Back from Break

Hey folks. We’re back! More or less, we’re back. We’re planning on being back. We’ll see if we’re back. Honestly, we don’t owe you anything, so maybe we’re back and maybe we’re not, we’re just going to go where the wind takes us. It’s not like you voted for us and we have to hold your best interests at heart (which, of course, everyone in our government does… political…), and it’s not like you even pay us! We make no money off this site!

Anyway, even though we don’t owe you anything, especially in the way of explanation for why we were away (see above paragraph) I decided to write a little something about why I did take a little break from reviewing all the awesome movies and TV shows and video games and etc. I’ve been consuming. There are really two primary reasons. One of them is pretty easy to guess: I just got exhausted. I love movies, but it’s difficult to find time to go see one every week, and difficult to eat that much popcorn, and difficult to drink that much soda. I’m a busy guy with a job, and friends, and other creative pursuits, and like I said we don’t even get paid for this! It got overwhelming, and so I just sort of let it peeter out. Not that I stopped seeing movies, I just stopped going on such a regimented schedule.

The second reason could also be categorized as “getting tired” but it wasn’t so much about time and energy as it was about negativity, or, more problematic, tired of criticism. Look, the fact of the matter is I love movies. I know how difficult movies are to make. They cost money, time, energy, and emotions from just a bunch of different people. To have someone critique them once they’re all said and done… to a certain degree I feel like “what’s the point?”. It’s a feeling that came over me when reviewing Ibiza, a film I felt absolutely nothing about. I think my review read pretty negative, because truthfully it’s easier to nitpick than to hone in on things that I felt just neutral about, but at the same time I was sitting there wondering “who does this serve?” Does it benefit the filmmakers? No. Does it benefit a readership who gets to hear about me feeling lukewarm towards something? No. Does it benefit me? No.

A few days after writing the review of Ibiza I was at a friend’s birthday party and mentioned I liked film to one of his friends. I ended up spending a lot of time defending myself after saying I loved Infinity War, explaining that don’t worry I watch arthouse and foreign films too. But why? By the end of the night I felt tired, again. Why did I feel compelled to defend my love of trashy films by showing off my more pretentious chops? Why couldn’t I just unapologetically love the Marvel movies, and separately unapologetically love Speed Racer, and separately unapologetically love 13 Assassins, and separately unapologetically love Sunset Boulevard, and separately unapologetically love The Handmaiden, Rebels of the Neon God, Dr. Strangelove? Why can’t we just love what we love? What purpose do the naysayers serve?

Which is not to say I don’t think criticism doesn’t have a place in society. I absolutely have an ideal of what art should do, what art can do, and what art must do. I have a criteria for what I think makes action movies successful, and yes, I’d like to see movies in general swing in that direction (hey Marvel, how about you do something interesting with the flipping camera). I also have a criteria for what I think makes a successful drama, and likewise would like to see dramas swing in that general direction. I think films, be they dumb action movies or high minded existential pieces, have a responsibility in the way they present the world. These are all things I think warrant criticism, and criticism is an important tool because it does shape the discourse and the way we think about the products. But isn’t there anyway to do that without being so negative all the time?

I also don’t want to underplay how exhausted I was.

So, I’m back! But I’m back with a new set of parameters. I’m going to write about only the stuff that interests me, only the things that provoke conversation or musings. If I’m critical, it’ll be because I think it’s a critique worth discussing, not because the movie made me feel “sort of bored”. I want to either celebrate films, or say how they can be better not because they made me angry, but because I believe they can be better.

New mission statement. New me. New Mission: Impossible I still have to see. In the meantime, Stardew Valley has a new patch out (I stand by my critique of that game, but does anyone want to play multiplayer with me?). I saw Sorry to Bother You, the new season of Queer Eye, and have played a lot of Sunless Sea. I have thoughts on all of them.

Talk to you soon.

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