This week, I’m stepping away from the typical author, musician, film director cadence I’ve been on recently, and featuring a fellow blogger. For today’s Friday 5, I welcome Mike Tyrkus of CinemaNerdz!
I’ve known Mike from my days of writing freelance for the VideoHound’s Movie Retriever. By the time that blog ended, I had written several reviews, feature stories, and participated in a 24 Hour Movie Marathon with Mike. My wife and I joined Team Movie Retriever to watch movies to benefit the Michigan Children’s Leukemia Foundation. So, when Mike let me know about the start of CinemaNerdz, I was on-board 100%. In fact, if you want to see my recent features and reviews, check out my archive HERE. Enough about me though, it’s Mike’s time to shine.
1) What is it about movies that made you want to be a film critic, and as an extension, start CinemaNerdz.com?
The first film review I ever wrote was for my college paper, it was on The Silence of the Lambs. At that point I remember thinking that if you could somehow convince someone to pay you to watch movies and talk or write about them, you would have really achieved something. Well, I’m still waiting for someone to start paying me but the job has had its benefits nevertheless. I’ve always looked at the art of the cinema as sort of the coming together of most art disciplines. That point of view is what I think keeps me interested after all this time. There’s always something new to discover in film (even in a film you’ve seen dozens of times). Coming from a film criticism and academic background, I strive to keep my verbosity at bay (though some may say I fail miserably sometimes) and try to let people know simply whether they should spend their hard-earned money at the movies. That was kind of the impetus behind CinemaNerdz. Too often, criticism can become enamored with its own self-importance. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine in the right context, but sometimes a reader just wants to know what will keep them entertained for 90 minutes.
2) Aside from the reviews, what is one thing you consider a key differentiator for CinemaNerdz that folks couldn’t find anywhere else?
That’s easy, the writers. Without their voice, CinemaNerdz would be just another movie web site regurgitating the news of the day. The variety of styles that all of the very talented writers that the site employs are what singles us out. We’ve got your typical film geeks, film scholars, housewives, a few everyman critics that just tell you whether you’ll enjoy the film or not, and we’ve even got our own resident child critic to give us the age-specific perspective on films that most critics would dismiss as garbage. In essence, it takes a lot of different Nerdz to make up CinemaNerdz.
3) What’s the most exciting thing that you’ve been exposed to as a result of movie reviews?
That’s a little harder to answer. There have been a lot of great experiences that have come my way because of this, as well as all of the great people I’ve had the opportunity to meet over the years. But, I’d have to say the most exciting thing has been being invited to join the Detroit Film Critics Society back in 2011. Being a member of that group as well as serving on the Leadership Committee has been a tremendous experience.
4) Since I’m all about dirt, what’s the worst movie you’ve ever reviewed?
Without a doubt, it would have to be The Happening. Watching it, I constantly felt as though I was watching something that the director really didn’t care if I was in on or not. M. Night Shyamalan has proven himself a gifted filmmaker with films like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but a couple missteps over the past few years (The Village, The Last Airbender, and The Lady in the Water) have caused my belief in him to waiver. The Happening did nothing to change that opinion. In fact, it makes me question whether the only thing that Shyamalan has had going for him was the so-called “trick ending” and that once that was taken away he may be just another average filmmaker producing tired, formulaic, and often boring movies. I can usually find something positive to say about most movies, but not The Happening.
5) What movie are you anticipating the most in 2013?
The film that immediately comes to mind is Star Trek: Into Darkness. I’m sure that at the end of the year there will have a few other movies I’ve seen that are more worthy of year-end praise, but the Star Trek fan in me is simply too excited to be silent.