Follow Friday: Radiator Heaven
Welcome to another edition of Follow Friday where each week I feature and interview a fellow blogger and follow their suggestion to another blog to feature next week. I prefer this over a blogroll because it gives each blog their own time to shine, plus I personally rarely click on blogrolls so why would I expect you to? Not only that, but I get the chance to check out some great blogs I might not have found otherwise found, talk to some great people, and share the conversation with you. So this week I was directed by Brent Allard over at Criminal Movies to check out JD’s site Radiator Heaven.
One of the best things I can say about JD is that he is a very thorough reviewer. On some of his longer reviews, there is likely very little you could say was missing from it. Not only that, but he often follows up with nice and meaty comment replies on top of it. He also seems to prefer to focus on just reviews, avoiding any of the extra frills and sticking to what’s important, the movies. He’s been around for a long time, and covers a very wide range of movies, so chances are good that you’ll find a movie that you’re interested in somewhere on his site. And not only that, but he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.
Bubbawheat: One of the first posts I took a look at was David Lynch’s Lost Highway, a complete mindscrew of a film that you managed to deconstruct extremely well. There’s also lots of background information, how much research do you generally do for your reviews besides just watching the film?
JD: The amount of research I do on a given film varies. It really depends on how much is out there that I can find and then incorporate into my article. For example, the less written about a film, like say Zone Troopers, the less background information I can have in my article but something like Lost Highway, which was written about extensively has a lot to draw from. I’ve always been fascinated by behind-the-scenes stuff and production info but was always frustrated that not many people incorporated that kind of stuff in their own reviews.
BW: Can you talk a little bit about what made you decide to start reviewing movies on your own site, and where the name Radiator Heaven came from?
JD: Well, I’ve always loved watching and talking about movies. I first started Radiator Heaven as a fanzine in the days before the Internet and blogs. I had written for other people’s sites but was always frustrated and not being have more control over what I wrote, when and in what amount of detail so having my own site made sense. Radiator Heaven is a reference to David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Throughout the film, the main character Henry dreams of the Lady in the Radiator and at the film’s conclusion he finally joins her there. It’s such a happy, idyllic image and just seemed right for the name of a film blog.
BW: You cover a wide range of movies, past and present, covering all genres. How do you decide which movies to watch?
JD: Most often it is on a whim. I’ll go looking through my DVD collection and pick something that inspires me. Other times it will be talking with a friend and we’ll start talking about some film I hadn’t thought about or I’ll run across a film on TV I hadn’t seen in ages and that will spark an idea to write a review on it. That’s the best because it is so spontaneous.
BW: I love it when I get the chance to do those more spontaneous reviews as well. Do you prefer to watch a new movie in theaters, or an older movie at home?
JD: I would prefer to watch an older movie at home. Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy but I’m tired of seeing a film in a theater illuminated by countless cell phones. If I do go see a film in the theater I try to pick an obscure time of the day so I won’t get distracted by these people. Seeing a movie at home offers way more control of my surroundings and all the creature comforts so that would be my preference.
BW: If someone were to only read one of your reviews, which one should it be?
JD: Wow. That’s a good question. If push came to shove, I would say my review for a small film called In Country. I found myself investing a lot my memories and feelings into this piece and so it might be the one I’m most proud of.
BW: What do you think the most important thing to cover in a review is?
JD: Whether you liked it or not. I hate reviews where the writer dances around their opinion on it. Is it any good? Will I laugh, cry, recoil in disgust, be in awe? And avoid spoilers if possible unless it’s an older film that has been out long enough for everyone to have realistically seen.
BW: As my site focuses on superhero movies, I have to ask what is your favorite superhero movie?
JD: Nice! That is a really tough call and some of my favorite films are superhero movies. Wow. If I had to pick one, I guess it would be the first Superman film with Christopher Reeve. Saw that when it first came out and it just blew me away. No one else has managed to do the character justice since. And I love that it was all old school effects. Not to mention just the right mix of clever dialogue, spot-on casting (Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor!) and well-developed characters that you actually cared about.
BW: That’s a great choice, one of my favorites and the first one I reviewed for this site. And what blog do you suggest I follow next week?
JD: I would check out Junta Juleil’s Culture Shock: He writes, hands down, some of THE funniest, most insightful movie reviews around. I have laughed countless times at many of his spot-on critiques and playful tributes to some of the best, worst and just plain weird of cinema.
I love watching a good weird piece of cinema so I’ll be looking forward to checking that out. Thanks again for talking with me, you’ve got a great site. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.