Hey guys, my name is Vern, also known as Outlaw Vern. I have been writing about The Films of Cinema since 1999, reviewing movies on a crude Geocities thing that eventually became outlawvern.com. You may also know me from my stint reviewing mostly straight-to-video movies on The Ain't It Cool News or my book Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal (available from Titan Books).
Seagalogy is a good example of my philosophy of criticism. I love quality action movies as well as absurd low budget messes, and I like analyzing them with the same open mind and thoughtfulness we'd want for movies that are more valued by society. I try to have a sense of humor but also give respect to even the most lowbrow punchfest. I'm not afraid to champion movies and genres that others look down on, and I believe that any movie can have interesting themes worth exploring, even (especially?) the type of movie where a guy gets kicked in the balls and yells "My balls!"
Another good example: Antoine vs. Ninja, a.k.a. The 400 Death Blows, my side-by-side comparison of Francois Truffaut's five Antoine Doinel movies and Cannon Films' five American Ninja films. I see that series as a mission statement about broadening horizons to appreciate different types of art.
I believe I've been ahead of the curve on many issues. I was writing about the potential of direct-to-video-movies when they mostly starred Van Damme or Seagal and were rented from Blockbuster Video. I hyped up John Hyams, Isaac Florentine, Scott Adkins, Roel Reine and Gareth Evans before most of the better known internet writers knew of them. I wrote the world's first positive review of Universal Soldier: Regeneration. I dissected the problems of modern action clarity before "shakycam" was a term, and when it was unpopular to criticize Michael Bay and The Transformers. What I'm getting at is I don't just write about the same shit as everybody else. I forge my own path.
On outlawvern.com I usually review 4 movies per week. I specialize in action cinema, both new and old, but I throw in whatever else I get interested in. In October I traditionally dive into obscure slasher movies and in February the best picture nominees. I get great joy out of all of these and allow my knowledge of each type of movies to inform the others.
I also like to dig into a theme or a body of work for a longer series of reviews. I'm very proud of past series' such as RoboCop History Week, Lucas Minus Star Wars (a chronological study of every non-Star-Wars movie George Lucas produced), Kid 'n Play - 20 Years On Film: A Cinematic Legacy, Star Wars No Baggage Reviews , N.W.A Week, and my summer movie retrospectives. I lean toward the lowbrow, but I believe in trying to broaden the horizons of myself and my readers, and to build bridges between exploitation and art films. As I write this I'm working on a series that will weirdly zig zag between Golan & Globus and the French New Wave.
I do this work in the mornings and nights between working a regular (low paying) job, meanwhile trying to cook up new books (my novel Niketown is currently available, the horror-action hybrid Worm On a Hook is almost done, I have an action star study I'm itching to get started on). The generous support of patrons helps me to take days off from the day job to focus on what I believe is my true mission in life.
Here's the deal: I'm gonna keep reviewing movies, analyzing action and telling stories no matter what. It's what I do and you couldn't pay me to stop. But the less time I need to spend paying the bills the more I can dedicate to this work that I hope brings a little joy to people all around the world. So if you appreciate what I do and you happen to have the means to contribute, you can help me to create more for you.
As a racist oil worker once said after getting beat up in the movie On Deadly Ground (1994, d. Steven Seagal), "I need time to change." I need that but I also need time to write. If I can make it my regular source of income instead of my moonlighting activity I'll have more hours to put into this important scholarship that nobody else is gonna fuckin do. Books about Jean-Claude Van Damme or Brian Bosworth or somebody aren't gonna write themselves, you know.
So if you're down, join me in my mission to strive for excellence and become The Most Complete Writer In the World. I mean I'll still respect you either way but just keep it in mind please I'd really appreciate it.