Derrick Ferguson: Who is Justin Oberholtzer?
Justin Oberholtzer: A deep question to start this off. Nice! *laughs* Justin Oberholtzer is a film fanatic who found solace in films when he was younger and it has become a lifelong passion. He’s a writer, podcaster and (hopefully) a future web designer and graphic artist. He’s also kind of an egotist, what with talking about himself in the third person.
DF: Where do you live and what do you do to keep the bill collectors away?
JO: I live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and work multiple departments at a local grocery store to pay the bills and feed my passion. I’m currently working on going to college for graphic arts and web design, so hopefully in a few years I’ll be making money doing that.
DF: You’re the host of the FILM RAVE podcast. How and why did you start FILM RAVE?
JO: A couple of years ago, I started to get into podcasts. I would dibble dabble between a lot of film and comedy podcasts until I landed on the Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema. It was this show that invigorated my love for podcasts and the community that comes with them! I was fortunate enough that the GGTMC hosts (Large William & Sam U. Rai) are friendly, down to earth film fanatics who don’t shy away from conversing with their listeners. Over the years, I’ve become great friends with them and others in the community, such as Doctor Zom & Pickle Loaf (Silva & Gold), Jake McLargeHuge (Podcast Without Honor & Humanity), Metal Mikey (Action Attraction), the Night of the Living Podcast gang, just to name a few. I began to get the itch to do my own podcast and flirted around with ideas, ultimately deciding to convert my weekly written review into a podcast.
DF: The Internet is so infested with movie themed podcasts you can’t throw a dead tribble without hitting one. Why should we be listening to FILM RAVE?
JO: You shouldn’t. *laughs* All kidding aside, a good reason to listen to FILM RAVE is to hear a film fanatic dissect, review and simply talk about films each week. I’ve recently tweaked the format a bit, downsizing the four to five review format to two to three. This is to make my load a little lighter (what with going back to college) and giving me the opportunity to sink my teeth into more older films. The main reviews are of recent films, but I discuss a plethora of recent watches at the beginning. This ranges from every genre and decade. One second I’m talking about a sleazy horror film, the next I’m waxing philosophically about the works of Stanley Kubrick. It’s a smorgasbord of movie reviews guaranteed to at least hit one niche.
DF: What podcasts do you listen to?
JO: Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema, Silva & Gold, Better in the Dark, The Projection Booth, Night of the Living Podcast, Podcast Without Honor & Humanity, Podcast on Fire, Action Attraction, WTF with Marc Maron, Art of Wrestling, MLW, How Did This Get Made?, The Nerdist, Son Of Odin’s Podcast, Sons of Metal, Talk Without Rhythm, The Feminine Critique, KruegerNation, Hammicus, All My Heroes Wear Masks, Outside the Cinema, Are You Serious?, ShowShow, Filmmad Society, Love That Album, Paleocinema, MondoFilm, Chinstroker vs Punter, Married with Clickers, cineAWESOME!, Criterion Cast, Cinephile Activity, Motion Picture Massacre, Family Movie Night, Bloody Good Horror, The Mill Creeps. The list gets larger with each day.
DF: What’s the very first movie you can remember seeing in a movie theater?
JO: Do drive-ins count? If so, it’d be the American remake of GODZILLA. I was a big fan of the Japanese franchise, catching them on monster movie marathons on Cable TV. I was so excited to see this, only to be ultimately disappointed. It lacked the feel of what made Godzilla epic. I was still wowed at the effects, but it didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth. If we’re talking traditional theaters, the first I can remember is Inspector Gadget (which I liked well enough, but hasn’t held up well). I know I was taken to see the MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS movie (I was a big fan of the show), but I hardly remember the experience. I didn’t really start going to the theater a lot until my early teens. It was mostly home video and cable for me when I was a kid.
DF: What would you consider to be The Perfect Movie if there is such a thing?
JO: Honestly, I don’t think there is such a thing. It all comes down to personal preference and opinion. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I find 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY to be the closest to a perfect film, while others see it as pretentious garbage. For me, it holds that honor because of its scope, intricate storytelling, amazing effects and set design, terrific acting and direction and the general creepiness of HAL and what it represents : our struggle to create the perfect machine, which in turn becomes our greatest enemy.
DF: Have you ever thought of a career in movies? If so, what would you like to do?
JO: For years, I wanted to be a director. I even took multiple video production classes in High school. While I had a fun experience, it also opened my eyes to the vigorous and at times wearisome struggles that come with it. The constant reshoots, complications with partners/actors, editing; it can be both a pleasure and a burden. Seeing how Hollywood treats a lot of directors (studio interference) has soured me on the thought, but it’s still there. I’m still contemplating writing some screenplays. For the time being, I just enjoy reviewing films. It’s more engaging and rewarding to discuss film as of right now.
DF: What’s your overall opinion of movies being made today?
JO: Thanks to the advent of independent film, I feel we’re in a good spot with today’s movies. While there may only be a select handful of great studio produced films, there’s a treasure chest of gold awaiting to be opened in the independent scene. You just need to dig to discover the gold. Which can be a great experience in and of itself. I feel that each decade has it’s good and bad films. While certain decades stand out as being superior (1970s), most will only be hailed as being great down the road. Everything looks better when looking back. We may be hearing about how stale the current movie scene is nowadays. However, in twenty years or so, we may be hearing how great it was, what with films like DRIVE and THE TREE OF LIFE being released, just to name a few.
DF: Who’s the best director working right now? The worst?
JO: The best would be Terrence Malick. He’s definitely divisive, but I find his work to be intoxicating and beautiful. He can draw you in with a simple shot of the sky. The worst…hmm. I used to say Uwe Boll, but he’s showing promise with his later films. Michael Bay is another option, but I’ve heard good things about PAIN & GAIN (and I honestly enjoy the first Transformers film). The worst is probably somebody whose name escapes me, but their work haunts me. It seems that if I truly loathe somebody, I don’t even acknowledge their existence, whether that be on purpose or not.
DF: You’re a Terrence Malick fan so maybe you can help me understand his films. I like BADLANDS and THE THIN RED LINE but I am absolutely lost when it comes to the rest of his movies. What am I missing?
JO: I wouldn’t say you’re missing anything. He has a certain style that works for some and not for others. He’s definitely esoteric, what with filming in what can be viewed by some as a simple style. His scope is large, but the presentation can be very simple. I find this to work most of the time, especially in his last two films. Those films ultimately are about the beauty of life and I feel that rings true in the translucent direction. Some films, such as THE NEW WORLD, do tend to fall flat. It’s a risky venture with Malick, but I usually wind up loving it. At the very least, you’re getting a gorgeous film to look at.
DF: Your favorite Stanley Kubrick movie?
JO: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. As I mentioned earlier, it’s such an epic film. From the beginning of time with the cavemen to the future of technology and space travel, it hits every beat and then some. It’s main message about evolution and man’s struggle to create the perfect machine, only for it to backfire and become our greatest enemy, is utterly fascinating. It’s a film that, with each viewing, I get more out of. I hope to see it on the big screen one day, preferably in its original print.
DF: Do you think Horror Movies are in a slump now?
JO: Mainstream wise, yes. While films like SINISTER and the first PARANORMAL ACTIVITY feel fresh and inventive, a lot of the output feels rehashed and trite. The glut of cheap PG-13 horror is a real shame, as it’s giving that rating a bad name. Whenever PG-13 horror appears, one automatically assumes it’s going to be by the numbers and dull since it’s targeting teens. Thankfully, the independent scene is filling the void, though even that’s a crapshoot. The horror genre seems to have the worst good to bad ratio, yet it’s the one I constantly go back to. I think it’s the creativity that comes with the field that intrigues me so much. Here’s hoping the quality keeps getting better within the next few years.
DF: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is also one of my favorite movies. What do you think of the idea that during the heyday of the series in the 1980’s a child molester/killer was a wisecracking pop icon?
JO: It’s weird when you stop and think about it. Kind of makes you think how twisted the world is. As for Freddy becoming a wisecracking comedian (in some people’s eyes), I never really minded it. For me, even when he was making joke, he was still creepy. There’s something unsettling about a man who takes such perverse pleasure in your pain that he finds humor in it. That may not always translate to screen, but I feel it’s there. Except in FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE. That’s the film where he stopped making jokes and became one. Acting like a Looney Tunes character, right down to the cheesy bed of nails gag. That’s the only film in the series I hate. Yes, I even like FREDDY’S REVENGE and THE DREAM CHILD.
DF: What do you think is the greatest horror movie you’ve seen and why?
JO: Honestly, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. While HALLOWEEN and THE EXORCIST are definitely chilling and rank up there, the idea behind A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET frightens me more. The fact that a man can infiltrate your dreams and actually kill you (and basically be invincible) scares the hell out of me. It terrorized me when I was a child and still does to this day. Granted, I find more of a perverse interest in dissecting the film and matter, but it still works. Add in that Freddy is a remorseless child molester/killer and you’ve got the makings for many nightmares (pardon the pun).
DF: I think Kevin Smith is a terrific director and I consider CLERKS and CLERKS II to be two of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. But he appears to have fallen out of favor with his fan base. Why is that and what do you think he can do to get them back? If he even can.
JO: As much as I love his films, he is starting to become hard to swallow. His boisterous persona is starting to become overbearing and his remarks towards critics is kind of sad. I don’t mind that he doesn’t like film critics. He’s entitled to that opinion. It’s his whiny attack on them and constant reminder that he doesn’t care what they think that annoys me. Especially considering that, if he didn’t care what they thought, he wouldn’t make a big deal about them in the first place. He’s also picking too many arguments with various directors and producers (though that is Hollywood for you) and is seemingly buying into his ego. Granted, he comes across as a fun person to hang out with and his Q&As are always entertaining. It’s possible certain interviews are shining him in a bad light. I don’t know him personally, so I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that I still love the majority of his films and always look forward to his next one.
DF: What’s a typical Day In The Life of Justin Oberholtzer like?
JO: Go to work, watch movies, write reviews, record a podcast, listen to podcasts, eat, play with the dog, maybe hang out with friends and go to sleep. I work odd hours…some during the day, some overnight… so the order of these events changes with each day.
DF: Anything else we need to know?
JO: Make sure to go to Freakin’ Awesome Network, where I write and do PR. Also check out the Wide Weird World of Cult Film blog where I occasionally post about things I learned from cult films. Make sure to also go to Lulu.com and buy my book, Movienalia Volume One: Strippers, Bat Nipples & Plastic Dolls. You can purchase an eBook or paperback copy. Keep your eyes peeled on Horrorhound.com, as I may be working with them on something in the near future.
Derrick Ferguson: Finally, recommend five movies that everybody should have in their movie collection
Justin Oberholtzer: 1) 2001: A Space Odyssey 2) Taxi Driver 3) Raiders of the Lost Ark 4) The Godfather 5) Chinatown