Friday, July 20, 2007


Even if you don't agree with what Ross Ruediger has to say at The Rued Morgue, he gets the last laugh because he lives in San Antonio and you probably don't. He probably wrote his answers from the basement of the Alamo just to prove it exists, Pee Wee be damned. Ross is more than just the product of parents with exceptional taste in names, his writing can be found at the wondrous The House Next Door, where he reviews Dr. Who episodes, and at the eclectic Liverputty, where his Rued Manifesto gets a bit of everything off his chest. When he's not talking about himself, Ross has found time for sprawling looks at James Bond to commemorate the year of our spy 2007. And his writings are certainly not limited to the digital variety, as Ross is even an occasional playwright (scroll down to the second story).

NOW SHOWING AT THE RUED MORGUE CINEMA: 'I’d love to do a marathon called “Chick Flicks for Guys” – a series of movies guys might at first glance think “No way in hell”: Tootsie, Love Actually, How to Make an American Quilt, P.S., In Her Shoes, All About Eve, Women in Love, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Hannah and Her Sisters, One True Thing, Grace of My Heart, Shampoo, Truly, Madly, Deeply. Those would be a good start. Or a Ma and Pa Kettle marathon – just to see who’d stay ‘til the end.

JUST ONE QUESTION: 'Christopher Eccleston: Why did you leave “Doctor Who” after only one season? David Tennant’s done an exceptional job of picking up where Eccleston left off, but I’ll always wonder what heights he may have reached with the role had he gone on and done another season or two.'

I ... DON'T GET IT: 'Aside from a couple of exceptions, I don’t get Spike Lee or Michael Mann. I don’t care for Mel Gibson as a filmmaker. In general, I don’t really understand action movies, but maybe that’s got more to do with most of them sucking these days. I remain mystified by the popularity of Will Ferrell.'

SCENES FROM THE RUED MORGUE: 'Since I’ve lived with a TV critic (Jeanne Jakle of the S.A. Express-News) for the past 6 years and watch a fair amount of TV with her, my movie watching habits aren’t quite as intense as they used to be, but hopefully at least 3 DVDs a week and maybe 5 or so more on DirectTV. I’m also the kind of person who enjoys pulling out stacks of movies just to sift through favorite scenes. Whenever people are over at our place that can be great fun for the uninitiated. The other night we had a friend over who’d never seen Jon Voight back when he was young, so I put on the first 5 minutes of Midnight Cowboy and she was blown away.'

ROSS ON THE RUN: 'The Rued Morgue is less of a movie blog than it is something “else”. The goal is to present either entertaining or informative pieces (or ideally both), and from the beginning I didn’t want to box myself into just being a critic. I don’t even think I’m a particularly good critic and tend to shy away from writing about anything I don’t like. I take a lot longer to write my stuff than most and often a week goes by and I’ve done nothing substantial. One thing I do is occasionally throw out something personal – some anecdote or whatever - and attempt to craft it in a way to which hopefully people relate. Generally those pieces get nice responses in the comments sections. I’m as big a nerd as anyone doing this stuff, but it’s even more fun to be a human nerd and remind people they’re not just reading the ramblings of an automaton. Maybe that’s indulgent – and I’m always nervous about presenting those pieces - but there’s value in at the very least making criticism personal as long as it doesn’t overshadow what needs to be said. The thing is there are so many other bloggers out there who are so much more insightful with their criticism, so I gotta find ways to play to my strengths. Maybe that’s the key to great blogging: Figure out what you’re good at and run with it.

'So all that said, to answer your question, Jeanne’s influence can’t be discounted, but I started The Rued Morgue specifically because of admiration for Matt Zoller Seitz’s The House Next Door. Matt busted my blog cherry; before The House I really didn’t know much about or even pay attention to blogs. I used to spend a lot of time reading Ain’t It Cool News, but was always frustrated by how shoddily put together it was -- all the bad grammar and typos and so forth. So in a way I gotta give Harry Knowles some credit because AICN led me to think, “I love this same stuff and I can create proper sentences”. And Roger Ebert. I’ve been reading Ebert for years and think he’s the greatest film critic from a writing standpoint, even though I often don’t agree with him.'

DO YOU PLAN ON BUYING THAT DVD, SIR?: 'It’s pretty simple: Do I foresee myself watching this more than once within the next year. Oh, and it’s gotta be something I’ve already seen and know is worth owning. I’ve burned myself too many times buying stuff sight unseen.'

UNORIGINAL DRUNK: '“There’s nothing more boring than people who love you” from Talk Radio. I met Eric Bogosian once and actually had him sign an autograph with that at the top. I quote so much stuff from so many movies so much of the time, that I’m sure I don’t have an original thought in my head – and anyone who spends time with me will confirm that. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of, “Hey, careful man! There’s a beverage here!"'

I CAN HAS SCRIPT?: 'What the hell has happened to independent film? When was the last time a true indie made some waves? Open Water? There was supposed to be this huge revolution with the technology that’s now available, but it doesn’t seem that anybody’s using it properly or we’d be seeing more breakout hits. Simply put: Digital cameras do not write great scripts. At least Hollywood still has the ability to get behind a handful of great scripts every year and they may even be one of the last hopes for decent, English-speaking film.'

A PRETTY DECENT YEAR: 'At the time, ’94 seemed awfully good, but looking back it probably had more to do with where I was a person more than anything else.'
MY BLOG FOR A MILLION DOLLARS!: 'I’ve got no real problem with Hollywood most of the time. It’s a business, right? If Hollywood keeps making shitty movies, it’s only because people keep going to see them or renting or buying them. The industry can’t be held totally accountable for the public’s lack of taste or class. I’ll tell you what I do loathe, however: Straight-to-video garbage. There’s this entire sub-industry that’s somehow been around for years and years dedicated solely to making a few dollars profit. They don’t seem at all interested in making anything resembling an ambitious film (the major studios at least give the impression they’re trying). And these movies probably cost a mill or two apiece. What I wouldn’t give to have a million dollars to make a little indie film, but nobody would ever give me that money because my pitch wouldn’t look right on the video shelf. If they can’t envision the photoshopped DVD cover, they won’t make it. And who are “they” by the way? Somebody’s turning a nice quick buck by essentially turning out reams of nothing even remotely substantial every year.'

Contact DVD Panache if you are interested in being featured on Friday Screen Test.

1 comment:

Ross Ruediger said...

Adam -

I'm amazed and amused you saw fit to include the Manilow link. That says it all, does it not?

In any case, it's an honor to be included in the ongoing roll call of this uber-rockin' series.

(For the record, I was named after a mortician. I never even made that connection to The Rued Morgue until this very second. Weird huh?)