This new monthly series will be an introduction to the various staff members that work at TFS. I have the pleasure of starting it off, so a proper introduction is in order. My name is Will Brownridge, and I’m a movie addict. I like to think it’s the reason that I was hired to write reviews for TFS. I don’t have any degrees, and I haven’t even taken any film courses in school, but I have a passion for film. That’s something I’ve had since I was a little kid.
When I was only four years old, I started watching Star Wars. This became an almost monthly event, and every time I went to my grandparents’ house, I would make sure to watch it at least once. In between viewings of Star Wars, I would try to fit in as many Sunday afternoon B-movies as I could. Plenty of Godzilla films, and old Universal Monster mayhem. That’s where the search for horror began.
Horror has always been a huge part of my life. When I was only seven, I watched Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and it scared the hell out of me. Every time I saw it, I had nightmares, but it never stopped me from wanting to see it. The fascination with film, and especially the darker corners of the cinema, all began there. Not very long after I was being terrified by Thriller, I wound up watching the transformation scene in An American Werewolf In London. Again, I was equally fascinated and frightened. I guess I can blame John Landis for so many of my childhood nightmares.
When I was about nine, I moved to a new city and made a few new friends who were horror fanatics. There just happened to be four video stores within walking distance of my house, so it was a weekly ritual for myself and my friends to gather together and rent anything that seemed scary. Marathons of Friday the 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street, and the Hellraiser series were a common occurrence. We made sure to watch everything, until we had seen almost every horror film in each video store.
We actually spent so much time at one of those stores, that we were allowed to hang out behind the counter. If one of the owners had to go to the store that was close by, we were even left in charge. I’m sure I spent at least a couple of summers watching two or three movies a day while we sat on the stools behind the counter. That gave me a healthy dose of horror, but it wouldn’t be until my teenage years that I started to experience all that film had to offer.
I slowly began to explore some of the more classic offerings that the cinematic world had to offer. I can remember being sick at home and watching Casablanca, which started a fascination with many of the older black and white films that I now enjoy so much. Eventually I was led to the world of anime, with Neon Genesis Evangelion, and that opened up the world of Asian cinema to me. By that point, I was watching whatever I could get my hands on.
It all led up to 2009. That’s when I began writing my own blog, The Film Reel, with the intention of having one review every day for an entire year. I didn’t quite reach it that year, but in 2010 I finally had 365 reviews in 365 days. Since that time, I’ve reviewed almost 1,000 films for The Film Reel. While I still try to post as much as possible for The Film Reel, I’ve also taken up the duties of writing reviews on Toronto Film Scene.
Many events have come and gone over the years while I was trying to watch every movie that came out. I’ve been married and divorced, bought a house, am raising two children as a stay-at-home dad, and found another woman to share my life with. These events have changed my perspective on film, always giving the movies I love a different spin. That’s the real joy that I find in the theatre. While we all watch the same film, our experiences in life give it a unique twist. We may not always agree on what we think is a great film, but I’m pleased that Toronto Film Scene has offered me the chance to share my opinion with the world.
Will’s Must-See Films
A list like this is always interesting, because it gives people an inside look at a person’s taste. Hopefully, mine will surprise you a little.
1. Blade Runner – Hands down, my favourite film of all time. Perfect in every way, and a great example of what can be done without excessive use of computer graphics.
2. Lost In Translation – Certain films come along at the right time, and this is one of them. It instantly connected with me, and I could relate perfectly to it.
3. Eat, Pray, Love – Again, another film at just the right time. This one is a film that feels good. If I’m in a terrible mood, this will always make me feel better.
5. The Great Dictator – I’ve found a great love for Charlie Chaplin, and this film captures everything that I enjoy in his work. There are some hilarious moments, and the final scenes are extremely powerful.
Toronto Film Scene is turning up the heat for the month of July and looking at Pornography as a Legitimate Art Form. Don’t miss our scintillating coverage on everything from soft to hard core films, including a look at the Feminist Porn awards, what makes a truly classic porno, erotica translated from book to screen and the golden age of geek porn.