Derrick Ferguson: Who is Lisa Marie Bowman?
Lisa Marie Bowman: Lisa Marie Bowman is a writer, a dancer, a dreamer, a film lover, a history nerd, a loyal friend, a thankful sister, a loving daughter, and a pop culture fanatic. For the longest time, I used to tell people that I was “just a sweet little thing with morbid thoughts.” Seeing as how my thoughts are a lot less morbid now than they were 10 years ago, I probably need to revise that description but to be honest; I like the way it sounds.
I also used to tell people that “I can be your dream or I can be your … NIGHTMARE!!!!” but I was just quoting The Perfect Teacher, one of my Lifetime movies.
DF: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?
LMB: I live in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. I have a degree in Art History so, of course, I work in office administration. In general, I try to tell the IRS as little as possible.
DF: Tell us as much about your background as you’re legally allowed to.
LMB: I was born in Texas. I’m Italian/Spanish on my mother’s side and Irish on my father’s side. My family moved around a lot so, by the time I was twelve, I had already lived in six different states but I’m pretty much settled into Texas now. I’ve got three older sisters, a boyfriend who I love, a cat that I spoil, and more DVDs and Blu-rays than I really have room for.
DF: How long have you been reviewing movies?
LMB: Forever and ever! Well, I guess it really depends on what you mean by reviewing movies. Even before I ever sat down and wrote my first film review, I was always the person who you would see walking out of a theater, loudly explaining why the movie she had just seen either sucked or was the greatest thing ever. Eventually, I moved from annoying people in theaters to annoying people on the IMDb message boards. (I miss those message boards so much!) And, of course, when I joined twitter in 2009, almost all of my tweets dealt with movies. Well, movies, cats, and some other things that I probably shouldn’t mention but that’s another story…
Anyway, it was in 2010 that I started to seriously review movies. That was when my friend, Arleigh Sandoc, asked me if I would be a part of the entertainment website that is now known as Through the Shattered Lens. Originally, I was brought on to review old grindhouse and exploitation films. In fact, the very first review that I posted on Through the Shattered Lens was of an old blaxploitation film called “Welcome Home, Brother Charles”, which is about an ex-con who magically strangles people with his penis. That review got such a good response that I was like, “Hey, I might have to do this regularly.” Then, a few months later, I published a post entitled “10 Reasons Why I Hated Avatar” and that caused so much controversy that I was pretty much hooked from that moment on.
So, in other words, 8 years
DF: Why do you love movies so much?
LMB: For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved movies. I guess you could argue that, no matter what else was happening in my life, the movies that I loved were always there. It didn’t matter where I was living or what was going on in the real world, I could always sit down and watch one of my favorite movies. Movies provide stability in an occasionally unstable world.
Also, I’m a totally unapologetic history nerd. I’m fascinated with stuff that happened before I was born. I guess that’s one reason why I love old movies. A lot of them – especially the low budget B-movies that tend to get unfairly dismissed by some critics – are about as close as you can get to owning a time machine.
DF: Where so many movie reviewers come off as snarky or determined to prove how smart or how funny they are in their reviews, yours are very relaxed and friendly as if you’re having a conversation with the reader. Is this a style you’ve refined or are your reviews an extension of your personality?
LMB: For the most part, that really is my personality. At the same time, it’s also definitely a style that I’ve worked to refine. There are so many people out there reviewing movies now that, if you don’t have your own unique voice, you’re going to run the risk of just disappearing in the crowd. Myself, I’ve never really been a fan of the bitter (but woke) nerd persona that so many online critics seem to adopt. To them, I would say, “Just tell me what you thought about the movie and save the Devin Faraci imitation for another time.”
DF: What audience are you trying to reach with your reviews? Is there an audience for Lisa Marie Bowman?
LMB: It’s interesting. When I first started writing reviews, another blogger checked out my work and told me that I was making a huge mistake by not specializing in only reviewing one or two genres of film. His opinion was that, instead of trying to review every single movie that I saw, I should just focus on either horror films or sci-fi films or new releases or whatever. He was particularly confused as to why I had recently reviewed “Test Tube Babies” an obscure exploitation film from 1948. His response reminded me of one of my former creative writing teachers who once told me, “You’ve got talent but I get the feeling that you mostly write to amuse yourself.”
But here’s the thing. I have no interest in limiting myself. I appreciate many different genres and therefore, I’m going to review many different genres. I don’t see what the problem is with reviewing a blockbuster one day and then, the next day, reviewing some cheap movie that was shot on an iPhone and uploaded to YouTube. I mean, who says that you can’t watch both “Citizen Kane” and “Degrassi Goes Hollywood” in the same night and have a good time doing it? Certainly not me!
The audience I’m trying to reach is made up of people who not only enjoy watching movies but who are also constantly on the search for new movies to discover. The best compliment anyone can give me is to let me know that one of my reviews either inspired them watch a movie for the first time or to take another look at a previously viewed movie. That’s my audience.
(Of course, I’m also hoping to reach people who really love “Degrassi” because seriously, that show is the best!)
Hopefully, there’s an audience for me. I’ve been doing this for 8 years so if there isn’t, I have to wonder about the hits that my sites have been getting. Hopefully, the views are coming from people and not a cat randomly walking across as keyboard.
DF: What are the elements of a good movie review?
LMB: It all comes down to sincerity. Lately, it seems like too many film reviewers are more concerned with making sure that they give “the right” opinion, as opposed to actually reviewing the film. Right now, a lot of critics are more concerned with establishing their woke credentials (or, in the case of some critics, their unwoke credentials) than in actually considering whether a film is good or not. A film can be made with very best of intentions and still not work as entertainment. A film can be made by your favorite director and still not work. A film can totally conform to every single political or cultural belief that you may hold and still not work. Not admitting that doesn’t do anyone any good.
I also think that, sometimes, film critics fall into the trap of reviewing the film that they wish they had seen as opposed to the film that they actually did see. This happens a lot with online film critics. For instance, so many people wanted “The Dark Knight Rises” to be the greatest film ever that they kind of ignored the fact that the actual movie is a bit of unwieldy mess. A more recent example would be 2016’s “Ghostbusters”, which was far more forgettable than a lot of us were willing to admit at the time when it was released. It’s always interesting to compare the way that people talk about a movie like “Ghostbusters” to the way they talked about it after it was first released. Of course, on the other side, you have films that are criticized just because critics don’t want to run the risk of being the only person to admit they liked that film. That happens frequently with the horror genre, though the success of “Get Out” would seem to indicate that maybe critics are finally willing to admit that movies can be both scary and good.
Basically, my number one rule for film reviews: If you didn’t like the film, say you didn’t like it. If you liked it, say you liked it. Be open about your biases. If, for some reason, you have a natural tendency to like movies where Adam Sandler performs open heart surgery, then your readers need to know that before reading your very positive review about the latest movie to feature Adam Sandler performing open heart surgery. What it really comes down to is just being honest about the film and not worrying whether the rest of the world agrees. Those are the reviews that will remain relevant in years to come.
DF: What is it with you and Lifetime movies?
LMB: Heh heh. I just really enjoy them. I always love a good, over-the-top melodrama and the best Lifetime films usually are a bit more self-aware than they’re usually credited with being. That said, I’m a little disappointed in the current direction that Lifetime seems to be heading. I’m not a fan of the celebrity biopics and the overly morbid true crime reenactments. I prefer my Lifetime films to be silly, melodramatic, and preferably Canadian.
DF: Do you have any aspirations of getting into the movie industry yourself? Scriptwriting? Acting? Directing?
LMB: Scriptwriting, maybe. I’m involved in some projects right now but I don’t want to say too much about them until I have something more definite to share. (If Marvel needs someone to write a Black Widow movie, I’ve got a few ideas.)
DF: Okay, you knew this was coming. Your 10 Favorite Directors, Actors, Actresses and Movies. Go.
LMB: This is always the most difficult type of question for me to answer, just because there’s so many movies that I love that it’s really difficult for me to narrow it down to just ten. Here are the ten of my favorite films, listed in alphabetical order. I should note that these are the ten films that popped into my head today. Ask me tomorrow and you might get a totally different list! (I’ve also tried to limit myself to one film per director, though you’ll notice below that I did cheat a little.)
1: ALL ABOUT EVE directed by Joseph Mankiewicz
2: CASINO directed by Martin Scorsese
3: THE GODFATHER TRILOGY directed by Francis Ford Coppola
4: THE THREE MOTHERS TRILOGY directed by Dario Argento
5: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE directed by Frank Capra
6: LOST IN TRANSLATION directed by Sofia Coppola
7: MULHOLLAND DRIVE directed by David Lynch
8: THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTED directed by Jean Rollin
9: THE RULES OF THE GAME directed by Jean Renoir
10: UPSTREAM COLOR directed by Shane Carruth
As for my top ten directors, the same rules apply. Off the top of my head: Dario Argento, Andrea Arnold, Mario Bava, Sofia Coppola, Ang Lee, David Lynch, Jean Renoir, Jean Rollin, Martin Scorsese, and Joe Wright.
Again, following the same rules, here’s my current top ten actors: James Franco, Donald Glover, Tom Hardy, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, Bill Murray, Gary Oldman, Chris Pratt, Jimmy Stewart, and Denzel Washington.
And, finally, my top ten actresses with the same rules applying: Amy Adams, Vera Farmiga, Greta Gerwig, Audrey Hepburn, Scarlett Johansson, Veronica Lake, Saorise Ronan, Edie Sedgwick, Mia Wasikowska, and Naomi Watts.
DF: Have you ever written any fiction? If so, where can we find it. And if not, why not?
LMB: I have! However, in the past, it’s been stuff that I usually just wrote for myself and a few intimate friends. But, who knows? Maybe I’ll start sharing some of it soon. I also used to write extremely emo poetry that didn’t rhyme. (My pen name was Pandora DeSaad.)
DF: What’s a Typical Day In The Life of Lisa Marie Bowman like?
LMB: When I was in the 5th Grade, our teacher had us do one of those things where we divided our day into three 8-hour blocks and then you had to write down how much time you spent on certain things during the day. So, it was like – 8 hours of school, 8 hours of sleep, and then, because she assumed we’d spend two hours studying and one hour eating dinner every night, that left us with only 5 hours of free time. That not only taught me how little time there is in the day but it also totally freaked me out. So, as a result, I not only try to cram as much as I can into a day but I’ve also trained myself to only need two or three hours of sleep a night. I also start every day with a to-do list. Usually, I save my to-do lists even after I’m finished with them, which I guess is kind of obsessive behavior on my part. Oh well!
So, a typical day for me is: I wake up from my nap, I go to work, I either go shopping or dancing (depending on the day), and then I watch a movie or two and I usually schedule a few reviews to post the next day. On Saturday nights, I usually watch a bad horror or science fiction movie with a group of friends of mine. (Every Christmas, we watch “Santa Claus Conquers The Martians”.) One good thing about becoming an adult is that I no longer feel like I have to go out and do something crazy every single night. I’ve come to appreciate relaxing.
DF: Where can interested parties find your reviews?
LMB: There’s a few places:
Through the Shattered Lens – unobtainium13.com
Horror Critic – horrorcritic.com
SyFy Designs – SyFyDesigns.com
PrimeTime Prepper: The College Career of Zack Morris — primetimepreppie.blogspot.com
Reality TV Chat Blog – realitytvchatblog.wordpress.com
Big Brother Blog – Big-Brother-Blog.com
I also share daily music at Lisa Marie’s Song of the Day (lmsod.wordpress.com) because who doesn’t love music?
Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?
Lisa Marie Bowman: Follow me on twitter at @LisaMarieBowman! Since I start a new project every other day, that’s the best way to keep up.