photo and interview : Luke Copping
Adam Rosina is a blogger and film critic for Auxiliary Magazine. Quickly gaining a reputation as Western New York’s most misanthropic and angry film critic, Rosina joined the team at Auxiliary just a short while ago and has already made quite a name for himself by calling out Tim Burton as a prostitute for his role in Alice, postulating on his own strange obsession with Paul Verhoeven films, and espousing his fandom of Dennis Hopper. Adam is a critic in the old-school, purist sense of the word. Able to dissect a film without concern for studio opinion, manners, or preconceived opinions held by rabid fans or other condescending critics.
What do you do at Auxiliary?
Write film reviews, and write a blog on cult movies, “Unaussprechlichen Kulten”, for Auxiliary’s website. That’s right, nerds, it’s a Lovecraft reference. Drink it in. Now go get some fresh air.
How did you join the magazine?
Luke Copping saw that his friend, who happened to be an out-of-work writer, was in need of a way to vent his near-Busey levels of psychotic rage. Torching hobos with a gas can being socially unacceptable, he went against all logic and gave a writing gig to a guy that shouldn’t be allowed to speak in polite company, let alone given a forum where his insane rants would be published… and read… by people. Hooray for bad ideas!
Who are your favorite directors?
Too numerous to mention, but a rundown of the top ten (in no particular order) goes something like: Shinya Tsukamoto, Paul Verhoeven, Hayao Miyazaki, David Cronenberg, John Waters, John Carpenter, Robert Rodriguez, Takeshi Miike, Ralph Bakshi, Martin Scorsese.
What makes you mad in the film and music worlds today?
One trend in the film industry today that refuses to die a dignified death is the horror movie remake. Now, I’m not opposed to remakes in principal, as history has shown that occasionally, they can do one better on the original (e.g. John Carpenter’s The Thing). Also, they can reinvent a story and provide a new interpretation of a classic work. I think that should be the ambition of a remake: to bring something new to the table. Even when it doesn’t entirely succeed, as was the case with Rob Zombie’s Halloween, at least it’s clear the filmmaker is trying to throw some of his own personal vision into the mix. But this slew of braindead, rehashed horror remakes, perpetrated by talentless former music video directors and greedy film producers, has to stop. The lion’s share of the blame falls on the movie-going public. The average consumer doesn’t seem to realize that if they don’t stop buying tickets to this z-grade shit, they’ll soon get a big eyefull of Angela’s penis in the inevitable Michael Bay-produced remake of Sleepaway Camp. No offense meant to the original Sleepaway Camp. I fucking love that flick.
As far as music, I’d rather ignore current musical trends, lest I twist my dick into a goddamn balloon animal out of a mixture of anger and confusion. I’ll stick to old punk albums, with a heavy dose of Neubauten and Wu-Tang, thank you very fucking much.
Why are you such a misanthropic bastard?
Because fuck you. That’s why.
What makes a good movie?
Good films make you feel. They provoke a reaction, sometimes good, others bad. It’s hard to articulate the feeling of wonderment that a film like Spirited Away can elicit, or the disgust that a movie like Antichrist can conjure. Some, like Tod Browning’s Freaks, are capable of both. Then again, some films are good simply based on their ability to entertain; not every movie is a work of art, but that does not rob it of merit. A great movie, to me, is one that simultaneously amuses and enlightens. Take Starship Troopers: meatheaded sci-fi/action spectacle, or scathing indictment of millitarism and its lead up to fascism? Likely both, but a great flick (and fun as all hell), regardless. All pretentious bullshit aside, truth is, that which makes a film is quite the elusive quality that is maddeningly difficult to articulate. But, in the words of Potter Stewart, “… I know it when I see it.” Amusingly enough, that quote from Justice Stewart was uttered during an obscenity trial concerning the film The Lovers, arguing that the film was indeed not obscene.
Do you still think Tim Burton is a prostitute?
Fuck yes. Burton’s got a lot of interesting upcoming projects on his plate right now (Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), so the ball’s in his court as to whether he wants to continue to exist as a soulless director-for-hire, or if he wants to take these projects and run with them. After the financial success of Alice, I have no doubt that he’s earned even more creative and monetary clout in Hollywood than the already considerable amount he wielded previously. With that in mind, I don’t doubt he could do something offbeat and original for his next film, but what I do doubt is his desire to craft something other than the stale, bland crap he served up oh so recently. Prove me wrong, Burton. You whore.
How important is truth in criticism?
It’s the end all, be all of it. A critic functionally serves to inform the reader the merits of a film and whether or not they should waste their time, money, or (in my case) rapidly disintegrating patience on a flick. If I can, I try to steer people away from the slew of cinematic abortions out there, while pointing the way to some worthwhile films, so I feel it’s my personal responsibility not to pull a single punch. Whose feelings should I be afraid of hurting, anyways? The filmmakers? It’s not like they’re reading my obscenity-laden rants. And if they are, good! I want them to hear my two fucking cents. Truth in criticism works both ways, though. When I see a great film, I want to help put the word out. I want that movie to receive all the praise and success it deserves. If more talented filmmakers got the good press they deserved, it would go a long way towards commercial success and thus getting their future projects green-lit, so they could, ya know, KEEP MAKING GREAT MOVIES! And that, in turn, would help to balance out all the crap that passes for film these days. Bottom line: Make a superb film, I’ll be there to give you the pat on the back you rightly deserve and do what little I can to spread the word; make a shit film and I’ll curb-stomp your ego and tear your film to shreds.
Why are cult movies so damn addictive?
Who can say? All I know is there are few activities more fun out there than rounding up a few buddies, a couple cases of beer, and watching Barbara Crampton get eaten out by a severed head [Editor’s Note: Re-animator]. I think that’s the heart of it: cult movie viewing has always been a team sport. Sure, you can certainly watch Tetsuo by yourself, but it’s missing something when there isn’t at least five other people around to laugh and uncomfortably cringe along with you as a woman commits suicide via drill penis on your TV. I mean, you don’t normally come upon someone dancing around in their living room alone in drag (and if you do, it’s surely an awkward occasion), but go to a showing of Rocky Horror and you’ll see dozens of mother fuckers doing just that. Cult movies and social gathering go hand and hand, for one reason or another. And hanging out with your friends and watching some superb trash has always been a blast. I think that’s the heart of the matter.