embarrassingly juvenile films put out by an A-List director. The dialog is laugh-inducing, the plot is cookie cutter and the philosophies put forward are shameful. We won’t bother touching on the deep racism that is threaded through the whole production. It is popular not because its good; it is popular because it is the first of its kind.

OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
SN: Natural Born Killers. It is the only film I walked out of. Heck, I sat through Avatar. There was nothing redeeming about NBK. It was the lowest kind of exploitation film. Oliver Stone decides to critique what he sees as the grotesque American culture by puking out a hyper-violent gore fest. This is akin to standing on the corner screaming “Kike, Nigger, Dago, Wetback!” to critique racism. All you need to know about NBK is that when the film was released in video stores it came with additional footage, including Tommy Lee Jones’ decapitated head. The additional footage was advertised on the outside of the box. Stone’s “critique” was nothing more than another bucketful slopped into the cesspool.

OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
SN: To change culture. Not necessarily directly, but by influencing readers to think about what they are watching and to avoid buying hype. The more audiences think about what they are consuming, the more likely they are to demand better works. This, in turn, leads to better films, which benefits us all.

OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
SN: The hollow productions we’ve seen over the past 20 years have to give way. Those in their teens and 20s have no idea what has been taken from them. The worm has to turn, and we will return to storytelling and quality over quantity – at least I hope. I would hate to think we’ll still be slogging through a culture of super hero/sequel/remake/graphic novel movies that far from now.

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.
SN: Taylor Kitsch is a good bet, he’s familiar to fans of Friday Night Lights but still hasn’t broken through to household name status – John Carter of Mars may change that.

OGM: Who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
SN: I like James Berardinelli and Jeffrey Overstreet. I also like average bloggers who give a crap about what they’re seeing. It has been amazing to see how many insightful writers are out there. I used to run the Carnival of Cinema and was introduced to a number of very good movie bloggers who were quite good. Some that I count on are Paul McElligott (Celluloid Heroes) and Krispy (Fistful of Donuts).

Thanks to Scott Nehring for taking in part in Critical Juncture, and be sure to look for his book, You Are What You See: Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens. Until next time, here are some other interviews you might be interested in:


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