Mailbag Vol. 1: On the Greatest, My Favourites and Randomness

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So this site launched about six months ago and I’ve usually responded privately to any questions, concerns or inquiries I have received. However I figured it might be useful to do one of these pieces once a month to tackle the more common questions. As always you can continue to contact me via the “Contact us” tab below or via social media should you have anything else to add.

1. What is your all time favourite movie?

My favourite movie of all time is Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003). Note that there is a distinction between greatest and favourite. I love Lost in Translation on a personal level because it represents the journey to find yourself is not always easy regardless of whether you are a 20 something with their whole life ahead of them or an ultra successful actor whom on the surface looks like he has it all figured out.

I also think Murray and Johansson have such strong chemistry and the film itself is so subtle in its approach but you still feel the incredibly strong connection the two of them have. Such connections are so rare in life but you feel how big an impact they have each left on the other by the end of the film.

I could go on forever but Coppola crafts a subtle low stakes masterpiece that is a must watch if you haven’t seen it.

For 199 more of some of my favourite films. I crafted a list on Letterboxd here

2.  Favourite TV Show?

I am a huge fan of Community if we are talking sitcoms, it is just so smart and funny on multiple levels. I’d put Seinfeld up there too for similar reasons.

Drama wise I have Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Wire in my top 3. The first three seasons of LOST is up there too. Currently I am enjoying The Americans, Game Of Thrones and Fargo

3. What is the greatest movie of all time then?


Greatness is inherently subjective but if I had to choose a single film. I’d go with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It combines excellent film making with stunning visuals that still hold up today. It tells a story that touches on deeper philosophical issues but is still accessible to the general public without being viewed as elitist. The way Kubrick doesn’t explicitly tell you what to think but forces you to connect dots yourself creates a different experience upon repeat viewings.

As for runner ups I’d put Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Ozu’s Tokyo Story or Coppola’s Godfather (either part 1 or part 2)

4.  Why do you hate everything?

Let’s be clear I don’t hate everything. I just think that things are rarely great (for if great was commonplace the value of the word would be meaningless). Most movies are generic and geared at making money rather than telling a strong story. This is fine, it is the nature of the business. Greatness by its nature should be rare and that’s the way I rate films the way I do. Of course all this is with the understanding that it is all subjective.

5. Any update on your situation with “Gwen” ?

It is what it is. That’s as simple as I can put it. If anything it is the motivation I needed to get moving. I’ve since started working on two screenplays that I may use to one day get into film school and have buried myself in work to avoid falling back into that hole. I’m seeing more people and all in all, Life is good.

That being said I will leave this topic with one word: Yet.

6. What is your favourite comic?

“It’s about remembering someone so important to me I was going to spend the rest of my life with her. I didn’t know that meant she would only get to spend the rest of HER life with me.”

—  Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Blue

Batman is my favourite comic book character but my favourite comic is either Y The Last Man or Loeb and Sale’s Color series (particularly Spiderman: Blue). Comics are so often seen as pure action but in the good ones lies a heart and provide a spotlight on real world realities (however harsh they may sometimes be)

7.  You watch a lot of movies, is there anything you haven’t seen?

I really want to get deeper into the catalogues of some of the older directors as well as explore more of the deep cuts in that60s-70s era. Herzog and Tarkovsky are two of the big names I have yet to dive into. Sadly many of the older films are hard to find and to fully invest in a serious movie requires time and uninterrupted focus in order to appreciate it. This, I do not have enough of. So I usually end up watching bad rom coms at night while I write.

8. What draws you to a film?

I tend to look and see who’s directing first. Then I shift to the stars of the film. If there is an established pedigree behind them then I am pretty much open to whatever the movie may be about regardless of how experimental it may be. Words tend to stick with me longer than visuals so if the movie is well written, it tends to last longer in my mind.

9. Where do you see the future of the site?

Right now I’m using it primarily as a portfolio for my work, a place to put my thoughts (and anyone else who wants to write for that matter)

I harbour dreams of turning this into a paid job but for now its simply about a passion of mine

10. Optimistic about the rest of the year?

I think so, Things are flowing now. The backend of the year should see a fair number of quality films as is usually the case after the summer blockbuster season.

On TV, we have Bojack Horseman coming back for season 3 soon, more diversity than ever (Aziz just got nominated for an Emmy!!)

In sports. I am hanging onto the hope that losing Dwight Howard will be addition by subtraction for the Rockets and they will rekindle some magic from two seasons ago or at the very least become a fun offensive team to watch

The Canucks have a young core, there will be growing pains but I like what I’ve seen thus far (albeit in the offseason) and the Texans have preseason starting soon and should be in line to contend for the division again.

And finally personally, I am happy where I’m at. I’m writing more, got through a rough patch there and feel good overall. Life is good right now, here’s hoping it keeps rolling at least until Trump brings about the apocalypse.

Nate Lam
Nate Lam
Editor-in-chief of Before The Cyborgs. Part-time filmmaker and occasional short story author. One day he hopes to be as cool as Bill Murray.



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