Friday, May 3, 2013

LNTAM@5: For Those Who Just Came In

I blame Roger Ebert.

The anniversary of "Let's Not Talk About Movies" is observed 'round about Oscar time, the myopic industry awards that are all flash-and-crying-scenes,  and where every other movie blog goes all-out in the coverage, campaigning, nay-saying, then second-guessing and Monday morning quarter-backing in vexed haughtiness,* I tend to ignore it.  That is entertainment.  

But, I ignore the Oscars, using the opportunity to take a hiatus and a breather and maybe gain some perspective.  This was a long one.  Things came up.  Big things.  The movies I was writing about were not inspiring enough to write anything down and other thoughts crowded them out in importance.  Too many things were happening in my life to continue a movie blog, although I enjoyed the exercise.  I could not maintain the schedule, however.**  

So, I stopped.

I looked at 109 posts in "Draft" stage and said "Eh...whenever."  There were stray thoughts of abandoning it altogether—there usually are around Anniversary time, as it typically follows a year-end summing up and re-evaluation, which never makes me feel like I've done enough.

Then, Roger Ebert died, the day after posting his moving "leave of presence" piece on his blog.  He waqs working right to the end, no doubt equal parts his own love of writing/reviewing, and his watching his "brother-in-thumbs" Gene Siskel soldiering on through his health problems.  I've always admired guys like that, and some of my personal heroes displayed that tenacity and grace.  Charlie Schulz died the day his last "Peanuts" strip appeared in the papers (as if he was waiting for the last one to see print).  Stanley Kubrick was found slumped at his editing machine, fine-tuning Eyes Wide Shut.  My own father, two hours before he died, announced he'd decided that day to retire.  At least he had the time to make a choice.

So, onward and upward.  Five years of "Let's Not Talk About Movies."  Five years of personal thoughts on movies past and present and on towards an uncertain future.  Just like everybody else.  We're heading for six.

Again, thanks for reading.  Thanks for your patience.  Feedback is appreciated, and often responded to.  It's a dialogue between presentation and audience.  The only thing we need bring is ourselves.

For those who just tuned in, or were having trouble parking—

This site purports to be:

--An outlet for people to gauge the economic worth of a film to their lives.

At a time when going to a movie theater costs ten bucks per person (your grandfather paid a quarter), when the concessions are north of a fiver, and a family of four can spend close to $100 for one theater trip, someone should tell you whether it's worth it, with little pretensiousness,** with an eye toward value and a knowledge of what has come before. And maybe...with luck and watching real close...that movie with real staying power can be found.

--A portal where trailers and previews can be viewed as a counter-point to the expressed opinion.

Everybody in the theater likes it when the commercials end and the trailers come on--except they're commercials, too. Damned good ones. Persuasive ones. And sometimes they're better than the movie they're promoting. The studios spend big bucks on these things to persuade you their product is worth it. They're there as the opposing view, or a further inducement. And they're fun to watch.

--Beyond that, this site will serve as access to other critical opinions, no matter how stupid, knee-jerk or fraudulently bought and paid for by the Studios.

Film criticism runs the gamut, from the newspaper vet who's been given a cushy job before he's put out to pasture, to the film-studies professor who measures every shake of the camera for some auteurist "significance." Here, it falls somewhere in-between. "Value" is this site's coin of the realm. "Worth" is it's gold-standard. And no one's paying for my opinion...not even you.

--This site will serve as a link to publications, and professional societies in the motion picture arts and sciences

There's a bunch over there on the right, and there'll be more in the weeks and months to come and there are some movie-mag's, and good publications on special effects and cinematography and sound (my area of interest) and selections of poster art sites, some composer fan-sites of note (heh!) as well as some of the prominent film-critic circles. But if you want juicey gossip, that's in another part of town. The news-wire at the bottom of the page is as low as we go.

Five Years Later, nothing's changed in that Declaration of Principles. The lists on the right margin have gotten bigger, we've added a widget or two (and taken them away), there's a place to write to us if you have a mind (but a computer and e-mail access will do), we don't do as much trailers as we used to, because, frankly, they're everywhere else, but we are still concerned with Whether It's Worth It (or not).

To you.

That sometimes makes us rank things differently than we would if we were just applying stars to the reviews, rather than imagining you applying dollars to them.

But these days that mission is more important than ever. So, you'll know whether a movie is worth the exorbitant price, or whether it's even worth putting the brakes on it while Cable-Surfing. Now, with free on-line services like Hulu (check out the movies they've got), you have even more choices, with more on the way.  Life is good if all you want to do is see a movie.

* ie.  Quentin Tarantino's messy and rather fraudulent Django Unchained script won Best Original Script over Tony Kushner's boiled down Lincoln (that was originally 770 pages)?  What are these dopes smoking?  But I digress tediously.

** Okay, I fail this one on a regular basis.

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