If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!


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May flowers

One of my more fervent pastimes—which I’ve rarely featured on here—is making memes. Or, if you want to get technical, I make macros. Only by sharing does a macro become a meme.

Only by spreading does manure become fertilizer.

I want to apologize for the lack of updates; owing to constraints of time and energy I’ve found myself tabling some of my intended posts, namely the second installment of my Most Wanted Films Found series and a second list of Most Wanted Films. I’m aiming to get those out by the end of June at the latest, although I can’t promise anything.

I also hope to get another soda review or two up within the next week, and just maybe I’ll throw together some thoughts on the films of 2018 that I’ve seen but haven’t reviewed as yet. (There haven’t been all that many, so it wouldn’t be a huge undertaking.)

I mean to do a post in response to the winners at this year’s Cannes Film Festival as well; I wanted to do a rundown of the Palme d’Or and Un Certain Regard contenders, but never got around to it.

And, if absolutely nothing else, the Six-Month Film Awards will go up at the start of July. I may not have seen that many films this year, but I have done my diligence on ranking them and their illustrious components.

Till then.

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My 50 Most Wanted Films

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There’s something about obscurity that has long appealed to me. Maybe it’s the fear that my own creative works will be overlooked that drives me to seek out and appreciate the overlooked works of others. Maybe I just like the feeling of having discovered something no one else knows about – hell, at one time I thought Logan’s Run was pretty damn obscure, and for a short time it was one of my favorite movies!

This article is the result of roughly two years’ work, so naturally most of what you’re actually about to read was put together in the last few days. (It worked for college.) My original plan was to cover 100 films. Then my plan was to cover 50 films in detail and list 50 additional films with only brief explanations of my interest. Then I decided to save the additional 50 for another post so I could get this one out on time (and it is, as I type this, inching toward 4 in the morning, so I’d better wrap it up).

My thoughts on the films to follow are a combination of original research, notes I made for previous incarnations of this article, and material drawn from a series of 50 posts I made on social media two years ago detailing films I wanted to see but could not, at least not as readily as I would like. So some films will be dealt with rather briskly, and others will be dealt with at length. I did not mean to give any film short shrift, but that’s the way things shook out.

And now, let us take a trip through 50 films, spanning almost 70 years of cinema history, which have especially caught my interest. Please feel free to suggest additional titles or offer leads on seeking out the films below.

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The Big Screen and I, Part I

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The movie that changed everything for me. (Source)

In case you didn’t know, I like movies.

And more than that, I like going to the movies. Watching a movie at home, there are all too many distractions. In the theater, your attention is compelled. Distractions are discouraged, even penalized. In the theater, the film rules all. So I go to theater quite a bit.

But it wasn’t always that way. Growing up, going to the movies was a comparatively rare treat. It wasn’t like we couldn’t afford it – once my dad got a DVD player we began amassing a collection which now numbers in the thousands. But we didn’t go to the cinema as a matter of course.

The first film I can definitively remember seeing in the theater was The Pagemaster. I’m sure there were others before it, but I no longer have even a shadow of a memory of them. I saw Titanic at age 8 and said “Eww!” at the sex scene; I saw The Phantom Menace and hated it intensely; we went to the next town over to see Fantasia 2000 because it didn’t play everywhere in its non-IMAX release.

And of course, we saw The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Spider-Man, and so forth – we also saw both the 1998 Godzilla and Godzilla 2000. (I can also claim to have seen Alexander in the theater, for what that’s worth.) But for the most part, we watched movies at home. In 2006 – not, admittedly, a banner year for cinema – I think we only went once, to see The DaVinci Code.

It was the next year – March 9, 2007, at 9:30 p.m., to be exact – that things began to change. I didn’t become a ravenous film-goer overnight, but visit by visit my cinephilia grew, and the end result is this article; a trip down memory lane, and a long lane it is. So join me, if you will, and remember.

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The Terrible Twos Commence

I was reminded (I had actually completely forgotten) that today is the second anniversary of this blog. Time flies, no? Except when it doesn’t.

A few stats for you, because WordPress helpfully keeps track of those:

  • The blog has received 25,481 views from 16,997 visitors (well, “visits” might be more accurate);
  • I’ve published 360 posts to date;
  • My best single day is February 15, 2015 (my father’s birthday, coincidentally), with 644 views;
  • As of this writing, I’ve received 1,174 views this month, 30 of which were today;
  • My most popular day, apparently, is Wednesday (with 16% of all views);
  • My most popular hour–supposedly–is 2:00 PM CST (with 7% of all views).

So where are we at today?

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2016 Rising: Actus Primus

Current mood. (Source)

Current mood. (Source)

Happy New Year!

Another apology for not having gotten some of these promised posts out; first I was too busy with work or too tired to write, but then over the weekend I added being sick to my list of impediments (nothing severe, but…), and aside from seeing The Hateful Eight (which is, shock of shocks, ****), I haven’t caught up on any of the new releases yet. Hopefully I can change that this coming week, but I won’t make any promises.

Let’s take stock of 2015 and what it meant for the blog. In terms of viewership, it was a success–over 15,800 views from almost 10,700 visits, nearly double last year’s 8,500 views (from 5,500 visits). I actually posted less this year, only 113 posts, which comprise about a third of the total posts to date. But the interactive element of my 2014 Film Awards proved a bigger success than I could have ever imagined (thanks again to Brontis Jodorowsky and Arnaud Trouvé (CineCharlie) for their part in making it so), and I hope this year’s awards are similarly exciting.

On the other hand, I fell badly behind this year in terms of my film reviews. I found myself having less to say about the films I saw, and not knowing whether I or the films were to blame. Even now, I haven’t reviewed four of the seven (so far) **** films of the year. I tried to alleviate that with my Movie Journal, but I found it not much easier to keep up with (and the posts themselves were not so popular–only two of them got more than 20 views). I mean to catch up with a series of single and multi-reviews ere I publish my Top 20/Bottom 10 list at the end of January, but I am truly sorry I did not share my thoughts earlier. I will try to be better about this in 2016.

I’m also hoping to get more comment action going on my future posts. Obviously, I’ll need your help, but I know that if you want the gravy…you’ve got to get the biscuits.

And now, for some stats.

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Intermission

 
About this time last year, as I recall, I took a break from the blog, citing burnout as the big reason. And while I’ve continued posting, I’ve especially fallen behind this year in the area of reviews. There’s no real excuse for that, other than maybe that most of the films I’ve seen so far this year don’t inspire lengthy analysis. 

There’s been a lot of solid films so far–my current top 5 has an average score of 88.2, just 1.2 lower than my top 5 for 2014 as a whole–but I’ve come out of a lot of films this year thinking they were good, but definitely not having 1,500+ words worth of commentary on them.

Now, however, a fresh set of complications has made keeping up with the blog more difficult than before. My computer is currently out of commission, forcing me to rely on public library computers, which limit me to about 2 hours a day online. And because I’m currently job hunting, much of that time must now be devoted to applications.

And, money being tighter than before, I’ve decided to cut back on my trips to theater, which for the nonce is less of an issue since September is so infamously slow a movie month. But taking all these issues into account, I think it best that I take a break from posting for a while to sort out my various issues and hopefully recharge the batteries in the process. 

So here’s how I think it’ll go down. I’ll finish the pending entry of the Movie Journal (which has been especially hard to keep up with, given my limitations) and not resume posting again for…at least two weeks. That should hopefully be sufficient time to get my life in a little bit more order. I may extend the hiatus further, but during that time I’ll work on some posts and hopefully hit the ground running when I return.

Things being in flux, I’m not going to commit to a posting schedule just now, but here’s what I’d like to put out for the first round of post-hiatus articles:

  • A two or three part article offering my reviews of those films from the year so far which I have not already reviewed (I wanted to write full-length reviews of several films, including Mr. Holmes and Straight Outta Compton, but I think rather than aiming so to do, I will write about them and make my reviews separate articles if they grow to a sufficient length);
  • A fully updated Most Anticipated Films list, taking us through to the end of the year and possibly featuring an appendix for films which will be coming in 2016;
  • New Trailer and Poster Salads;
  • A rundown of the films I saw during the hiatus.

During this time I expect I will still go to the movies, and I will keep my ranking of 2015 films fully updated.

It’s my hope that by the end of September I can resume regular posting. It will take some work to get to that point, but I’ve always held one thing true:

If you want the gravy, you’ve got to get the biscuits.