If you follow Shea Serrano on Twitter, or have flipped open one of his books, you're well aware of his style. If not, you're in for a treat with his latest project "Movies (And Other Things)" (Twelve, $25).
If you need to know just a few things about Shea: He's a Spurs fan, he loves rap and he's watched a ton of movies. The former middle school teacher and San Antonio, Texas, native never envisioned a career in writing. "Movies (And Other Things)" is Serrano's third book and fourth project with illustrator Arturo Torres. The two teamed up for New York Times bestsellers "The Rap Yearbook" and "Basketball (And Other Things)," and also produced an e-book about "The Office" called "Conference Room, Five Minutes."
Their latest is not a definitive history of movies, or anything close to it. It's quite literally a book about movies with a strong emphasis on the (and other things). It's 30 delightfully engaging chapters of not serious questions written quite seriously. Serrano digs deep to consider the dinosaur in the Jurassic World series: were the raptors just misunderstood? He compares tough-guy dog owners, ranks movie villains by which would be the best hang and breaks down who "gets it the worst" in the Kill Bill series.
Serrano recently chatted by phone about movies (and many other things).
What was your inspiration for the project?
With "Movies (And Other Things)," every chapter is a different question that are separate of each other but make sense when they're read altogether. It allows me to really just lean in to the stuff I like without covering the stuff you don't, because you're not presenting these books as like the history of basketball or the history of movies. It's like, here's some [stuff] that I thought was fun.
You've written a book about rap, a book about basketball, an e-book about "The Office" and now a book about movies. Is that a pretty accurate representation of things you like and are passionate about?
Yeah, that's pretty good. I really like rap, I really like basketball, I really like movies and I really like TV. So I'm just gonna keep on doing (stuff) that I like until somebody tells me I have to do a real job.
OK, let's do some rapid-fire movie questions. What is the most rewatchable rom-com?
"My Best Friend's Wedding." I think that's the pinnacle of the form right there. You've got Julia Roberts, who's the greatest rom-com star that's ever been. You have this really fun premise of like if we're not married by this point, we're going to get married. And then Dermot Mulroney finds his soon-to-be wife and has to decide between Julia and Cameron Diaz. And how do you pick between one of these two? You've got the singing montage, the moment on the boat where it's like, "Ah, just tell each other you love each other!. You've got the chase scene at the end where he goes "Who's chasing you?" Ah, it's so good.
What Pixar movie made you cry the hardest?
I had tears coming down my face in a real way was the end of "Toy Story 3." When they're sitting in the trash, heading toward the incinerator. They're not going to make it and they're all just sitting there and they hold each other's hand and they're looking at death and it's like, this is it. This is the end. We are accepting our fate. … I remember watching that and feeling so helpless. Like "How can they let this happen? How can this be the end for Woody? How can it end this way?"
Is there a movie that would be made instantly better with a French bulldog in it?
Every movie. But especially the "Jurassic World" movies. Put a dog in there? I'm in. Dogs and dinosaurs. The dogs can't die, though. The dog has to make it.
Your first chapter is about dogs. You have a French bulldog. It's very cute. Is your next endeavor going to be "Bulldogs (And Other Things)"?
I'm already working on it. Just 266 pictures of my dog. It's probably going to sell more copies than all the other ones.
If you could write and direct your own movie, what would it be about?
It's gonna be called "White Men Still Can't Jump." I'm bringing Woody [Harrelson] back, I'm bringing Wesley [Snipes] back. I'm gonna have Gina Rodriguez in it. Rosie Perez is coming back. And I'm going to add Michael Pena. And I don't know what the new roles are going to be, but it's gonna make the movie even better.