Stupid For Movies is a weekly live streamed web show airing on Ustream every Thursday at 8 PM PDT. Created by Mike Rotman (Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher), the show is hosted by LA Film critics Mark Keizer and Wade Major (IGN’s The Digigods). Each week Keizer and Major discuss the best and worst in movies, including reviewing the latest movies to hit the theater, recommending DVDs to “Buy, Rent or Burn”, and talk news with special anchor Chad Vader.
Rotman was kind enough to invite myself and my photographer (AKA: boyfriend), Stuart, down to the Streamin’ Garage studio, named for the fact that it literally is a converted garage, to view an episode taping. Though the show does run live, episodes of the show are then converted and uploaded to blip.tv (a job Rotman does himself, a bit of which we witnessed as we spent some time with him post-show).
We were greeted with offerings of wine, cheese, and pizza. They were short wine glasses, so Stuart had his in a glass with a stripper emblazoned across the front of it. “We have a different food each week,” explained Rotman. “Jaime (Fox, head writer on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show) brought pizza this week. I’ve made chili, we’ve done pasta. I’m vegetarian, so we stay vegetarian.” The secret to his vegetarian chili is Morning Star Farm Crumbles, by the way.
We were then ushered into a modestly-sized yet perfectly dressed studio, where hosts Keizer and Major were already getting into makeup and wired up for sound. “I came from television so I try to do a division of power so that everything works and it’s not just everyone running around,” said Rotman of the impressively run set. “Everybody knows what they’re doing. But as we add more shows, we’ll all get to try out different things. That’s the hope. So that everyone can be creative and help come up with the shows.”
Major and Keizer have an extremely impressive amount of knowledge when it comes to film from discussing the technical issues with projecting in IMAX, to deconstructing the casting choices of A Nightmare on Elm Street, to discussing the Marx Brothers’ A Night in Casablanca, which was the audience’s “homework” from the week before (the two ask the audience to watch a film each week, to be discussed the following episode), the hosts have a comfortableness between them that comes from years and years of learning how the other works and they have gotten it down to a precision that often results in ending each others sentences.
The ease of interaction between the two hosts extends from having similar backgrounds. Major is a life-long Angelino and Keizer moved to LA from New York at a very young age. “I was always a fanboy. My watershed years were the early to mid 80s…especially 1982 where you had Star Trek 2, Tron, Indiana Jones, and E.T.,” stated Keizer. “And we both worked as ushers at theaters. Theaters that were literally three or four blocks apart,” added Major. “Didn’t know each other at the time.” That meeting would come years later, when Major was assistant directing on a student film at UCLA (where he was going through the film program) and Keizer was visiting his friend, the star of the film, on the set.
I asked the two how many films they feel they had seen between the two of them. “Thousands, easy,” stated Major. “Because we see on average 250 per year just projected. I mean, I saw 28 French films just this last week for a festival. And then you add in the DVDs.” “Wade and I are both members of The Los Angeles Film Critics Association”, added Keizer. “So when the time comes at the end of the year for us to prepare ourselves to vote for our year-end awards, it becomes literally, when all the screeners pile up at your door, you are probably watching 25 films in just those two weeks.”
With a combination of well-educated, entertaining hosts and a well-run yet still intimate studio supporting them, Stupid for Movies has been growing a community of fans since January, shortly after the studio was built. As of Friday, Rotman informed me that the episode I had attended (which is the show’s 14th) had 12,731 unique viewers with a total of 21,195 views. Though that number was partially aided by the fact that Ustream featured the show that night, it has most certainly risen since the writing of this article. Rotman also has plans to add additional shows to the Streamin’ Garage roster, starting with Stupid for TV hosted by “The King of Television”, Paul Goebel.
“I want creative people to come in and use this studio as a playground”, said Rotman.
Photos courtesy of Stuart Davis