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About movie reviewer Paul Tatara

Paul Tatara was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 17, 1963. Tatara and his family moved to Arab, Alabama (pop. 6,800) when he was 4 years old. During his formative years, he focused almost solely on playing baseball, basketball, and football. Though he's still a Cleveland sports fanatic -- the return of the Browns in 1999 will make him cry -- movies have been Tatara's guiding passion since the age of 14. He graduated from Auburn University in 1985 with a degree in Mass Communications. He had a difficult time with German, the degree would look very nice if he bothered to hang it on his wall, and that's really about it for college.

After graduation, he lived in Gainesville, Florida for 5 years, where he managed a Turtle's record store. Music is another driving force in his life, with Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan serving as his Holy Trinity. (Thelonious Monk, Randy Newman, and Frank Sinatra would also squeeze in there, given more than three slots). The highlight of his Florida retail career came when rock icon Bo Diddley (a regular customer) plugged up in front of the store, hit a groove, and proceeded to jam on the same whump-a-thump riff for about 5 hours. Eventually, Tatara had to tell him to beat it.

If only movies worked this way.

Tatara moved to New York City in 1990 to pursue a career in writing. He has written several spec screenplays, as well as an unproduced script for 20th Century Fox. He also adapted "The Thrill of the Grass," a short story by W.P. Kinsella, for an episode of a future TV series to be produced by Kennedy/Marshall Productions. His original screenplay, "The Almost Perfect Game" (based on the career of former Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee), is currently in development with a major producer. And, since January 1997, he's been trying to entertain and inform people by daring to write what he actually thinks about movies for CNN Interactive. He is endlessly amazed at how often this honesty irks some readers.

Tatara is a traditionalist, preferring steak and potatoes to elaborately seasoned seaweed, and stories about recognizable human emotions to shots of screaming extras outrunning the umpteenth fireball. He'll be marrying Jill Hilycord in October 1999, yet another sign of the quickly approaching apocalypse.

Tatara says he'll apologize for the things he writes in his movie reviews as soon as the studios make amends for completely selling out what could still be a thriving art form. He suggests something on the order of the recent blanket settlement by the tobacco industry. Considering how many lousy films he's watched over the years, this would leave him sitting pretty.


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