Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Paulzeye Interviews Me!

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Paulzeye for the opportunity to answer very thoughtful questions about being a movie critic.  I was very touched by his kind words:

Whether Minow’s busy being a mom or busy being the Movie Mom, one thing is cer­tain: she encom­passes all the qual­i­ties and virtues of the hard-working 21st Cen­tury woman. And her com­men­tary is a reflec­tion of her own per­sona: hon­est, sharp, to the point, and always very insightful.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Paulz­eye:  As a critic, you’ve seen a fair share of good films and bad films. How would you define a mas­ter­ful or good film?  How would you define a bad film?

Nell Minow:  I eval­u­ate every movie accord­ing to its aspi­ra­tions – oth­er­wise, every review will be, “It’s not ‘Cit­i­zen Kane.’”  How well does it meet the expec­ta­tions of its intended audi­ence?  If it is a silly com­edy or a chases and explo­sions film it makes no sense to com­pare it to an Oscar con­tender.  But, at its core, every movie should be grounded in the sin­cere com­mit­ment of the peo­ple who made it to do the best they can for the audi­ence they are try­ing to reach.  The one kind of film I really hate is the kind that con­de­scends to its audience.

Paulz­eye:  What are five films, new or old, that should be on every family’s ‘must-see’ list and why?

Nell Minow:   “To Kill a Mock­ing­bird,” “The Court Jester,” “Some Like it Hot,” “The Mir­a­cle Worker,” and “The Wiz­ard of Oz” are all clas­sics that have some­thing for every age and give fam­i­lies a lot to talk about.

Paulz­eye:  Peo­ple tend to think that being a film critic is an easy pro­fes­sion but surely it must be dif­fi­cult to spend hours in a mul­ti­plex watch­ing sev­eral films back to back and then review­ing them. Talk to us about that process. What’s a day at the movies like for you?

Nell Minow:  Most days, I see only one or two movies.  The inde­pen­dent and foreign films are most often in a lit­tle screen­ing room at the Motion Pic­ture Asso­ci­a­tion build­ing across Lafayette Square from the White House dur­ing the day and the big stu­dio films are in the evening, in movie the­atres with a cou­ple of rows reserved for crit­ics and the rest filled with peo­ple who won tick­ets on radio sta­tions or other giveaways.  I really enjoy the other local crit­ics, who have become friends and colleagues.  They make even the worst movies fun to watch.

Paulz­eye:  As a critic, what do you feel more com­fort­able writ­ing about: a film that you absolutely loved or one that you absolutely loathed?

Nell Minow:  Both are fine because they both inspire a lot of thoughts.  The tough­est ones are the bland and mediocre movies, because it is so hard to think of any­thing to say or any vivid way to say it.

Paulz­eye: You’ve inter­viewed sev­eral impor­tant fig­ures (politi­cians, actors, and direc­tors) over the years. What are some of your most mem­o­rable inter­views and why?

Nell Minow:  I espe­cially like talk­ing to writ­ers and direc­tors, who are not inter­viewed as often as actors and who are more inter­ested in talking.  Some of the most mem­o­rable include John Irv­ing, Jason Reit­man, Ran­dall Wal­lace, Mike Mills, and John Cameron Mitchell.  One of my favorite recent inter­views was with Mar­tin Sheen for “The Way.”  He is an enthralling racon­teur and I could have lis­tened to him all day.  I was also very impressed at how kind he was to the staff in the hotel, intro­duc­ing him­self to every­one and really lis­ten­ing to them.  Another actor I won’t name infu­ri­ated me by being very rude to the wait­ress and maître d’.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Bobbi

    What a lovely, thoughtful interview. Further clinical proof that you are a Goddess Supreme!!!

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