Christopher Gates – Movies and the Masses

Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 11:57 pm

This week on Movies and the Masses, I’d like to welcome Christopher Gates as our special guest. He’s one of the writers over at The Daily Norseman, a website dedicated to providing readers with all the latest news and opinions on the Minnesota Vikings. From the antics of Jared Allen to the constant retirement saga of Brett Favre, The Daily Norseman (and their Facebook page) will keep you in the know.

But Christopher Gates also happens to be a fan of cinema, so let’s see what he has to say when it comes to movies:

Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie you remember seeing?
Christopher Gates: The first movie I ever remember seeing in a theater was a re-release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs back in the early 80s. I was only five or six years old at the time, and I’m sure that I had been to the movie theater with my parents prior to that, but that’s the first one that I actually remember seeing.

OGM: If you only had a few hours to live and could do nothing but watch five movies, which films would you select?
CG: Well, if I could only watch five movies between now and the point in time where I shuffle off this mortal coil, I think I’d have to go with the following (in no particular order):

Honestly, I could have made this list 100 movies long, and probably still left a few out.

OGM: What’s your favorite movie?
CG: Again, I’m going to have to say Dead Poets Society. Robin Williams’ performance was amazing, Robert Sean Leonard hits the scene in a big way in the role of Neil Perry, and I really just liked the story in general. I was a bit of an English nerd in high school when I first saw this movie, which helps its cause. But I think the story holds up remarkably well as a coming-of-age type of movie, and it’s one that I highly recommend to anyone I encounter who’s never seen it.

OGM: What’s your least favorite movie?
CG: I’ll be honest…in all the years I’ve been going to movie theaters, there’s only one movie that’s even been actively bad enough for me to walk out of, and that movie was Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. This movie is probably the biggest travesty committed to celluloid since the Hindenburg crash. Just a terrible, terrible, awful movie that didn’t contain the most remote bit of humor. No way you could get me to endure any of it again for any length of time.

OGM: Do you subscribe to an online rental service like Netflix or Blockbuster Online? Why or why not?
CG: Yes, my wife and I regularly watch movies and TV shows through Netflix, largely because of the convenience of being able to watch the movies online (via our Xbox 360). The price is pretty cheap, we can watch as much as we want for as long as we want, and it’s always there to just fire up when we need it. I think the service is a pretty good deal, all things considered.

OGM: In 50 years, which modern movies do you think will be viewed as classics?
CG: I think Avatar is going to end up in that category, largely because of the technology it brought to the fore. Avatar isn’t a great movie or anything, but anyone that’s seen it in 3D can tell you that it’s a pretty major cinematic achievement. If The Shawshank Redemption isn’t already there, it certainly will be by that time. Would probably have to include the Lord of the Rings movies in there as well, particularly The Return of the King.

OGM: If you see a movie based on a book, are you then more or less likely to read the book?
CG: It honestly depends upon the quality of the movie. Obviously, if the movie was awful, there’s very little chance of my sitting down to read the book. As cliché as it’s going to sound, I’ve definitely found that the books are better than the movies in the majority of cases, and so if you see the movie after reading the book, you’re going to have a tendency to be disappointed by the movie.

OGM: Who’s your favorite celebrity?
CG: I’m going to go out of left field here and say Kevin Smith. The “Jersey films” are a big-time guilty pleasure of mine, and Kevin Smith has always struck me as the kind of guy that it would be fun to just sit down, have beers with, and talk about movies and things like that. Outside of the realm of movies, my choice would be “Weird Al” Yankovic, because…hey, he’s Weird Al, and he’s been hilarious since I was in grade school. (And speaking of “guilty pleasure” types of movies, if you haven’t seen UHF, give it a shot.)

OGM: Is there any actor or actress whose movies you actively avoid?
CG: To be honest, not really. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love every actor out there, but if I perceive a movie to have a decent storyline or whatever else appeals to me, I’ll see it regardless of the fact that I think, for example, Tom Cruise is out of his damn mind…and has completely ruined Katie Holmes for everybody. Damn your black heart, Tom Cruise!

OGM: How do you feel about all the remakes of older and classic films?
CG: I’m really not a huge fan. It really, really smacks of Hollywood being completely out of ideas. One would think that there are enough creative people in Hollywood where we wouldn’t have to go to the remake well constantly, but I guess that’s not the case. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’m not terribly compelled to go out and watch remakes in the theaters, either…I’ll generally just wait for them to come out on video, if I have any interest in watching them at all.

OGM: Which actor or actress do you find most attractive?
CG: Oooooooooh, good question. If we’re basing this purely on looks–and I’m going to pretend that we are–then Scarlett Johansson has to be at the top of the list for me. Always had a bit of a soft spot for Allyson Hannigan, too. Can’t forget Diane Lane, either.

OGM: Do you read movie reviews? If so, which critics do you read most often, and why do you like them?
CG: I do sort of skim over movie reviews, but I don’t have any particular critics that I favor or anything like that. Usually whatever Yahoo! is linking to, or if I surf over to Rotten Tomatoes and read the smattering of reviews for various movies that they have at any given time for something I might be interested in. I’m not sure if I’ve ever remember a review that’s prevented me from going to see a movie I was interested in, though.

OGM: What type of people annoy you when going to a movie theater?
CG: There are a couple: the person that didn’t see the fifteen different messages telling them to turn their damn cell phone off that are scattered throughout the theater, and the guy that sits in either the row in front of you or the row behind you and can’t just shut the hell up for two minutes during the actual movie itself. Seriously, everyone in the theater paid for their ticket and they’re all watching the movie…we can SEE what’s going on. We don’t need play-by-play from you to tell us what’s happening.

OGM: Do you consider movies to be works of art?
CG: Definitely. The amount of time, passion, and dedication it takes to make a movie is exactly the same thing you need to be successful in any artistic medium, and so I firmly believe that movies are an art form. And just like every other form of art, people’s tastes are going to vary and their perceptions of what’s “good” and “bad” will vary as well.

OGM: What type of candy or drink do you consider essential to your movie watching experience?
CG: I’m actually pretty happy about the fact that the theater my wife and I go to the most often has Coke Zero at the soda fountains. Generally, that’s what I’ll arm myself with before I go into the theater–if it’s not Coke Zero, then it’s usually Cherry Coke (if it’s available) or regular Coke. My wife and I generally go to dinner before we go to the movies, so food isn’t usually an issue, but I do like to have something to drink while I’m watching the film.

Many thanks to Christopher Gates for his detailed replies to our questions. As always, be sure to join us again next week, when we’ll sit down and discuss film with yet another member of the general public.


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