I’ve kept it up for a year. And honestly, I’m a little surprised.
Sure, I haven’t always kept up with my reviews. Yes, I’ve fallen behind on non-Oscar awards news (I’m doing it differently next year. The way I did it this year was just too labor-intensive). But it’s still going. I can always catch up. I didn’t set it aside, never to return to it…like I have with many of my other endeavors. I admit, sometimes I get a little tired of writing all these reviews. What I don’t get tired of are movies.
But if it weren’t for you, my cherished readers, I’m not sure how long I would’ve stuck with it. I had no idea what to expect when I began; as of this moment (and by the time you read this, it will have certainly gone up), we’ve had 9,750 (a nice, even number) individual views of the 244 different posts on the site–this is the 245th. And after a slow first few months, readership picked up during the summer, and this will be our third straight month of 1,000+ views. Not too shabby.
And on top of that, we’re now averaging 46.7 views a day–and I expect, once I get myself to a point where I’m publishing reviews at a more reliable pace, that number could reach 75 by the end of the year–and maybe reach 100 next year? Who knows.
But figures are ultimately only part of the story. What I really want to see more of in 2015 is feedback from you. Thus far, I want to thank my friend, Mountain Was Here, and my colleague in France, Arnaud Trouvé (who tweets under the handle CineCharlie), for their considerable efforts in supporting the blog, and for their individual efforts in reviewing science-fiction novels and blogging/Tweeting about cinema respectively. I also invite you to check out my cousin Martin’s film blog; he has delved far deeper into foreign cinema, especially East and South Asian cinema, than I have, and I find his reviews most enjoyable to read.
And I want to thank my friends who encouraged me in this endeavor in the first place: my friends Maggie and Anna, who urged me to start the blog in the first place, and who have offered some excellent suggestions as to how I might use this power for good in the days to come. I only hope I can incorporate them.
And (big Oscar speech moment here) I have to thank my parents. My father, who is as much a cinephile as I am, and my mother, who (I think) passed down her gift for writing.
And now, onto the year in review!
The following posts have over 100 total views as of January 27th:
- Interstellar, 466 views
- Snowpiercer, 297 views
- Enemy, 220 views
- Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, 203 views – I’m especially proud of this one
- Space Station 76, 188 views
- Dear White People, 165 views
- Dom Hemingway, 159 views – I have to wonder…why?
- The Monuments Men, 143 views
- Leonard Part 6, 130 views
- Tusk, 109 views
- Sioux City Prickly Pear Soda, 106 views – Curious as to why this is so much more widely read than my other soda reviews
- Guardians of the Galaxy, 104 views
- Boyhood, 101 views
- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, 100 views – Got in just under the wire
Most of my least-read posts are lesser soda reviews or single-trailer posts (which might have fewer listed views because the trailer can be viewed without accessing the post proper). So instead I determined my least-read reviews (those which have fewer than 20 total views), since those have been, and I assume will continue to be, the site’s main attraction:
- The Raid: Redemption, 4 views
- Neighbors, 6 views
- Chef, 6 views – I’m surprised by this one; didn’t people like that movie?
- Non-Stop, 7 views
- Selma, 8 views – I can’t imagine this won’t go up closer to the Oscars; this is currently my least-viewed **** review
- Gigli, 8 views
- CITIZENFOUR, 10 views – I expect this to go up, though
- Tron, 11 views
- Night Moves, 12 views – poor Kelly Reichardt
- Muppets Most Wanted, 14 views
- Locke, 15 views – Hopefully this will go up after my awards
- The Drop, 16 views
- A Million Ways to Die in the West, 18 views – I find this especially strange, since I posted the trailer and got 32 views
- Bad Words, 19 views
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 19 views
And now, my 3 favorite–and least favorite–reviews:
- Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
I’m really happy with how this turned out–and, based on the healthy viewership figures, it seems I’m not the only one. I was worried that I might accidentally come off as patronizing in my tone or off-base in my analysis, but as far as I can tell, that was not the case. It’s a fascinating film–a baadasssss film–and if my review convinced anyone to see it, I can rest easy. The success of this review reminds me that I need to review more vintage films, especially obscure ones. Maybe once the Oscars (and my own awards) are done.
- Space Station 76
This, I considered a real coup. This film was shown in only three theaters in the country–and one of them is less than 20 minutes from my home. So I’ll always be able to say I saw this on the big screen, which makes me very happy. Not that it requires the theatrical experience–it works just fine on Netflix, VOD, DVD, whatever your pleasure is–but I’ve always enjoyed being able to see things in theaters. It was a relatively rare thing in my childhood–but that’s a matter for another discussion. The point is, I was able to help spread the word about this weird little gem of a film, which is for me the greatest pleasure of this site.
- Tender Mercies
I didn’t have a firm #3, but this works pretty well, I think. After my mom passed away in October, I finally made myself watch what seemed to be her favorite film–this one–and wrote the review as a tribute to her. I didn’t wear my critic hat so much while writing this one, but I think I did a pretty good job balancing an analysis of the “perfect film”, as she called it, with a tribute to the woman who bore me. (It’s funny, she regarded Robert Duvall as one of the finest actors of all time–in no small part due to this film–and here I am lamenting his Oscar nomination for The Judge (more for the film than the performance). Maybe in her memory I should give him a pass?)
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Fuck this movie, but I feel like I kind of half-assed this review. I didn’t help that I didn’t write it until some time after I’d seen the movie–and I didn’t engage with the movie too fully whilst watching it–but I made no attempt to hide my indifference. At least I highlighted the unsettling depiction of Alfrid Lickspittle. Otherwise, not terribly happy with this one.
- The Raid: Redemption
It’s my least-read review to date, and even I don’t remember much about it. It’s not like the film begs to be written about at great length–unless you’re analyzing the fighting styles–but I bet I could do this better if I took another stab at it. I don’t actively dislike any of my reviews, but this is probably one of my least memorable.
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Add in Force Majeure as an unofficial #4. These are both great movies, and I could have written a good deal more about both. But around Thanksgiving I was in a particular funk (which I didn’t really start to emerge from until the last few weeks), and I don’t think I broke these films down as much as I should have. They’re not bad reviews by any means–at least I don’t think so–but they’re not among by best. And especially in the case of Girl, there’s a lot more I could say, especially if I’d gotten around to seeing it again.
For the Year to Come:
I’d like to try and do things more…smoothly, I guess is the word, this year. Obviously I need to balance the blog with my real-world responsibilities, but that, if anything, might help to budget my time better (fingers crossed!). I’ll try and condense my reviews without sacrificing depth, and I’m going to do my damnedest not to get backed up again. Once I post my Top 20/Bottom 10 list, all I need to do is catch up on any films I haven’t seen and do my awards nominations. Once that’s done, I can focus on finishing any reviews I haven’t yet written, before taking a week or two off to rest, get my wisdom teeth yanked, and contemplate who will win what from me, and from the Academy.
Aside from the new releases I want to keep up with, I want to write more vintage reviews. Here are some I’d like to do in the coming year:
- Pennies from Heaven
- The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood
- Americana (1983)
- The Zatoichi series
- Once Upon a Time in America – especially dealing with the new extended cut
- Thief (1981)
- Gate of Hell
- The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind
- The other five Star Trek Original Series films
- Prince of the City
- The Qatsi trilogy
- America, America
- Invitation to the Dance
- Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
- The original Mad Max trilogy, in preparation for Fury Road
- An Almost Perfect Affair
- The Day of the Dolphin – anything to highlight its glorious poster
- Edge of the City
- And God knows what else may come my way…
I thank you all. I can only imagine what I’ll be saying a year from now.