Interview: Pavel Giroud on Cuban Oscar Submission 'The Companion' - By Jose Solis. Cuba’s Oscar entry *The Companion*, will surely be seen with new eyes with the recent death of Fidel Castro, as more stories about his dec...
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Many of you have pointed out the obvious lack of reviews floating about LiE these days, and have petitioned me to get back in the reviewing swing. I suppose my posts on reviewing lack that same cutting edge as flat out doing the reviewing myself. Either way, there's a rather simple reason as to why I don't do reviews these days, though the implications of it may reach farther than I'm likely to admit. That reason is confidence.
A while back when I went to compile a list of all the reviews I've written to date and spent a little bit of time drumming through them. It was a rather turbulent experience for me as time and time again I found myself let down by what I had written. "That's what I chose to write about that movie?" I kept asking myself, and much to my dismay that's indeed what I had wrote.
Movies I sang the praises of on alternative social media platforms had reviews which felt stagnant and dull. The words I chose to use were suspicious and likely byproducts of rushed thesaurus searches. The way I organized them fell flat and lacked transition pieces which would have given them flow, and character. I felt like I was reading the writing of my childhood self all over again. For those unaware I was a terrible childhood writer, and have the evidence to prove it (locked away in a vault in a dungeon miles underground).
Every time I turned around I just couldn't get the right words on the page. When I'd pace around the house I could visualize each word perfectly. The flow, the organization, the timing, and yet the second I sat down in front of the computer or whipped out my handy notebook, all the life of the words would be sucked out. "Shimmering beams of the night sky" mutated into "bright dots in dark upward place."
This same feeling I began tracing throughout my reviews. The redundancy in verbiage and adjectives pushed me to the edge of sanity. "Was that a good movie with mediocre characters or a mediocre movie with good characters?" I irritatingly asked myself with each passing click of a link. No matter how I spun it, I just couldn't find a review I was proud of. Even among those reviews that I would label my best, I find more flaws than positives. For someone who has written over 1000 posts and boasts a healthy dosage of reviews, that's a difficult emotion to process. Not to mention a bit melodramatic.
There are plenty of general posts I'm proud of, and I'll be the first to admit that in many cases these posts play host to only a couple of comments, if they have any at all. Most of the time, though, they are rants, ramblings, or articles on perception in film. Posts just like this one. Sure the redundancy is still there - I'm not a vocab wizard - but there's an added element in them that I find myself wanting in many of my reviews. Passion.
Not so much passion about the movies being reviewed, or the topics being ranted upon, but rather a passion for the style of writing required to do each. Conversational posts such as ranting gear themselves so much more towards the way my brain operates, and goes through the process of analyzing. Don't ask me why my reviews seem to stubbornly push against this tide, but they all too often do. Not until I started doing rants, raves, and ramblings did this become abundantly clear to me.
I've tried changing up the way I do reviews, throwing in new spins, moving things around, and dropping pieces that were getting in the way, but that feeling is still there. It's as if there's an invisible field around reviews where I opt to write in a stringent style not becoming my flow of thoughts. Where this came about is anyone's guess, but I aim to keep trying until I find a way out of it. After all, reviewing is one of the core foundations of critical analysis. And as a champion of that, I would be hard pressed to convince myself to perform otherwise.