Sunday, March 19, 2023

The End of Film Babble Blog?

No, it isn’t. 

It’s just going on a hiatus. A pause. An interval. Wait! I know! An intermission.  

I’ve got to take a break because I’ve got more than one book project in the works, and the whole film criticism thing has lost a lot of its appeal to me. I can’t remember the last full review I’ve read, and I used to devour them. But that was a different time when there was so much less content to keep up with, and one may seek out a writer, or writers that they like to let them in on the flavor, and feel of a film, even if they may not agree with them in the end.


In 2009, Will Ferrell performed a one-man show entitled You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush in which the comic actor, of course, appearing as the 43rd President asked audience members for a Christian name and occupation, and he will give them an instant nick-name “Texas-style.”

At a show covered by the New York Times, somebody yelled out “Reviewer!” Scott Brown reported, “Ferrell, in character, cracked a huge grin, and didn’t miss a beat: ‘I’m gonna call you ‘Obsolete Profession.’


Yeah, and that was 14 years ago. I loved writing many of the over 1,400 posts since I started this site in 2014. I’ve followed and covered some really cool (and not so cool, but some of those could be cool too), thriving actors, filmmakers, genres, concepts, clichés, film festivals, genres, and whatever it was that I wanted to share with my readers.


While never a major movie forum, Film Babble Blog has had its moments. It was mentioned and linked to in the New Yorker’s Vulture, the UK’s historic The Guardian rag, and many places online that are sadly no more (I still have links, and screen shots ‘n all so there’s that). 


Film Babble Blog was also frequently featured on the IMDb’s daily Hit List, which I know means nothing to most likely 99.9% of anyone reading this, but it was where they used to shine a light on the cream of the crop of current writing about entertainment. When a post from my site made the list, I got thousands of hits, which led to followers, and advertisers, so for a nice while, Film Babble Blog was thriving.


But time has moved on, and the thrill is gone. I still love movies, but the idea of seeing as many and writing about them like I used to wears my noggin out. I didn’t even post a review of EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, which just won Best Picture at the Oscars. Speaking of the Oscars, I used to make predictions for all of the 23-24 categories, but this year I could only bring myself to predict the top 5 (I got 3 out of 5). 


With the ginormous amount of content out there, the Oscars is seeming less and less necessary every damn year, a sentiment that’s echoed every time somebody, and lately it feels like everybody, says that “nobody cares about the Oscars.” As Seth Rogen said, “And why should they?”


When I was younger, so much younger than today (in the ‘80s, and ‘90s) there were like only 200-300 or so movies coming out a year, and it was easy to catch up with the ones you had interest in. And you could really process them. Discuss them with friends, re-listen to their soundtracks, see them again when they hit home video six months after their release. 


That window has all but disappeared, and people don’t watch movies like they used to. They go to whatever streaming platform and pick something, and if it doesn’t grab them, they click to something else. There’s nothing wrong with that. I do it too. So why do you need to read a review online?


Now, my blog has offered a lot more than reviews with interviews, features, obits, funny behind-the-scenes stuff, and, my favorite, nutty lists like, my favorite, “10 Slapped Actresses.” But the art of writing or reading the finely tuned 600 (or so) word piece on a particularly juicy movie rendered with oomph is just not the invigorating thing it was. 


Since the pandemic, there have been very few critics’ screenings in my area and they’ve mostly been for Marvel movies. A decade ago, there used to be a manageable array of films of different genres that I felt I could be up on the latest mainstream multi-plex fare as well as the indie releases (it helped that I worked at an indie theater), and pick out the most notable ones to blog about. But now I’m less enthused when there seems to be a batch of new movies every day that nobody could ever keep up with, and many of them look mighty disposable.


Also, I used to get feedback from people with comments on posts, or emails, but that is rare nowadays. In person, people used to tell me they read such and such review, and may be had an argument, but the last time somebody said anything, I could tell they had had only seen the headline, because that’s the only thing that they said anything about.


But that’s alright. I do that too. I still keep up with movies. I saw most of the top 10 grossing films last year, and still enjoy reading some film writing here and there. I’ve read some great pieces on EEAAO, THE BANSHEES OF INERSHERIN, and THE WHALE that I thought enhanced my appreciation for those films so don’t think I’m writing film criticism off entirely.


I’m just wanting any of the small amount of people that might come here to know why there isn’t a new post (a review of the latest Marvel movie maybe?) – why Film Babble Blog is taking break but will be back. Hell, if I’m inspired by a film I see in the next few weeks I may be back here posting on it! You never know with this crazy world.


As for the book projects I previously mentioned, I’ve been working for some time on finalizing what my follow-up to my 2019 debut, Wilcopedia, will be, and am very excited that I will be announcing it very soon. There are other new things that appear to be pulling me off of the film scribing path for the time being, so it seems to time to take a break.


So thanks for following, and reading - even if it was just the headline. Await the triumphant comeback – after all 2024 is the 20th Anniversary of the site, and there will be fanfare for sure. So with the promise of bigger fish to fry, it's time for Film Babble Blog to say goodbye...for now.


Unknown said...

Understand. But I look forward to your return.

Roderick Allmanson said...

It's been fun to follow you over the years! I have also contemplated retirement. Or at least, "write when I really feel like it" instead of being compelled to put out weekly content. I'll definitely get paid the same, which is nothing