Ben Maricle ’10 has always had a passion for movies. At age three, he saw The Lion King™ and a lifetime interest in movies and movie making took root. Today, Ben produces a weekly local cable channel movie review show called Where Hollywood is Taken Seriously in which he gives his take on some of Tinsel town’s latest productions. Now at age 27 and with over 150 online reviews under his belt, Ben is hitting his stride and has the hardware to prove it. In 2016 he received a Telly Award for his work - no small achievement, particularly for a non-professional. It is described as “the premier award honoring the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs from around the world.” Not bad for a part-time hobbyist whose principal job is working with the elderly residents at an assisted living facility in North Attleboro.
I met with Ben at his home in Mansfield on one of his days off. He had attended the Alumni Reception last July where we agreed to talk further. An alumnus of Massasoit Community College, he is articulate and thoughtful and a congenial host. We chatted easily in his living room as I sipped on a can of cold ginger ale that was waiting for me when I arrived. From the outset it was clear that Ben harbors an undisguised love for movies.
“I’m ten minutes from a theater, so I try to see two a week,” he explains. What kind of movies does he like, I ask? “I review all genres, focusing on the directing, acting, writing and Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). ” Ben chooses his movies from The Hollywood Reporter and then begins writing his review for his weekly filming at the Mansfield Cable Access Corp., where he began volunteering in 2013. Previous to that, Ben had been experimenting with his idea on his computer at home using iMovie. “Each review that I do includes five movie stills downloaded from Google Images. If it’s a post-Oscar special, I can use more,” Ben explains. “The images appear on the screen behind me as I read my script off the teleprompter.”
The weekly routine that makes this all possible is clearly more than a discipline; it’s a labor of love, as evidenced by the time involved. It only takes ten minutes to film, but the bulk of the time is in creating the script. “It’s 20 to 25 minutes to choose the images, but it’s four to five hours for me to write the review before Margie does her editing.”
Ben gives a serious nod to LPS, where he developed his love for writing. He is also clear about his gratitude for the help he receives from his friends at the studio, crediting Mansfield Cable Access staff members and mentors, Jack and Maureen O’Neill and Margie Begin. All have helped in their own way, Margie with script editing, Jack with filming and directing the videos, and Maureen for her many hours of helping Ben, who doesn’t drive, with transportation. “I bring the script and photos and they do the rest.” The finished product is then broadcast on the Mansfield cable channel before being downloaded as an MP4 file to YouTube and Facebook.
Any thoughts about future ambitions, I asked? With his love of Hollywood, Ben did not rule out taking a stab at writing a book of fiction; a horror story, perhaps, in the spirit of his muse, Stephen King. As we wrapped up our conversation, the final question was still hanging out there. What would this movie aficionado and enthusiast consider to be the greatest movie ever made? For Ben, the original 1977 Stars Wars was the hands down winner and undisputed champion. And, if he had a choice, the Hollywood personality he would most like to meet? The die-hard Star Wars fan and historian answered without hesitation: George Lucas. Of course.