January 4, 2009

Bits and Pieces As the Calendar Changes

Biding My Time...

I keep up on the majority of my blog reading through my Google Reader. In the last few days, the dozens of blogs that I subscribe all have the same posts titles popping up: "Top Ten Movies of 2008", "2008 Year in Review", "2008 Roundup", etc. I love looking through these lists, of course, but I've been surprised at how early they continue to arrive. Though it is now 2009, the majority of people outside of New York and L.A. will be living in "Movie 2008" for another couple of months as films slowly expand to smaller markets. I'm fortunate to live in a place that gets most of them a week after N.Y./L.A., but still, there are a number of 2008 movies that I still haven't seen (Gran Torino, Che, Wendy and Lucy, The Wrestler, etc., etc.), so how I can comfortably make a list right now? I can't.

Though I tried to be stubbornly patient last year, I still made my list early, before I'd seen both 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and The Band's Visit. Only the first would have made the cut (probably edging out The Kite Runner - dang, just look how good last year was!), but even that's enough to make me hesitate this year.

But really, I can't wait around another 6 weeks until everything has been released in Minneapolis. For those of you who care, I'll do my list soon, and it won't be a brief list but a full week's retrospective - Best Movies, Best Documentaries, Best Scenes, Worst Movies, Most Overlooked Performances, Worst Titles, Funniest Moments, Worst Characters, Best Theater Experiences and of course the Best Music That Belonged in Movies. I expect I'll devote the last week in January or the first week of February to 2008, so stay tuned if you still have any interest left as Sundance begins and Oscar nominations are announced in a few weeks. As a teaser, I can tell you that I'm pretty sure my Top 10 List is going to look different from most others...


Well That Was a Disappointment...

Last spring, my AWOL guest contributor Matt suggested we take our obsession with fantasy sports to the realm of fantasy movies. Brilliant. The first season of the Getafilm Box Office Moguls League was a surprising success, and it led to a significant increase in participation for Season #2, which began in October and was supposed to end last week. Unfortunately and out of nowhere, the hosting website for the game shut down after Thanksgiving (with a lame explanation), cutting our season short and messing up a number of people's movie slates. It seems the only fair thing to do is declare Fletch the champion. He was in first place the final few weeks and chances are slim (though I haven't done the math) that anyone would have caught up to him.

The worst part is that it's taken all of my ambition out of doing a full round-up post about the season. Not that I don't care, but I'm soured enough by the situation that it doesn't seem worthwhile. The most respectable thing to do (besides follow up with Fletch about his amazing prize) is to admit that I once again took a shot on a lowly indie (Slumdog Millionaire), and I once again landed with a thud near the bottom of the standings. If there's anything I've learned playing this game over the last six months, it's that Hollywood studio execs know exactly what they're doing. Movies like Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Four Christmases make money, pure and simple. Why should they offer us anything else?

I'm all ears if anyone has any tips on setting this kind of game up on a different site. I thought it was fairly enjoyable while it lasted. You?

Reviewing My Reviews...

The majority of the 300+ posts I've written have been reviews. This has been a joy and a burden, since I love having a record of what I thought about a particular movie but I hate the feeling of guilt when I let one go without reviewing it (and there have been a number of those this year). I'm considering actually writing fewer reviews going forward and only focusing on the ones that really stir my soul, but we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I've finally created a Review Index (permanent link on the left). This was really not that difficult and I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally do it. All I had to do was create a backdated post that I'll continually update. Peruse all of my reviews, past and future and in all of their many changing forms, here.


The Year Ahead...

2009 will be the second full calendar year for Getafilm, and as is the case with everything in life, January is full of reflections on the year ahead. One of my hopes over the next 12 months is to clarify my purpose in keeping up this blog. There are countless - literally, countless - movie blogs popping up every day, and I don't intend to take up either your time or mine unless I have something meaningful to add to the conversation; both of our time is too precious to waste. This could mean a number of things: different kinds of posts, fewer reviews, etc.; I have no idea - I'm going to try to let things flow a little more naturally and see where it takes me. M
aybe I'll end up in the same place. Either way, I intend to remain strictly focused on movies, but within that context I might explore other issues and opinions. By now you know that I'm most interested in what insights on life I can take with me after I leave the theater.

I don't say it nearly enough, but I appreciated the readership and support from all of you in 2008. I'm continually challenged, encouraged, and humbled by your comments and feedback. Thanks, Happy New Year, and stay tuned!


  1. A toast to you Dan for an even more successful 2009.

    I hear you on the difficulties of list-making. I live in the NYC area as you know, and I generally see the films almost immediately, yet I won't have my own list ready for maybe 4 or 5 more days, as I am waiting for a Region 2 DVD to arrive of a French film called THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN, which has won quite abit of critical praise, and opened December 28th at the IFC, making it technically a 2008 film. I liked CHE, loved WENDY AND LUCY, and thought GRAN TORINO was at least entertaining despite some issues, but none of those will make my own Top 10 list.

    One film that I know you and I love, THE POOL, will probably figure prominantly on both our lists.

  2. Thanks, Sam! And best of luck to you in this new year.

    Even if yours isn't going to be the earliest lists, it will probably be one of the most complete, which makes it all the more significant.

    And yes, The Pool is a good example of one of my Top 10 that probably isn't getting love many other places.

  3. Agreed, here's to a great year Danny *raises glass*

    I was on the same page as you about the top ten list thing, till I wasn't and I am not sure what made me eventually cut my losses and put up my list, although I just don't see a lot of what I haven't seen this year knocking anything of my list. I guess I could have and should have waited.

    Anyway, I am sure you too will make lists you can be proud of! I hope I see The Pool soon.

  4. Ugh, it's so hard to keep up with all the movies being pumped out by Hollywood, the indies, other countries -- esp. when half of them don't reach my market for months. Then they play in my town's only arthouse theater for about a month.

    You probably saw my "Best of 2008" post and my admission that I missed out on a lot of "sure hits" due to an unusually busy social calendar. (Hmm, maybe that's a good thing, now that I think about it.)

    I will try to catch up on them soon, and alter my "best of" list as needed.

  5. Haha, Nick, no worries. I saw that in your email and then saw your list pop up in my reader. Well you've been ahead of me on a bunch of movies anyway, so you were probably ready.

    I'm not sure why I'm holding out when I know I'm not going to see everything. Guess I'm just stubborn.

    Yes, Sarah, I did see yours pop and I need to check it out as well. I ended up altering my "best of" last year, and I guess that's the only option. And a busy social calendar is never a bad thing! (Better than a busy work calendar, which is on top of me for the next two months.)

    Of course the reality of the matter is that if it wasn't for this blog, I wouldn't be worried about not having seen these yet! They'll get here by Oscar night, and that's the most important deadline for me.

  6. Here's to a great 2009 at Getafilm!!! Keep up the fabulous work.

    And one of my (many) New Year's resolutions is to start using Analytics!

  7. Thanks, Alexander, same to you. Let me know if you need any help with Analytics - it will be worth it!

  8. You know I'm waiting as well. I have to at the very least see The Wrestler, and perhaps The Reader as well. And Let the Right One In. And maybe I've Loved You So Long. Oy. My goal is to have it done before February arrives...

    Hey, at least mention to the good people that I was leading the Box Office Challenge for just about every week since the first two. I ruled you all! Beverly Hills Chihuahua FTW! Oh, and 4 Xmases, too.

    I'd give you grief about not writing all your reviews, but I'm thinking you see at least 20 more films than me per year (I think I'll end around 80 for '08). Then again, you pretty much give each film the full treatment, whereas I sometimes only blurify them. Speaking of which, I have a Valkyrie review to write...

  9. I'm hoping for month end as well, but we'll see. At some point I'll just give in and go for it. I guess I can always go back and change it.

    Yes, you owned that league - don't let me forget I owe you your prize.

    And reviews, well this time of year is pretty ridiculous. I feel like I'm seeing at least 3 movies a week from mid-November to mid-January, and they're just not all going to get a review. I've considered your abbreviated versions but haven't even had the energy to put those together. Something to consider for '09, though I hate to break my own habit.


Related Posts with Thumbnails