Greetings and Welcome!
If you are reading this than I hope you are intentionally tuning in for my latest endeavor! First and foremost thank you so much for giving my writing a chance and I hope you find value in my perspectives and opinions! (If not @youngthespian42 is still my twitter handle feel free to send your hatred there)
The goal of this blog is to be a weekly film review that will primarily focus on new releases currently in theatres. Occasionally we may take a detour for a streaming consideration here or there. It will post without fail, in the state that it is in, each and every Sunday. You can expect it to be between 1000-2000 words and to include a brief summary of the movie.
As this is a new project for me I thought it would best to lay out clearly some of my views of criticism, goals for the project, and most importantly what I look for in a movie. I’d strongly encourage you to read the rest of this post to get the greater context of what I am doing and maybe even revisit it from time to time. Thank you so much for giving me a chance!
Role of a Critic
People come to film reviews for many different reasons. Some because they want to engage more with something they just saw. Others read because they hold certain people in high regard and they want to hear their opinions. Sometimes people just want to know if a film is worth seeing in theater. If they’ll walk out satisfied with their purchasing choice. It is important as you are getting to know me as a writer and a critic to let you know my philosophy on film criticism, so you can better assess whether I am worth your time and headspace.
For me, the highest sign of quality art is something that forces conversation. It’s walking out of the theatre and being unable to wait to call that one friend to hear their thoughts about the film. The first role I see myself having is starting that conversation. I want to shape a discussion and dive further into what the film means to me. Does that mean I think I am better than you or inherently more knowledgeable about this topic? Absolutely not! As I said I want to start a conversation. I do this because I love it and I want to share my love with anyone who is interested.
We live in age with an endless stream of content. More TV and film is getting made than ever before. In this entire tangle of content sometimes gems get lost or overlook. The second duty of a critic is to champion content they believe in. Ever have that one annoying friend in high school that went on and on about Memento and wouldn’t shut about its brilliance until you saw it? Yeah that was me to a tee. I want to use this platform to highlight things that maybe got overlooked or drown out by massive blockbusters. (Don’t worry I am still a massive Star Wars and MCU fan. Blockbusters will have plenty of love on this blog).
I will end this section by making some statements about what I will not be as a critic:
- I will not be overly negative and nitpicky. The Internet is full enough of negativity and anger without me contributing. That doesn’t mean I won’t have criticism, but if there is nothing I can add to conversation outside poking holes and being a jerk I just wont review something.
- I will also make no attempt to cleanse my review of ideology or politics. I believe that our worldviews are inseparable from any aspect of life, which includes film. That doesn’t mean I am going to be aggressively preachy, or go out of my way to force a lens onto something that isn’t trying to engage on that plane, but as things come up they will be addressed.
- Finally I will not be a fan boy. I want to approach every film on its own merits and not let outside forces influence my opinion. I still like X-Men 3: The Last Stand and Spiderman 3. I still think Dark Knight Rises is one of the worst Batman films ever made.
What I look for in a Film
A lot of the foundation of my approach to criticism comes from Aristotle’s Poetics. All art should be approached with three simple questions. What is this trying to do? Did it do it? Was it worth doing? This is extremely important to me because I think art should be met on the grounds it’s playing in. I get frustrated when I see high-minded critics complaining about mindless CGI action and destruction in a superhero movie. Thor isn’t trying to be The Pianist. Film needs to be met where it’s trying to be. I will never hold genre conventions against a piece.
One of my personal quirks is I am obsessed with novelty. I love seeing fresh ideas and new directions in filmmaking. I would always rather see a film that takes risk, attempts something new, and fails. I find it far more refreshing than a film that is structural sound and has no soul. Failure is not a sign of weakness, but rather, proof that an attempt was make. I love films like Tusk, Southland Tales, and Swiss Army Man. The quality that these films share in common is the creative team’s clear, singular vision of the story they wanted to tell and the follow through with 100% conviction of that vision. Parts may be flawed, but they didn’t compromise what they created. Substance over precision. Vision over marketability.
Hopefully you got something out of this pedantic exercise. A literature professor of mine in college told me they hated prefaces in books. She viewed them as a list of apologies by the author for what their work failed to do. I don’t view them that way. One of the most exciting things to me about the Internet is its everlasting nature. Blogs like these can be an evergreen time capsule. Where I was in my thought. My writing development. My critical eye. I view this project as a process. Instead of trying to construct my own tiny ivory tower on my little corner of the Internet, I hope to build a decent salon. A place where friends can talk and share ideas and feelings. For me one of the most important part of building a community is defining the goals and the vision. It’s letting people know where I am coming from.
Looking forward to this first Sunday (like seriously you guys I cannot wait!),
July 26, 2018