Follow Friday: Anti-Film School
Follow Friday: Anti-Film School
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. This week I was directed by Shaft over at Cool Awesome Movies to check out Twisted Flicks which is a nice site, but the writer isn’t too active and didn’t get the chance to respond to my E-Mail, so once again it’s back to one of my personal recommendations for Anti-Film School
I believe I first found this site after I had watched the three Punisher movies and right around the same time, Anti-Film School posted their review of the Thomas Jane Punisher followed soon after by several of the Avengers lead-in movies that they hadn’t already covered. I like that they tend to group movies in themed blocks whenever possible like when they did Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaborations to tie in with Dark Shadows, and most recently when they reviewed several Pixar movies to tie into Brave. The site tends to focus on the enjoyment of a more general audience rather than breaking the movie down too much like a film-critic, as well as reviewing many more popular movies rather than overly artistic independent films. While it is a collaborative site, the bulk of the movie reviews are done by the creator of the site, Steve, and that’s who I’ll be talking with today.
Bubbawheat: What is the one thing that is most important to show off your “Anti-Film School” attitude towards reviews?
Steve Habrat: I think the most important aspect of Anti-Film School is the overall aesthetic of it. I really wanted the site to be a nod to old B-movies, grind house, and exploitation films from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s because those are the films that really inspire me and made me take an interest in film in the first place. I absolutely love them, flaws and all. I also think that they represent the polar opposite of the snobby film school attitude. In film school, you’re taught to get these pristine camera shots and make a really clean cut film with heavy symbolism that is more often than not forced by some pseudo-intellectual who at nineteen is claiming to find inspiration in the work of Jean-Luc Godard. The B-movie trash is at the other end of the cinema spectrum. They are far from perfect and the furthest thing from pretentious.They dare to be fun and push the envelop. And while some of the exploitation movies are extremely intelligent, they were far from in your face about it. They were more interested in grossing you out and shocking you at any cost. Don’t get me wrong, I really respect the work of the French New Wave, Italian Neorealism, and British Free Cinema (to name a few) and I absolutely think knowledge of cinema history is extremely important if you want to evaluate film, but I wouldn’t throw on ‘Breathless’ on a Friday night. I’d go with something like George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead‘, Bo Arne Vibenius’ ‘Thriller: A Cruel Picture‘, or Lucio Fulci’s ‘Zombie‘. I guess the look of Anti-Film School was a way for me to stay true to what I love while making the film snobs squirm.
BW: Can you tell me a little bit about your contributors and how they came to join your site?
SH: I happened to meet Charlie on the day that I arrived at Wright State my freshman year of college. We were at an orientation and he came up to me and introduced himself. He was also in the motion picture program and we got to talking about movies we had recently seen. While everyone else was talking about some new foreign movie they were in love with or how great art house cinema is, we were chatting about the Hollywood blockbusters that we saw over the summer and loved. We have always shared the same taste in movies and we always hated the pretension that came with film criticism. We also collaborated on the movies we made and always helped each other out. We were destined to be buddies. When I was first thinking of starting a website, he was one of the first to know about it and I instantly wanted him to be a part of it.
I met Corinne at Old Navy, she was actually one of my bosses and we got to talking about our degrees. Like Charlie, we share similar taste in movies but she is a little tougher on them than I am. We would chat about everything from Alejandro Jodorowsky to Wes Anderson to Captain America. She has a degree in creative writing and she wanted to put her degree to work so I told her about the site I was coming up with. She isn’t as keen on the horror movies as I am but she is a trooper about it.
Will is actually the guy who designed the look of Anti-Film School and he is just a fantastic artist. He also happens to love old B-movies and grind house films and his knowledge of them is just astonishing. He knows so much about cinema in general! My sister introduced me to him and I’m glad that she did. I have really learned a lot from him.
Jamie is a good friend from high school who would usually go see almost any movie with me. We are big fanboys and we especially loved seeing things like Batman Begins, Star Wars, and Harry Potter together. When I had the idea for contributors, she was near the top of the list. I always heard her say such profound things about movies and make really great observations.
Craig happens to be from the U.K. and he sent me a review he wrote for Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly’. I was blown away by how knowledgable he is and how great the review was. He was following the site for a while and he always left such great comments. I was always left impressed with him.
BW: What do you enjoy more, taking a look back at older, well-known movies where you know what you’re getting into, or watching new releases where you never know quite what you’re going to get?
SH: There is something about going to the movie theater that I have always loved. It just energizes me and I forget about everything else at that particular moment. I love the anticipation that takes over when the lights dim and you know that you are in for a roller coaster ride, no matter what type of movie you are seeing. I can’t wait to see how the medium will get pushed forward and how the director will surprise me. I especially love the big budget blockbusters because I want to see how everything will balance out. Will the story work hand-in-hand with the action and special effects? Am I about to see a new classic? I also like to see how they will capture the current zeitgeist. I guess I’m going to have to go with watching new releases. Taking a look back at the older stuff is always enjoyable because we can learn so much from them but nothing beats sitting in a dark theater, staring up at a huge screen that is about to show you something completely new. It also helps if you have the right crowd of people. The movie may suck but the experience was still a blast.
BW: What do you enjoy most about movie blogging?
SH: I enjoy connecting with other movie fans out there. I love passing knowledge to them and having them pass knowledge to me. There are so many people out there who have enlightening things to say about film and I think that is so exciting. I also love the idea of introducing films to my readers that they may have never heard of. I did a review of an awesome old horror movie called ‘Demons‘ and I got one comment that said that they had never heard of the movie but now they wanted to check it out. That made me feel like I am accomplishing something with my work. It is truly flattering to know that something I wrote made someone want to see that specific film. I never thought people would really care about my site and what I had to say about movies because I’m just another guy. I can honestly say I have met some truly incredible people since I started my site and I have really learned a lot.
BW: What’s the worst movie you’ve seen recently?
SH: I’m going to have to go with ‘That’s My Boy‘, the new Adam Sandler abomination. That one was painful to get through. If I had to choose one from the past couple years, I’d have to go with last year’s ‘Battle: Los Angeles‘. That one was a borderline demand your money back.
BW: What’s your favorite superhero movie?
SH: My favorite is without question ‘The Dark Knight’. I have been a huge Batman fan for as long as I can remember and that movie really captured the spirit of the comics. It is such a smartly made movie that satisfied the fanboy in me while also really saying something profound about our post 9/11 world. I loved how Nolan challenged staples of the superhero genre, killing off characters that normally would live to see another sequel and providing a villain that we can’t easily explain. And the fact that Batman doesn’t fully triumph over the evil he is up against really stuck with me. Before that movie, the hero always walked away victorious. His cape and costume may have been ripped up and he may have had a bloody nose but he was always on top. That isn’t the case in ‘The Dark Knight’. He is barely standing at the end and he has been ruined both physically and emotionally. And I just couldn’t believe how incredible Heath Ledger was as The Joker. He knocked it out of the park. It was the definitive Batman movie and I was left wanting a lot more. Heck, I was left wanting more after ‘Batman Begins’ but ‘The Dark Knight’ took things to a level I never imagined. I already have my ticket for the midnight showing of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.
BW: And finally, what blog do you suggest that I follow for next week?
SH: I’m going to have to go with The Droid You’re Looking For. The guy behind it, John LaRue, has come up with something so inspired and special there. He is such a wonderful person and his work is absolutely hilarious. I go to that site every day and I have yet to be disappointed. It is an awesome film blog!
I’ve been to that site a couple times, but haven’t had the chance to fully check it out yet. Thanks for the recommendation and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.