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An open letter to GATW’s Managing Editor, @JamesWallace

GATW Guest Writer

by: GATW Guest Writer
December 29th, 2010

How do I begin to explain James Wallace and his love for all things film?

I guess I'll start with the beginning - well, actually pre-beginning, because just about every piece of James' life contains a movie...even his conception.

Back in 1984, James' parents caught the baby bug and, after trying for months and months, decided to take a little romantic getaway to Hollywood, CA. One night they took a stroll down Hollywood Blvd., right into Grauman's Chinese Theater, where they saw AGAINST ALL ODDS. Nine months later, James Michael Wallace Jr. (or "Jamie" if you met him before high school) was born.

Fast forward to the college years, when James and I met. My little Radio, TV and Film major. I can't even tell you how much of his parents' hard-earned cash went right into the pockets of AMC, Cinemark, Rave, and Movie Tavern. Seriously. Once we were officially dating we probably went to the movies 3 times a week - minimum. We saw so many movies it's kind of unreal, but the movie that sticks out the most to me is GARDEN STATE. God, that movie just summed us up to the "t." We were young and loved each other, but were scared of what that meant (hence, why it took us 3 years to say "I love you" and 7 years to finally tie the knot). We would watch the movie over and over again and make out while listening to the soundtrack. I'm kinda getting teary-eyed just thinking about it, actually. You know that line from the Postal Service song, where it's like "I've been waiting since birth to find a love that would look and sound like a movie"? Well, we always joke about how our relationship could easily be made into a movie with all of the ups and downs and all-arounds. James used to always tell me that if he made a movie about us, no one else could play my part because he is just that in love with me as a character. With lines like that, how could a girl not stick around?

I think in going through college and trying out different aspects of film, James finally realized the place he feels most comfortable isn't necessarily behind a camera, but rather exploring the vastness of others' visions and dreams. He loves connecting with other artists by understanding how and why they made a film the way they did. What are they trying to say to the world through this angle or that color choice? Why would this actor choose that film even if it's not his normal style? James has taught me to appreciate all of it, even stuff that drives me crazy. I love watching his interviews and reading his reviews because he just genuinely loves every minute that he is lost in this art form. Other people's creativity continues to evolve through his interpretation, through his questions, and through his silly little puns.

So, in honor of James Wallace's birthday, go out and re-explore your favorite movie, and maybe, if you feel so inclined, leave him a little comment about why you love it so much. He would get a kick out of that.

Happy Birthday, babies! I love you!

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  • http://www.twitter.com/chasewhale Chase Whale

    There are so many favorites out there.

    I can tell you this – my favorite times to watch movies have been with James and Rusty. James laughs really loud and Rusty gets frightened way too easy. But, both of them look at me when they react to something during a movie. It’s adorable.

    Happy Birthday James; thank you for being one of the best friends a strange little man could ever ask for. You’re neat.

  • http://twitter.com/instanthunter Sean Hunter

    Favorite. Article. Ever!

    I’m going with my fall back favorite film- I’M NOT THERE.

    It’s not a perfect film nor do I expect all people to fall in love with it but I am magically and deeply connected to the film. Bob Dylan speaks to me in a way that no other person ever has and seeing a film that captures that voice really astounds me.

    Happy Birthday, James. I’m jealous of your perpetual 5-O’Clock-shadow (usually only Don Draper can pull that off, but you give him a run for his money)

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  • http://twitter.com/iamveryaware Scott Hutcheson

    How about I just say how much I love James Wallace instead of my favorite movie. I love you little snuggle pants…yours always, Scott Hutcheson.

    PS Happy Birthday sir.

  • Todd

    Not sure what is my favorite movie of all time but I do know that James is an amazing man and I’m glad to know him.

  • http://twitter.com/BTSjunkie Brian Kelley

    THE BLOB (1988) is pretty much what shaped me into the little genre fiend I am today and, as such, is my favorite film. I still watch it 5 or 6 times a year.

    If I’m feeling more saucy when you ask me such a question I’m going to drop SUNSET BOULEVARD are on you, Norma Desmond being by far one of my favorite screen characters ever.

    Happy Birthday James!

  • Anonymous

    Great article! I loved that you mentioned GARDEN STATE so I’ll talk about that movie.

    It’s not my favorite all time, but it’s very high on the list. GARDEN STATE was the first movie I saw when I moved to Austin at the now closed Dobie Theatre, and I instantly fell in love with it, and it seems to get better every time I watch it. I think about GARDEN STATE whenever I think about how fortunate I’ve been since moving to Austin, and all of the amazing opportunities I’ve had, and even more amazing friends. James Wallace definitely has a part of both those things, by being the editor of this site and being so welcoming to me when I didn’t know anything about writing about movies, and for him just being an all around good guy. Happy Birthday dude!!!!

  • http://www.willschiff.com Will Schiff

    My favorite film of all time has got to be Federico Fellini’s film, 8 1/2. It’s a wonderful story with one of my favorite characters in all of cinema- Guido Anselimi. He’s a filmmaker who has become lost in himself, something I think we all do from time to time.

    James is on hell of a guy, one of cinema’s finest fans, and having him around raises our average level of hotness about three degrees.

  • http://twitter.com/sycordova Symon Cordova

    My Favorite film is THE FIFTH ELEMENT, I watched Star Wars growing up but when I saw THE FIFTH ELEMENT it was for me what Star Wars was to those who saw it in the 70′s. Now I am not saying that THE FIFTH ELEMENT is better or the same as STAR WARS, it just had such a huge impact on my at a young age that it is may favorite film.

    James, your a good dude.

  • Anonymous

    I won’t do my favorite film, but instead do the film that changed my film watching ways forever: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (1991). This was one of the first DVDs I ever owned and the movie I have seen most often. It’s a buddy cop film about two cops (Dolph Lundren and Brandon Lee) who unwillingly get partnered up in order to take down a Yakuza leader whose master plan is to smuggle drugs into the US in beer bottles (seriously). The film is full of ridiculous action and amazing one liners and it taught me the most important lesson I’ve learned in film watching: If you like a movie, then like it. Don’t listen to what anyone else has to say about what you SHOULD think is a good movie and what CAN’T be one.

    I feel like I have the same glasses that Roddy Piper does in THEY LIVE; apparently I’m the only one that can see SCHINDLER’S LIST for what it really is.

  • http://www.thebobbymiller.com bobbymiller

    Happy Birthday James!

    In the spirit of romance, “PUNCH DRUNK LOVE” is one of my favorite all time movies. In fact, it may be my favorite movie. I saw it 3 or 4 times when it came out in theaters. I bought the soundtrack instantly. Then, the DVD. I remember even seeing it in a little college auditorium screening…alone…on Valentine’s Day many years ago.

    For me, personally, it’s the most romantic film ever made.

    My intro to critic Karina Longworth was actually her article on the film:

    She ends it with a quote from Anderson, taken from around the time it came out:

    “Punch-Drunk Love” is, as Anderson concedes, the first film he has made that is entirely his. “This one came from my stomach,” he says, laying a hand on his abdomen. “It’s referenceless. When you start out, you latch onto other movies, other styles, to help you get across what you’re trying to say. But this one is mine somehow — all mine.”

    I think because of this, “Punch Drunk Love” is a film you either passionately love or don’t care for at all. I feel lucky to be in the former camp.

  • http://twitter.com/JeremyKKirk Jeremy Kirk

    Growing up in a small town in Illinois has always been a bridge for me to loving John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. After a couple of hundred times sitting through it, it can’t not be my favorite. To this day, it never fails to frighten me in some capacity. So, I guess what I’m saying is, James, for your birthday, I like to recollect the times I have been scared. I’m not sure what the correlation is there, but there you have it.

    Happy birthday, sir. Here’s hoping you find every bit of happiness that exists out there for you.

  • http://twitter.com/isavedlatin89 Josh Brunsting

    Amazing article. Happy birthday James!!! :D

    As far as my favorite film, it is, without a doubt Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. It’s everything that I look for in pure art and pure cinema. Full of life. Full of energy. Utterly enthralling. Great performances. And has a singular voice, unlike anything else that you’ll see. There is absolutely nothing like it. It truly changed my life. Love it.

    Hope you have the happiest of birthday’s Mr. Wallace. You help make GAndTheW the amazing family that it truly is. Simply put, you frakking rock sir.

  • https://gordonandthewhale.com allisonloring

    James and I share many things in common when it comes to movies – mainly our love of the music used in them and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Bridges. :)

    My favorite movie would have to be TOP GUN – and no, not for the iconic volleyball scene (although that was pretty great) or dreamy Tom Cruise (my dad looked just like him when I was growing up so that would just be weird) – because for a long time I wanted to be a fighter pilot and this movie was the reason why. I would watch it with my dad almost every Sunday while we cleaned the house and we would stop and stare at the TV every time a flight/fight scene came on. Maybe it was the heart pumping ’80s tunes from Kenny Loggins that caught my attention, but every time I have watched that movie since, I feel that “need for speed.”

    James – feel free to buzz the tower today – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  • http://www.teagivesmeglee.com TheJohnMulhern

    My favorite film is PULP FICTION. My introduction to this film really opened up my world to cinema. I have seen it hundreds of times and it never gets old. If it weren’t for PULP FICTION, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

    Aside the fact that it is a really great film, but if it weren’t for PULP FICTION (and the help of my best friend Kody) I never would have seen some of my other favorite films, like LEON for example. I can never give enough thanks to Tarantino and PULP FICTION.

    Happy birthday James, It’s been really awesome to be friends with you over the years. Whether it is through Improv, or through GATW. Happy Birthday!

  • Anonymous

    My favorite movie is The General – the kind of stunt work done by Buster Keaton could have seen him killed in so many various ways, but he makes it look easy. It’s the only movie I know that combines everything good about storytelling. Adventure, romance, comedy, drama, war, runaway trains, and those terrible moments where we have to hide under the enemy’s dinner table.

    And then steal a train back.

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  • http://magicianofoz.blogspot.com/ James C. Wallace II

    I didn’t realize I liked movies so much… I did minor in theater in college. My parents also called me Jamie. Go figure!!!
    BTW, my favorite movie is Yellow Submarine.

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