How does where you live influence who/what you write about and how you go about doing it?
Brooklyn has an energy and diversity that I absolutely love. Many times I’ll get inspiration or ideas to write simply by walking or driving around my neighborhood or talking to people. Everybody here has an opinion and they’re not afraid to give it to you. And people want to hear your opinion as well.
I see you like writing about movies - when did that start? What is the best review you think you've written?
The movie reviews started maybe five years ago. I’ve always loved movies and at heart I think I’m actually a frustrated film director. I was working on a novel and I hit a bad patch. Instead of just stopping work on the novel, I tried writing other things and movie reviews just seemed to be a natural. I just started writing them and found they were an excellent way to get the creative juices flowing and keep them flowing. I think writers have to discover ways to keep the ideas and words coming even if the current project they’re working on isn’t going well. My way to keep the words going is to write movie reviews. It’s a way to exercise a different set of writing muscles.
I emailed them to friends and family who asked for more and before I knew it I had about 100 of them. My wife Patricia Cabbagestalk-Ferguson and my good buddy Joel Jenkins both said that I really needed to do something with them so after a lot of agonizing I collected the reviews into a book. And ever since then it’s just become something that I do not just as a writing exercise but also because I think I bring a unique viewpoint to my reviews. After all, I don’t get to see the theatrical films I review for free so I’m approaching the review from the same place the reader is: a paying customer. And I think that people really just want to know the basics of a movie: who’s in it, what’s it about and should they spend both their time and money watching it. I throw in my own observations as to what worked and didn’t work for me as a bonus.
The best review I’ve written to date is a toss-up: either the one for DEATH PROOF or PLANET TERROR. And not just for the reviews of the actual movies. I take time to try and describe what the whole grindhouse movie experience was. I spent a lot of time watching a whole lot of movies in Manhattan’s 42end Street grindhouses back during the 70’s and 80’s. Lotta fun revisiting those days through a movie review.
Best Movie I've seen recently was Dark Knight and I really liked your review (waited until after I saw the movie to read it). For that film in particular, what are the challenges the series faces if they are going to try for a third?
It’s going to be awfully hard to top Heath Ledger’s Joker as a villain but I think that if the right actor is chosen and is willing to give the same commitment to the role that Heath Ledger did, a third film will be a success. Christopher Nolan’s Batman films have already succeeded in every other level: the acting, the writing and the technical. All those are covered and done amazingly well. But what everybody is going to be focused on is who’s going to be the villain in the third one and who’s going to play it? Johnny Depp as The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin have been rumored to have been approached already by the studio. Myself, I think it’s way too early to start whipping The Internet into a frenzy over the casting of a movie that’s three, maybe four years away. THE DARK KNIGHT hasn’t even been out for a full month yet. Let’s all sit back and savor the dinner on our plate before we start worrying about the breakfast we’re going to eat tomorrow. The past two Batman films have given us the best interpretation what Batman would be like if he operated in a ‘real world’ more than any other incarnation of the character and as long as the third movie keeps on in that vein, I’ll be happy.
And maybe they oughta seriously think about getting Kevin Conroy to dub Christian Bale’s Batman voice…
In the time you've been part of BrooWaha, how have you grown as a writer or interviewer? Maybe you can tell us about your first article, your favorite article to write and your most recent.
By seeing the reception and the feedback my reviews have gotten here at BrooWaha I’ve become way more confident in writing them. It’s one thing when your brother-in-law or your sister tells you that you write good reviews. It’s another when total strangers from the other side of the country or even the other side of the world email you personally and tell you how much they enjoy your reviews. You sit there and say to yourself; “Well, I must be doing something right.” I’ve written fiction for years but I wasn’t sure I could write movie reviews that could convey what I felt was needed to get across in 1000 or so words. Especially since I tend to be so wordy in my fiction. I’ve written about 180, 190 movie reviews and it’s just this year that I finally feel that I know what I’m doing and that I know what works in a review and what doesn’t work. I tend to agonize and gnash my teeth and worry if I’m wasting my time or even worse; other people’s time. People who read my reviews or anything that I write are giving up the most valuable thing they possess: time out of their lives that they’ll never get back and I never want to take that for granted.
My first article for BrooWaha was a review for SPIDER-MAN 3 and I almost didn’t submit it because I didn’t like the movie and I didn’t think I should start off with what was a negative review. But like all of my reviews I explained exactly why I didn’t like the movie. It’s never enough for me to say: “I hated this movie” I think it’s necessary that readers know why. I don’t expect everybody to agree with me but I do expect that they respect my reasons for not liking a movie that they may love passionately.
My favorite reviews to write are the ones about obscure or forgotten movies that a lot of people may not have ever heard of. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing reviews about current movie blockbusters such THE DARK KNIGHT and THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR but my crank really turns when I write a review about a movie like A FACE IN THE CROWD which features Any Griffith in a brilliantly demonic performance that is light years away from the role of Sheriff Andy Taylor or A BOY AND HIS DOG, an apocalyptic sci-fi adventure starring a baby-faced Don Johnson and Tiger from “The Brady Bunch”
I’ve only been submitting reviews to BrooWaha since May of 2007 and it’s been a thrill to watch how much it’s grown and it’s exciting to be a part of it. I’m continually in awe of how amazing it is that I can submit a review, have it posted and get immediate feedback and comments on it all in the same day.
If you could get could write about anyone or any situation, what would it be?
Easiest question I’ve had to answer so far: Comic Con International. I’ve been a comic book fan since I was knee high to a knee and I’d love to be able to go to Comic Con and write about the experience.
What artist (musician, author, painter etc) inspires you? Perhaps a specific movie director?
The inspiration for my movie reviews: Roger Ebert. I think he’s the best movie reviewer/critic ever because he’s just so unpretentious. And his love of movies is infectious. When it comes to fiction I’ve got a lot of influences: Lester Dent, George C. Chesbro, Robert E. Howard, Chester Himes, Clive Cussler, Robert R. McCammon, the list is long.
Of our topics (city life, night life, culture, sports, etc) what is your favorite? Is there a reason why you tend to write/read more articles in that section?
I like reading City Living because…well, I live in a city. Culture, World, Science&Tech and Opinions are the other topics I tend to read a lot. Mainly because they’re all things I’m intensely interested in. Especially opinions. I love hearing what other people have to say about the issues of the day and I love the unique voices they use.
What keeps you going in the day-to-day?
The belief that I’m where I need to be at this particular stage of my spiritual evolution.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who’s read my reviews here at BrooWaha and taken the time out of their busy lives to provide a comment or feedback. And if you’re interested in my fiction or getting a copy of my two books of collected movie reviews: “Derrick Ferguson’s Movie Review Notebook” and “The Return Of Derrick Ferguson’s Movie Review Notebook” then please check out the Pulpwork Press website http://www.pulpworkpress.com/catalog.htm
July Featured Contributor - Dlferguson
Our very own movie reviewer and critic has earned the spot as Broowaha's featured contributor this month. Find out what makes DLFerguson tick. How did he get into writing about movies? Find out here!
How does where you live influence who/what you write about and how you go about doing it?
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