Thursday, March 15, 2007

Friends of the Experience #5

One of my favorite geeky things about the behind-the-scenes efforts on the website is looking at maps of where readers are coming from. For todays friends of the experience, we're taking long flights to highlight Paul in Hawaii and two Aussie readers James and Stephen G who donated to the site & blog. Time is money and money is time -- I'm trying to write full time...

Paul sent me an enthusiastic note detailing his journey with The Film Experience (4 years!) He shares my enthusiasm for the work of Gong Li, Clive Owen, Juliette Lewis and Joan Allen in particular. I got a kick out of this particular bit...

Recently, I've revisited my adoration of Gong Li and have 'taught' my friends and family that we should bow down to her greatness and then sit back and watch in awe. (LOVE her in Raise the Red Lantern and To Live)
I 'teach' my friends all the time who they should love. I relate. In college my friends were even forced to watch weekly themed double features. We labelled it 'Cinema 260' with yours truly as the dictator/professor of the imaginary course. Oh the bossiness of me.

Over in Australia (you know it well: the land of perpetual movie star hatchings), James has been reading the site since the 2001 Oscar race. His favorite film is a tie between Woody Allen's Manhattan and Volker Schlondorff's The Tin Drum with his apologies going out to The Leopard, Eight and a Half, Bladerunner, Mulholland Drive, Rebecca...(he trails off. There's obviously more) In short: James has good taste. And I am humbled to tell you that he lists this site as one of his top three along with Jonathan Rosenbaum and another which he discusses...
The Film Experience has been a staple in my movie site diet. I must say we have a bit of a push and pull thing going on with matching our film tastes. I too loved Marie Antoinette, Brokeback Mountain & Before Sunset, but loathed Far From Heaven, Dancer in the Dark and Thirteen. But really, that's what makes reading a particular film critic interesting.
...I'm going to recommend my other favourite film site It's the site of the Australian version of Ebert and Roeper, I guess. They really know how to review a film, because a) like yourself, they aren't afraid to give something full marks or a failing grade (the worst type of critics are the ones who are perpetually stuck in 3 and a half star land) and b) also like yourself, they talk about a rich variety of art house and mainstream without unfairly biasing esoteric films or conforming to the majority opinion (their good review of Showgirls was notoriously famous here in Australia)
I'm happy to check them out. And I wholeheartedly agree with that 3 and a half star problem. How can every film be worthwhile? The "we love everything" school of film criticism always suggests to me: paycheck and corporate directives to be kind to the majority of releases. Not that there's anything wrong with being paid, mind you. But in a perfect world would critics really be paid by the same corporate parent that's distributing the movies?

Stephen is also a very generous soul from Australia. He discovered The Film Experience through Oscar Watch a site that I've had a long and happy friendship with. Stephen lost his Oscar virginity in 1986 (a race that was also impactful to me... the Kathleen Turner loss fixation, don'cha know) and has been into the Oscars ever since. His favorite films are ABBA: The Movie, This Sporting Life, Sunset Blvd., A Clockwork Orange, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gods and Monsters, The Accidental Tourist, Brief Encounter and Children of Men. I think it's worth pointing out that none of his favorites won the Best Picture prize and most weren't even nominated. Isn't that the problem for Oscar obsessives: continual fascination and frustration. Stephen sent along several great suggestions for potential upcoming articles topics: I will definitely tackle a couple of them. I love getting recommendations as much as I love giving them. Stephen writes
You've turned me on to everything from Channing Tatum to Wong Kar-Wai to the Birth soundtrack. Even better, you've helped me appreciate things that my boyfriend of 14 years' standing loves, but I've never really gotten into (like Sweeney Todd, Tori Amos, comics). And we are both forever in your debt for getting us hooked on Project Runway.
As ever I'm glad to be of service. And I love demanding suggesting that my favorites become all of yours.

Questions
What other film writers do you respect and read? What actor or film would you like to "teach" the world to love?

5 comments:

Beau said...

YAY for 'Brief Encounter'!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to tech the world to love... you know who... I'm winning this game!

- cal roth

Kamikaze Camel said...

James! At the Movies! I love David and Margaret. I still vividly remember when Margaret gave Dancer in the Dark 5/5 and David gave it 0.

Stephen G said...

Yeah, David and Margaret are an institution in Australia. Back in 1992 (?), David famously gave Romper Stomper 0 because he thought it was racist, and Margaret gave it 5. Then, only a few weeks later, as if to get her own back, Margaret gave Dennis Hopper's Colors 0 and David gave it 4 or 5.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I love those two so much. AND Margaret's crazy earrings.