One of my favorite freelance writing gigs has been reviewing films for Crosswalk since 2006.
But good, bad or somewhere in between, it’s always fun writing about what’s currently playing in a theater near you. As a lifelong movie lover, I’ve always had opinions about films, so having a place to actually share them is a true joy.
And now because I actually have a movie section on my website (yay!), I thought I’d tackle a few of the frequently asked questions about being a movie critic. Have more? Feel free to e-mail me.
How did you start reviewing movies, anyway? Sometimes it’s a case of simply being available. I was already writing for a couple of different channels on Crosswalk when my editor needed someone to review the Shaggy Dog remake. Whoever was originally assigned to it had something come up at the last minute, so I was happy to fill in. After that, I started getting a few more assignments, and before long, it was a regular gig.
Do you get to see the movies beforehand or do you go on opening day? There’s usually a press screening a few days before any new film releases. Occasionally, a studio will choose not to screen something beforehand (most Tyler Perry flicks fall into this category), so I’ll buy a ticket like everyone else when it opens and write the review immediately afterward at the nearby Barnes & Noble.
What genres do you review? I review every genre, save for most horror movies. I just scare way too easily to make it through them. :)
Favorite movies of all time. Go. Our DVD collection is all over the map. We’ve got classics. Indies. Movies everyone has seen. Movies that weren’t so universally beloved. Long-form music videos. Documentaries. Practically everything that Cameron Crowe and Nora Ephron have ever been part of, even a few guilty pleasures. But my all-time favorites, the ones I’ll never get tired of are: Breakfast at Tiffany‘s, Sunset Boulevard, Almost Famous, You’ve Got Mail, Manhattan, Roman Holiday, It’s a Wonderful Life, Amelie and High Fidelity.
The worst movie you’ve ever seen. There have been some real doozies, but I have to go with Mike Myers’ The Love Guru.
How do you review something you know you’ll probably hate? Keep low expectations? No, in all seriousness, I really try and keep an open mind—even if the movie’s trailer was hideous. Sometimes I’m genuinely surprised by how much better the movie was than its marketing. Of course, the reverse happens a lot, too.
What actors/actresses would you most like to interview? Robert Downey Jr. Hugh Grant (even though I’m sure he’d be difficult). Meryl Streep. Jennifer Lawrence. Bono (or wait, he’s not an actor).