Tomorrow, Drafthouse Films releases the brilliant, beautiful, terrifying Spring to theaters and on VOD, and directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead - who previously helmed Resolution and the V/H/S Viral segment "Bonestorm" - gave us some insight into their own love of movies.
What's your earliest movie memory?
J: My mom and my sister took me to see a re-release of Fantasia at this little movie theater by San Diego State University down the street from my childhood home. They’ve since told me I spent the whole time staring back at the projector light. I still have a hard time getting motivated to watch animated films, but I do write female characters that my mom and sister would approve of. Louise in Spring thanks you for her creation, mom.
A: Weirdly enough, my first memory is also my first film memory, and it’s also of making a film rather than watching it. It was a family trip to Washington, DC, and I was shooting a wide shot with the family camcorder of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. My dad was afraid I’d drop the camera. METAPHORICALLY, I NEVER DID! *drops mic*
What was the first movie you saw that made you understand that movies can be art?
A: I think having trouble not crying while watching the salvation of our heroes by Gandalf and the riders of Rohan during the Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers was when I noticed first that movies were more than entertainment. It was visual at the time, where you could pause the film and it would look like a painting, then more slowly the real emotional investment crystallized.
J: I was pretty entrenched in Southern California counter-culture in my teen years so didn’t see many movies (unless you count surf and skateboard videos), but really enjoyed the stuff I did see like Jurassic Park, and other movies that lean more towards film as spectacle and world building. Not to say that’s not film as art, but when I was about 18 I discovered Dazed & Confused, Chasing Amy and Pulp Fiction on DVD, and that’s where I started analyzing movies from a more traditionally artistic standpoint.
What is your guilty pleasure movie?
J: Anything by Guy Ritchie. I love it all, especially Lock, Stock… and Rocknrolla, even Sherlock Holmes 2. I made Aaron go see it with me. Is that guilt worthy?
A: I used to say Equilibrium to this question, but I rewatched it a couple years ago and realized it’s only guilt. That movie sucks. I still admire the imagination and ambition though.
What movie do you want to make before you die?
A: Preacher, The Dark Tower, Our Aleister Crowley movie, Showdown at the Cataclysm (our sci-fi western), Preacher, the list goes on (not necessarily in that order).
J: Our Aleister Crowley movie, Showdown at the Cataclysm (our sci-fi western), Preacher, The Dark Tower, the list goes on.
What was your most magical cinema experience?
J: Watching Almost Famous with my mom at this movie theater in downtown San Diego when I was in high school. Also, my parents would take me to the movies once a week before I hit my teen years. All that was magical, but I feel sort of bad now realizing I was probably busting up their date night like 48 times a year.
A: There was an indie cinema in my college town (Tallahassee) that played There Will Be Blood, and I went on opening day with a bunch of new (now old) friends. Didn’t even know movies could be like that. Weirdly, I think that was my first PTA movie. Now I just spend a lot of time wishing I was PTA. Or Jack White.
What is the movie you believe everyone should see?
A: Almost Famous.
J: I’m gonna straight up cheat here: I’ll say any one movie by Linklater, Inglorious Basterds, and the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Only one of your movies can continue to exist after you're gone - which one is it?
J: I’ll say Resolution, and Aaron will say Spring and we beat the system, again.
J: I guess everyone should just go see Spring this month because it’ll be gone when we’re dead.
If you weren't born to direct, what else would you be doing?
A: I like to think I’d have gone into architecture, but I was full on 1000% nerd growing up (like not cute-nerd, like...nerd. Like LAN party nerd, like Dragonball Z way too late in life kinda nerd). So probably video games.
J: I was medical school bound right before Resolution sold at Tribeca -- like literally months away from starting. I think my MCAT scores are expired now though, so, Aaron would your parallel universe self hire me for something?
Why do you make movies?
J: Me and Aaron work so much we’d never be able to hang out otherwise. Also, my dad is the most amazing dude I’ve ever known and he sees the importance in it, so I don’t feel guilty by how much fun we have making them.
A: It’s the best job on the planet, but if I didn’t need to work for a living I’d still do it. I don’t really think about anything else, except like sex and food and stuff - it just stops being a question of why and more a question of what next.
Check out Spring in theatres or on VOD tomorrow, March 20th! Get listings here.