I’ve reached that bizarre point in my life in which I increasingly meet more and more people who know me for what I do now rather than what I did before, people every day who say “Oh, I didn’t know you were a film critic.” For ten years, day in and day out, I wrote about movies. And I loved it. It’s a strange profession with its own culture, politics, stresses and demands. It gets in your blood. And it’s hard to let go of.
I miss it.
But I can’t just go back to reviewing movies. The two careers simply don’t complement one another. By the end of my career as a critic I found myself abstaining from reviews – positive ones, mind you – because I was pitching or in talks at the time with the studio that made them. And I’m often reminded of what happened to Brad Miska, who wrote the first negative review of SINISTER. That he was the editor-in-chief of a major horror blog wasn’t the problem – it was that he was also the producer of V/H/S, another found footage horror film that was, at the time, opening the same day as our film. It took all of fifteen minutes for that connection to be made after he posted his review before I started getting calls from up the chain about it. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Miska was being entirely 100% honest and probably didn’t even make the connection himself until it was mentioned. But that’s not the conversation that happened, nor the way many people choose to remember it. As a critic, your reputation is the only thing you have. If people can’t feel that they trust you, then your opinion has no value whatsoever. So I had to get out and move on.
But man, oh man, do I miss talking about film. A number of folks have been trying to rope me back in with editorials or podcasts, but nothing worked out. Whether it was scheduling or content, nothing really fit. Until now.
I’ve known Brian Salisbury for a lot of years. He’s a great guy and one of my close buddies with whom I’ve spent countless hours drinking coffee and devouring breakfast food at 2AM, arguing film or catching up on the happenings of the movie blogosphere. So when he mentioned that he was resurrecting his column JUNKFOOD CINEMA – of which I was a huge fan – as a podcast and asked me to come aboard, I knew I’d found just the right project.
JUNKFOOD CINEMA is a celebration of the genre films often relegated to the dusty corners of time. Those movies that were often crippled by their budgets or a single bad performance or failed expectations or a goofy title or what have you. Some fall just shy of greatness; others are mostly terrible with a few bright spots so brilliant or engaging that they warrant seeing for that fact alone. This isn’t about picking on bad movies or ironically enjoying stuff no one would ever have any real reason to watch; this is about highlighting those films that really do have real reasons to be remembered. We hope to turn you on to some wonderful gems, to talk about what went so right – and so wrong – with these underrated classics. Sometimes we’ll talk about fairly modern films, other times we’ll go 80 years back.
In the coming months we will be doing theme shows on under-appreciated genre actors, strange subgenres and movements in cinema, as well as the occasional show dedicated to a film that requires a lengthy discussion all its own. Brian and I will be digging through our DVD collections and Netflix queues to share some really special films with you, and as the show progresses, we’ll be listing those films a week in advance so you can play along with the home game (or find out why the hell we even thought you should watch it to begin with.) And we hope to foster a discussion about why so many of these films really are something else.
I’ve got a number of projects in the hopper – more films, more novels, some short fiction and anthology work – but JUNKFOOD CINEMA will be coming to you week in and week out starting March 4th. I hope you’ll crack open a beer or pour yourself a hot cup of coffee, kick back and join us as we unleash the shared passion for films that make Brian and I such great friends.
You can find a short interview and official announcement of JUNKFOOD CINEMA here.