Ben: Damn Dad, do I really have to go see another movie? I've got a show to check out.
The LA Weekly ran this yesterday--an interview with Ben Lyons about hip-hop. I give these guys great credit--they spend a whole paragraph slamming Ben before they get to the interview. I doubt he will be linking to this over at the Lyons Den. The article begins:
Perhaps if Ben Lyons' movie chops were as obvious as his hip-hop track record, then sites like StopBenLyons.com wouldn't exist. Ever since the E! personality took the helm of the Siskel, Roper and Ebert's beloved At the Movies, Lyons has been berated with more thumbs down than a rookie gladiator in the Colosseum. Whether it's deriding his "frat boy good looks," MySpace photographs with the movie stars he's guarded with critiquing or calling I Am Legend "one of the greatest movies ever made," the critic's critics are numerous.
And while there are no judgments on his film reviewing prowess here, it's official that dude knows hip-hop. He's homies with world famous DJ Clinton Sparks. And working with Duck Down Records, a staple of New York's grimy true lyricism schism, carries a legitimate case of cred among "real" hip-hop heads. Of course, now that he's getting a little older, he's just trying to discover what's the hullabaloo over this Bruce Springsteen guy.
Reading the interview it is clear that his life's calling is listening to hip-hop and hanging out with cool people, with film coming in a distant third.
I hope nobody has a problem with Ben's interest in hip-hop, I certainly don't. And while there are several comments I am sure you can criticize--for example, "for me, Wu-Tang Clan is just the greatest story of, like, it's the American Dream in every weird way"--I was surprised how natural Ben seems in this interview compared to his prefabricated canned blurbs that he awkwardly strings together when he is talking about film. He actually seems like a guy who loves the hip-hop scene and knows what he is talking about. He even avoided mentioning Scene It? Box Office Smash.
He's so comfortable here, he even criticizes Ice Cube for not doing any decent acting since Three Kings--a far cry from his embarrassingly gushy interview with Kristen Stewart. But then you wonder why the hell he went to Sundance at all when he really wanted to be doing something else.
Finally, this article marks the first time that I know of that Ben has responded directly to the criticism of him:
Over the holidays, you, the critic, became part of the story, especially after the LA Times article. How'd you respond to that when word first came out about the story?
I was actually in Shanghai with some friends, celebrating New Year's Eve over there, my friend Clinton Sparks was DJing. It kind of put it all in perspective, when you see news like that in a foreign country with your friends, over the holiday and in a new year. I criticize people's work for a living and if they want to criticize me, then so be it. I love movies and it just comes with the gig, I suppose.
There is also a very bizarre story about Joaquin Phoenix, even more so than you would expect.
Read the entire interview with Ben Lyons here