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.
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.
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.