Twenty-something Janz Anton-Iago is a movie jerk in more than one sense. As sole editor and film critic for his popular website of the same name, The Moviejerk, Anton-Iago gets off on great filmmaking. The London-based critic also admonishes those films that he deems unworthy, making him a jerk to all those hardworking film professionals trying to make the next big thing. Anton-Iago ponders the latest and greatest in contemporary film on his website, which receives thousands of hits every month from around the world. BeatRoute was able to interview the humble cinephile about film reviewing, his favourite films and “jerking off.”
BeatRoute: How did you get into film reviewing?
Janz Anton-Iago: It was mostly out of compulsion and frustration. I was in my senior year in high school and every time I’d see a film, I’d go to my friends the following day and talk about it persistently, especially those I feel very passionate about. They eventually grew tired of my rants and bitching about films and stopped listening. I also didn’t have film discussions with my family. And when you’re in your teenage years and everyone stops listening, you undergo through some proper angst. Then, I had the idea of writing all my thoughts into a notebook, this small journal I glued with cut-out film images from magazines, and this carried on to my early university years. Everyone in my class began borrowing and reading this journal of movies. That’s the origin story there.
BR: Why did you dub your site “Moviejerk”?
JAI: This explanation is very embarrassing and I feel a little pang of humiliation every time somebody asks me about this. But here we go – this is the truth. The “jerk” in the title does not refer to ‘idiot’ or any foolish person, but rather “jerk off,” as in masturbation. I came up with this moniker at 15, when most of the boys I know in school wanked to porn magazines or just porn in general. All those hormones! Whereas I decided to mentally masturbate to films and cinema, and writing reviews is my orgasmic release. Hence, I came up with the term “The Moviejerk.” I compounded the two words as well, out of affectation.
BR: What’s the worst film that you’ve ever seen?
JAI: Date Movie. It’s the first film I’ve had the misfortune to review in The Moviejerk back in 2006. And all the rest of the parody movies (Epic Movie, Scary Movie, Meet The Spartans, etc.) — how they get bankrolled is making me angry when there are artistic ideas out there that barely get funding. And also The Happening. What M. Night Shyamalan did in the film is unforgivable.
BR: What is your guilty movie pleasure? There must be something that you know is absolute rubbish but you enjoy it anyway.
JAI: Lots of critics trashed Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake. I absolutely loved every second of it – its grand emotions perfectly matches the immensity of ambition and spectacle. I enjoyed Kevin Costner’s Waterworld, too, as well as any “bad” Nicholas Cage films, such as Con Air and Wild At Heart. Actually, I’d watch any film with Cage in it – he’s delightfully crazy.
BR: What does it take to write a good film review?
JAI: Honesty. Passion. A great deal of subjectivity. There’s an awful lot of PR and bullshit infiltrating film reviews these days, so a no-holds-barred, heart-on-your-sleeve yet informed film review is absolutely refreshing to read. If you can throw in some humour, too, then even better.
BR: Where do you like to sit in the cinema and why?
JAI: The middle seat, seven to 10 rows from the screen. I love to be immersed with less distraction as possible.
BR: What five films would you take to a desert island and why?
JAI: François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude, Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. All these films profoundly affected my worldview and will probably sustain my sanity during my lengthy stay in the theoretical desert island.
To read Anton-Iago’s latest film reviews visit themoviejerk.co.uk.
By Sheena Manabat
Photo: Provided by Janz Anton-Iago