A Little (or a lot) About Me – Dave Bernard

This is the obligatory “Hi, my name is Dave and I like movies” post…so… Hi, I’m Dave…I like movies…like a lot…like way-too-much sometimes…

So the point of this initial post is for you all to be able to get to know a little about me, and my taste in movies. That way you may stand a better chance at knowing why I review something like “Independence Day” better than “There Will Be Blood.” (Seriously. “There Will Be Blood” had great acting and bowling-ball-related homicide, but, like just about every other PT Anderson film, it also had no plot. “ID4” [that’s right I just called it “ID4.” it’s what all the cool people in 1996/tragically uncool people in 2013 are calling it…] on the other hand had the best presidential speech ever caught on film, and Will Smith welcomes an alien to Earth by punching it in the mouth. Seriously, he’s all slimy and gross and Will Smith just rears back and punches him right in his big stupid face…there’s no way Daniel Day-Lewis, in all his acting/milkshake drinking glory, can come close to that…) Soooooo….anyhow…sorry for the parenthetical aside there…I tend to do that from time to time (read: ALL THE TIME). We all thought that we may be able to tell you a little about ourselves by answering the below questions related to our love of movies. Feel free to read as much (there’s a lot), or as little (I’d get bored too) as you like.

Top 5 Favorite Movies

If you love movies like I do, you know it’s generally a futile task to try to come up with a list of your top 5 favorite movies of all time. To pare my list down to just 5 movies is like asking me to choose my favorite child…I don’t have any children…so really that’s not a difficult decision at all…and a really bad example…this simile is falling apart quickly…anyway, you get the point. For the sake of you understanding my movie tastes, here, offered without comment/analysis, and in no particular order besides the order I typed them, are my TOP FIVE ALL-TIME, SET IN STONE, FAVORITE MOVIES…until I change my mind tomorrow…which will almost certainly happen…

Goodfellas

Casablanca

Fight Club

Dumb and Dumber

Bull Durham

Favorite Childhood Movie

Honestly I don’t really recall any one particular movie I loved as a kid. I would guess it was anything I had in action figure form. “Superman,” “Star Wars,” “Batman.” I watched “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” a lot, and even had a horrible late 80’s sweatshirt with his face on it, and maybe a Roger Rabbit themed birthday cake at one point.

Guilty Pleasure Movie

There is no way I can pick just one here, so I’ll give you a Guilty Pleasure Movie Type. I am a sucker for action packed, CGI filled “End of the World” movies. Put me in front of the aforementioned “Independence Day”, “Armageddon”, “Deep Impact”, “Waterworld”, “Waterworld Part II: This Time it’s Landlocked” (some people call it “The Postman”) or even the shamefully bad “2012” and I will watch the damn thing all the way through to the end…every time. Generally the more asteroids,  alien lasers or tidal waves destroying recognizable landmarks the better. I know they are generally not amazing artistic films with great filmic (Stop judging me. It’s a word. Look it up.) value about some sort of dialogue/acting driven existential crisis but that’s ok sometimes. At least that’s what I tell myself after watching “The Day After Tomorrow” on FX for the third time in 24 hours…i wish I was exaggerating… Stop judging me.

Favorite Movie Scene

In my opinion, one of the best comedy scenes of all time is in “The Jerk” with Steve Martin. The short two minute scene where Steve Martin’s character, Navin R. Johnson, is working at the gas station and is being shot at by the sniper who keeps missing Navin and hitting a display of oil cans…comic gold. “He hates these cans. Stay away from the cans!” I laugh just thinking about it. Martin’s delivery and exaggerated physical acting crack me up every time. If you’ve never seen “The Jerk”, it’s totally worth it just for this scene (i’ve attempted to embed it below…who knows if it will work or get removed…all else fails you can Google it.)…I generally find the rest of the movie a little boring.

Types of Movies I Just Can’t Get Into

I tend to pride myself in being open to watching just about any movie. As long as I know what a movie is supposed to be I can judge it for what it is. Not everything needs to be “Citizen Kane” (widely considered by intelligent people to be the best movie of all time). That’s fine. Not everything is going to be a classic. I get that. All that being said, you probably won’t see many reviews from me on mindless (and I mean that in both a descriptive and critical way) action movies. Basically, I’m probably going to skip anything that stars (old) Sylvester Stallone (“Rocky IV” and “Demolition Man” were awesome), or contains a combination of the words “Fast” and “Furious” in the title. I’ve got a life (albeit just barely) and a job that pays me to show up and do work. I don’t have the time to commit to movies that I’m sure I won’t like.

My Film Background

As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a movie reviewer…actually, that’s not really true at all. I love movies. I have opinions on movies. I judge people for their opinions on movies (I don’t want to talk to you if you tell me your favorite movie stars Paul Walker). But honestly, I didn’t really care too much either way about movies growing up. Of course we watched movies growing up. The Disney classics, “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Indiana Jones.” My Mom liked to watch the old black and white classics. Abbot and Costello, The Marx Brothers, Hitchcock. I generally found them to be pretty boring at the time but would rather be bored by a movie than go outside or read a book. My dad liked more modern movies. I remember watching “The Godfather” and “Robocop” when I was probably way too young for it.

My addiction to movies really began when I got a job at Blockbuster my senior year of High School. I had a friend in High School, Steve SomethingSomething (I’m not protecting his privacy, I really can’t remember his last name. Sorry Steve.) that was really into movies. When he heard I got a job at Blockbuster he scribbled a list of about 100 movies I HAVE to see on a scrap sheet of notebook paper during a government class. Looking back on it now, he was pretty dead on in his essentials list. Lots of Scorsese, Spielberg, Lynch, Deniro, Pacino, Chaplin, Hitchcock, Soderbergh. That was how my love for film began. With a handwritten crumpled up list of classics that a 17-year-old friend recommended.

Back in the day as a Blockbuster employee you would get 5 free rentals a week, and you better believe I took advantage of that. Eighteen year old me would work until midnight, come home, watch a 2+ hour movie from my list (on vhs at the time), go to sleep and then get up and sleep through English class the next morning.

I went on to a small Liberal Arts College where I majored in Public Relations and minored in Film Studies. Thanks to my extensive film viewing my senior year of High School, I was able to talk my way into a few higher level film classes the second semester of my Freshman year (I’d been too lazy to decide on being a film minor before that. It takes commitment to nap as much as I did my first semester of college.), and then went back to take the Intro to Film classes as a Sophomore. My “formal” education on film covered a wide array of subjects, including Film History, Genre, Spielberg, Hitchcock, Violence in Film, Film Noir, WWII Propaganda Films and I even had the opportunity to make a few very bad short films.

After college I worked as a manager for a few years at a different movie rental store. This time the rentals were unlimited. Again, I watched way too many movies. At the same time I formed a super nerdy group of friends that enjoy watching movies and sitting around arguing about whether Shane Black is an overrated writer (he is) or whether “Anna Karenina” got screwed out of a Production Design Oscar (it did) . It’s amazing how much you learn about movies when you desperately want to win an argument with a friend. We started an Oscar fantasy draft last year and now we are bringing our opinions/arguments about movies to the internet through this site. You’re welcome world. You’ll either think we are entertaining or feel better about yourself because we are way nerdier than you.

What I Watch For In Movies

Don’t get me wrong, a good screenplay, competent actors, and an editor that isn’t afraid to tell the director that their film is 2 hours too long (nudge, nudge…Michael Mann) are all important to making a good film. But personally I’m a staunch promoter of the Auteur Theory. Which is the snobby “I was a liberal arts school film minor” way of saying that films are art and the director is the artist. A film reflects the artist’s personal creative views. I love watching movies and looking for a certain director’s signature style. Compare “E.T.” to “Minority Report” and you may be hard pressed to recognize them both as Spielberg films. Watch all of Spielberg’s films (which, of course, I have…I may have lied earlier about having a life) and you can see the evolution in style from “Duel” to “Lincoln.” I seriously love this stuff. Spielberg. Scorsese. Capra. Tarantino. Hitchcock. Ford. Eastwood. The Coen Brothers. Burton. Fincher. God, even Michael Bay. They’ve all got a unique style and that fascinates me.

Dave Bernard (5 Posts)

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