An Introduction

On the Screen Reviews

Greetings everyone,

After meeting Courtney through a mutual friend over the holiday weekend I was inspired to finally hit the keyboard and start writing reviews. In a move I’m hoping she won’t regret, Courtney has allowed me to share my reviews on what I consider to be a wonderfully formatted and already masterfully written blog. I look forward to this opportunity to voice my opinions on the current state of film to readers who are as diverse as you are articulate.

I was trying to come up with the best way to introduce myself and my tastes when I saw the Blogathon Questionnaire Courtney had filled out back in 2012. I believe it asks some fairly poignant questions and that this will be an interesting way for us to get to know each other. Comments are always welcome and with any luck I hope we forge a lasting relationship.




1. What’s your favorite movie?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Quote

 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Easily the most difficult question for any film fanatic to answer, I often bounce back and forth between City of God and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Understanding that a tie is a copout I watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at least yearly while City of God I’ve only viewed a few times, so we will go with the former. Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman created a true masterpiece of science fiction romance, a genre combination that we certainly don’t see enough of. I identify so strongly with Jim Carrey’s character Joel from the very beginning when he asks his journal, “Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the least bit of attention?”


2. Least favorite movie?

Southland Tales

Southland Tales

I didn’t even begin to look at film’s with a critical eye until well into my senior year of high school. Unfortunately I saw Donnie Darko before this process really began and for some reason loved every second of it. As time went on I dove deep into what I thought were obscure independent films and started paying more attention to cinematography, storytelling, and so on. This eventually turned me off my love of Richard Kelly’s quasi-convoluted mess. Then I read somewhere that Kelly had directed a new film featuring the strangest mix of actors I had seen to date. That’s when I watched Southland Tales. I can’t honestly remember one line or even what the plot of this film is, but I can tell you I hated it and swore I’d never see it again. I went back and watched Donnie Darko and realized where I had gone wrong.


3. Name one movie you loved upon initial viewing but eventually grew to hate (or vice-versa).

Loved then hated: Donnie Darko As I explained earlier, this was my first truly “weird” film so I was a big old fanboy for it until I realized I was wrong. If only it had been Mulholland Drive or even The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Fifth Dimension.

Donnie Darko

Hated then loved: Pulp Fiction which took me easily five attempts over the course of eight years to finish but finally it all came together for me and I’ve loved it ever since.Pulp Fiction Dancing Gif


4. Name your biggest “guilty pleasure” film.

The Mighty Ducks and the sequels. Say what you will about how poorly made these movies are, they are easily the most memorable of my childhood and given the chance I’ll marathon them on my death bed.

The Mighty Ducks Quote


5. Favorite quote from a favorite actor/actress (must be a line from a movie)?



Are you threatening me, dick?”

Philip Seymour Hoffman Punch Drunk Love

Philip Seymour Hoffman Punch Drunk Love


6. Favorite quote from a favorite actor/actress (must NOT be a line from a movie)?



Bill Murray, while pointing at Chevy Chase after a scuffle backstage of Saturday Night Live


7. Three favorite movie scenes.

It took me over an hour to realize I just needed to pick three. I am horrible at “all time favorites.” The first is a spoiler if you haven’t seen There Will Be Blood, but it is probably my favorite scene of all time. The first six minutes of Up is one of the best love stories in the history of filmmaking. Clockwork Orange is in there because the scene is just beautifully shot and edited.


8. Four films that should NOT have won Best Picture?

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King beat Lost in Translation and that my friends is why I honestly believe you can never trust The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.

Dances With Wolves is incredibly cheesy and Goodfellas is plain incredible.

Argo, 2012 was stacked to the rafters with amazing films that somehow flew far enough under the radar for this to win. Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of my favorite movies in the last ten years.

No Country For Old Men, I admittedly just don’t see the draw to this film at all. I have spent hours interrogating friends and strangers alike over what exactly I’m supposed to come away from it with. I honestly felt There Will Be Blood was a lock for Best Picture that year.



9. Top five of the year (currently)?

I haven’t been inspired to run out and see very much so far this year. Unfortunately I live at least an hour from any theater that screens films for cinephiles. Chances are once I get caught up and see Calvary it will round off this list.

Under the Skin

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Double

The Grand Budapest Hotel

10. Bottom three of the year (currently)?

I have a tendency to be too cynical to bother with blockbuster season so I’m going to be that guy and list three I haven’t seen and likely never will.

Transformers: Age of Extinction


Need For Speed


11. What film gets your vote for the worst or most pointless remake?

As a rule I strongly discourage remakes of any kind. If we stop giving Hollywood executives money to rehash old material, said executives will be forced to find more original content. So instead I am going to answer the opposite question. My favorite remake is Funny Games because Michael Haneke wrote and directed both the original in German and the remake in English and it plays in both languages. With a remarkably similar ideology to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Funny Games is a brilliant commentary on how we perceive violence in film when the violence occurs off screen.


12. Is there any film you think is actually desperate for a remake?

As I said in the previous answer, I would much rather change the way we as a society take in media. However, if I had to give an answer I would say Watchmen. Give it the proper ending from the graphic novel and recast everyone but Rorschach and The Comedian. Last I checked Tobias Funke is still seeking work as an actor.


13. Name your three favorite film heroes.

Steve Zissou The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

Steve Zissou The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

Guido Life Is Beautiful

Guido Life Is Beautiful

Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski The Big Lebowski

Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski The Big Lebowski

14. Name your three favorite film villains.

Daniel Plainview There Will Be Blood

Daniel Plainview There Will Be Blood

Keyser Soze The Usual Suspects

Keyser Soze The Usual Suspects

The Alarm Clock Groundhog Day

The Alarm Clock Groundhog Day


15. Best sequel?

Without a doubt The Empire Strikes Back. As Randal Graves says in Clerks, “It ends on such a down note. I mean, that’s what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.”

The Empire Strikes Back

15 thoughts on “An Introduction”

  1. Hey Derek! Great to see you on-board here. Court has a great blog for you to be a part of. I love these kinds of introductory posts, and you had me at your #1 movie (which is my #2).

    I think we’ll get on quite well!

  2. Welcome! It’s great both you and Courtney liked Under the Skin so much, my favorite movie of the year as well, although man was it difficult to watch.

  3. This wouldn’t of been acceptable if there wasn’t a Lebowski reference. Solid work, Derek. Bonus points for the UP scene.

  4. Thank you Eric. Those who know me best know that I’m a huge Coen Brothers fan and have been known to watch The Big Lebowski multiple times a year. With their last few features Pixar has revolutionized the way we watch animated movies. They’ve raised the bar for family movies as a whole.

  5. Hey Derek, nice to e-meet you. Sorry I haven’t commented earlier, been having a hell of a time loading WordPress sites recently. But I’m really looking forward to reading your future posts. Loved your answers to the questionnaire, particularly the way you handled number 11. Love Funny Games.

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