As of right now, the name Nathan Adams might not ring a bell to you. No, he’s not a descendant of legendary United States Presidents and founder fathers John and John Quincy Adams — at least not that we know of. He is, however, a very talented writer who has just joined our team. If you’re lucky enough, you’ve come across his personal review blog, Nathan Adams and the Temple of Reviews, an entertaining read if there ever was one. We’ve seen it — and we were so impressed that we somehow swindled young Nathan into joining the FSR cadre of contributors as our newest news writer. I have no doubt that you’ve already been delighted with his sharp commentary over the past few days, as he’s already begun to work his way into your daily routine. Needless to say, we’re excited to have him aboard. So excited that we’d like to take time to help you get to know him in a little Q&A that we like to call Better Know a Reject…
Why did you want to write for Film School Rejects, as opposed to some other, more respectable publication?
What I responded strongly to was the way the site focuses on personalities and opinion rather than trying to cultivate some sort of false authority. From the name of the site down to the design, the reader is shown that this site is made up of a group of people who love film and love to talk about film. Too many other sites are trying to come off as a sort of disembodied voice that is film media. With the graphic headers for every feature and the way the contributor’s name and staff picture prominently accompany every headline it becomes easy for a reader to get to know and form an opinion about a writer, and consequently know what to expect when they click through to an article. I think this approach can work well to cultivate repeat visits and open up interesting dialogues. And wait… there are more respectable publications out there? Damn!
What is your first movie memory?
My first vivid memory is of my dad taking me to see some sort of theatrical re-release of Pinocchio. I don’t know what year this would have been, but I must have been very young. Things were going great and I was fully entranced by the theatrical experience; and then Pinocchio started to turn into a donkey. I found the notion of becoming some sort of were-donkey due to misbehavior deeply disturbing. Why did my father bring me to this? Was this some kind of threat? By the time the boy-puppet was swallowed whole by a whale and trapped inside his stomach I was completely freaked out by the enormous stakes inherent in the story. Is this what life is like?? To this day I won’t go in the ocean or near a whale tank. And for my money there’s no better remedy to bad times than locking yourself inside the house with a bottle of something and listening to Tom Waits’ ‘Starving in the Belly of a Whale’ on repeat.
What unique qualities will readers of Film School Rejects find in your writing? What do you bring to the table?
If nothing else I am opinionated and verbose. The things I write should give readers plenty of opportunity to roll their eyes, gnash their teeth, and pound their desks. Hopefully it results in sparking discussion more often than it does insults and threats, but you take what you can get. Other than that, I have a pretty wide breadth of what I will write about. Genre doesn’t really concern me. I watch classics, dramas, comedies, action movies, rom-coms, foreign films, animation, horror, etc… pretty indiscriminately; so there’s always something new to talk about.
If you had to defend yourself, would you rather have Freddy’s claws, Bond’s pistol, or Rosebud the sled?
That depends entirely on what I was defending against. If I were defending against Freddy’s claws I would want Bond’s pistol so I could shoot my attacker before he got close. If I were defending against Bond’s pistol I would want Rosebud the sled so I could use it to block the bullets until I was close enough to attack. If I were defending against Rosebud the sled I would want Freddy’s claws so I could use them to hack the sled to pieces. This is why my friends and I still play the childhood game of Claws, Pistol, Sled to settle petty disputes like divvying up the last piece of pizza or who gets to sit in the front seat.
If you were forced to choose only one movie to recommend to everyone you ever meet for the rest of your life, what movie would that be, and why?
That’s a hard question. I usually try not to recommend movies to people in general. It’s hard to tell what a person may or may not respond to unless you know them very well. The best that can be done is to say what you feel about a film and then let people decide for themselves how often or how rarely they agree with you. If I had to pick one movie to show everybody, I might go with The Third Man. It’s full of great performances, has for my money the greatest black and white cinematography of all time, and delves into an intriguing mystery that I think would be able to hook most audiences and keep them watching. Plus, Orson Welles has enough name recognition to be a nice surprise for most people when he shows up. I think The Third Man could work as a gateway to classic film for a large group of people who blindly refuse to watch anything in black and white. Hook them in with this, and perhaps they could be inspired to expand their horizons by watching other old films that they may have previously written off.
What is your number one passion outside the world of movies?
People watching. I spend a lot of time lurking around cafes and bars. If I could subsist on a strict diet of coffee and red wine to cyclically jack myself up and calm myself down when I needed it, I imagine that I would be perfectly content; but the real draw of the public space over the private is the abhorrent human behavior that can be witnessed. If I find myself out with a group of friends we often spend less time talking to each other than we do eavesdropping on the next table. I guess that people watching has a lot in common with film watching. The primary questions you’re wrestling with are, who are these people, where do they come from, and why do they act the way they do? And maybe even, how does that make them like me?
What do you love about movies?
I love what a perfect culmination of the entire history of human artistry movies are. And I love that this coming together of all forms of art makes them such a universally loved experience. In cinema, sound, visuals, and storytelling seamlessly blend together to create the most accurate and affecting means we have of expressing the human condition. Do you like writing, painting, photography, or music? Whatever your poison there is something in the film-going experience for you to respond to. What else do we have in our world that can get huge groups of people from disparate classes and backgrounds to cram themselves in the same room and sit quiet in the dark for two hours? We’ve come up with nothing else so magnetic and mesmerizing as seeing reflections of our own lives projected larger than life on a big screen. Movies speak to both our narcissism and our potential for achievement. From the snootiest high society intellectual to the sootiest chimney sweep, who doesn’t love movies?