I don’t talk enough about good movies.
If you’ve been reading my hobby over the years, you know I have a penchant for negativity and occasional contrarianism. But apart from writing a Star Wars Prequels appreciation entry every few years, or an anniversary piece whenever possible, V for Verbatim can’t help but feel like an unhappy place. With my next and newest segment, I’d like to change that.
The most fun I had in writing any article on cinema this year was my Bond Ranking. I got to delve into history, muse over a long franchise and discuss context, compare the literary with the non-literary, and compose more jokes in one place than I have almost anywhere else. And it occurred to me at that time, that apart from an old review of Spectre that had a menstruation joke in it that I regretted writing and also regretted removing, I had never taken the James Bond series seriously and given it a certain due for the influence it had over me and all of us. It seemed to be a piece that my readers enjoyed reading as well, and it’s certainly one of the better things I can boast this year since I did so little else by comparison.
So in the general spirit of that, I have here coming soon a sub-segment that I hope to do more than once. It’s called 10 for 10.
10 films; one article for each film; each released over ten consecutive days. The movies have almost nothing in common with each other except for the fact that I like them a lot, and have never written about them before.
To make the challenge more fun, no films with the same director or same star actor will be chosen, and no more than two films from any one decade will be selected. The films will also vary in genre, though I can tell you that a plurality of them are action oriented in one way or another. The thing about pieces like this, as I’ve discovered by writing them, is that it’s a chance to tell a story, review a legacy and the look of an era, and appreciate things by comparing them to both good and bad things made later or at the same time. Oh yeah, and since this is a V segment, there will still be plenty of jokes at the expense of movies I relish mocking.
There will be a strong focus on history, and the on filmmakers I really like. I have before written “Cinematic Constructions” where I compare, contrast, and discuss the films made by the same auteur director as part of their larger bodies of work. 10 for 10 will be more like my friend MovieBob’s Really That Good, which I think is the most vital contribution he’s ever made in the greater landscape of criticism. I do not hope to make anything close to that kind of splash. At best, I hope that it will inspire readers and friends not only to appreciate good films and their respective filmmakers (and see others in their similar vein), but also to take art seriously in a way that only good criticism can do.
Having written about film and television for a decade now, I have grown much less interested in ordinary reviews (though I’ll still do it) and more interested in essaying with critiques. Sometimes a movie just hits you in ways you never expect it to, it sticks itself into your mind and you feel forever partially re-defined for having seen it. Those films, especially the good ones, are the best subjects of discussion, and for me, at least, they are the stuff that makes life worth living. The ten films that I’ll discuss all that that effect on me in one way or another, and I’m not going to wait for an anniversary to give them their due.
So here’s to it. 10 for 10 coming soon. Feel free to guess the films and/or the decades I’ll be discussing.