I wonder how many ideas were hatched deep within the confines of a basement.
Dear readers, I have reached a personal milestone. Today marks the official 1st anniversary of Savage Cinema and I wish that I could effectively share the happiness I feel for reaching this peak. With the publishing of this post, I will have crossed a personal "Finish Line" in a year long marathon that has consisted of 158 postings that hold an ocean's worth of words, memories, impressions and musings. And it all began in the exact spot that I am currently sitting in: my parent's basement during a holiday visit.
I have had the idea for something like Savage Cinema for many, many years but was not exactly certain of what it could be. Frankly, I just did not have the bravery to share my views in a written form, convincing myself that either I just did not have the talent to pull something of this nature off very successfully and also knowing for certain that the world really didn't need one more person in cyberspace rattling on and on about an art form he did not have hand in creating himself. What could I possibly add to the process of art and artistry by being on the sidelines, so to speak?
Well...I wanted to try and make it artful and through a lifetime of reading film criticism, especially the continuing odyssey of Roger Ebert, I knew that my vision could have a certain potential. In many ways, I have been writing reviews since childhood as they have all been in my head after viewing one film after another and through utilizing the tools given to me by Ebert and Gene Siskel, I could engage in heavy duty conversations with friends and family as well. Now, it was just the act of stringing together those thoughts and words into a written form that could be enjoyable to read.
I have considered myself a "writer" for much of my life and I really became engaged with that piece of my spirit during my teenage years when I began writing screenplays, which culminated with the high school success of writing and directing a fun movie entitled "Life In One Day" for my Senior Year Arts Week. Between college and my mid-twenties, I wrote two deeply personal screenplays of epic length, each depicting bookends to the college experience. Some time after that, and profoundly inspired by the works of John Irving, I jumped into writing in the prose style and while I am still occasionally hacking away at this mythical book inside of my head and soul, that process has also been incredibly rewarding. But, throughout it all, there has been one tremendous obstacle: myself.
Barely anybody has read anything I have ever written as my courage just is not strong enough. Yet, again, I knew that I needed to try something so why not dip my toes into the waters of the public arena with film reviews?
I began my journey by writing film reviews and publishing them upon my Facebook page, allowing friends to read what I had composed. Thankfully, the response was positive and the encouragement I continued to receive throughout that process gave me the proper push to extend myself into the larger world of cyberspace. So, one year ago, as I sat in my parent's basement during a holiday visit, I created this space, named it, wrote my welcome and mission statement, began to archive previously written reviews and shortly thereafter, began to compose and publish reviews solely in this space.
I really wish that I could effectively tell you how rewarding this process has been for me. I just don't think there is a way to express it with the proper magnitude but I have a strong feeling that I think you will all understand. I truly hope this has been an enjoyable time for you as I have designed this site to be inclusionary, literary, informative and entertaining.
Yes, the reviews are lengthy and I do realize that in our accelerated times that it is not always easy to take the time to read something so seemingly mountainous. But, the length is purposeful.
First of all, it's just the only way I know how to do it and for that, you can all thank or criticize my Mother. During childhood, she would drill into me the process of being thorough, as far as my education was concerned. She scoffed at all shortcuts and demanded excellence at all times. She would often say to me, "Any person off the street should be able to pick up anything you've written and know exactly what you are talking about!" So, that demand is an integral part of my writing process. I want to make the reviews as complete as possible and fully worth the time you have taken to give them a read or even a glance.
Secondly, the reviews are so long because in my own way, I do want to almost force people to slow down, in our accelerated times, and READ! I have no desire to contribute to the overly abbreviated and substance lacking style that is rampant these days. If a person just wants to get a star rating and a few choice punchy words, then Savage Cinema is just not the place for you. I desire for you, dear readers, to savor what I have written. The reviews are fashioned to be read before or after you have seen a certain film, giving you an opening to engage in a discussion with me about it afterwards. As I stated from the beginning, I am NO EXPERT. I am just an enthusiast, so eager to share that enthusiasm with you.
Finally, to justify the length, I have to make the reviews personal and actually, it could only be this way as movies are dreams and dreams are uniquely personal and emotional. If I want you to feel anything at all with these things is that emotional connection I have with the art, which in turn is a connective tissue between you and me. I am giving you a window into my world with the inclusion of myself within the context of a particular review and isn't that how we all experience a movie, or a book or a song? It is always through the filter of our personal experiences.
To let you into my process, I do not take notes during a film. I just sit and watch and let myself open to just enjoy the experience placed in front of me. It's just like you. It's no different. The story either works or it doesn't. I either like it or I don't. All I am doing is putting it all into words, which I try to do as soon after I see a film as possible. Sometimes, the words just arrive. Sometimes, I really have to force them out. Sometimes, I honestly have absolutely NO IDEA of what I have to say and I'll just cobble down some key words and see if they trigger something internally. But, when they are completed, they are all ready for you and your potential enjoyment.
I would never and could never have enough words to express the gratitude I feel for absolutely every single person who has read anything that I have written. All of the praise you have given to me has not been lost on me in the least and believe me, it NEVER gets old or loses a certain luster. it is because of you that I keep trying and keep placing myself "out there." Thank you for being there to catch me.
I have to take this time to give special thanks to Margaret Pattison, for her persistent encouragement to get outside of my comfort zone and allow more people to see what I have been up to and also, for feeling that these reviews are worthy of other people's time and energy. I have to also give special thanks to Stephanie Werhane for being the person who quickly gave me all of the tools and info I needed to create this space in the first place. I am not terribly computer literate or that technically savvy but, in under ten minutes after receiving her instructions, Savage Cinema was born and I will always be indebted to her.
Of course, my greatest thanks has to be given to my wife, Hollister as she has been quietly supportive of this venture by allowing me the space to write and compose and be as obsessive about this process as I need to be. Without that support being there, it would be too difficult to continue this at all.
Again, I sincerely and warmly thank ALL OF YOU for joining me on this ride. It would be worthless without you and I appreciate, without end, the grace of your presence. As I head into Year Two, expect more of the same: more reviews, more installments of my special series and most of all, the same passion that I hope has been evident from the beginning.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAVAGE CINEMA!!!
Long may it run!!!