What do you do:
Magazine Film Critic
Where do you work:
London, England for Time Europe
When did you realize you loved movies:
It was 1986, I was ten—I was watching Stand By Me and crying my eyes out… That was the first time a film really moved me. I felt like I actually knew these guys, like this was a film that really understood me. And that’s when I discovered that films could go deeper, that there was more to cinema than comedy chuckles or horror film screams.
Why film criticism:
All through college and journalism school I was convinced I was going to write about rock for a living. I was always a film fan, but didn’t think I knew enough about it – the theory, the logistics, the history – to write about it. So I bugged the music editor at the paper to let me write a review. He asked for 200 words on the latest album by The Sundays. And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. I just couldn’t figure out how to describe what I was hearing… Not to be out-done, I turned to the film editor. He threw me a small review – The Education of Little Tree – and it was so much more fun to write. I figured I could handle doing this for a living.
How would you advise others:
The best advice is to just watch a lot of films. I think the best way to understand what filmmakers are doing today is to look at what filmmakers were doing 10, 30, 50 years ago – not so you can look clever by comparing Alien vs Predator with the work of Ed Wood, but so you can put everything in context… And, most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t focus on making a reader’s mind up about a film – write about the film honestly, being informative and entertaining, and let them make up their own minds.