Mamo #322: The Erstwhile Alex Billington

Mamo returns, having survived the wilds of TIFF ’13 – if “survived” is a word you can apply to a festival where Matt Price announced his retirement from moviegoing and a lunatic film blogger in a press and industry screening called 911 because someone else was using their mobile phone. What kind of a future of movies do you call this?!

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo322.mp3

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rot
Guest

I entirely get Matt Price’s fatigue with movies and wanting to explore something else. I am finding myself migrating over to television more and more each year and going to the movies less and less. I tried gaming for the first time this year which I am enjoying but realize it is a bigger time suck than film-watching, and if anything I want something less taxing on my time.

There is a saturation point when it becomes harder and harder to enjoy movies… I only spark to life with a handful of experiences per year and relative to the success rate of books, delving more into reading seems like the smarter thing to do.

I don’t think of movies, television, reading as hobbies in the way that Matt does; at their worst, my preoccupation with them are ingrained habits, and at their best, provocations to live, to be awake and experience things fully. Whatever geek enthusiasm I had for the scene is becoming more mechanical, habit. In 2011, I made my case: http://www.rowthree.com/2011/11/29/this-thing-i-need-to-say-about-film-then-i-am-done/

This is the first TIFF year I have not written any reviews and it will continue that way I’m sure. When something strikes a nerve however, I will evangelize like the best of them, a residual pleasure of the experience. But the main thing I want from movies I am getting less of, and like Matt, feel restless.

The next phase for me with film is living vicariously through my son encountering film, a passive role, a happy role.

Jonathan
Guest

I suppose I’m sort of on the same wavelength. I find that less and less movies are moving me. It seems when I was 17-20, when I was experiencing classic cinema for the first time, is when I really was moved by what I was watching. Now, it’s a few times each year, which is fine.

I also prefer to occupy my downtime with reading. Television more and more as well, like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, etc.

But really, as far as altering my consciousness or worldview, nothing compares to a good book.

Sean Kelly
Guest

RUNNYMEDE THEATRE!!!! That’s my neck of the woods (I live just two blocks south…that is until I move in a few weeks). That was one my regular cinemas when I was a teenager and I was quite sad when it closed (I still remember going on the final day back in 1998 to see SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE). I’ve also eaten at Kennedy Public House a couple times.

More on subject, the thought of movies not being part of my life always scares me. I think it’s a bit unnatural in my case, since people with Asperger’s tend to have an extreme passion for something and for me it’s movies. I don’t know how I’ll feel in 20 years, but as of right now, I see myself watching and writing about movies for as long as I can.

rot
Guest

Hey if it works, don’t fix it.

Sean Kelly
Guest

BTW, it may not mean much, but Alex Billington (as of sometime last year) is based out of New York (though he used to be in LA).

Jonathan
Guest

Alex has always been a turd. Don’t we remember the whole Universal blackmailing nonsense? I’m not sure why anyone bothers to take him seriously (or reads his site). He’s an idiot.

Sean Kelly
Guest

To be fair, FirstShowing is a collaborative site with about a half dozen contributors. In fact, Alex Billington only personally writes a small percentage of the posts these days.

Jonathan
Guest

Fair enough. I haven’t visited the site in years. I prefer Screenrant or /Film for my pop movie fix.

Marina
Guest

Of the crying when he wasn’t accredited for TIFF the first year he went. Sounded like a bad case of entitlement issues. Still sounds that way.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Dang. I believe I still have hundreds of bonafide CLASSIC films still to catch up on…not to mention another 50 or so title s via Marc Cousins’s THE STORY OF FILM.

It will be a while before I become a casual filmgoer…

All that being said, I wish there were time to read more books than I currently am able. I figure that is what my 50s and 60s are for…

rot
Guest

Rosemary’s Baby was a recent watch for me that rejuvenated my love of cinema.

I just recently bought The Right Stuff (on Matt’s recommendation) and The Iron Giant, two blindspots for me.

Marina
Guest

I love Rosemary’s Baby. Everything about it just works.

And The Iron Giant… that’s wonderful. I cry every time I see it.

Bob Turnbull
Admin

I’ve found that doing the monthly Blindspot posts and writing about these big name films I hadn’t previously seen has been extremely satisfying…I still don’t manage to write much, but I’ve been enjoying the monthly assignment.

Would love to see a few more people do something similar. Hint, hint…

Matthew Price
Guest

I’ll watch anything someone names if I haven’t seen it. I won’t write a blind spot review, because to me those are pointless. Who cares what I think about a 50 year old classic? How could I possibly be saying anything remotely new?

Bob Turnbull
Admin

It’s not pointless if you can simply bring your own personal perspective to it. The best writers don’t tell me something new about a movie, they let me see it through their eyes. And with blindspots, I’ve found it interesting to see how people interpret an older movie while seeing it for the first time many years later (especially if it’s one with which I have a lot of history). If I care what you think about current movies, why would I not care what you think about older films? I mean, wouldn’t you be curious what rot thinks of The Right Stuff?

Also, I’d like to think that when an older film is discussed, it might inspire someone to check it out. I’d be a damn shame if we only talked about what’s new and now…

I don’t claim to be doing any of the above with my own posts, but at the very least I’m enjoying the process. So there’s that. B-)

Goon
Guest

To me the blindspots are valuable because some movies and scenes are ‘too famous’ to be finally be seen when you’ve had Simpsons references or awards montages, etc coloring it. Or you watch it and certain people in it/who made it became much more famous/infamous and it changes how the film is watched, especially for fresh eyes. If you watched Freaks and Geeks now the comedy star power everywhere would change how its viewed, for sure.

And some movies work only in their time and the fresh eyes will have a newer perspective than they think.

Sean Kelly
Guest

The blindspot is not about saying something new about a film. My mindset when I write the posts is “was it worth watching and does it hold up in this day and age?”

There have been many films I watched in this year’s blindspot that were quite noticeably dated (though it adds to the charm in some ways).

Jandy Hardesty
Guest

Anecdotal, but I’m much more likely to read a review or article of an older film than of a new release. I find new release reviews pretty boring most of the time, but I love seeing what people thought about my favorite classics or finding out about an older film that I’ve missed.

lgryfe
Guest

re: Matt Price announced his retirement from moviegoing

How is it that I’m always the last to hear about things like this?

Matt Brown
Guest

We run a quality show. We try to keep it informative for everyone.

lgryfe
Guest

Please be kind enough to send me an email if he announces plans for a divorce, another child or the like.

Matt Brown
Guest

Fairly sure the only divorce plans he has announced are from me.

Thomas Wishloff
Guest

Yeah soooooooo I can safely say that in the top 20 I generally enjoyed three of the films, and these three were generally three of the more despised films of the summer.

trackback

[…] boys at Mamo don’t miss a beat, climbing right back on the horse the moment TIFF ends. Give a listen as they discuss the silliness that one blogger got himself into, and Matt Price’s plan to […]

Jandy Hardesty
Guest

Just caught up with this one, and I’m glad to find out that Matt Price isn’t just quitting film cold turkey, like, this week! The show description scared me a bit, as I’m just getting in a good rhythm with podcast listening, and Mamo is the perfect length for walks with the baby. :p

Relatedly, I’ve found that my relationship with film has kind of slowed down unintentionally but I guess inevitably with the baby. I know Matt has a kid as well (several years older than Karina, obviously), so he’s been through the early child stages and clearly kept up with his moviegoing, or got back to it. That may happen for me as well, and I do find myself getting wistful thinking about the festivals I’m missing this year and hoping to get back to them next year.

But you know what I have barely missed? Going to the theatre to see new releases every week. There have been a few times when I missed the freedom to do so for films I really want to see, but that’s been, literally, like three films this year. It’s really kind of reinforced that when I do get back into theatre-going, I’m probably going to focus more on rep screenings and indies, because the big blockbusters? Not worth it. I’d rather spend time with Karina.