Today is basically like half of this scene.
Confession time: I wrote most every April post two months ago (& 50/50 on March, really). I've looked forward to today. And, if you read my prior anniversary entries, you know I expected this blog to go for three years, tops... But labors of love can make us aspire to try to do better, to give more, and to accomplish as much as we can with our limited time. And isn't love - of writing, of film, of people - what this is all about? Isn't most everything about that, in the end?
So this is a special day for me, and I hope it's special for whoever reads this.
This anniversary finds me in similar, yet very different, circumstances than at the start of Year 4. I recently moved (just like last year), which made it impossible to keep a very rough draft of my Serenity/Iron Sky review from going up two weeks ago. I passed out from exhaustion before hitting the "save as draft" button.
Yet I'm busier, with more social events straining my time. And I've worked crazy-long hours - which I was doing last year, but I had a harder time getting days off from work than I did in Spring '13. But here I am and, being short on time aside, I am happier, healthier, and more productive than before. This anniversary has a certain contented buzz last year's didn't quite have.
And, hell, this post is sponsored by Hannibal: The Ride: The Dog, so today is absolutely a red-letter occasion:
Since Hannibal: The Dog is such an ardent film fan - with such unusual culinary tastes - I do want to make the most of my 5 minutes. Before I get into my favorite posts of the past year, tho, I'll shine a spotlight on my earliest reviews, in case you haven't read them before. All but two vids here are from those pictures.
After the inaugural, my first review covered Three O'clock High, a superb and fairly-unknown 80's film. From the start, I wanted to promote lesser-known movies that would delight people. I admit the posting schedule has distracted me from that, but: tough s--t, I wanted to try this, & I did leave the suggestion box open.
My love for TOH hasn't diminished one bit, just as I still love Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing with a fiery passion. MAAN was my second review, and I kid you not when I say that my first posts were for movies I bought as soon as I got a DVD player. Everyone should watch, enjoy, and revere both pictures. Be you blithe and bonny, y'all!
Haha, we are a pernicious lot, lady. But so are you.
With that gaze into the far past out of the way, let's take a look at what I am proudest of between last anniversary and this one. There's a lot to cover, so stick with me, please.
I was always up front about feeling scared to review Looper. It's not the greatest film ever made, but I love Rian Johnson's work so much... Well, it was intimidating. And it would've been so even if I hadn't met a woman claiming to be Rian's Aunt in a Greenwich Village bar - even if I hadn't recommended her own nephew's film (Brick, my fourth review) which she helped to fund. So I was happy when I finished typing that post: I knew I did right by Mr. Johnson's work.
This, in turn, inspired my 14th Movie Review Quickies - an MRQ dedicated to films I had promised to review, before chickening out on them.
Each review here is my child, in a way - even my 2013 Holiday review - or cousin/nephew/godchild, for what DJ puts up. So I'll offer praise to two off-site efforts instead: first, Joshua Tree 1951: A Portrait of James Dean (now streaming on Netflix) made me proud. I tackled a movie that was very different than my usual viewing, and altered my style accordingly, which got lots of positive feedback. Short Term 12 stands out as well (also streaming on Netflix), because I got to promote an unexpected delight that deals with childhood abuse, neglect, and mental illness, such important and unglamorous topics.
SPOILER/HEARTBREAK ALERT (from ST12's last 15 mins)
But why give myself all the credit? DJ wrote more last year than he had before, and even with fewer opportunities, he excelled. His reviews of American Hustle as well as Gravity really made me want to see them, and his every entry was written up so bloody well.
Okay, moving on from reviews. I wrote a third post on Youtube's free (legal) movie offerings, updating the two prior entries from May 2011. And I was super-proud of my The Scene with Many Faces post, where I covered three different cinematic versions of the prologue to Romeo and Juliet. Not only was the play important to me as a reader, but those films were important to me as a film-goer. I loved putting it together, and may write more of those in the future.
Similarly, I added a new feature, Imposters (should be "Im-posters," I know), which I've found quite rewarding. Critique and analysis is a lot of fun, as is considering posters as both advertisement and art. Picking a few favorites, I'd point to the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit post, as well as those for Black Nativity, Bad Words, and Birth of the Dead.
Some people do not like to be touched.
Looking over old Question posts, I'd highlight the film Rudy's fake ending, racism in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and people in films always asking for "a beer."
I gave you all the gift of a young Bill Murray completely demolishing a series of tongue twisters; he does it like a boss, and it gave me a thrill. I also followed up on my You Shoulda Been a Movie series, with posts for old favorites like GTA III and the original Fallout. Both games were exceptionally fun, and both would make for better films than so much of the forgettable mainstream tripe that comes out each year.
Those two entries, in turn, pair off nicely with what I published about the depiction of Satan in mainstream films. C'mon, how else was I gonna celebrate my 666th post?
I love this movie.
There was also some TV discussion here in the past year. I dedicated 4 posts in September to recommendations for TV series. My heart, however, must go out to what I wrote about two all-time favorites, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Moonlighting (the show that gave Bruce Willis his career!). And let's not forget the hilariously-bad primetime series, Zero Hour, which I was sad to see cancelled because of its delicious incompetence.
I got to bring you all some excellent Great Moments In entries. It's even tougher to choose among these, of course, but if pressed... I'd point to those about Tombstone's best shootout, a one-sided fistfight in The Godfather, Wilfred Brimley's role in Hard Target, and Hard Ticket to Hawaii's highly-improbable Frisbee murder.
Finally, picking favorites among the Fan-made Gems was quite hard! But Patrick Stewart's cow impressions were a clear winner, as was the live-action Dora the Explorer trailer a relative showed me on my birthday, and the Running Man/Hunger Games musical. The posters for Seinfeld's fake films should've been made ages ago, naturally. Yet top honors must go to the Abridged Scripts site (it makes everyone I show it to laugh so hard), as well as the Bill Shatner remix that still has me in stitches.
Romeo Is Bleeding (review #5): amazing Gary Oldman, a mesmerizing Lena Olin.
Well, that's enough self-praise for one year. Net-Flixation has been ongoing for 5 years now. Writing sample, personal library, writerly sandbox, emotional release valve - it serves a lot of purposes, and I intend to make the most of them. I only hope I bring you as much to consider and enjoy as I've experienced, felt, and been exposed to. Thank you for reading!
Half a Film Student
Hannibal says goodbye - and something about livers.