ANY MOVIE BUFF worth his salt has debated what or who is the best or worst throughout cinema history. Four Philly guys - Philadelphia Weekly film critic Matt Prigge, Temple professor and film scholar Chris Cagle, Portland State University professor/filmmaker Dustin Morrow and Temple University media educator and documentarian David Cooper Moore - have recorded their epic movie debates in a new Web series called "Film Versus Film." The first episode, "What is the best twist ending in film history?" went up last week at filmversusfilm.tumblr.com. Future debates, which will run five to 10 minutes long, will appear every Monday and include topics like "What's the quintessential Philadelphia movie?" Check out yesterday's episode - "What's the most awkward nude scene ever?" - on the site.
We chatted last week with producer Morrow about the Web series.
Q. Where did the idea for "Film Versus Film" come from?
A. I have many film-nerd friends, and I suspected that the conversations we were having in the pub about some truly ridiculous "categories" of our own invention might be entertaining to fellow filmies. I did some research and found that while there were a lot of nutty text-based lists like these on the Web, and a lot of film podcasts, there weren't any Web series with exactly this format.
Q. How'd you pick the participants? And where are the ladies?
A. The director, Matt Boyle, and I wanted film nerds who had film-related jobs. Nothing against video-store clerks - many of them probably know more about film than we do - but there are a lot of podcasts from film geeks who don't actually make, study or write about film. Our entire panel makes, teaches and writes professionally about films.
We did have a woman on the panel who was forced to drop out in the 11th hour due to a scheduling conflict with the shoots. She was also a minority, and losing her made us the "four white guys" panel, which I wasn't thrilled about. In the second season, I'm confident that we'll broaden the panel.
Q. The style is noticeably different from other Web shows, with lots of cuts and angle changes. How come?
A. [Boyle] and I wanted the series to have a hint of visual dynamism. By necessity of format, it's four people sitting around a table having a chat, but working within that heavy restriction we've endeavored to keep it visually engaging.
Q. You work in Portland, but you're with Philly guys here. What's the deal?
A. Until a few months ago, I was a Philly guy. I still am at heart, which makes me the most aggressive driver in the city of Portland. I taught at Temple University for seven years, but just moved to Portland to start up the film-production program at Portland State. The three guys on the panel are friends of mine; it's a Philly show, and it'll continue to shoot in Philly. In fact, we have an upcoming episode in which we fight about "the Quintessential Philly Movie." I argue for "Blow Out," and I'm right.