A film geek at heart, Joe Shearer‘s love of cinema began in the drive-ins of Ft. Bragg, N.C., in the early 1980s, then Indianapolis theaters in the mid-to-late ’80s, cutting his teeth on films like “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Hellhole,” “Chopping Mall,” “Brewster’s Millions,” “Red Sonja” and “D.A.R.Y.L.” His geekdom was cemented in 1989 at age 11 when he saw Tim Burton’s “Batman” on opening night, kicking off a weekend-long marathon of film where he and his dad watched a total of 15 movies between Friday evening and Monday evening. Shearer began reviewing movies for INtake Magazine in April 2004 and wrote weekly reviews as the magazine shifted to Indy.com the Magazine, until November 2008. In 2009, Shearer and Christopher Lloyd created The Film Yap, looking to create a permanent, high-quality movie review presence for Central Indiana. In the real world, Joe works as a marketing writer and freelance writer, having written for publications such as Indianapolis Monthly, the Indianapolis Star, Lifestyle for Men, MovieMaker Magazine, Trap & Field, Servo and North, and maintained a parenting blog at Indy Parent Source and a parenting column for the weekly Current in Noblesville. Joe is a resident of Noblesville, Indiana, and is married with three children, all of whom he has immersed in moviedom, to his glee and his wife’s eternal consternation. Joe is the voice behind The Film Yap on Twitter @TheFilmYap.
Christopher Lloyd was born and raised in Orlando, Fla., loving movies. During high school, he worked at the same cinema where he saw “Star Wars” as a small boy. Over the course of the summer of 1986 he watched “Aliens” nearly 100 times, and had all the moments when the audiences’ heads snapped back in surprise timed down to the minute. After transferring to several different colleges, he set his sights on a career in film journalism. He received a B.F.A. in Cinema Studies at New York University, and a M.S. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Twice he took a year off from school to earn money to continue his education, returning to his old movie theater as a manager. During the second hiatus he also wrote movie reviews for a small Orlando suburban weekly. Upon graduation from Medill, his first attempt at paid journalism was an article on the film comedies of Adam Sandler for Orlando’s alternative newspaper, which earned a $25 kill fee when they refused to run it. Lloyd eventually got a position at a small weekly (later daily) newspaper in Lady Lake, Fla., writing mostly political news but making a weekly three-hour trek down to Orlando for press screenings of new films. This trend continued when he worked for the Star-Banner a few miles north in Ocala, first as a political reporter and later entertainment editor. After 10 years of making the journey to Orlando to review movies, Lloyd still believes he could make the drive blindfolded. In 2005, he was appointed entertainment editor at The Indianapolis Star, and later became an arts & entertainment reporter, always writing occasional film reviews. In April 2008, he began reviewing movies on a freelance basis for a few client newspapers, chiefly the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. In 2009, he partnered with Joe Shearer to launch TheFilmYap.com. Lloyd is currently senior copywriter / editor for an Indianapolis marketing and PR firm, freelancing and blogging on the side. He lives in Carmel with his wife, Jean, sons Joel and Cameron, and hyperactive poodle. Follow him on Twitter @ChristopheLloyd
Joe Donohue has been in love with movies for as long as he can remember. He can remember being about 8 or 9 and begging his mom if he could watch horror movies. Donohue would plead with her, “But this one doesn’t have any nudity.” It was the thrill of being scared and the awe of how real these fictional monsters appeared that made Donohue fall in love with cinema. While horror is Donohue’s preferred genre, he hasn’t limited himself. Like any good film connoisseur (his way of saying “geek”), Donohue spreads the wealth around. He’ll always have a spot in his heart for the story of a nearly incestuous farm boy with a greater destiny, the lovable fedora-wearing, snake-hating archaeologist, and the double-O agent who has more gadgets than the Dark Knight himself. Donohue’s obsession continued to grow as he worked and practically lived at the local movie theater and it carried over to his years at Indiana State University. After graduating with a degree in Radio-TV-Film, Donohue moved to Austin, Texas, with a fellow movie connoisseur to attempt to do anything that had to do with movies. While that venue didn’t work out entirely, it has only fed his desire to work in movies and Donohue continues to try other venues in hopes to one day to achieve his dream. When Donohue isn’t losing himself in movies, he is nose deep in whatever comic book or graphic novel he can get his hands on. Donohue is also lucky enough to have a wonderful wife who supports him in his dreams but helps keep him grounded and amazing kids to keep him on his toes.
While Evan Dossey was pursuing his anthropology degree at Ball State University, he interviewed Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s daughter. She told him he has beautiful brown eyes. She wasn’t lying. He has enjoyed film for as long as he’s enjoyed anything. He can still remember watching “Return of the Jedi” when he was 3 years old. The story largely went over his head at the time, but he recalls an affinity for Luke’s stylish green lightsaber blade. In addition to his Yap work, Dossey has also contributed panel coverage to www.comicbookresources.com. He has no desire to ever watch “Cold Mountain” ever again. When not watching and reviewing films for the Yap, Dossey can be found in Indianapolis on warm summer nights, swinging his Luke Skywalker Force FX lightsaber around, providing his own unnecessary, supplemental “whooshings.”
Caine Gardner’s first memory was watching the opening crawl of “Star Wars: A New Hope” disappear into the night sky at the Meadowbrook Drive-In on U.S. 36 when he was 4 years old. From that moment, he was hooked. In addition to the Holy Trilogy, Gardner grew up enjoying the fruits of ’70s and ’80s cinema such as “Jaws,” “Rain Man” and “The Deer Hunter.” Guilty pleasures also occupied much of time, such as “Howard the Duck,” “Creepshow” and “Mannequin.” (Kim Cattrall was so hot.) Gardner became film-reviewer extraordinaire for the Greencastle Banner Graphic in April 2008. In addition to writing film reviews, he is also the newspaper’s sports editor. Trivia: In his youth, Gardner received a reel-to-reel version of the original “Star Wars” and viewed it more than 200 times in a large closet with no sound. Gardner lives in lives in Greencastle, Ind., and is married with two beautiful daughters and a psychotic Jack Russell Terrier named Padmé.
Mo Hammond graduated from Ball State with a Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2007. He currently works with underprivileged kids in the Indianapolis area. In his free time, he likes to Yap about movies. Some of his childhood favorites are “The Neverending Story,” “Problem Child,” “The Goonies,” “Adventures in Babysitting” and “Ghostbusters.” Hammond’s whole perspective on movies changed when he saw “American Beauty” during his freshman year of high school. When Kevin Spacey’s character looks at Mena Suvari’s character for the first time in the gym, everyone disappears and it’s only the two of them … that’s exactly how he felt — him and the movie. It was a borderline religious experience. (Hammond knows you’re rolling your eyes and hopes you’ll forgive his dramatics.) At that moment, though, he began to appreciate movies for their cinematography and writing in addition to being merely entertained. Hammond’s favorite directors are Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese and the Coen Brothers (save for “Barton Fink,” because Hammond says he will never understand that movie). His favorite movies of all time are “Pulp Fiction,” “Vanilla Sky,” “American Beauty,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “After Hours,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” … really, the list goes on and on. Hammond also loves a good comedy, although he think it’s one of the hardest genres to critique. Hammond loves “the movie experience,” and owns more than 1,000 movies. He also frequents IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes more than a normal person uses Wikipedia.
Joshua Hull grew up addicted to comic books, cinema and all things horror. One of his earliest film memories is eating steak while watching “Jaws.” Of course, 6-year-olds don’t appreciate steak or killer shark movies, so for years he only knew “Jaws” as the movie during which he ate delicious red meat. A few years later, he met Michael Myers and his life changed.
Hull grew up in Pendleton, Indiana, with six siblings and where he’d spend every weekend at the small mom-and-pop video store Video to Go. He and his sister would go on to rent every horror VHS they had. Eventually, Hull developed a taste and a hunger that Video to Go couldn’t fulfill anymore. He didn’t just want to rent movies, he wanted to make movies!
Hull spent the majority of high school writing movie scripts instead of focusing on school work. Algebra? Hull wrote a scene where a werewolf eats someone. He ate them while you were teaching math.
In 2010, Hull directed the office zombie comedy “Beverly Lane,” which received attention from Ain’t It Cool News, Nerdremix.com, Bloodsprayer.com and more. It landed on multiple year-end best-of lists and took home multiple festival awards. Hull also won the “Filmmaker On The Rise Golden Cob” award from the B Movie Celebration and was named one of Dread Central’s “Indie Directors to Watch.” Hull’s follows-ups include superhero action comedy “The Impersonators” and the slasher comedy “Chopping Block.”
Hull has also written for killerfilm.com and bloodsprayer.com and has contributed articles to multiple horror blogs. He’s married, he’s a father and he’s still very much addicted to comic books, cinema and all things horror. Find him on twitter @joshuathehull
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Ben Johnson’s love affair with movies began at age 4 when he first saw “Star Wars” at the dearly departed Eastwood Theater. Seeing that Star Destroyer cruise overhead in the opening scene still gives him chills to this day. He saw the movie (and Sir Alec Guinness starring as his namesake, Ben Kenobi) at the Eastwood a total of nine times during its initial run, and thus his fate as a lifelong movie geek was sealed. A product of the ’80s cable TV boom, Johnson’s childhood was filled with Spielberg and Lucas but he soon came to love and appreciate all genres of film, from spaghetti westerns to film noir to documentary to sci-fi and everything in between. Some of his favorite films include “Casablanca,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Almost Famous,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Matrix,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “American Beauty,” “Office Space,” “In Bruges,” “Ghostbusters” and “12 Angry Men.” Johnson graduated from IUPUI in 2003 with a B.A. in English and has since worked as a writer, editor and instructional designer. Since 2006, he has been working in distance education as Online Course Coordinator at the IU School of Nursing. Outside of the three years prior to college he worked at a local movie theater, The Film Yap is Ben’s first foray into serious film criticism.
Aimée MacArthur has been obsessed with movies since childhood, thanks to her parents and brother who are also movie fans. She remembers fondly when she was a kid and her family waited in lines that stretched around the block for mega blockbusters like “Star Wars” and “Superman.” Her favorite movies run the gamut, but include epics like “Gone With the Wind,” “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II.” She’s especially a fan of independent films, classics (Hitchcock films in particular, but really anything on Turner Classic Movies) and does really appreciate a good “frat pack” comedy like “Old School,” “Step Brothers” or “Pineapple Express.” MacArthur was born in Massachusetts, spent some of her childhood in Georgia (perfecting a great-sounding “y’all.”) and has lived in the Indianapolis area most of her life (with stints in Louisville, Kentucky and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida). She attended college at Bellarmine University in Louisville, where she continued her appreciation for all things southern and her love of movies. MacArthur also writes the lifestyle blog, “Indianapolis Amy” and is a regular blogger for Visit Hendricks County and Fun City Finder. Her writing has appeared in the Broward / Palm Beach New Times and Visit Indiana’s “Indiana Insider’s Blog,” and her blog and photography has been featured in The Indianapolis Star. You can find Aimée on Twitter @IndianapolisAmy or at her blog Indianapolisamy.com.
Patrick Mitchell is an IUPUI grad with a BA in Communication Studies and Film Theory. He works at New Hope of Indiana as a mentor for autistic individuals as well as working part-time at a health food store. He’s a cinema nerd at heart, especially when it comes to the horror genre. Hence, you will find a majority of his posts residing firmly in the Schlock Vault. He also loves anything with Charlie Chaplin, Ed Norton or Sylvester Stallone in it. In terms of directors Mitchell celebrates the works of Jarmusch, Kubrick, Carpenter, Coppola, Kurosawa and Cronenberg, among others. Some of his favorite horror movies include “Re-Animator,” “The Sentinel,” “Return of the Living Dead” and “Gigli.”
Andy Ray always enjoyed movies, but first realized that film could qualify as art when he saw a midnight showing of Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.” At DePauw University, Andy majored in communication, taking classes in film history and film critique. He was president of DePauw’s Classic Film Society his senior year, and was instrumental in bringing “A Clockwork Orange” to campus.
Professionally, Andy reviewed films on several small-town Indiana radio stations and newspapers during the 1980s, but then put that interest on the proverbial back-burner to raise a family and concentrate his efforts on his “real job” – a manufacturer’s representative in the industrial heating industry. More recently, Andy has reviewed films for the Current In Carmel weekly newspaper, and now reviews for Arts Channel Indy. He has a wealth of knowledge about “adult” films (and he doesn’t mean porn!) and can intelligently converse on any Oscar season’s best pictures (and worst Oscar selections).
He’s also active in the St. Luke’s United Methodist Chancel Choir, the ACLU of Indiana and the Central Time Coalition, a grassroots effort to restore all of Indiana to the Central Time Zone. He’s also a local coordinator for Foreign Links Around The Globe, an organization that sponsors foreign exchange students. Andy and his wife have hosted a total of four exchange students over the years. Their three children are, respectively, a law-school student, a registered nurse, and a soon-to-be mechanical engineer.
An Illinois native and award-winner both for film criticism and feature writing, Nick Rogers began his professional career in 1995 at age 16, as a sports stringer for The Journal-Standard — a daily newspaper in Freeport, Illinois. That progressed into reviews of theatrical and home-video releases and helping create the Community page — a compilation of news from surrounding small towns much like the one Rogers grew up in. (Lanark. Population: 1,500. Closest movie theater: 20 miles away. Number of stoplights in the county: One, and that took quite some time.) Rogers continued to review films for The Journal-Standard until 2000. While studying journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rogers reviewed films for buzz magazine — a weekly entertainment supplement to The Daily Illini, the university’s student newspaper. He eventually became the movies section editor, executive editor and, in his senior year, editor-in-chief. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2001, Rogers freelanced as a features reporter for the Chicago Tribune and the Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.). In 2002, Rogers was hired as the arts & entertainment editor at The State Journal-Register, a daily newspaper in Springfield, Illinois. There, he directed, edited and wrote coverage of film, popular and classical music, theater, visual arts, dance and electronic entertainment. His work was nationally syndicated through Copley News Service and, later, GateHouse News Service, and his film reviews from that time — as well as those for The Film Yap — are archived at Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rogers earned first-place honors from the Illinois Press Association for Best A&E Section and from the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors for Best A&E Commentary. After almost six years on that beat, Rogers became the paper’s features editor. He left the newspaper in September 2008 and moved to Lafayette, Ind. Currently, he is the communications coordinator for Purdue Extension. Since 2009, he has been a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. Rogers also maintains a diverse freelance portfolio in journalism and content marketing. He writes regularly for other departments at Purdue University — both for the College of Liberal Arts and Purdue Convocations — and has written for PlayboySFW, a safe-for-work online hub for arts & culture writing. He also handles communications and content marketing for From Frank, a nationally available greeting-card and gift line headquartered in Lafayette. Additionally, he earned first-place honors in 2013 for Best Headline Writing from the Hoosier State Press Association for his freelance work at the Journal & Courier, Lafayette’s daily newspaper. As comfortable defending “Deep Rising” as he is blasting “Babel,” Rogers has vast opinions on, knowledge of and love for film that has generated plenty of feedback in his wake. Follow him on Twitter @nickrogers79
If there was an AA-type program for film addicts, Sam Watermeier would have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the meetings. Watermeier has loved movies since he can remember. As a child, he lived at the magical, candy-colored multiplex, drooling over movies as if they were sacred writ. In junior high, Watermeier discovered the film writing of Roger Ebert and Owen Gleiberman. The brilliant way they showed how films reflect the times inspired him to write about film. In high school, Watermeier became a film critic for the Carmel High School HiLite. After graduating, he sent his portfolio to NUVO Newsweekly just for kicks and giggles. He’s been interning there ever since, writing movie reviews and profiles of local filmmakers. Check out his work at www.nuvo.net. His top 10 favorite films are: “The Matrix” (a movie and a film — the perfect blend of popcorn entertainment and provocative philosophy), “E.T.,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “The Godfather,” “GoodFellas,” “Fargo,” “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” “Collateral,” “Knife in the Water” and “Scream.”
Lauren Whalen‘s obsessive moviegoing habit started when she saw “Annie” at age 2 and got worse after she stumbled upon IMDb.com during a bout with insomnia in college. Whalen is proud to serve as the Chicago branch of The Film Yap, and when she’s not at the movies, she’s reviewing plays all over the city and suburbs as a theater and dance critic for Chicago Theater Beat. She was a huge nerd in high school, but is learning that, like a fine wine, nerdiness gets better with age.