Years of thought-provoked wrangling over what makes film good or memorable, loved or despised, award winning or a stinker, finally gave rise to this peculiar blog site.
Karl, a man with whom I have a mountain of admiration, who knows his film history, facts, and trivia as well as any of the umpteen million film critics and reviewers out there getting paid several dollars more than he at his "regular" music job, suggested, ages ago, that we set up a point-counter point dialog on film. Its like this, since our conversations on most films end with him rolling in hysterics on the floor, or couch, or whatever surface is handy, because he thought my words on the subject were so, umm, funny, and that this would in turn be funny to you.
Now, before you form any presumptions, assumptions or what-nots I want you to know that Karl works in the music industry. He has a Masters in Church Music and plays organ at his church every sun-shiny Sunday; rain, snow, blizzard or drought. He knows his business as you will learn, and being that film is his hobby, one that he spent much time learning at University in New York, his opinion is worth, at least, a pricked-up ear or two.
Me, on the other hand, well, I am just the writer. I make a living as a high school English teacher, very over-worked and under-paid (such a cliche, but damn true). I am here for the obvious reason; I can write (been published in many mediums) and I make the perfect foil to Karl's sometimes over-confident, stubborn film opinion and/or analysis.
Through a curious invention called the Internet, and an even curiouser invention known as marriage, Karl and I became quite familiar with each other just over a decade ago. However, in the blink of an eye and no apologies for using yet another cliche, familiarity breeds contempt, Karl and I found that proximity (about 3000 miles) is truly the key to a long and compatible relationship. Thirteen months and our marriage and the divorce, were final. As quick as a quark disappearing in the Large Hadron Collider Karl popped back to the east coast, and I, stuck as a cockroach on sticky paper, stayed put on the west coast, and we have been happily friends ever after.
In the beginning it was our love of film that brought us together, and since then, almost on a weekly basis, it is our love of film that keeps our phones ringing in each other's ears, which in turn keeps those phone companies happily wealthy.
We discuss film of all sorts (he badgers me like, well, a badger, into seeing films I would never give eye-time), and then we discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all until we are satisfied, out-of-breath, or laughing hysterically. We are equal opportunity praisers and bashers. Directors, writers and actors earn our gratitude and respect, or blazing spit-in-your-face wrath depending upon our own personal as well as educated opinions. Over the years our animated conversations have been witnessed by friends, family, and strangers alike, and all have been mostly entertained by our complimentary passion and equally stubborn opinions.
Our last round-a-bout concerned the Steven Speilberg film, "War Horse," of which I thoroughly enjoyed, and one Karl, without even viewing, finds contemptable. Our text conversation went thus:
Me: "I saw War Horse, and even though you do not like Speilberg, I say you should give this film a chance. It harkens back to the old film type where story-telling meant grabbing the audience by the heart and running away with it, and although the manipulation of emotions made the entire audience come down with the sniffles, the elements of Shindler's List, and the storming of the beach at Normandy from Saving Private Ryan, were evident and well worth my movie ticket. Go see it Karl. You may enjoy parts of it."
Karl: "There is no way I will like this film."
ME: "You won't give it a chance?"
Karl: "No, but here's a web site that sums up my opinion."
Me: "How can you have an opinion on a film you've never seen? And... you give me someone else's opinion to stand up with your own. Wait, oh god, let me tear out some of my hair!"
Karl: "Its Speilberg. I don't have to see it."
Me: "Sometimes you just piss me off."
Me: "Do not call me until I cool down, and I mean like I have to stick my head in a bucket of ice cubes and its 38 degrees outside. You are the most stubborn post WWII German on the planet. Why waste my precious breath?"
Karl: "I'll call tomorrow."
Me: "What?! No! I said I am pissed off."
Karl: "Will not call! Will not call! I do believe in self-preservation."
Me: "You better not. Read my email response because I put all my swear words in my reply to your haughty self... well, unless you are a glutton for punishment and need to hear the swear words also in your ear."
Karl: "Read first, I will."
Me: "Smart man."
Karl: "You gave me a compliment?? Smart?? Are you feeling ok? Or should I chalk this up to the aftermath of the West Nile Virus?"
Me: You should understand that I was being generous. (btw... I had the WN virus over summer)"
Karl: "Incredibly generous.. Thank you."
Me: "Good night."
A typical conversation and yet, not really when you consider this was simply over the fact that Karl, smart as he is, thinks his opinion should stand even when he hasn't seen the damn film, let alone an extended trailer. Irritatingly typical, and we never even went into style: directorial, written, or acted.
This back and forth tradition of ours started way back in 1998 with the film, Dark City. We both enjoyed it and found a commonality between our thoughts, one that even aligned with my favorite film reviewer, Roger Ebert. From that spring (board, lol) onward we have been doing our own version of Siskel and Ebert, to the joy and chagrin of each other.
So now, without further explanation, we present this web site to all those who love and cherish film. It is our hope that you will find this a fun place as well as an informative site, where you can find humor and serious talk of your favorite films. Afterall, it is for your entertainment as well as your edification on the films you love, or hate, those you cannot live without or want to forget forever, that we have set up this site. Enjoy.