Joe Cooper: Film Critic 7th July 2003
to my entry into the wonderful world of film reviewing
and journalism in general, I spent time down quite
a few different career paths. Poultry chef, bank johnny,
sales rep, debt collector, marketing director, and
financier are all on the list. I even enjoyed a day
as a bodyguard for an American celebrity who was a
little too popular with his female fans.
you can see, it's an orthodox journalistic background.
did you get your break?
big break came via my partner, Lisa, who kindly refrained
from calling me a lunatic when I voiced my intention
of becoming a film critic. It could have all crumbled
there with a well-warranted "Pull your head in,
there it was all milk and honey - nothing but hard
work and high anxiety.
though, I never experienced a single "that's
it" event that I identified as my break. I think
it was more of an evolutionary process. I kept pushing
and putting it out there, repeatedly, until the whole
thing gained critical mass and - voila! - I had a
wild new career on my hands.
style of movies do you prefer to review, and why?
have to admit to being slightly sadistic in this regard.
There's nothing quite like sitting down at the keyboard
after seeing the latest mega-budget dud. It's film
critic heaven. John Malkovich's directorial debut,
The Dancer Upstairs, was the last time I had the pleasure.
all fairness to myself though, I do love discovering
an obscure and underrated gem - usually an independent
release showing somewhere like the Dendy Cinemas -
and getting the chance to sing its praises to a public
that might not otherwise hear about it. Russian Ark,
which is now screening in Brisbane, is a classic example.
are your goals?
funny you should ask. I actually sat down this morning
to tick-off some accomplished goals, and to set some
new ones. I'm a big believer in goals. To give you
the concise, philosophical, short answer, my professional
goal is to continue making my film reviews an honest
guide to what's worth spending $13 on and to make
those same reviews a source of entertainment in their
own right. I have delusions of grandeur!
far as a personal goal is concerned, I want to continue
having a great time. Life's too short not to be having
fun. It's also too long not to be having fun!
has the internet affected your business?
Quite simply, the internet's opened up the world for
Australian journalists, myself included. Without it
I wouldn't be scoring gigs with publications based
in such places as London, Johannesburg, and Chicago.
internet's allowed a fantastic balance of career and
lifestyle. I get to reside most of the year in Brisbane,
one of the greatest cities in the world to live in,
and work for some of the leading media sources in
the world. You've got to be happy with that.
have you been published?
BBC Online, eFilmcritic, Hot Ashes,
Media Man Australia, Resident Advisor Magazine, South
African Film, Mamba Online, and Melbourne Movies,
just to name a few.
are your current projects?
reviews, and an interview with model/author Tara Moss.
That's the week ahead.
kind of reactions have you ignited from your
get quite a lot of feedback from readers. The Inbox
and letterbox is always full. Some of it's praise
and concurrence, and some of it's outright condemnation
and disagreement! Either way, I think it's fantastic.
People are going out there and seeing the films and
then coming back with an opinion strong enough to
inspire time spent writing an email or a letter. I'm
sure that anyone in any form of journalism wants to
see something like that.
else do you write about?
do stray from film reviewing, but seldom outside of
the sphere of entertainment. Yes, I'll be caught out
interviewing the occasional actor, musician, model
or miscellaneous celebrity, but thankfully, for all
involved, my political commentaries are few and far
industry perks do you have?
from free movies
Travel, and all the interesting
trinkets and shiny baubles the film industry can throw
are your mentors?
editor I've had the pleasure to work for has been
a mentor. They all have an incredible amount of industry
savvy and are more than willing to share the good
oil. They're good people. You just have to take the
time to ask them for guidance.
a freelancer has its cons. There's no office footy
tipping comp to be a part of, there's a twenty-foot
commute every morning, and you have to make your own
hey, there's all the freedom (creative and time) that
you could wish for.
can perform a very nifty pick-a-card-any-card trick.
It's a party favourite.
Joe @ firstname.lastname@example.org