For years senior Dan O’Sullivan’s film reviews have graced the pages of The Argus, as he critiqued pop culture gems and hilarious failures you wanted to go see but never had the time. He’s cool with Terry Gillam, and that makes him cool with us. O’Sullivan took a few moments to answer some questions for The Argus before he sails off into that post-graduation sunset.
Argus: There’s an urban legend about you and Terry Gillam. Is there any merit to that story, and if so could you recount it for our readers?
Dan O’Sullivan: Here’s what happened: after I wrote an awe-struck review of Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, The Argus forwarded me an email apparently sent to them by the administrator of the movie’s website, the gist being: Terry Gilliam liked your review of his movie, so good job dude. I would like to think this was a real thing.
A: How did you first become interested in film and how long have you been writing reviews?
DO: I was first drawn towards movies by a slightly unhealthy infatuation with slapstick comedy. I had a particularly passionate love affair with the astonishingly elastic Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker spoofs. Later on, I decided to put aside childish things and educate myself concerning the Artistic Type Cinema, which mostly meant watching Fellini movies and coming to the erroneous conclusion that they were just like my life. This led to my first, blessedly unfinished attempt at a film review; by some kind of exotic logic, I thought my high school newspaper would benefit from a lengthy meditation on “La Dolce Vita.” Writing about theater in high school, I discovered the usefulness of solemnly idiosyncratic adverb-adjective combinations and tried to find ways of charging descriptive text with subjective intensity. After coming to Wesleyan, two realizations especially encouraged me to take up movie reviews with more enthusiasm: that The Argus would print these reviews, and that there is a God.
A: What other areas of arts have you been involved with on campus?
DO: Mostly theater. Two years ago, I was in a wonderful silly play by David Mamet, “The Poet and the Rent,” directed by Dakota Gardner ’11, and I was the villain in the Melodrama, which was super fun. I’m in it again this year playing the season of Winter, who has a Russian accent apparently. I was Puck in a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Rachel Carpman ’10 and performed outside Russell House last year, which was beautiful, and I played several unpleasant people in the super-creepy “Machinal,” directed by Lila Becker ’12 in the fall. I got covered in blood in Brian Velsor’s senior thesis film this year. I also wrote and directed a play—not very well, unfortunately, though it was a cool experience.
A: I’ve heard from several people that you’ve got really great hair. Any comment as to that?
DO: I think my hair’s alright. Some people are fascinated by it. It is thick and unruly.
A: What’s your best Wesleyan memory?
DO: Learning that born-again Christians might be onto something during “Aging and the Elderly,” my only service-learning class, in which I was supposed to be serving a quietly devout man with multiple sclerosis but the reverse actually took place.
A: Now the scary question: What are your plans for after graduation?
DO: Right now, it’s looking a lot like the movie “Tiny Furniture,” only with less sexual immorality.