Friday, June 22, 2007


Evan Waters does it because others won't! Evan reviews random Godzilla movies because he does not fear them! Evan dares to admit his affection for The Avengers movie because others haven't actually seen it! Evan dares to admit his affection for Lady in the Water because others are afraid of being beaten with a sack full of door knobs! Club Parnassus is where Evan hangs his hat, and there's much more to it than movies most of the world has panned. As a full-time comic book aficionado, Evan takes honest looks at the material which probably won't be remade by Brett Ratner or Bryan Singer any time soon -- such as The Eternals, World War II dinosaurs and the Blue Beetle. Oh yeah, he also likes Hudson Hawk.

DO YOU HAVE 'NIGHT OF 1000 CATS' IN WIDESCREEN?: 'I almost never buy sight unseen. (At least full price. A local video store was having a clearance on VHS and I ended up with The Wicked Lady, Playing For Keeps and The Night of 1,000 Cats. I'm still not sure how that happened.) (Oh yeah, and subtitled kauu eiga get bought immediately because I remember how scarce they used to be.) That marker having been passed, I have to have enjoyed it, and be in the feeling that I'd like to watch it sooner rather than later. I'm also mindful o filling in holes in my collection, be they specific titles or just general genres/moods -- I often think to myself "I don't really have a good X kind of movie," and browse and buy accordingly.'

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: 'Historical epics often lose me -- they get a weird buttoned-down solemnity at their worst, which has a distancing effect. Even though major historical details may be changed, you still feel like the filmmakers felt they had a responsibility to Take Things SEriously. The best films of this genre are either so brilliantly executed that the solemnity is appropriate (Das Boot, Schindler's List, etc.) or cast off that feeling completely and work as entertainment (The Aviator, 300). Ialso tend to be disengaged by that kind of horror movie where you know there's no point getting involved with any character except the designated survivor because everyone else is just there to pad the body count.'

'"Oh well, who wants to live forever?" -- Brian Blessed, Flash Gordon (sometimes followed by "DIIIIVE!" depending on the context).

'"We whupped 'em and we got it ALL!' -- Scott H. Reininger, Dawn of the Dead (or alternately, 'We got this, man, we got this by the ass!')'

'Most of Clue.'

HE DOTH NOT PROTEST TOO MUCH: While I will nitpick individual trends in filmmaking to death (remember when horror films used to be in color?), I reject the kind of Peter Travers-ian default assumption of Hollywood and big budgets and CGI as "bad" and independent film and small character pieces, etc. as "good," as well as any kind of despair over films constantly getting worse or sequels and remakes overtaking everything or any other point of no return for the art of cinema. The film industry has problems. Those problems can be solved by filmmakers with ingenuity and maybe by studio executives with backbone and/or a willingness to look at how the status quo can change. My job on my end for now is to point to the problems and not get everything snarled together in one big unfixable lump of "Hollywood sucks."'

WATCH THIS: 'The face hugger scene in Alien is so perfectly timed that it pretty much always works. There's a passage in David Lynch's Dune where Paul (Kyle MacLachlan), having escaped into the desert following the massacre of his family, has a vision staring at the moon, and turns and speaks to his mother (Francesca Annis) with a mad fervor talking about how he's being changed by his surroundings. There is something so magical about that moment that it catapults the whole film onto another plane.'

CAVE MAN: 'I've seen Leslie Nielsen, John Malkovich and Patrick Stewart all at college appearances (the latter two at the Cambridge Union Society), but I don't suppose I had any more memorable an experience than anyone else who was there. Going to the Bronson Film Cave in L.A. was a treat, though. All sorts of places have been film locations, but this was a place that felt like something out of the movies; the craggy rocks are perfect for ambushes, the cave is small but classical, there were birds wheeling around in the hills overhead and some very small crew (likely in film school) shooting something or other very briefly. That really felt like making contact with the "world" of film, somehow.'

WHAT'S ON: 'I'd say about 4-5 a week, counting ones that happen to pop up on TV. I try to set aside at least a couple nights a week for DVDs, and usually catch something late Friday, and for the past month or so I've been to the theater about weekly.'

AND IT BEGAN: 'I read a lot of books about sci-fi and monster movies as a kid, and some of these had criticism, and I got used to reading that, and started haltingly to form my own opinions and sometimes write reviews on an old word processor. When my family got AOL, I started to get on the movie message boards and post my thoughts there, and I did that for many many years; I got into blogging last year because some folks from an old AOL board (which has mostly been abandoned now - many members got tired of AOL's crap and racist trolls flooded in and there was no moderation to stop them) moved into the blogosphere and it struck me as a good way both to keep in touch and to just have a place to put all this.'

NOW SHOWING AT CLUB PARNASSUS CINEMA: 'I'd have to show all four of George Romero's Living Dead films, either in a marathon or theme week. I'd also pretty much need to have an Underrated Film Festival, featuring all the movies that I like that nobody else does -- Dune, The Avengers, Sorcerer, Exorcist II, etc. etc. Probably throw a Godzilla festival in there as well.'

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR: '1998 changed a lot of the way I looked at film and subjectivity/objectivity in art. In that year around five films came out that I had been looking forward to -- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Godzilla, Small Soldiers, The Avengers and John Carpenter's Vampires -- which I enjoyed while the general popular consensus rejected them. I spent a lot of time online trying to articulate how these films worked while, in the face of everyone else, they hadn't. I realized how my tastes were really apart from everyone else's, that this wasn't going to change, that I should stick to my guns, and that in the end, this was not a debate that could be won or lost. There are objective qualities to art, but not so many that an opinion that something is good or bad can't be defended. Basically after defending that lot, I had earned my battle scars. There was NOTHING I couldn't argue for or against afterwards.'

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weepingsam said...

Yesiree - as another of those AOL refugees, I have been reading Evan's stuff for years - he's not just a good writer who talks about films no one else does, he was always one of the real good guys there - it's great to see him get some props...

Ross Ruediger said...

Anybody who preaches the virtues of THE AVENGERS movie has a surplus of both guts and class.

Here's my take on it, for both people who are interested.