Dan Fleming – Movies and the Masses

Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 6:58 am

This week’s guest on Movies and the Masses is Dan Fleming, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Before I start gushing and embarrass the man, let’s see how Dan describes himself:

“Dan Fleming is the writer/co-creator of Warrior Twenty-Seven, the independent comics anthology. He’s been known to bury his nose in books since the earliest of ages, and has been busy writing a crime novel for a few moons. His comic work can be viewed at www.warrior27.thecomicseries.com, and related blogs can be read at www.warrior27.com.”

In addition, Dan also runs My Year in Crime, a wide-ranging blog that covers comic books, crime fiction, movies, and everything else under the sun. Just look at some of his weekly categories:

You might also be interested to know that Dan’s favorite book is A Dance at the Slaughterhouse by Lawrence Block, and his favorite musical performer is Tom Waits. Now that we’ve gotten to know Dan Fleming a little better, let’s see what he has to say when it comes to the world of cinema. Take it away, Dan…

OGM: What’s the first movie you remember seeing?
Dan Fleming: I remember my parents taking me to a drive-in theater to watch The Great Muppet Caper and The Lone Ranger. Like most kids, I adored the Muppets, but I was also intrigued by the mysterious man with a mask who rode a white stallion. Unfortunately, I fell asleep about 10 minutes into The Lone Ranger.

OGM: If you only had a few hours to live and could do nothing but watch five movies, which films would you select?
DF: The Godfather. It’s the best movie ever made, no arguments allowed. Plus, it’s three hours long, so that might prolong my life. Perhaps I should only pick lengthy films. Would the Lord of the Rings count as one film? Ha. Also, The Empire Strikes Back, because it would be nice to feel like a kid again. Fight Club, to keep my spirits up and encourage me to get off my ass and fight. Once that didn’t work, I’d throw in Children of Men to feel hopeful. And lastly, once all is lost and I’m resigned to my fate, Pan’s Labyrinth, because everyone needs a fairytale to fall asleep to.

OGM: What’s your favorite movie?
DF: The Godfather. I can watch it a million times and not get sick of it.

OGM: What’s your least favorite movie?
DF: I try not to hate on movies too much. People try their best most of the time, so who am I to really hate their passion? That being said, Boondock Saints II really pushed me to the edge of violence. The first one was okay, but part 2 was just awful. Lazy filmmaking.

OGM: Do you subscribe to an online rental service like Netflix or Blockbuster Online? Why or why not?
DF: I love my Netflix. I used to run a Movie Gallery years ago, so I had an affinity for the brick stores. Unfortunately, most shelves became stocked with 90 copies of the latest romantic comedies and fewer foreign and art films. Older films virtually disappeared. And Netflix has a hell of a business model. I don’t mean to be a commercial for them, but my Q is loaded with films I’d never find at Blockbuster. In February I must have rented 20 blaxsploitation films. Plus, now I can stream them to my TV through my Wii. However, if you happen to live by a great independent video store, go there! The staff can most likely introduce you to films you’d never think of renting. If I could, I’d own a tiny store and stock it with nothing but films I like.

OGM: In 50 years, which modern movies do you think will be viewed as classics?
DF: Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Big Lebowski, There Will Be Blood, Magnolia, Mulholland Drive, History of Violence…I could populate this list with so many. Directors such as Spike Jones, Paul Thomas Anderson, The Coen Brothers and David Fincher are doing fantastic, daring work.

OGM: If you see a movie based on a book, are you then more or less likely to read the book?
DF: Definitely read the book, even if the movie was terrible. Jackie Brown led me to Rum Punch and Elmore Leonard. Not saying Jackie Brown was terrible. Quite the opposite. It’s Tarantino’s best film. But I love seeking out novels. 9 times out of 10 they will surpass the movie.

OGM: Who’s your favorite celebrity?
DF: George Clooney. I admire the hell out of him. With those looks and that charm, he could coast through mediocre movies the rest of his life and continually cash in. But he challenges himself, both in front of, and behind the camera. If all movie stars and celebrities took on projects like him, I’d certainly be happier.

OGM: Is there any actor or actress whose movies you actively avoid?
DF: Not really. Almost every actor has at least one good role in them. I’m not a fan of Adam Sandler, but he killed in Punch Drunk Love. And Nic Cage seems to alternate between movies I love and movies I laugh off the screen. But, if I’m going to avoid a film, it’s going to be because of the director. Uwe Boll has nothing to offer me.

OGM: How do you feel about all the remakes of older and classic films?
DF: Hate them. I don’t see the need. I sat through Gus Van Sant’s Psycho and just wondered “why?” for two hours. I will admit I am anxious to see the Coen’s remake of True Grit, but I’d rather see an original idea. And don’t get me started on the new Clash of the Titans.

OGM: Which actor or actress do you find most attractive?
DF: Another list I could go on with. How about Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts? Both are ever so pretty and amazingly talented. And I’d go completely gay for Clive Owen.

OGM: Do you read movie reviews? If so, what critics do you read most often, and why do you like them?
DF: Almost always the first section I turn to in Entertainment Weekly. And I read Ebert religiously. I might not always agree with him (Lost Highway and Kick-Ass), but he’s not afraid to call someone out for lazy filmmaking.

OGM: What type of people annoy you when going to a movie theater?
DF: Those that won’t stop talking, especially during the previews. I love previews! If a loud mouth like myself can shut the hell up for two hours, then anyone should be able to. If you want to talk throughout the film, please stay home.

OGM: Do you consider movies to be works of art?
DF: Movies, without argument, are art. Especially anything by David Lynch. They might not always make the most sense, but they are pure art.

OGM: What type of candy or drink do you consider essential to your movie watching experience?
DF: I am one of the few odd people who avoid the concessions. If I get a snack, like maybe Milk Duds, I’m just going to eat them all before the picture starts. And forget soda! Last thing I want to do is miss a crucial scene because of my bladder.

Big thanks to Dan Fleming for agreeing to take part in our humble little interview segment. Be sure and show your appreciation by visiting his websites and maybe even buying an item or three. And don’t forget to join us again next week for Movies and the Masses, when we’ll once again sit down and discuss cinema with a random (and yet extraordinarily special) person from across the vast expanses of the Internet.

In the meantime, check out these other Movies and the Masses interviews:


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