How did you get started as a film critic?
I pestered the arts editor in New York while working as a general assignment reporter at the AP bureau in Dallas. She liked my writing style and was kind enough to give me a shot.
What was your first meaningful moviegoing experience?
My earliest movie memories are of watching "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Sound of Music" on TV as a child. In the theater, I recall "Fantasia" scaring the hell out of me. "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club" were influential in high school, but seeing "Delicatessen" in college opened up my eyes to movies as an adult.
What was your first published review?
"The Harmonists," about a German singing group, which was released in the U.S. in 1999.
What movie are you embarrassed to admit you love?
"Grease 2." I know every word of it.
Name a film you think everybody should see.
"Citizen Kane" is the easy choice. But I'm going with "Airplane!"
What’s the most common question you’re asked when someone discovers you’re a film critic?
"What's your favorite movie ever?" It's Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria."
What’s the most controversial review you’ve written?
"300." I got eviscerated by the fanboys. My inbox got flooded with spam emails suggesting my husband isn't satisfying me and wishing birth defects upon my unborn children.
Do you like to discuss a movie with other critics immediately after a screening or before writing a review?
It's impossible not to but it's probably best to avoid it.
What other film critics, past or present, do you admire?
Joe Morgenstern. Andrew O'Hehir. Michael Phillips. Kim Morgan. Elvis Mitchell. Bill Goodykoontz. And Roger Ebert, of course.
What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?
To the public at large, what purpose does a professional film critic serve?
Start a dialogue, open up some eyes to movies people might not ordinarily see, hopefully help guide readers in the right direction.
What’s the best part of being a film critic and the worst part of being a film critic?
Best part: We get to see everything. Worst part: We have to see everything.
Name the worst sequel ever.
The second and third "Matrix" movies. Oh, and "Grease 2."
What’s the biggest misconception people have about film critics?
That we're all stodgy, old white men who hate everything. And that it's glamorous.
What would you say to the old saw that critics are frustrated artists, punishing those who do for doing?
It's not true. Despite being a shameless ham, I have no interest in directing, writing or starring in a movie.
Has social media changed how you interact with your readers and has social media made the job of film critic easier or harder?
Yes -- it's easier. More sites means more eyeballs means more opportunity for interaction. And that's supposedly why we got into this business in the first place: because we love talking about movies.
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