Gordon and the Whale: One Year Later

Time flies when you’re havin’ a time. It’s been a little more than a year since GATW shut down. A wild, weird, and wonderful year. Someone up there likes us, because everyone seems to have moved on to bigger (and perhaps better) things. 

I reached out to the editors of GATW and asked them to update the good folks of the Internet on what they are up to these days (great news: nobody is dead). Below are sites and other wondrous places where you can find each of the GATW editors’ new and exciting adventures. And even though we’ve all moved on, we’ll always share this: we love movies deeply, passionately, unabashedly.

From GATW’s Managing Editor, Kate Erbland:

Since the departure of the Good Ship Gordon and the Whale one year ago, former Managing Editor Kate Erbland is now slinging words about cinema for Film School Rejects (as Associate Editor) and MSN Movies’ The Hitlist (as Contributing Writer). She has continued to cover a number of festivals, including Sundance, SXSW, LAFF, and AFI FEST and has penned additional reviews for Boxoffice Magazine. She’s still never walked out on a movie and doesn’t plan on starting anytime soon.

Kate is now a member of the Online Film Critics Society, Rotten Tomatoes, and Indiewire’s Criticwire.

From GATW’s Soundtrack Editor, Allison Loring:

Since the little ship that could, GATW, disbanded last year I have taken my music and film loving heart over to Film School Rejects and have been penning the column “Aural Fixation” which focuses on the use of music in film and has allowed me to interview some of my heroes – Clint Mansell, Cliff Martinez (twice!), and Nathan Johnson. Since becoming an official “reject,” I have also been able to continue covering some of my favorite film festivals from the Los Angeles Film Festival to AFI FEST to Sundance. And when I find myself with something to say on the television or female viewpoint side of things, I have found outlets through both Reel Vixen and Cineboobs. GATW was my first writing home and much like when you graduate from college, I have always felt like it gave me the skills, confidence, and relationships to help me take my love of music and film beyond conversations with friends to an ever growing forum out there on the interwebs.

Allison is now a member of Indiewire’s Criticwire.

From GATW’s News Editor, Joshua Brunsting

What a wild, and truly crazy, 365 days. The past year has been a big one for your faithful former News Editor, in that not only have things at my home The CriterionCast become even bigger than one could have imagined, but I’m now happily married! The old ball and chain and I tied the knot in early October, and it’s been great. As far as writing, this guy is still working hard at making Criterion Cast the home for fans of arthouse, foreign and classic cinema, reviewing the best current theatrical releases, new home video releases, while also digging through various outlets to review the best that cinema history has to offer. Also a member of the Online Film Critics Society, things are looking up. Only wish my GATW family could be part of it all. I miss them all, and I miss the readers. You guys made the long run I had on the site, and the long run the site itself made, some of the happiest times for me, and the entire crew. 

From GATW’s Senior Editor, James Wallace:

After reemerging from a month-long drunken stupor of sadness, binging on nothing but Jack Daniels, choco tacos and Golden Girls reruns, due to the unfortunate closing of Gordon and the Whale, I had to have my “phoenix from the ashes” moment. I knew I had to find new places to do all the things I loved doing at GATW - reviews, interviews, editorials, hosting live film-centric events. And however hard that was to imagine doing elsewhere without my GATW film family, I knew I had to move on if I wanted my passion to thrive and survive. And so I went out into the world, more experienced, more bearded, and hopefully a little bit wiser about the craft, to find new outlets. I ended up kind of bouncing around at a few sites like First Showing and Twitch Film - both of which I am honored to write the occasional thing for or do the occasional interview for, considering these are the very outlets we looked up to when we we’re growing Gordon and the Whale. I also found homes for my writing/interviews with a few local outlets, including the legendary Dallas Observer alt weekly and most recently Central Track, where as their newly minted staff film critic I am heading up a recently rolled out film section of the locally-focused lifestyle site (if there’s an outlet with a tight knit, encouraging group of writers open to new ideas and alternative content that fills that void left by GATW, CT is it). 

But with homes for my writing and interviews, that left one role as former Managing Editor homeless…and that was hosting live events, something I grew to love and took quite a bit of ownership in my days at GATW. And thus, I started IHeartCinema.net - a site that exists to connect movie lovers with cinematastic events (and other movie lovers) in their given cities. Just over a year old and now hosting advance screenings, Q&As, film festivals, and basically any live event related to film in over 15 cities and growing, it’s nice to have a site to call my own. 

However, no matter what I do and no matter who I go on to do things for, I will never forget that Gordon and the Whale is what started it all. And more importantly, I’ll never forget the memories we created, the amazing group of writers we got to create them with, all while hopefully having a few of you readers join us on our crazy journey atop a whale in this cinematic sea. Chase & Rusty taking a chance on a kid with stars in his eyes right out of college was truly life changing for me and I don’t know if I’d be in the same place I am now without Gordon and the Whale. And so I am eternally grateful.

I always said this about the site: if ever there was a real life version of The Goonies, for me, it was Gordon and the Whale. And Goonies never say die.

From GATW’s Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Chase Whale:

Once Team GATW decided to swim in new, different directions, I briefly worked as a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX. I now live in Los Angeles in an over-priced, small apartment where people defecate on the sidewalk within eyeshot (don’t believe the flimflam—L.A. is awesome!). You can currently find my written mumbo jumbo on Twitch Film, Next Movie, Film.com, Film Threatand We Got This Covered. Recently, I interviewed my childhood hero, Jean-Claude Van Damme, where he showed me his signature roundhouse kick. Bam. Kick. Pow. 

I also have a job managing social network portfolios for high-profile people. This job can only be described as “awesome.” I’m a *big, bad Hollywood guy now but still miss my Mama, friends, and family back in Texas. 

My film reviews can also be found on Rotten Tomatoes and Indiewire’s Criticwire

*shameless emotional exhibitionist 

From the GATW Archives: Spot GATW in JANE EYRE, get a signed poster by director Cary Fukunaga and actors Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender

Here’s the story (abridged version): we interviewed filmmaker Cary Fukunaga at SXSW ‘09 for his feature film, SIN NOMBRE. After the interview, I gave Cary a GATW sticker and he liked the logo so much, he signed a SIN NOMBRE poster promising he was going to put our sticker in his next film. Little did he know that his next film was going to be a period piece, but the man still stuck (get it?) with his word. Fukunaga emailed me on February 17th to let me know he did, in fact, put the GATW logo in JANE EYRE. He couldn’t use the actual sticker, of course, for obvious reasons, but he did put our logo somewhere in the film. He explained the difficulties of it and how he learned a valuable lesson: “never promise to put a sticker in your next film.”

As badly as I wanted to share the entire email (it’s full of nice things - Fukunaga is a wonderful man), I had to hold off so I could give our readers a chance at winning an autographed poster of JANE EYRE, signed by Fukunaga and actors Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. But our good friend Weston Green of MakingOf spotted the logo in the film during his first viewing of it. In an interview with Fukunaga the next day, Green brought up the logo’s presence in the film, and proceeded to gift Fukunaga with a number of items for use in his next film. It’s a hilarious interview, and is just another amusing part of one of the best GATW experiences we’ve had to date.

Here’s how we’re going to do the contest: 1) go see JANE EYRE and fill out the form below telling us where the GATW logo is in the film. Describe the scene as much as possible (who’s in it, what they’re doing, etc.). Also, watch the video below and tell us how many beanies the interviewer (the amazing Weston Green) gives Fukunaga. Deadline ends at 11:59 PM on April 1st. On April 2, we will select a winner via random drawing and notify them by email and announcing on the site. Good luck, movie lovers!

JANE EYRE opens Friday in NY and LA and expands wider on March 18th.

From the GATW Archives: Video Interview: IT MIGHT GET LOUD director Davis Guggenheim

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You may know who Davis Guggenhiem is. If you’re big into documentaries, than you’ve most-likely seen his Academy Award-winning film AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, which starred former Vice President Al Gore, who campaigned to spread knowledge about the issue of global warming.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Davis to talk about his new kick-ass rockumentary, IT MIGHT GET LOUD. The documentary focuses on the careers of three of the greatest live guitar players: Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge, and The White Stripes’ Jack White.

The interview runs a little long, clocking in at almost eleven minutes. Since Davis’ answers to my questions were so detailed and interesting, I didn’t want to cut anything out! I really enjoy doing interviews like this, because you can tell in his responses how much passion he put into this film. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW!

From the GATW Archives: TIFF 2010 Video Interview: IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY actress Emma Roberts

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Emma Roberts is everywhere.  She got her start alongside Johnny Depp in 2001’s BLOW, and as Nancy Drew in the big screen adaption NANCY DREW. Now she’s starring in films done by popular directors Joel Schumacher and Wes Craven.  If you look below, you’ll see directing team Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, the two who directed her in IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, a story about teenage suicide, love, and trying to figure it all out.

In this interview we talk all things FUNNY STORY and the awesome Queen/David Bowie dance number that happens in the film. 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW! 

Video Interview: Writer and Director Joe Cornish and Actor John Boyega talk ATTACK THE BLOCK

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This weekend, I need you to stop playing FIFA on Playstation and head to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. There’s an alien invasion movie opening, it’s called ATTACK THE BLOCK, and you must see it. Trust.

Set in the UK, ATB follows a group of misfite teenagers in South London who get the unfortunate luck of having to save their neighborhood from a pack of very, very hungry aliens. It’s sci-fi meets witty humor with a killer score by Basement Jaxx. It’s awesome meets badass.

Last week I sat down with writer and director Joe Cornish (left) and actor John Boyega (right) to discuss “Attack the Block.” Among the things we talk about in the interview, Cornish discusses the proces of nailing down the perfect creature design. Like me, Cornish has a heavy love for 80s sci-fi films like GREMLINS and CRITTERS. 

Also, advance apologies for the bulk use of white flashes during the interview; the tapes the interview was shot on were damaged, and I did my best make it look clean. Enjoy!

ATTACK THE BLOCK is playing exclusively at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar starting this Friday. Again, you must see it - it’s the best movie of the summer bruv, believe it.

Watch the interview on CultureMap.

Video Interview: Director Michael Rapaport talks BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST

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Michael Rapaport has really sweetened his life in Hollywood. I’ve been watching movies he’s co-starred in since junior high. It wasn’t until he headlined in the really underrated dark comedy Special that he showed the world the talent he carries.

That wasn’t enough for Rapaport as this year he premiered his directorial debut, the documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. No stranger to the hip hop community, Rapaport has worked on albums with Talib Kwali and the High & Mighty, and has appeared in numerous music videos.

Check out the video interview after the break, where we chat about all things Beats, Rhymes & Life, including the pressures of making a faithful documentary about the four guys in A Tribe Called Quest who’ve been through a lot together.

Watch the interview on CultureMap.

That'll Do, Whale: My thoughts on closing down Gordon and the Whale

If you read Gordon and the Whale, then you already know that next month will be our last month as a functioning daily website. I announced the news at 10 a.m.
Monday.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry — a lot — and listen to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” — on repeat. Luckily I had enough tissue to dry said tears and ice cream to not-quite-fill the emotional void when I clicked “Publish.”

For days following the announcement my Twitter, email, and Facebook were flooded with the most heartwarming and encouraging messages I’ll probably ever receive in my life. Turns out, our readers truly believed in the voices behind GATW and how we endeavored to shape the way people think about movies. They had faith in our honesty and passion in discussing all things film. It’s very touching to know that all the blood, sweat and tears spent on GATW has paid off.

Read the full article on Dallas Observer’s The Mixmaster.

A Whale of a Time: Saying goodbye to GordonandtheWhale.com

Well, this is the hardest article I’ll ever have to write, but it has to be done. Next month, Gordon and the Whale will be closing its digital doors as a daily website. You will be able to access our archived articles, but come August 31st, there will no longer be fresh content.

I know this may come as a shock, so let’s take a look back and celebrate how far GATW has come and discuss the future. I’m going to give you the abridged version because, well, hopefully most of you reading this have been following us for a long time.

Back in 2007, Rusty Gordon and I had an idea to start a website that would be based solely on us filming ourselves arguing over whatever movie we just saw. If you’ve ever been around Rusty and I together, you know our humor towards each other is both loving and morbid. I pitched this idea to my cousin, who went to school for web design, and he told me he’d build us a site if we were truly serious about the idea. All we needed was a name. Thus, GordonandtheWhale.com was born - a website that sounded like a children’s book but read like two guys who hated each other. It was all out of love, really.

Once the site got rolling, we’d see every film that opened on that Friday and would have our video or written reviews up by Sunday. It was expensive, but we did it because we loved it.

Then everything changed. We were discovered by a well-respected publicist in Dallas, TX. She enjoyed our wit, humor, and style and brought us on as press, meaning we’d get to see movies for free and before they opened. This allowed us to actually get our reviews up in a timely fashion. To add icing to that cake, we also started getting invited to do interviews with actors and directors coming to town - GATW’s very first was William Fichtner.

A few months later, studios started adding us to their press lists, and we eventually began sponsoring advance screenings, giving away passes. More interview opportunities with bigger talent started coming our way. It was pretty kick-ass and I thought that was what “making it” as a movie website was all about.


THE VERY FIRST RESERVED SEATING SIGN FOR GATW

Around Christmas of 2008, we brought on James Wallace; he was a bright and persistent young man and, to this day, I’ve never met anyone more passionate about film than him. When we brought on James, well, that’s when things started to really happen for us. Because of him, GATW eventually became studios’ largest sponsor for the Dallas-Fort Worth area - James gave us a visual presence behind all that wit and humor. He is the guy who loves being in front of a large crowd and can handle both hecklers and eager movie geeks.

We eventually attended our first film festival together - SXSW - and that’s when we discovered a whole other world of movie blogging.


GATW’S FIRST FESTIVAL TOGETHER

In April 2009, we brought on Kate Erbland (you can read Kate’s very first review HERE), who forever changed the way GATW would write. Since that April, Kate has copy edited almost every piece of work posted on GATW, making sure our grammar was correct and that we didn’t sound like complete idiots (half-idiots is okay by Internet standards). You see, Kate’s really smart and has a degree in English - I dropped out of college to chase this whole movie blogging dream and didn’t pay too much attention in school about grammar and punctuation, which was now a crucial part of my life.

Kate began writing reviews for us and eventually became our head film critic. Anyone who has steadily followed Kate’s film criticism career will agree that she can hold her own against any other online film critic working today. It was through her writing that I learned how to capture the feeling of fun in film criticism, whether it be positive or negative. Go ahead and take this time to read one of her reviews and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about - you’ll have as much fun reading it as she did writing. I suggest either STAR TREK orCLASH OF THE TITANS.

In 2010, I applied and got accepted into the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, I then later moved to Austin’s Austin Film Critics Association. By asking for advice and criticism on my work, I became a real writer. At the 2010 Austin Film Festival, I was on a film criticism panel with Dallas Morning News’ Chris Vognar, Film School Rejects’ Neil Miller,The New Yorker's David Denby, and the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan. I was beyond honored to be a part of this - it was one of the greatest moments of my life.

It wasn’t until James attended CineVegas (RIP) that the Internet started to pay attention to us. It was there that we got our first official EXCLUSIVE which major sites picked up. Soon after that, other news stories and original content began to show up on other websites.

In September 2009, James, Rusty, and I attended Fantastic Fest. We stayed in a tiny one bedroom hotel room with four other guys, and we had the best time of our lives. Life was pretty easy then. We’d use vacation time for festivals, see movies months before they were released, and dream about the day we could do this full-time.

And then another huge turning point happened in GATW’s career - we got accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. As nerdy as it was, I couldn’t decide which I was more excited about: getting accepted or being asked by Film School Rejects’ Neil Miller, Slash Film’s Peter Sciretta, and First Showing’s Alex Billington to room with them during the festival. Kate had covered the LA Film Festival before, but tail-ended Sundance with us. It was no longer just three misfit boys going together to festivals, but one damn talented girl was now fully a part of the bunch.

Kate eventually became a very integral part of GATW, helping James and I make huge decisions on how we would structure our site. We started getting people from all over the world wanting to write for us and finally had a large staff. Life got pretty awesome - through GATW I was able to cover the Toronto International Film Festival and Cannes (with News Editor Joshua Brunsting). GATW even had a sponsor who paid for Josh and my trip to cover Cannes. Holy shit. Where do you go after that?

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet about our site - mainly because it’s not my primary focus of this article - is our financial success, how we ran as a business and paid for festivals. You see, a large number of people see the cool things we get to do and immediately assume there’s a lot of money involved. Let me be the first to tell you - there’s not. With the exception of two festivals, we paid everything out of pocket. Hotels, plane tickets, and food money all came out of our personal bank accounts. At first it was okay - we had faith that one day GATW would be able to pay for it - but it eventually took a toll on everyone.

We did sign with a large ad revenue company, Gorilla Nation, but that financial success never came. We did make a little bit of money off the site, but not enough to pay the writers, or even the editors. Our money went to our server and that was that. After four years of doing some of the biggest and best things with GATW, James, Kate, and I decided it’s best to leave at its peak and pursue other career opportunities. Kind of like what Jerry Seinfeld did with Seinfeld - quit while we’re on top.

Trust me, this isn’t easy for anyone here. Letting go of this site is the hardest thing any of us could do, but if there’s a good time to let go, it’s right now.

Thank you all of the people who were consistent in their support of us throughout all of our trials and tribulations, the ones who believed in us, and the ones who helped carry us to the places we end up post-GATW life. I could name everyone individually, but the Academy would turn up the music and I wouldn’t be able to finish. The ones who I am speaking of, you know exactly who you are - I love you with all of my heart and you will forever be a large impact on my life. Thank you.

I will continue working in the film industry; look for that announcement soon. If you’ve been paying any attention to James Wallace on Twitter, you’ll notice he’s started his own site,IHeartCinema.net, which will fill the void of advance screenings and other sponsored film events that GATW hosted. As for Kate Erbland, well, I’m told she has a pretty groovy announcement coming soon. Check out the comments to see the rest of GATW’s staff members discussing where you can find their work.

This last paragraph is dedicated to my mother, who, since day one, believed I could take my idea of writing about movies online and turn it into something great, and everyone who was ever a part of GATW. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for shedding tears with me and fighting so diligently until the very end. You are the reason I got a taste of hope. Go forth and conquer, my friends.

GATW’s fearless leader and your friendly neighborhood movie geek,

Chase Whale

Below are some of my favorite photos captured in GATW’s career, quotes pulled from one of our reviews, and wonderful articles written about us. I am super-proud of everyone who helped me make this site possible.