Carolyn Bick is a blogger for the Oberlin Review, one of the two major school newspapers of Oberlin college. In her blog, Film Fatale, she takes an in depth look at films she likes, and picks apart those unfortunate enough to draw her wrath. I sat down with her on Saturday afternoon to ask her a few questions.
Q: Among your recent blog posts you have a mixture of new releases, like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and movies from several years back, like Secretary and the Weight of Water. How do you choose which movies to blog about?
A: I do whatever strikes me. Secretary was because I’m in love with James Spader. Weight of Water was because I’d once caught parts of it on TV over winter term… I hated it so much, that I thought I should tell everyone how much I hated it. Sometimes there are movies I’ve seen multiple times like Secretary, and the movies I’ve seen multiple times and liked I blog about, because I think people should see them. Like Enchanted. Sometimes it’s just totally random.
Your reviews do a great job of humorously poking fun at the movies’ plots, but to do this you have to reveal a lot of spoilers about the movies you are reviewing. Are your reviews intended more as entertaining commentaries to be read by those who have already seen the films or as guides for those who haven’t, or maybe both? What do you see as the target audience for your blog?
Well, I didn’t actually think anybody read them (the reviews). (Laughs.) Well, I realized people online did, because occasionally someone will like a post or comment on a post, but I didn’t realize many people at Oberlin read them. I know that they spoil to a certain point, but I do stop. About three fourths of the way towards the end. I do that because of the way I write. I write about what happens in the movie, so I can insert comments about what I think about what’s going on at certain points. I wish I could insert a spoiler alert, but…whatever. Seeing as how I don’t spoil everything, it’s not a huge deal. I certainly won’t spoil what happens at the end of the Weight of Water, for example. It’s a stupid ending.
I’ll have to not see that movie.
You should not see it. Unless you really want to go after Sean Penn with a pair of scissors. He has a horrible haircut.
Are there types of films you personally prefer or gravitate towards? Do you tend to focus on those films in your blog?
Really, it’s kind of anything. I like good movies, I don’t like crappy movies like Twilight. I enjoy films that are a mixture of romance, comedy, horror. Like Bram Stoker’s Dracula. That’s one of my favorite films.
The ‘About’ section of your blog say in your blog you have no official ‘training’ in film, but how did you become interested in movies? Did you always like watching movies and reviewing them?
The first two cinema classes I ever took were this semester. Cinema 110 and Cinema 270. I don’t have a background in cinema, I just like movies and to say what I think about them. I always liked movies.
What did you watch as a kid?
Looney Tunes and Disney movies. My first R-rated movie was the Matrix, which was exciting. Dad let me watch it, and Mom was like “you let the girls watch that?” I think by now I’ve been made completely immune to gore and violence in movies…unless someone cuts open someone else’s eyeball.
I’ve seen so many movies with eye gore. It’s like my personal curse. There was this scene in Kill Bill, I think it was, where an eye gets squished…
It’s gross. I can’t stand it. I just finished watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and ‘spoiler’ someone’s eye gets pulled out…yuck.
How did you come to be a blogger for the Oberlin Review?
They actually moved my Film Fatale column which was in the paper into a blog so I could have more space to do it. And publish not as much on a deadline, though I still generally publish every Thursday. It depends on how fast my editor gets the stuff up. She’s the one who puts up all the blog posts.
Had you ever had blogging experience before you started Film Fatale?
I did a food blog once, like two or three entries, and then I stopped. When starting Film Fatale, I kept wondering how I managed not to destroy my drafts, to be frank.
What is your favorite movie of all time? Or some of your favorite movies?
It might actually be Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I can quote every single line from that movie. It’s actually pretty sad. It’s the one movie I will watch without fail no matter how many times I’ve seen it earlier that day. It’s a brilliant, beautiful movie, and I love it.
I’ll have to go check it out.
You definitely should.
Do you prefer reviewing movies you really liked, or movies you didn’t like?
While I like writing about movies I like, I also really enjoy ripping apart movies I hate. For instance, I was really thinking about doing a review of Black Swan. I hated that movie—
I actually liked that movie.
That was a wretched movie. Natalie Portman can’t act. All she does is look scared and confused all the time. I burst out laughing, really loudly, in the theater. I hate the fact that Natalie Portman win the Oscar.
Well, I’m not sure if she deserved the Oscar. I didn’t see most of the other nominees. But I didn’t think she was that bad. She was certainly a lot better than in the Star Wars prequels.
She was even worse there.
Do you have any final comments? Something profound, life-changing, meaningful?
Natalie Portman cannot act. Get over it. That is my final word.