by Sam Juliano
Note: This is the fourteenth entry in an ongoing series that honors creative bloggers who have really made a difference, raising the bar for quality and productivity on the cultural front.
There have been fifteen people covered in previous installments of WitD’s long-running “blogger’s appreciation” series, and it’s hard to imagine any single one matching Chicagoan Pat Perry by way of extensive diversity of travel, cultural experiences and the performing arts. Perry, who grew up in an Indiana farm town 90 miles south of the Windy City, and who bleeds Hoosier blood, has developed a multi-cultural palette that has embraced a wide array of interests ranging from classical music, art house cinema, a deep passion for the art museum, and an impressive travel background that has landed her in eight European countries, and to Shanghai, China, the last stop a proud 2008 appearance with a choir performing in some Olympic themed concerts. A big fan of Turner Classic Movies, community theatre, romantic comedies, and the often misunderstood “chick flicks” Perry founded her film blog Doodad Kind of Town in March, 2007 after a stint writing poltical pieces and personal essays. Blessed with a great singing voice and acting talent, Perry has made good with these endowments, playing major parts in community theatre productions of The Women, Oliver!, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd and Nine. Her favorite of these was the role of “Schneider” in Cabaret. Perry admits that her love for the usical form dates all the way back to the time she was four years old, and the lasting influence Mary Poppins has on her. The erstwhile fan of the form admits that the “unreality” of it all captured her imagination, and that she instantly took a liking to the expression of story through song. Still for all her talent and interest in music and singing Perry divides her passion between the aural and the visual, with a lifetime of visits to art museums in New York, Chicago and Europe and a studied appreciation of all the great artists. She identifies ‘Kandinsky’ as her personal favorite and enthusiastically opines: “I loved the retrospective of his work at the Guggenheim in 2009. I like to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, although their new Modern Art wing does not seem to be as thoughtfully curated as the rest of the museum. Another favorite is the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston, a fully restored Venetian palazzo (it was shipped, brick by brick, from Venice to Boston and rebuilt there) where the paintings are all jumbled without regard to putting works of the same period or artist in the same room It’s eccentric, but it’s wonderful.”
Earning a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University. Says Perry: “I spent two years as an entertainment writer and film critic on the university paper, the Indiana Daily Student, where my first editor was Matt Roush, who went on to write about television for USA Today and TV Guide.” She had held IT positions for the last 28 years, after stints as a technical writer and editor as a moonlighter as film critic for an Indianapolis newspaper. Her current position often has her traveling to a number of cities throughout the U.S., a fact that invariably gives her further cultural oportunities. She is an avowed devotee of the NYC theatre and art scene, and visits the Big Apple once ever two years or so for a short hiatus, where she fervantly partakes in live productions and shows. This writer has had the great fortune of meeting the lovely Ms. Perry on two occasions during her stays at an upper west side hotel, and in a recent family get-together we were able to tour some down town spots, including the site of the new ‘Freedom Tower’ and J. & R. Music World. While her cultural hankering is insatiable and her various talents documented, Ms. Perry is also blessed with a terrific personality, one that endeared her to my wife and kids in the all-too-short but cherished time we spent together. It’s always great to discuss movies, music, blogging, and life in general with such an informed and effervescent lady.
There isn’t much that bothers Perry, but she’s none too bashful to convey her disatisfaction to some degree with the movie theatre experience, which in essence is one she has always seen as the ultimate way to take in the form. However, she feels that audiences, who seem too attuned to the at-home viewings in front of plasmas and flat screens often seem spoiled by the accomodation, talking during the films and activating cellphone. Perry is so distraught by some bad experiences that she declares her persistent objections nearly cross the line of “OCD.” In her defense, it can’t be denied that the private has invaded the public, especially during weekend evening screenings in multiplexes, where there is a large teenage audience. Even in the hallowed halls of ‘sophistication’ one can see this problem causing major annoyance, as even NYC Film Forum patrons recently turned three screenings of Douglas Sirk movies into unabashed laughfests which grossly overstated the humor in unadulterated camp chaos.
Living in a small town in her rural location, Perry admits her art house exposure slowly unraveled, beginning with a rare screening of Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew at a very young age, a screening made possible by her father’s encouragement. In a fascinating interview, where she reveals all except understandable family outings and political leanings, Perry procedes to document how television stations and college film classes opened up her world of movies, with her own movie-loving father a perfect person to bond with. Perry Sr. was a big fan of Laurel & Hardy, W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers (even ‘The Three Stooges’ but Pat admits that didn’t take!) and Peter Sellers, and naturally there developed some mutual appreciation that has persisted to this very day. Indeed Perry asserts: ”There were certain movies that, if they were on TV, it was an event and we got to eat dinner the living room while watching them together: BEN HUR, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE GREAT RACE… obviously a mixed bag. Even today, when I spend time with my brother, most of our conversation revolves around movies, and very often, we’ve just watched the same movie on TCM within the previous few days.”
Pat Perry currently lives in a Chicago suburb with her other half Marlon, (Pat has since recanted, saying they don’t live toether “yet”) in a new condominium they both settles into only weeks back. Pat says Marlon is a “foodie” who also loves great wine, but lovingly assesses their compatability with the implied and telling observations that “opposites attract” when she states: “My significant other of almost 3 years, Marlon, is a sommelier by profession and a foodie by avocation, so we spend a lot of time cooking, eating and drinking great wine. He loves movies, but his preferences run to horror and animation, so we are constantly negotiating about what we watch. He recently indulged me by going to see CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER but he just barely tolerated it, so next we’re going to see PARANORMAN.”
While Perry has written some masterful reviews at Doodad Kind of Town, a blog she admits she often has a tough time updating with all the pressures of work and traveling (not to mention the choas that informed her move to a new home that dates back many months) she has also authored six superlative pieces for last year’s ‘comedy countdown’ at WitD, including wildly popular reviews of The Music Man and Mary Poppins. In response to one of the interview questions, Perry is excited about some of the upcoming releases during the prestige time of the movie year, including the musical adaptation of Les Miserables, due to open on Christmas Day, Michael Henecke’s Palme d’Or winning Amour, and Ben Affleck’s critically-praised just-released Argo, which she may have seen already by the time this interview publishes. Perry has professed an admiration for some of the writers and writings at Wonders in the Dark, and credits Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy-on-Films as the first to recognize and encourage her early prose. Perry is a true one-of-kind Renaissance type, who like her forefathers Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin seems comfortable engaged. in the appreciation of any art form, and like the latter American ambassador and statesman she’s ‘gone to the source’ repeatedly with the most hands-on approach to the prest of cultural immersion.
Below are the interview questions and answers provided by Pat Perry in a peerless installment in the series:
1. Pat, was there a particular motivation or inspiration connected with the launching of Doodad Kind of Town? When did the blog first appear, and do you have any long term goals?
My friend, Jennifer, who I met in an improv class at Second City several years back, was writing a very successful fashion blog, and she encouraged me to start a blog as well. So I launched Joni’s Window (named for a character I created in improv class – an Ukrainian window washer named Joni) in 2005, shut it down after a year or so of about two regular readers, and then launched a new blog (Doodad Kind of Town) in March 2007. My earliest posts were on a wide range of topics from fashion to politics to personal essays, but I always came back to writing about movies. So after about six months of that, I declared it a film blog, joined the Large Association of Movie Blogs (the LAMB) and my readership slowly increased. Although I haven’t written professionally for many years, I have a journalism degree and was an entertainment writer and film critic on the university newspaper and, briefly, after college for a magazine in Indianapolis, so it was fun to revive that interest.
I honestly don’t have any clearly formed goals in mind right now, except to keep learning and writing about films and connecting with other cinephiles. My blog is supposedly focused on romantic comedies and female-centric films, because I think they get short shrift in a film blogosphere dominated by young males – but I go off topic a lot!
2. When in your life did your love for movies first take hold?
I’m tempted to say “from birth”! I grew up in a movie-loving family. Going to movies and watching them together on TV was a major family bonding experience from very early on. My dad loves comedy, and introduced me to Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers and W. C. Fields when I was quite young. (The Three Stooges, too, but that didn’t take !) He’s also a huge Peter Sellers fan, so whenever a new Sellers comedy came out, it was a family tradition to see it on opening night, after dining on the all-you-can-eat Friday fish special at Wag’s Restaurant. There were certain movies that, if they were on TV, it was an event and we got to eat dinner the living room while watching them together: BEN HUR, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE GREAT RACE… obviously a mixed bag. Even today, when I spend time with my brother, most of our conversation revolves around movies, and very often, we’ve just watched the same movie on TCM within the previous few days.
3. Your love for the performing arts has been well established. Can you tell us about your earliest experiences in acting?
Well let’s see – I had a part in the third-grade Easter play and I remember I kept missing my cues because I was busy waving at my little brother in the audience. So that was an auspicious beginning. In high school, I sang in various ensembles and played Mrs. Paroo in THE MUSIC MAN, but I didn’t really become a dedicated performer till I was almost 30. I threw myself into community theater performing and even studied voice and acting. Later on, I took improv classes at Second City, although what I mainly learned from that experience is that improvisation is a lot harder than it looks and I am not especially good at it. It’s a right-brain activity, and my left brain is too well-developed from years of working in IT.
I haven’t been onstage since 2004, but I do sing with a local choir that does both classical and ‘pops’ selections. We’re currently rehearsing for our holiday concert which will feature Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremonie of Carols,” plus traditional Christmas favorites. I also have many, many years of church-singing experience – choir, cantoring and solos.
4. What roles have you played, and for what schools or groups have you performed for?
Most of my performing has been with community theatre groups in Indianapolis and the northwest Chicago suburbs. In that realm, I’ve acted in about equal parts straight plays and musicals and like to joke that I specialize in the major supporting roles that are reduced to cameos in their film versions: Nancy in THE WOMEN, the Widow Corney in OLIVER, Fraulein Schneider in CABARET, to name the most obvious examples.
5. Is there a favorite role that you cherish most?
I loved playing Schneider in CABARET and a pratfalling drunk character named Berniece Roth in THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940. I also loved being in the ensemble for productions of SWEENEY TODD and NINE.
6. Your passion for movie musicals has been evident at Doodad and other sites for years. Could you tell us how that developed?
As I’ve written, both at my blog and in a post for last year’s Musicals countdown at WITD, it all started with MARY POPPINS. I saw that film when I was four and that was the beginning of a lifelong obsession for me. Many people who don’t like musicals say that it’s the unreality of the form that turns them off – that people in real life don’t sing or dance as part of their daily routine. Well, for me it’s the unreality of musicals that makes them so wonderful. Wouldn’t be great if we DID sing our way through life? If people in the street or the office just broke out in choreography from time to time? I think so, and apparently so does whoever invented the flash mob. Singing is absolutely my favorite pastime, more so even than writing, and I consider myself very fortunate that God gave me a decent voice. My dancing, however, is another story entirely. I spent a lot of time in the back row during community theater production numbers!
7. What are your favorite musicals on stage and on film?
On stage, SWEENEY TODD, CABARET, GYPSY, GUYS AND DOLLS, WEST SIDE STORY, THE MUSIC MAN and LES MISERABLES. On film, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, WEST SIDE STORY, THE MUSIC MAN, ALL THAT JAZZ, THE BAND WAGON,TOP HAT and the Judy Garland version of A STAR IS BORN.
8. Could you tell us about your high school and college discovery of the ‘art house’ movie? Would you identify your favorite artists in world cinema?
My first “art” film experience was at age eight: my father took me to a matinee of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW on Easter Sunday. I remember having an eight-year-old’s version of a thought like “This is stylistically quite different from the biblical epics I’m used to.” Only many years later did I discover that was a Pasolini film! I have no idea how it got to my little podunk home town movie theater, but I’m pretty sure it was the only ‘art’ film that ever did. (And I don’t remember subtitles, so it must have been dubbed into English.)
In high school, I had very little access to world cinema. There were two film books in the school library that I read over and over, and that’s where I first heard of Godard, Fellini, Dreyer, Antonioni, Ozu, Kurosawa and others. The few foreign films I saw were on the Chicago PBS station, Channel 11. We lived 90 miles from Chicago and got their TV stations through an antenna in those days and Channel 11 only came in clearly about half the time – and never when the Ingmar Bergman films were on. The only one I ever managed to see was the comedy ALL THESE WOMEN and all I remember about it is a slapstick scene of a man trying to keep a statue from toppling over while “Yes, We Have No Bananas” played on the soundtrack – a pretty far cry from PERSONA or THE SEVENTH SEAL, wouldn’t you say? But when Channel 11 was coming in clear, we did manage to see a lot of classic Chaplin silents, BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN and a French comedy that my whole family loved, THE TALL BLOND MAN ONE WITH ONE RED SHOE, which was eventually remade in America as a very bad Tom Hanks movie.
Within two days of arriving at college in the fall of 1977, I dragged another girl from the dorm with me to see Robert Altman’s THREE WOMEN (I was a huge fan of Altman, near-obsessed with NASHVILLE from the age of 15 and it’s still one of my favorite movies. I got a Scholastic Magazines Writing award for a review I wrote of it.). The next week, I started my Introduction to Film Studies course. Between the film classes, the local theaters and the student film society offerings, the next four years were like an all-you-can-watch cinema buffet for me. It was only after I graduated college that VCRs appeared and home video viewing became a reality – and, of course, that changed everything.
Even so, there are still huge gaps in my world cinema knowledge that I’m working to fill. My experience is very Euro-centric; I’m seen far too few Asian films . But I do love Dreyer, Fellini, Antonioni, Almodovar, Mike Leigh and Terrence Davies. I currently have my Netflix queue loaded with Bresson and Godard films, and I will watch anything in which Mathieu Amalric, Juliette Binoche or Isabelle Huppert play a part.
9. You were born and raised in northern Indiana, south of Gary, as per a past comment on a WitD thread. When did you begin to take advantage of the Chicago cultural scene? How frequently do you enter the city proper?
Growing up in a very small Indiana farm town limited my cultural exposure, but I learned a lot from reading the Chicago Tribune “Arts & Books” section every Sunday. I always knew what was going on in Chicago’s theater and arts scene, even if I only experienced it vicariously. Going to Chicago was a pretty big deal and not something we did very frequently, although there were some school trips to the Field Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry. My first Chicago theater experience was in high school – the National Honor Society’s outing to see JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Arie Crown Theater.
10. What are your most special experiences at the Music Box Theater?
Ha! I don’t get to the Music Box nearly as often as I’d like, so any time I go, it feels like a special event! I did recently see King Vidor’s THE CROWD with live organ accompaniment, part of their Silent Saturdays series. It was quite something to be part of a contemporary audience, responding to the film with laughter and tears much as audiences must have done in 1928. Technology changes, but human emotions are remarkably consistent, and our reactions only proved that the film was a true classic.
11. Why might you feel that Chicago is such a great city?
Well, I love a lot of things about Chicago, but the traffic and the harsh winters are two things I wouldn’t miss if I moved away. Also, I wish public transportation between the city and the suburbs was more plentiful on weekends, because I would get into the city for arthouse films a lot more often if it were.
12. Can you chronicle your formal education through college? Major area?
I got a degree in Journalism from Indiana University. I spent two years as an entertainment writer and film critic on the university paper, the Indiana Daily Student, where my first editor was Matt Roush, who went on to write about television for USA Today and TV Guide.
13. Can you tell us a bit about your family and your work career?
My family members are reluctant to be ‘exposed’ on the internet, so I’ll just tell you they’re all well and I see them frequently. I worked as technical writer and editor for the first few years after college, then started working in corporate IT as a programmer while moonlighting as film critic for a short-lived Indianapolis publication called Meridian in the mid-1980s. I’ve worked in various corporate IT positions for the last 28 years.
14. You appear to be well-traveled. Can you talk about the places you’ve visited, and the most memorable events you’ve taken in?
I’ve been very fortunate in my travel experiences. I’ve been around quite a bit of Europe (although I have plenty more to go); I’m particularly glad I got to visit Greece in 2005, before the economic troubles really set in, and I hope to visit there again someday. Probably my most memorable experience was a choir trip to China in 2008. My local choir was one of twelve North American choirs that sang together in an Olympics-themed concert in the Forbidden City about a month before the start of the 2008 Beijing games. I was thrilled to have that opportunity – I’d always wanted to visit China, mostly because I wanted to experience the places where THE LAST EMPEROR and FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE were filmed. It always comes back to films for me. They were my first glimpse of the world outside my little, provincial hometown, and the seeing the world on film was not enough – I wanted to see that world through my own eyes.
15. Any European trips?
Yes, see above. (also Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic…)
16. Do you feel there is a genuine advantage to seeing movies in theaters as opposed to on DVD or blu-ray?
I think some movies are made to be seen on a big screen. I’m glad that the first time I saw GONE WITH THE WIND, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, JAWS, STAR WARS, and, more recently THE MASTER, that it was in a theater on a big screen. And I’m thrilled that I’m finally going to see LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in a theater next week, because no matter how great my TV’s picture quality is, I know it can’t begin to compare to what I’m going to see next Thursday night.
But I’m increasingly turned off by the experience of movie theaters because audiences have become so rude and inconsiderate. People who talk constantly, throughout the whole movie, drive me absolutely nuts, not to mention the people who keep pulling their phones out. The unfortunate effect of so much home viewing is that everyone now treats a theater like it’s their own living room, rather than a public space. I’m beyond curmudgeonly on this topic; it’s actually almost an OCD thing with me, and it gets worse as I get older. Video On Demand has been a real boon for me; probably half of the new movies I see, I watch at home. I have a big, flat panel HD TV, and I find the picture quality to be wonderful. But I’m aware that I lose some positive aspects of the communal moviegoing experience that way.
17. You are well-versed musically. Could you tell us what your favorite kind of music is at this time in your life?
I have very eclectic musical tastes – I like a little bit of everything – but I mostly listen to what we used to call ‘singer-songwriters’ (e.g.Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Randy Newman,Joni Mitchell) or Great American Songbook standards, plus a fair bit of classical music and show tunes. I rarely listen to anything recorded later than about 1990, but once or twice a year, I will have a sudden, urgent epiphany that I should start living in the present – musically speaking anyway – so I’ll buy a CD by Coldplay or Adele or Lady Gaga or who’s ever hot at the moment, listen to it a few times, enjoy it, and then go back to my “moldy oldies.”
18. What experience do you have with art museums, either in Chicago, New York or elsewhere? Any special exhibits?
I love art museums. Visual art is very inspiring to me, especially 20th century abstract painting. Kandinsky is my favorite painter – I loved the retrospective of his work at the Guggenheim in 2009. I like to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, although their new Modern Art wing does not seem to be as thoughtfully curated as the rest of the museum. Another favorite is the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston, a fully restored Venetian palazzo (it was shipped, brick by brick, from Venice to Boston and rebuilt there) where the paintings are all jumbled without regard to putting works of the same period or artist in the same room It’s eccentric, but it’s wonderful.
19. Has restaurant eating played a significant role in your eating habits?
HA, ha, ha – how did you know that? Yes, a lot.
20. What have been your favorite blogs/writers over the years?
Wonders on the Dark, of course! I try to follow as many of the Wonders “regulars “from the Monday Morning Diary comments thread as I can, though I always fall short of doing all the blog reading that I’d like. I would mention Ferdy on Films especially, as it was the first film blog I ever left a comment on, and Marilyn Ferdinand was a early encourager of my blogging in return. In the professional realm, I read Dana Stevens at Slate, Andrew O’Hehir at Salon, Alison Willmore at Movieline, and the New York Times critics religiously.
21. Do you have any favorite authors who have made an impact on you throughout your life? Favorite type of literature?
I used to be a voracious reader and I used to read a lot of novels, but that changed after I became a film blogger. There are only so many hours in a day! These days, I do my best reading while on business trips – on planes, while waiting at the airport, etc. – and it seems I read a lot of show business autobiographies. I’m currently reading “My Mother Was Nuts” by Penny Marshall. But last spring, I did devour the entire “Hunger Games” trilogy in about 2 weeks – I felt young again!
22. Could you define the “chick flick” and how you have come to regard it today?
As you may have noticed, the header on my blog refers to “so-called ‘chick flicks’ ” and that’s because I find the term reductive and dismissive – but, unfortunately, also a useful shorthand for certain kinds of movies. I don’t necessarily consider romantic comedies to be “chick flicks” because some of the best of them are made by men (Richard Curtis, the team of Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel) and have appeal for both genders. I know plenty of men who loved BRIDESMAIDS.
I do believe – and this idea is not original to me, but I subscribe to it wholeheartedly — that certain “chick flicks” provide fantasy/will fulfillment for women in the same way that comic-book or classic James Bond movies do for men. But the female-oriented films are derided and dismissed out-of-hand in a way that the male-oriented films are not. SEX AND THE CITY is a perfect example; the movies, unfortunately, didn’t turn out so well, but the TV series was an enjoyable and sometimes very funny romp through a world where the women had great jobs (although we rarely saw any of them doing much real work) , great apartments great shoes and great sex – in other words, pure fantasy. Nobody disses Iron Man or James Bond for leading unrealistically glamorous or exciting lives but boy, Carrie Bradshaw and her pals sure got ripped to shreds over the years.
And if the women whose fantasies are being fulfilled are over 40, then God help them.. My favorite quote on that subject is from Dana Stevens in her review of IT”S COMPLICATED: ” I reject the logic by which middle-aged female wish fulfillment at the movies deserves only our scorn while adolescent boy-wish fulfillment is worthy of adulation.” That was such a liberating sentiment for me. I’m a 52-year-old and I would love to get high with Steve Martin and then have him build me a dream kitchen in which we bake chocolate croissants together! I’m not going to tell you that Nancy Meyers is the next Scorsese, but I enjoyed the heck out of IT’S COMPLICATED.
.And that’s why I took my blog in the direction it’s gone over the last year and half. Because the film-blog-vitriol spewed on films aimed at women – particularly middle-aged women – is way out of proportion to whatever flaws they may have.
23. Who would you say are your favorite film directors? Favorite genre?
I watch as much Turner Classic Movies as I can, and I’m partial to films by Hitchcock, Wilder, Sturges, and Lubistch, as well as any pre-code films. I will rush to see anything new that is directed by Woody Allen, Mike Leigh, P. T. Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, Lars Von Trier or Pedro Almodovar. I am a huge fan of all kinds of comedy – lowbrow as well as sophisticated, romantic or satirical – and the all-too-rare musical. I also have a morbid fascination with apocalyptic stories and dystopian dramas (or, as my boyfriend calls the latter, “Resistance is Futile movies”). I’m not such a fan of action or special-effects-laden “popcorn” films, but that’s mostly because of how I’m wired: I fall asleep during loud, explosive action sequences or high-speed chase scenes because they’re overstimulating to me and I need to escape. I’ve also been known to “check out” into a sort of dissociative state during excessively violent films (THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, for example) for much the same reason. All of which probably explains why I blog about romantic comedies and musicals – those I can handle!
24. Are there any upcoming movies you are especially hankering for in the coming months?
LES MISERABLES (see favorite stage musicals above), THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and ARGO all look great to me. I’m also really looking forward to Michaeal Haneke’s AMOUR – I’m not a huge Haneke fan, but this sounds so different from his usual films that I’m really intrigrued – and Alain Resnais’ YOU AIN”T SEEN NOTHING YET. And, also, I’m eagerly awaiting season 2 of Lena Dunham’s GIRLS on HBO. It took me awhile to warm up to Dunham – I didn’t much care for her film TINY FURNITURE when I first saw it – but I love how mercilessly she writes and portrays the kinds of foolishness, naivete and self absorption that are particular to people in their early 20s. She’s only 26 herself, but she gets enough distance from those emotions and experiences to comment on them rather pointedly. The GIRLS season one finale was the best 40 minutes of television I’ve seen all year.
25. Aside from the arts are there any other hobbies you would like to talk about? Have you ever been a gardener and do you presently practice an exercise regimen?
I have nothing to say about gardening or exercise (I do a little of both), but I think readers might be interested to know that I spent almost as much time watching basketball games as I did watching movies when I was in high school and college. I am a native Hoosier – it is like a religion to us.
26. Would you be interested in talking about your partner and his own interests?
My significant other of almost 3 years, Marlon, is a sommelier by profession and a foodie by avocation, so we spend a lot of time cooking, eating and drinking great wine. He loves movies, but his preferences run to horror and animation, so we are constantly negotiating about what we watch. He recently indulged me by going to see CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER but he just barely tolerated it, so next we’re going to see PARANORMAN.
27. What are you planning to do at your site in the coming months and well into 2013?
I sincerely hope I’ll get to report that “relationship movies” (I’m not calling them “rom coms,” because some of them really aren’t comedies) are continuing their recent trend of growing up and being about something real, Films like THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT, CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER, HOPE SPRINGS, LIKE CRAZY… these give me hope that we’re moving past the soulless, cranked-out, formulaic crap that has degraded the whole genre in recent years. I’d also like to keep up “Academy of the Underrated” posts and bring more good-but-neglected films to light.
28. Any personal sentiments or predictions on the November Presidential election in the US, or is that subject better left alone? Ha!
Oh, we’d better stay off that topic….
29. Have you been satisfied/impressed with film preservation or efforts in the past years, and is there a miracle you are hoping for?
Well, there’s always more to do in the film preservation realm, but I am blown away when I hear those stories of how someone just “found” a pristine print of METROPOLIS or THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC in a box somewhere. I like to believe that somewhere there is a box with the missing scenes in George Cukor’s version of A STAR IS BORN just waiting to be discovered.