words: Michael Brooks
Snow Roller, the Portland trio comprised of Collin Kritz, Sarah Hall, and Nathan Tucker are gearing up for the release of their new album Y2K, out September 28th via Near Mint/Slang Church, and we’re honored to premiere the albums second single “Bus 23”. The band’s forthcoming LP is their most straightforward album yet, stripping everything down to their bare essentials—Kritz’s unfussy guitar leads, Hall’s thumping bass lines, and Tucker’s resilient drumming—bringing to mind cult classics like These Are Not Fall Colors, Lync’s first and only studio album, or The Problem with Me, slowcore pioneers Seam’s first album on Touch and Go records. “Bus 23” is essentially built of two parts, the highly combustible and frantic first half and the slow and steady second half, where Kritz and Hall trade off vocal duties. Hall is a great addition to the band, her vocals are serene and bubbly, adding a slight notion of optimism to Kritz’s millennial-angst. The dichotomy of all these things are what make Snow Roller such an exciting band; you never know in what direction things are going to end up.
I spoke with Collin Kritz about his favorite thing other than making music, action movies.
The Grey Estates: So I know that you’re a bit of a cinephile, especially when it comes to 80s and 90s action movies. What is about those movies in particular that’s so appealing to you?
Snow Roller: The only genre of film I could even call myself a cinephile for would be 80s and 90s action films and they often times are so trashy and so intended for mainstream audiences that cinephile doesn’t feel like it should apply to the genre haha.
I have trouble exactly pinpointing why I adore action films of the era until I watch modern action films, like the newest Avengers for instance. The filmmakers have backed themselves into a corner by not being able to make the stakes any higher, so now they’re forced to have an omnipotent villain, and that carries absolutely no weight. Or The Dark Knight, there’s so much unnecessary grit and melodrama that it isn’t fun anymore. Bloodsport, Cliffhanger, and Blade are just pure fun. They all star, what I consider to be, a gross, patriarchal American man (definitely to their detriment haha) that has fallen off his horse in some capacity and has to get back on which is always fun to watch some else’s struggle to succeed. Also, something about Reagan, Bush and Clinton era American exceptionalism, nationalism and culture makes these movies absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable in any capacity but guiltily fun to watch. I can’t relate to any of the characters, but it acts as a good way to escape the dark times we live in for me.
I think that movies are a perfect escape from reality. Personally, I love going to the movie theatre just because it’s a place where I’m forced to be away from my phone for two hours. Why don’t you think we’re getting as many great action films as we used to?
I recently saw Roadhouse in the theater and it was one of my favorite movie experiences of my life and I had already seen the movie upwards of 5 times. So I agree. Everything has to have a gigantic mass appeal. Low to medium budget movies don’t really get theatrical releases anymore. There has to be some kind of brand recognition, like Marvel movies with characters we recognize or rebooting an old series like Star Wars. So many people are familiar with them that they can’t fail.
Also, I blame CGI. Practical effects win every single time. The head falling off in The Thing, the bus jumping the gap in Speed or even the injuries in Terminator 2—they all look great even if they’re just stop motion. I can’t stand how every scene in Deadpool is CGI, it’s cartoonish. Oh, also The Fly. Compare Jeff Goldblum’s transformation costume to any modern day CGI character and you realize how embarrassingly off the mark modern filmmakers are.
Are you a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise? I think those movies are a blast from start to finish. To me, they embody a lot of my favorite qualities of old Sylvester Stallone or Bruce Willis movies, but still feel modern. There are guys like Tom Cruise or Matt Damon who have been in plenty of great action movies, but Vin Diesel feels like he’s cut from the same cloth as those guys back in the day.
Yeah. It’s funny you ask about that because I do really like those movies. It’s a little over the top that The Rock and Vin Diesel both have it in their contracts that they can’t lose a fight (it’s real, rewatch the last two) so you do get the feeling that the ‘match is fixed’ early on but they’re still insanely fun.
But the xXx series is really where it’s at. The second one (xXx: State of The Union) is meh, but xXx: Return of Xander Cage is probably my favorite new movie experience in a theater. I saw it with our drummer Nathan, Isaac and Fred of Strange Ranger, and our respective partners and every one of us left the theater with ear to ear smiles. HE WALL RIDES A MOVING BUS ON A LONG BOARD. Need I say more?
If someone was looking to get into the genre, what would you recommend as a starting spot?
I have two answers. Bloodsport because Jean-Claude Van Damme is such a character, but he makes it fun to root for him (he couldn’t be more two dimensional as a good guy) and also the Rocky series. The first Rocky is a ‘classic’ and a ‘good film’ but Rocky III and IV are way better. The training montages against Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago are unreal. He’s never the underdog, but Stallone is great at tricking you into thinking he is.
One last thing, Keanu Reeves is the best, most consistent action star. I need to make that clear. He’s actually a good guy, does a lot of his own stunts, and his fight scenes usually have minimal cuts/edits.