In our first in a series of movie fan Q&A's, we're thrilled to feature Brandon Tenney. He's a screenwriter and freelance film and television production assistant. He’s worked as a post-production assistant on Fast Five, The A-Team, Wanderlust, Man of Steel and a contributing writer for FirstShowing.net.
Q. Was there a particular film that sparked your interest in writing about movies? If so, what movie and why?
A. The first film I remember talking about in any real, intellectual detail is the original, 1933 version of King Kong. And by real, intellectual detail I mean to say that my dad and I would create what we dubbed "King Kong Stories" as my bedtime stories before I was even in school. Using what I'd seen on screen in black and white, analyzing it, building upon it, thinking about the character's—King Kong's—intentions, his back story, his life before and after the film, it allowed me to gain a richness from the film that I expect few others were able to derive at that age. After that, analyzing films as and after I watched them became second-nature. Sooner rather than later, writing about those films became the most fluent way for me to organize my thoughts.
Q. What is your most memorable movie moment?
A. When Charlton Heston drops to his knees there in the sand. When the camera cranes up, revealing the... rays... of a crown? Then reverse-- there-- the Statue of Liberty, half-buried in the sand in front of the genuflecting Heston... "Oh my God. I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to Hell!" We were on Earth the whole time? Our Earth? Our future?! That shit blew my mind from my ears when I was a kid. My hearing's never been the same since.
Q. Is there a particular interview or movie project that you are particularly proud of?
A. Talking with Philip Lord and Chris Miller, creators/writers/directors of Clone High, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and, most recently, 21 Jump Street, was a great thrill. I had only just seen Cloudy the night before and the humor in it—and, really, their humor in general—connected with me in a way that is usually reserved for the best of friends. They're so niche. And I just happen to be in that niche. Being in that niche together, in person, was a real treat.
Q. What type of movies are you typically drawn to and why?
A. I'll see anything and everything. I'm known to participate in Saturdays at the Movies where I'll spend an entire Saturday at the theatre seeing whatever is out, catching up on anything I've missed. But there's one genre that will also see my butt in a seat come opening weekend: sci fi. Whether it be weird, little science fiction films or big-budget epics, if it's out, I'm seeing it.
As far as subject matter: Father-son stories, magical realism, hyper-reality, and stories about duality in life/faith/the psyche will get me every time.
Q. If you had to guess - how many movies do you think you've seen in your lifetime?
A. I've seen approximately 50 films since January 1st 2012. It's March 20th as I write this. Extrapolating that into the future, that makes for probably 250 films this year if not more. Now, looking backward, minus my first four or five years, that's around 4,000 films or so. Factoring in film festivals, SyFy channel original movies, and my dad's old laser disc catalog... I'm going to say I've seen right around a million. (Math has never been my strong suit. I was an English major, afterall.)
Q. What movies are you looking forward to seeing in 2012?
A. Because the list is too long, I'll keep it to my Top 3:
1. Prometheus. No explanation should be required for that one.
2. The Dark Knight Rises. Again, little explanation is needed, but I am particularly interested in proving/disproving the predictions I made back in 2009 re: Nolan's ultimate Batman film. And, finally,
3. The Hobbit. I mean, of course The Hobbit.
Q. Where do you prefer to watch movies at the theater or at home?
A. Watching a movie in a theatre is precious to me, still. The fidelity of the image. The boom of the sound. The forced focus. The human energy. The shared experience. It's magic. As far as I'm concerned, it always will be. Now if I could just not wear pants... then it'd be the best of both worlds!
Q. What is your favorite movie quote?
A. "Do or do not. There is no try." But, because there are just so many options, the more apropos quote is probably, "It's a trap!"