Talking Movies With Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt will perform at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.
Patton Oswalt will perform at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. Gage Skidmore / Flickr
When we spoke to Patton Oswalt last week, he had not seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but the comedian was willing to discuss movies with Phoenix New Times.

He doesn't have as much time to head to the movie theater as he did in the late '90s, back when his obsession with all things cinematic peaked, which he documented in his 2015 memoir Silver Screen Fiend. In addition to touring his new hour of comedy, titled I Love Everything, he's narrating the voice of Adam in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs and preparing for another season of A.P. Bio, which will debut on NBC's new streaming service The Peacock.

Before he comes to the Celebrity Theatre on Saturday, January 25, Oswalt took the time to talk about his love of film, his relationship with Twitter, and how much he relates to his character in The Goldbergs. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Phoenix New Times
: What can fans expect from your appearance in Phoenix?

Patton Oswalt: I have a whole new hour of material. I'd rather not say what the material is. I want people to be surprised, but it's nothing that was in the last special. I hope they like it. It seems to be going well on the road.

Are you still moving away from nerd culture in your act?

It's not like I'm deciding to steer away from anything. It's whatever is interesting to me at the moment. Sometimes it's pop culture. I'm always trying to tie whatever I'm doing with something larger or cosmic. I'm not thinking in terms of doing this or this. I never know what's going to interest me.

You're the voice of the adult version of Adam on The Goldbergs, which is based on creator Adam F. Goldberg's childhood. I was wondering if there are there any moments on the show that you've related to.

There are so many. There's a great episode about Fangoria magazine and its effect on Adam. I remember reading Fangoria when I was little and seeing movies only through pictures and not really understanding the plot yet.

Beyond the pop culture stuff, there are these ideas of how your perception of your parents and siblings can change, how you grow older, and how you remember things. They really nail that in a fascinating way on that show.

I can see that. I was raised Mormon, so when I worked in a movie theater as a teenager, a whole world opened up to me, so when I read your book Silver Screen Fiend, I could relate to your fascination with cinema. Are you still able to find time to go to the movies with your busy schedule?

I don't get to see them as much as I want, but with all the streaming stuff, I'm going back and watching a lot of classic films now or rewatching stuff that meant something to me growing up. It's hard to get the time.

Do you have The Criterion Channel?

I do! I was one of the founding subscribers. I love it!

Are there any movies that you'd want to share with your daughter?

I just showed her Close Encounters [of the Third Kind]. She's 10 now, so I have to be careful what I show her. There's some stuff I've shown her that's meant a lot to me that she's gone, "Meh." I'm not going to force my likes and dislikes on her. As a parent, you should leave the opportunities open for them and leave it at that.

Do you gear up for Oscar season?

I watch the Oscars, but the kind of movies that I like don't get nominated. I hope Jojo Rabbit gets a lot of love this year. I hope The Lighthouse gets a lot of love.

You're pretty active on Twitter. I was reading this interview with director Rian Johnson where he says that it's a pretty positive experience for him. Do you feel the same way he does about Twitter?

Despite the trolls, it's pretty positive. It's fun to connect with my friends and other people I normally wouldn't know and share weird, random thoughts. I think it's good.

I know for some people it's difficult, and I also sympathize with that. I don't get bothered by the trolls as much because I've done stand-up for 30 years. I've been heckled to my face. When it happens on Twitter, it doesn't mean that much to me.

Patton Oswalt is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 25, at Celebrity Theatre. Tickets are $45 to $95 via the website.
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil