This week’s movie fan profile features Catherine Stebbins. She has always been known for her love of cinema and her obsession goes back as far as she can remember. In her senior year of high school she was named Class Movie Buff. She writes for CriterionCast.com and on her own blog, Cinenthusiast.
Q. Was there a particular film that sparked your interest in the movies? If so, what movie and why?
A. Some of the films that had an unquantifiable effect on my from a very early age (around 3-10) were Beauty and the Beast, Little Women (1994), Batman Returns and My Neighbor Totoro.
I couldn’t say what sparked my interest in films; it was something that was with me for as long as I can remember. At some point there was a transition between being a merely obsessive child to being a teenager, who really wanted to engage with films, watch as much as I could, learn about film history and just fully immerse myself in the medium. While I can’t pinpoint exactly when this transition took place, seeing The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari when I was around 12 or 13 was a huge stepping stone in terms of starting to seek out specific films to see.
Q. What is your most memorable movie moment?
A. Where to begin? A handful of examples:
- “The Ecstasy of Gold” – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” – Fantasia
- Climax of Breaking Away
- Diving Sequence – Olympia
“Gimme Danger” – Velvet Goldmine
Hirobe’s paintings – Hana-bi
- Betty and Rita make love – Mulholland Drive
- Anniversary dance – Dogtooth
- Truman touching the wall and crying at the end of The Truman Show as the unparalleled emotion of “Father Kolbe’s Preaching” plays.
- Mia dancing to “Girl You’ll be a Woman Soon” in Pulp Fiction
- Robert Ford shooting Jesse James – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
A lot of these are music-related apparently!
Q. What sparked your interest in writing about movies?
A. In all honesty, it first began as a source for posterity. My memory can be pretty crap, so I thought it would be a nice way to remember how I felt about a film. My writing would come and go in spurts and would have no real thought put into it. The past few years, I’ve started to see writing about film as a way to personally engage with the text. It gets me thinking, it challenges me and it makes me want to be able to write out my thoughts coherently. It deepens your relationship with a film and prohibits you from moving on from it as soon as we may otherwise. It is something I would like to be good at because it does not come as naturally to me as I’d like. Engaging with other film buffs and putting stuff out there for people to read, whether it is a fun list or review is rewarding. It is not how I plan on making my living, but it is something I always want to be a consistent part of my life.
Q. What type of movies are you typically drawn to and why?
A. Anything and everything. It’s so hard to choose because it really depends on the film. In some cases I am drawn to something that can allow me to escape for a couple of hours and just deliver the cinematic goods. Most of the time I want something that makes me think and/or something that makes me feel (no matter what the emotion). A lot of the time I am drawn to a film because of the director involved. In a really broad sense I enjoy more dramas than comedies. I love Pre-Code, documentaries, weird/culty films, Korean film, Japanese films (the 60’s in particular). The list goes on and on. Horror is the one genre I’ll be more willing to watch the good, the bad and the gloriously bad. In the end though, it really truly depends.
Q. If you had to guess - how many movies do you think you've seen in your lifetime?
A. I can tell you exactly how many films I’ve seen! I spent an extremely long time meticulously making a list of every film I’ve ever seen in chronological order (alphabetized within the year). I am sure I am missing a few, but it really is as exhaustive as I was able to make it. I’m at 3,100. I’ve stepped up my game these past couple of years. I watched exactly 400 films last year. So far this year I’m at 144.
Q. What movies are you looking forward to seeing in 2012?
A. The Master is without a doubt what I am most looking forward to. After that it is Alps, Prometheus and Anna Karenina. Really anxious to see how Cloud Atlas and Cosmopolis turn out and I’d like to read the books before doing so. There’s a ton that may not be released this year like Rust and Bone, Under the Skin, Stoker, etc. that I’m really eager to see. I tend to want to see most films to some degree, so it is safe to say there is a lot. Oh, and can’t forget Django Unchained. And Seven Psychopaths. And Lincoln.
Q. Where do you prefer to watch movies at the theater or at home?
A. The movie theater because it is a distinct experience in every way. Its communal, it’s big, it’s loud, and it’s immersive. I do however enjoy watching films at home as well. It’s nice to cozy up to a film and have a more solitary experience.
Q. What is your favorite movie quote?
A. From Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming as said by the incomparable Chris Eigeman:
“I'm nostalgic for conversations I had yesterday. I've begun reminiscing events before they even occur. I'm reminiscing this right now. I can't go to the bar because I've already looked back on it in my memory... and I didn't have a good time."
"How perfectly goddamn delightful it is to be sure"
-Charles Crumb, "Crumb"
You can also follow Catherine on Twitter: @cinephile24!