5 Things That Made Blogging Fun in 2010!
1. Film Forager
In March, the terminally fierce Alex wrote up the 1995 sci-fi action flick Strange Days:
- “Strange Days is not without its flaws, of course. It’s quite long, and it takes a while for the story to really get going, as so many apparently disparate characters and events need to be set up in the beginning. But because these parts all come together into an interesting and complex whole, I can forgive that lag in narrative. There are also a few too many melodramatic moments, but thanks to the actors’ considerable talents, they feel emotionally genuine. Strange Days is at once a violent thriller, futuristic action movie, and dystopian drama welded together with an absorbing gritty aesthetic, complex characters, and decidedly cool soundtrack. Ms Bigelow, you’ve done it again!”
The entire review is on point, but the last line is what lifted me out of my chair. Wait, a chick writing about a K-Big film in a nuanced, thoughtful way without beating K-Big down for who she used to be married to or whining about how all her work is “muscular”. Sweet, boneless Xena!
Alex’s review of Strange Days was one of the inspirations for the blogging series – Snarky’s Cinemachine – I did for Bitch Magazine during the summer. At the time I was a rabid lurker and thought it might be kind of – um – creepy to open the series with a long, fangirl love letter to a person who did not know I existed! I even wrote a my own review of Strange Days! Alex’s reviews are clever, funny, smart and accessible. But the moneyshot was her glorious beatdown of one of my favorite films – Heat (1995). I laughed so hard and nodded and then laughed some more. Now y’all know me to be truculent like a motherfuck, so when someone can take a baseball bat to my film, my guys (Deniro and Pacino), be on point on all counts and make me revisit that beatdown every time I watch the film or need guaranteed lulz, they got some skills, yo:
- “That summary sounded a lot more interesting than the film actually was. It was very dragged out, and the characters were either so despicable and/or flat that I just didn’t care what happened to them. I found myself rooting for Neal just because I like Robert De Niro better and because Al Pacino’s haircut was so dumb.”
Pacino’s hair was whack all the back to Hackensack! Real talk!
What I enjoy the most is how clearly her cinema joy joy comes through in every one of her posts – even when she’s not entirely sold on a film. More importantly, her film criticism works on a variety of levels, whether you’re a film snob or surfing the ‘nets at 3am looking for something to watch (which was what I was doing when I “found” Alex’s site). Lofty, academic-y film criticism tends to be privileged over the more accessible forms of film writing and that’s a real shame. What Alex does with her reviews is utterly transgressive. She makes film writing look easy because she is so careful about which details to include or omit. But don’t let the smooth taste fool you; Alex’s talent for film writing is staggering. Hop over to her site and donate to keep her going!
Favorite Film Forager reviews of my favorite films :
2. The Wondrous World of Pens and Office Supplies
What does Ocean’s 11 have to do with pen blogging? Not much. Hell, I don’t even recall anyone even using many pens in the film. Well, Bernie Mac used some unremarkable pen as he engaged in some recon work involving an employee lounge and a crossword puzzle. Nevertheless, since everything in my world can be explained with cinema metaphors, I declare pen blogging to be the Ocean’s 11 of the blog-o-sphere. For me, the search for the perfect pen or office product is akin to pulling off the perfect heist. As the completion of a successful heist is almost never satisfying as the caper, resulting in the trope-o-licious one last job, the same is true of pen enthusiasts. No matter how perfect a pen happens to be there is always just one more elusive “perfect” pen or office product to score. I like to think myself as the Basher Tarr – played by Don Cheadle – of the pen blogging universe; a little silly and often given to blabbering important information in insular slang. Who are Danny and Rusty? Well The Pen Addict and Office Supply Geek, of course.
What do I love most about pen/office supply blogging (besides getting my hands on all those great products)? I suppose the draw is thinking critically about that which many folks take for granted. Office supplies and pens are everywhere, though the degree to which one engages with them varies. Plus as writer, it’s pretty difficult to ignore how integral to my life and livelihood. Plus when does one have to occasion to test drive a pen whose crowning element of awesome is its ability to write underwater:
- “The pen is marketed towards adventurers of all kind – campers, military personnel and possibly diving instructors. I’ll be honest, the only situation I imagined being able to use the pen as marketed was if – God forbid – I was trapped in a sinking car and needed to draft a frantic, “FREAKING HELP ME!!!” note. Given that’s unlikely happen – thanks to advice (for humor purposes only) gleaned from my tear away Worst Case Scenario calendar – I opted to test drive the pen under decidedly less dire circumstances.”
My most popular pen entries:
- A Day in the Life of a Pen Thief, Crayola® Glow Station™ On The Go, Open Letter to a Pen Thief, Let’s Do It Again: Old School Office Supplies, Pretty in Pink: Inc® Alias 1.0 Ballpoint Pen
Favorite Pen Posts I Didn’t Write by Pen Bloggers I Adore:
- DIY Sara’s “The Pitt and The Pendulum”|The Pen Addict’s “Zebra Sharbo X”|Pocket Blonde’s “Pair of Pelikans”|Office Supply Geek’s “Sharpie Liquid Pencil”|Okami’s “Old Ink in New Pen”
Sometimes it’s tricky figuring out which films to highlight, particularly when certain letters – I see you, letter S – seem to have so many films to view, while others don’t! Yet, somehow a film always appears exactly when it’s time to write that letter’s entry. While I rarely go back to reread older entries – have the typos to prove it – I decided to do so and pull out bits of series that made me go, “Oh wow, I wrote that!?” – but you know, in a good way.
B is for Barry Lyndon and my “translation” of another reviewer’s analysis:
- “…This is one long, carefully crafted, painstaking, boring ass movie and you bastards deserve it, the whole ungrateful lot of you. You deserve to spend three hours of your life – you won’t get back on your deathbed – watching Ryan O’Neal bringing his C- game to the court in a dizzying array of powdered wigs and pants whose crotches are certain to carry the stench of corn chips. “
K is for Kiss the Girls and the “Morgan” problem:
- “One of my favorite things I ever read about the film – I searched for a link online, but couldn’t find one – was some chucklehead reviewer who cited “political correctness” as the reasoning behind Morgan Freeman’s casting. Apparently, the critic has never been inside a bookstore, library or airport, thus never browsed a page or two of an Alex Cross novel, where he’d discover the character in the book is – wait for it – BLACK.”
4. Writing about television, particularly cop shows
I couldn’t do it without each and every one of you. The lurkers who send me amazingly lovingly and supportive emails. The regular commenters and everyone in between. Thanks, y’all. Love to all the new readers who have recently discovered me. And see you next year! Uh, you know in like nine days. Don’t fret, there will be content to get you through the holidays!