Film: Thoughts in General

Posted in Film on January 8, 2011 by Derek

Being that I graduated college with a degree in Film Production with essentially a Minor in Film Analysis, I’d like to think I know a little bit about the subject. “I’d like to think” being the operative statement there. When you boil it down, everybody has an opinion based on their own personal tastes, and as the saying goes “opinions are like assholes… everybody’s got one” – I just pretend mine doesn’t stink as much….

So throughout this blog, you’ll find everything from reviews of as many movies as I can muster up the interest in reviewing, to Top 10 lists of all my personal genre faves, as well as what I deem to be the Top 10 movies you cannot live your life without seeing at least once. If you have a real desire to see one of these quicker than the other, let me know so I can feign some semblance of focus.

I forewarn you:  I am very acceptable of all different types of films. And by this, I don’t mean ‘genres.’ I am an extremely firm believer in the fact that there isn’t anyone, anywhere that sets out to make a bad movie (alright, so, maybe I DO believe that there may be a couple of exceptions to this, but they’re few and far between). As such, I generally tend to view films wholly, with an open mind and the desired result of the filmmaker continually noted. Did it do what it set out to do to the degree that it initially intended to do it? In the end, did it entertain me, for whatever reason?

As I said, being that I went to school for film, you would think that I should meticulously break down any and every film I see by the various aspects it takes to actually get a movie from pre-production through post; to have something to say about the writing, the story, the acting, the cinematography, the set design, the directing and so on and so forth separately. And maybe I should. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve never let myself get to a point where deconstructing films has trumped my desire to simply watch and enjoy them. Once you do something like that, it sort of takes the romance out of it… at least for me.

Don’t misunderstand me, I have to do these things to various degrees in order to give any real and worthwhile sort of review. But because I’m so open minded, so non-particularly particular, I always try to look for the best in the 90-120 plus minutes laid out in front of me – even if it’s more tedious to do so than just simply sitting back and regurgitating everything I saw that bugged me to no end. So while some people are telling you “This movie sucked because X,Y & Z,” I’ll be countering with “But what about A,B, & C?”

I don’t know how well this is going to go over with a lot of you, nor am I saying that every movie that I’ve ever seen is just sunshine and rainbows in my eyes, but I want to be as fair as possible right up front: I am far more accepting of films that some may consider to be garbage, and while I still might not consider it to be Oscar worthy, I’ll argue my points with validity and gusto, just so you can see where I’m coming from.

And again, whether or not you agree with me doesn’t really matter – in fact, it makes for better conversation. Like I said, they’re just opinions.


A New Year, Another Attempt

Posted in Historical on January 8, 2011 by Derek

In July of 2009 I had a wonderfully bright idea to start a blog. So I turned to my girlfriend of 5 and 1/2 years and said, “Hey poop, let’s start blogs together!” Her response was far more enthusiastic than my own (as evidenced when comparing what we’ve each accomplished separately – check out HER blog). We both got uber-excited, chattered about it for a couple of days, and then dug in to this wonderful thing called WordPress. At first, I was amped to the umpteenth degree – I can’t begin to describe exactly what it was that I was feeling, seeing as though that was a year and a half ago, but I know that I was certainly excited at the prospect of writing something that lots of people could read. I like to write, and feel that I’m at least okay at it, so this was most likely the driving force behind the notion.

Anyway, sitting side by side, Steph and I began to create, spending countless hours of the next several days consumed with setting up our respective blogsites. And man, did I have a plan! I would have a series of links to various pages on all of the things I enjoy most in life: film & film reviews, beer & beer reviews, food stuffs, restaurant reviews, Top 10 lists, etc etc etc. And I created all of them, determined to have the most organized and interesting blog that at least I had ever seen.

So what happened? I got stuck. Confused even. I would look to my left and see Steph’s fingers flourishing across the keyboard, with every stroke devising something that would allow her to get closer to her goal of having a respectable blog. And she would look up at me and ask “How’s it going poop?” to which I would respond with a pouty face and furrowed brow “Poorly.” “Just write,” she would say, “you don’t have to organize everything now, it’s not even supposed to work that way.” Of course this mattered little to me. “I don’t care how it’s supposed to work. I know what I want so that’s how I’m gonna design it!” And because of the lovely, wonderfully supportive person she is, she would simply smile and reply “Okay. If that’s what you want to do, I know you can do it.”

So the days progressed. Steph wrote and posted several posts as I continued to half-heartedly work on my rather intricately plotted blog lay-out. I wanted to write something so badly, but had this idea in my head that I couldn’t even entertain the notion until I had everything exactly the way I wanted it. To placate myself I created a post regarding my site being ‘Under Heavy Construction’ or some such nonsense. On July 14th, 2009 I sat down at my desk, made an addendum to the aforementioned post – ‘Still Under Heavy Construction’ – signed off and sat down in front of the TV to play some video games as my lovely girlfriend continued to add to her already blossoming blogging career. And that was pretty much that.

Since, we’ve moved from NH to NYC, and between then and now I’ve managed to rustle up enough gusto to add a couple things here and there, about beer and film and myself, but never took the time to actually write a regular post. I was too attached to the idea of having structure in my blog, of trying to make it what I wanted it to be, instead of simply going ahead and making it. In this desire for organization I became claustrophobic; sure I wanted to add to this thing that petered out so quickly, but damn it all, it was too constricting – there was no freedom in it. Everything that I was supposed to write needed to have its own category, to be designed with a proper heading in mind. And that shit is stressful! There’s no fun in it.

One might wonder how writing about things you genuinely enjoy could ever really be considered stressful or unpleasant; but I’m telling you, it certainly becomes such when you’re trying to write about something to fit a format for the sake of filling space (say that two times in a row at a moderately quick pace without screwing it up and I will personally give you a high-five). I was doing it because I felt like I ought to, like it was some sort of obligation. I was, for some asinine reason, locked into the idea that my blog had to follow the guidelines that I had set forth for it the year and some odd months prior when I initially attempted to start it up. And I’ve been blindly married to this ridiculous conviction ever since – Until now.

From here on out, I say to hell with structure! To hell with organization! I’m going to write my blog however I damn well please! And I think it’ll be the better for it… clearly, considering before this the frickin’ thing never existed.

To anybody who’s actually reading this, and has stuck it out to this point (bless your souls), this most likely seems absurd; because I suppose quite frankly that it is. But the fact is that it took me a year and half to realize this shit and as far as I’m concerned, from here on out I’m going to have a legitimate blog. And I felt that I needed to share this triumph with you. And it’s exciting to me. I’m sure that I’ll have my lulls like all bloggers who simply blog for the sake of it and don’t make any sort of income from the experience do, but I’m cool with that. The bottom line is that I have a real desire to add to this thing now, and instead of simply talking about it, I’m going to actually do it. And by golly, it’s going to be complete with all those things that I had wanted originally: beer, film, restaurants, food, you name it! But it’ll be on my new terms, and it will be magnificent!

So welcome to Life Should Be Lived. Because it should be. I’m sure as hell gonna live mine, and I’ll share the experiences with you. I promise.