Person Behind The Post - Adolytsi

 Person Behind The Post

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Person Behind The Post - Adolytsi

Why is the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die' list important to you?

It's not just the 1001 list that's important to me. It's film/movies in general. I was raised on them, and my appreciation for them grew and grew as the years went by. When I was little I would practically memorize all my favorite movies, and run scenes and quotes from them off my head all the time, much to my parents' simultaneous amazement (that I was able to recite so much from memory) and annoyance. Me and my brother would keep track of how many times we'd seen our favorite films (within a year of The Matrix being released on video, my brother proudly claimed to have seen it over 100 times), and we would literally run the videotapes ragged watching them over and over; you can always tell which of the video cassettes in our house were our favorites, as the quality and upkeep of the picture would degrade the more and more we watched it, until the whole beginning 10 minutes or so were pure static. As I grew older, I began to realize that, while everybody else wanted to be writers and football players and, yes, some doctors, I just wanted to immerse myself in movies.


Immersed in moviesEventually, I made the realization that all the time spent in my youth quoting film scenes verbatim and mimicking my favorite actors had inadvertently been training me as an actor, and I began spending most of my extracurricular time in the theater and drama department. In my senior year of high school, I made a second realization, that all the mental dialogue I would keep in my head (and sometimes out of my head) of how to act, and how to do a scene just right to maximize the enjoyment of the audience was inadvertently training me as a director, and I spent that whole year in the AV department at my school, making music videos and short films. By the end of my high school career, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, and I would often say to myself and to others that I literally could not see myself doing anything else: making movies. Naturally, watching movies was an extension of this, and I've always kept that up through my entire life; mostly for enjoyment, but also (especially the past few years) to glean information and techniques and influences toward developing my own style.


I was so serious about my career choice that I went to film school as my college; a school called Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. I always liken my education at Full Sail as a "jack-of-all-trades" school; instead of film theory and development, the school basically teaches you the ins and outs of a film set, and by the end of the degree, they want you to be able to walk onto a film set and essentially be able to do any job competently. I personally wished I'd gotten a more specialized education as a wannabe director, but I still enjoyed my time there, and made many good friends. It was while I was there, rummaging through the school's library that I first ran across the 1001 Book, specifically the edition with The Shining on the cover. I absolutely loved it; I must have spent an hour in the library that day just poring over the book - just imagine how many films there are that are so essential and unique, that I HAD to see them before I died! Naturally, that Christmas, I asked for a copy of The Book for myself, which I ended up getting (5th Edition). My continuing self-education in film theory and technique has stemmed largely from the List since then.

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Share with us an early film childhood memory. For example, it could be about the first film you saw in theaters or when you realized you had a passion for film.
 
Talk about Epic beginnings.

Well, I mentioned on my blog's review of Babe that it was the first film I ever saw in theaters (courtesy of my grandmother), but another early film memory does rise up in my head quite effortlessly. I must've been five or six years old at the time, and some very good friends of my parents had just installed, for the time, a state-of-the-art home entertainment system - a real "home theater" experience. Surround sound, projector and accompanying black screen to show it on; the works. They invited us over to break it in, and as a special treat, they chose an endearing classic for multiple generations: the original Star Wars trilogy. I still shake at the experience of watching that movie like I was watching it in the theaters for the first time, because thanks to the home theater system, I essentially was, and I freaking loved it. I think that was the only time we were ever over to watch a movie on that high-tech system of theirs, but I doubt I'll ever forget it.
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Was there a time in your life when movie watching changed for you? If so, how, and what was the catalyst?
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Growing up, I watched a lot of comedies and musicals and animated films; good family entertainment stuff. Some of the stuff I watched might've stretched the word "family" a bit, as my two favorite screen comedians at the time were Jim Carrey and Robin Williams, but my parents were pretty supportive of me and my brother watching stuff a little ahead of ourselves, if we were prepared for it (I remember, when I was pretty young, coming across their VHS of a mysterious and intriguing movie called Se7en, and wanting to pop it in and watch it, and they had a mini-freak out that basically said no). That all changed when I sifted through our VHS collection and found a film by the name of The Shawshank Redemption. I wouldn't say it transformed me; rather, it opened my eyes to a world of cinema I'd not realized existed. I must've watched that film a hundred times; it was spellbinding, and ever since then, I watched more serious cinema and grew to appreciate all kinds of movies, from all different genres. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Frank Darabont.
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What was your first ‘favorite movie’? What is it now?
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 As per the previous question, my first favorite movies were things like Ace Ventura and Jumanji, and Disney movies like Aladdin and The Lion King. After a while, my favorite movie was Shawshank, and was for many years, until I saw a little film for the first time called Gone With the Wind and was bowled over by it. Nowadays, I keep separate lists for my personal favorite movies and films I find to be the greatest, which GWTW currently tops.

As for my personal favorites, I'm a big sci-fi geek, and my personal favorite is a little independent film called Primer. It's a mind-bender of an enigma of a quandary of a film, and I love films that require mental aptitude on my part to enjoy them; they're just fun to work out, like a Rubik's Cube, and Primer is like a fourth-dimensional Rubik's Cube. What makes a movie really appeal to me is when I can watch it over and over and still get enjoyment out of it; I've watched every film in my personal library multiple times, and can still watch them today. Primer is a great example of that; some other ones off the top of my head are The Fifth Element, Moon, Sunshine, The Fountain, Memento, and Dark City.

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What is the last book you read?
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I read mostly film books, about directors and techniques and even some film theory, and self-help books, which I read compulsively in order to better myself as a person. Currently, the last book I read is a self-help book by the name of Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath, about how to affect change into things and even people, when people are often stubborn and resistant to change. It uses a really brilliant metaphor for the mind, that it's like a Rider riding an Elephant; the Rider is your cognitive mind, able to analyze decisions and choose which direction to go, and the Elephant is your emotional mind, prone to instinctive choice, instant gratification, and the path of least resistance, i.e. the status quo. The key to change, the book argues, is to direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and shape the Path they walk down; if you can do these things, you can change just about anything. As for film books, the last one I read was Roger Ebert's autobiography Life Itself, which I actually wasn't much of a fan of; I am a fan of Ebert, though, and I was incredibly saddened when he passed away earlier this year, as he was unquestionably a bastion for the world of movie criticism, and we are that much more worse off now that he's gone. R.I.P. Roger.
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You have a film blog – what made you decide to create it?
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I got my copy of the Book for Christmas in 2010, so my odyssey to finish the Quest began in 2011. Probably halfway through that year, I did a search for the 1001 Movies list on the internet, out of curiosity, which led me to the Wikipedia page for the Book, which I hadn't even known existed. Down on the bottom of that page was a link to the full list from the Book, complete with films from every edition, courtesy of a little site found at Filmsquish.com. It took me a few months of intermittently perusing the site and the many film blogs associated with it before I struck up the idea of starting a film blog of my own and joining them, which I did in September of that year, so yeah, I'm pretty fresh at this. I gave myself some guidelines in starting it: I wouldn't feel pressure to live up to some of the other reviewers and their lengthy and thorough reviews, I would just be myself; my reviews would just be whatever notes I take down while I'm watching (or re-watching) the films, arranged and book-ended with opening and closing sections, and that would be that. I've stuck with that, no matter how big or small any particular review may be; my only non-review post on my blog is an introductory post essentially explaining away any unusually short reviews, just in case people want to point fingers or anything. The blog also will serve to help keep all my memories of the films from the Book in check, as well as provide a base of recommendations to my friends for movies they either should or shouldn't see, and why.
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Think of a time when you were asked to pick a film for the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die' club to review. Why did you choose that film, and what were you expecting?
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Not So Ordinary After All


Whenever the time rolls around for me to pick a film, I always try to pick one that I believe just about everyone in the club will enjoy, maybe for varying reasons, or to fill in a particular void that we haven't gotten to yet. It was to the former end that my second ever pick for the club was Ordinary People; I'd seen it for my site, and found it absolutely glorious, and knew I wanted to see what everyone else thought of it, and I was thrilled with the other reviewers' similar reactions to the film. I currently keep a Notepad file on my computer of other potential picks for the Club, and there's quite a few on there.

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Where are you from originally, and where do you live now? Has either of these places affected / influenced your enjoyment of film?
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I currently live where I grew up, in a small town about 45 minutes east of Cleveland, Ohio. I wouldn't really say where I lived influenced my enjoyment of film; it was rather my parents' influence on me that got me to enjoy certain types of films, and films in general. Aside from here, I also spent two years in Orlando for college, which due to it being a film school was incredibly impactful on my enjoyment of film.
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After film and blogging, what are your other favorite pastimes?
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As sad as it might sound, I really have no other pastimes, aside from a few video games I keep up with, and fishing around the internet (in particular, webcomics, which I read and keep up with daily). However, I don't really view that as too much of a bad thing. I view it as, I love movies so much, I would rather spend all of my free time on them than pretty much anything else. Of course, that puts a dent on my social life a bit, but seeing as everyone I know in my area is 45 minutes away in Cleveland, I don't have much of a social life to begin with, though I do make time every once in a while for community mixers and independent filmmaker get-togethers.
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What is the most annoying part of film for you?
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Sucks Cinematic BALLS!
 
Anyone who's kept up on my blog will be able to recognize several things that cause me great annoyance in films. From the technical side, there's lousy overdubbing, overcompensating color correction (to where the screen looks like it was dumped in paint), and pretty much anything else that ruins the immersion factor of watching a film. In terms of film content, all I have to do is mention The Hangover. I can just point to that film, and say "That. That is everything that is wrong with today's cinema." It panders to the lowest common denominator instead of elevating people's standards and level of artistic integrity, it uses infantile or scatological/gross-out humor as humor instead of smartly written comedy, and it just shows a laziness to filmmaking instead of even the slightest level of professionalism or decency. Now, a little bit of mindless entertainment may not be a bad thing, but if you allow it once, you're opening the floodgates, and eventually you find that 80-90% of movies you watch are low-brow and, to put it bluntly, stupid, and that's not something I'm comfortable with. Any movie that does anything like this will usually earn a scorn from me; it just so happens that The Hangover contains most, if not all of it in a single movie, which is why I hate, hate it so.
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Name an actor/actress who you enjoy seeing so much that you will watch them, no matter what they're in.
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Bette DavisThanks to the list, I've gotten a great appreciation for many artists, both in front of and behind the camera. One actress I hadn't considered too much before, but now I pretty much love and will happily watch any film with, is Bette Davis. She's just such a consummate actor, and she breathes life into every film she's in; she's nothing but a pleasure to watch for me. In the other gender, I always like watching James Cagney, Cary Grant, and Humphrey Bogart, and I've got a big appreciation and liking for Buster Keaton; in more modern times, there's always my personal god of acting, Daniel Day-Lewis.
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Who is your favorite director and what is your least favorite of their films?
I could cite so many different directors, both classic and modern, that I enjoy. John Ford, Victor Fleming, Powell and Pressburger, Frank Capra, and good old Hitchcock. More modern, there's Darren Aronofsky, Danny Boyle, David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Bryan Singer, and Christopher Nolan, among others. Then there's the big 3 K's: Kieslowski, Kiarostami, and Kurosawa. But the one I'd have to pick would be the biggest K of all: Stanley Kubrick. I've seen all of his major films except Barry Lyndon (so I can't speak for that one), and I haven't met a Kubrick film I haven't liked, but of the one's I've liked the least, probably Lolita, just because it's one of the least "Kubrick" of his films.
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Share with us a traumatic film event. For example, it could be about a first date gone wrong or a brutally torturous movie you had to suffer through.
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I haven't had too many traumatic film events in my life; I was never that susceptible to horror, for instance, though I remember seeing the American remake of The Ring in theaters and mildly being affected by the climatic scene, but that was about it. Undoubtedly the most traumatic film-watching experience for me was the first time I ever saw Requiem for a Dream. By the end of it, I just sat there in stunned silence, feeling cold and clammy and hopeless all over. It actually took me about a full minute to recover enough for my brain to work again, and I remember thinking, "Wow. Damn, was that good."
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What famous location from a movie has inspired you to visit it, or made you plan to do so?
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I grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio, which is where A Christmas Story was shot, and surprisingly, I've yet to visit the house used in the film, though I know where it is. If anything in film has inspired me to go see it in person, it would be the gorgeous landscapes in Westerns like The Searchers and Shane, and Once Upon a Time in the West. Just the natural beauty of the land is something to behold, and I would love to behold it with my own eyes.
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When people go to your home, do they see a shrine to all that is film? Do you have memorabilia you're particularly proud of?
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Sadly, no; I have no memorabilia, or anything resembling a shrine to film. Even my personal DVD collection is modest at best. The one possession I do like to show off is a poster my brother got me for Christmas one year, from a webcomic called xkcd, that features an extensive timeline for several movies and franchises, tracking the characters and their interactions throughout the entire sagas they encompass. Since it's a humor webcomic, it also includes 12 Angry Men, as well as my personal favorite, Primer, for a quick laugh or two to those who've seen them.
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I do know one person from film school who had a personal collection of over a thousand movies, in racks that took up an entire wall in his apartment. Naturally, I was envious beyond all belief.
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If you won $10 million, what would you do with the money?
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Easy; move to L.A. and live off the money as I start my career as a filmmaker/actor. With some heavy rationing, ten million could last me the rest of my life, and that's if I don't get any work at all.

Livin' the Good Life!

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