Big Movie Birthday: One Year With Jeff and Jimmy

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Photo: Peter Anderson

On any given Friday evening, Brewvies Cinema Pub is home to an eclectic blend of moustachio-brandishing hipsters and work-wearied middle-agers nursing their weekday woes on pool tables, cinema and delicious beverages. Nestled into this homey environment one will likely also find Jimmy Martin and Jeff Vice, hosts of Big Movie Mouth-Off on Xfinity, enjoying a couple of drinks and recording the latest episode of their movie reviewing TV show. In between recording an episode of the show and a segment of their podcast, Martin and Vice sat down to talk movies, Brewvies and their one-year anniversary of being the edgiest film review show around.

SLUG: After so many years of working individually, why did you decide to pair up and create Big Movie Mouth-Off?
Martin: We are actually sitting right where the idea started, here in Brewvies. We were at a movie night for The Geek Show Podcast and we started going at it about some movie.  Our producer Bryan Young said, “Why aren’t we recording this?” Around town there are a few other TV shows that are film-based, but honestly I think they’re really boring. Most of them don’t even review. I think it’s more of a celebrity pat on the back.
Vice: A celebrity hand job. I won’t mince words. Glad-handing is fine, but don’t pretend you’re a movie reviewer.
Martin: When I watch a movie like Little Fockers, I’m not going to have Robert De Niro come out and shake his hand and say good job on ya. I’m sorry.
Vice: No, I’d like to slap him and say, “Get back to your Oscars, you asshole. How much money is enough money, Robert De Niro?”
Martin: Ben Stiller needs to be punched in the stomach.   
Vice: And the testicles.

SLUG: In your opinion, what makes a good movie?
Martin: God, for me, acting is one of the greatest elements that can make or break a film. I mean, you can have a beautiful script, and then Ben Stiller will walk on set and you go, “Well, that’s screwed.”
Vice: A really bad score can ruin a film for me. The occasional overbearing tell-you-how-to-feel-in-every-scene score.
Martin: Especially when it’s in lyric form. “I’m crying.” Really? Are those tears coming down your face? Oh, ok. As much as I love him to death, John Williams’ scores can overbear everything. I love him, but…
Vice: …but he’s not subtle.

SLUG: Why is the focus of the show on “Big Movies” rather than indie movies or art house movies?
Vice: Partially it’s because of the market we’re in. By the time most of the indies and art house films come along, they’ve already played in the major cities, so if we were to shop the program outwards, our reviews for those films would be dated. And that’s not to slight Salt Lake, which has a thriving art house community. Kudos to the Broadway and Tower folks, especially. In those dry months like August and January, it’s the art house stuff that keeps me afloat.
Martin: On a lot of the episodes, we have two major releases sandwiched with an independent one in the middle. We definitely cover all spectrums.

SLUG: What do you love about being a film reviewer? What do you hate?
Martin: I can’t just sit down and enjoy a film anymore. I’m always sitting there with my little gavel out going, “No!” I’ll just see things and think, “Now, why’d you do that?” I remember when I was a kid and could just sit there, feet propped up, with a smile on my face whether it sucked or not. When I started getting into the art behind it … It’s kind of like seeing the magician’s trick and then seeing, “Oh his sleight-of-hand sucks.”

: Are there any enhancements or changes you’re planning for the future?
Martin: I think the biggest thing is we want more and more people to find out about it. Salt Lake is a very film-friendly town. We’ve been accepted by a lot of people with open arms. I couldn’t be happier about it. If you’d told me a year ago that this would explode the way it did, I wouldn’t have believed it.
Vice: You could make us prettier. I’m still trying to figure out which is my pretty side.
Martin: You don’t have one.
Vice: Look who’s talking.
Martin: Shit.

You can find Big Movie Mouth-Off episodes on Xfinity’s On-Demand or on YouTube. Be sure to “Like” the Facebook page to get free passes to movies, special interview footage and word about future events. With a year under their belt, and nothing but growth ahead, Vice and Martin are planning a big, one-year bash at Brewvies. The date has yet to be announced.

Photo: Peter Anderson Photo: Peter Anderson