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Author shares passion for ’90s movies through new book

Riley Webster was captivated by movies early in life, which led to a career in writing, producing and filming.

Webster shares his passion for movies each week in The Macleod Gazette through his column Movie Matters.

Now the Fort Macleod resident is sharing his enthusiasm with others through his new book Movies of the 90s.

Webster said in an interview he developed an early interest in movies.

“I honestly don’t remember ever not being obsessed with movies,” Webster said. “My first memory as a kid is seeing Beauty and the Beast in theatres, and the first time I watched the 1989 Batman movie, it was like the first time someone tastes ice cream. I was hooked instantly.”

“They just sent me on a journey somewhere else, I guess. I think that’s why kids latch onto Disney cartoons or sci-fi flicks like Star Wars at such an early age. Real life can be drab but a great movie can change your life.”

Little did Webster know as a youth that his interest in movies was shaping the direction his professional life would take.

After graduating from high school, Webster earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Regina.

“I just wanted to express my creativity somehow,” Webster said of his choice of studies. “Originally it was by making movies, then after a while it shifted to writing about and reviewing movies.”

Webster co-wrote and co-directed with Brian Miller the feature film Enclosed that won the Rising Star Award at the 2015 Canada International Film Festival.

Webster made two other feature films, Step Up To The West Side and Wandering.

At present, Webster runs the media company Downside Up Media and usually creates about 50 commercials every year for local companies.

“I’m so busy with my media company and being a stay-at-home dad to two lovely baby girls that my career in film is pretty stagnant,” Webster said. “I still write screenplays, but haven’t produced or filmed any since 2018. Part of writing the book was to help get some creative juices flowing, plus watching all those awesome ’90s movies was inspiring as well.”

Webster grew up watching 1990s movies so it was an easy choice for a book of reviews.

“I think it was the last decade of a certain kind of movie,” Webster explained. “2000 brought us X-Men, then 2002 was Spider-Man, and ever since Hollywood has been obsessed with big CGI-fueled superhero flicks that I think are getting dull. And independent films have shifted from twisted crime sagas to gritty slice-of-life dramas more focused on daily routines than plots. For anyone who loves these new trends, good for them, but I personally miss the audacious styles of the ’90s.”

Movies of the 90s runs 550 pages with reviews that represent Webster’s top 10 films of each year, along with about 50 randomly-selected movies from each year.

Webster’s father, Shawn, created hand-drawn illustrations that are featured throughout the book.

Webster said Movies of the 90s should resonate with a wide audience.

“Movie fans are the big ones, but also people who have some nostalgia for the ’90s, or are bored with recent movies, or just not sure what to watch on Netflix tonight,” Webster said. “Hopefully this book contains lots of ideas for awesome films they may have forgotten about or haven’t heard of.”

Webster self-published Movies of the 90s through Friesen Press, which has the book available on its on-line book store, https://books.friesenpress.com/store.

Movies of the 90s is also available through Amazon and Chapters Indigo.

“I hope people come away with a greater appreciation for how amazing films and filmmakers were back in the ’90s,” Webster said. “Or just a nice easy read that can take a while.”

The sales success of Movies of the 90s will determine whether more books of reviews follow. Webster is already 50 pages into Movies of the 2000s.

Webster is also writing a book about the greatest scenes in film history, and two novels.

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