Get ready to learn just how much a movie nerd I really am (I prefer the term cinematic enthusiast/freak, but we’ll let nomenclature fall by the wayside).
This year I’ve started a project called 2014: A Film Odyssey. Not to be confused with the YouTube movie trivia game, my site publishes a film review every day of the year. Or, at least it does so far. As Professor Moody would say, “Constant vigilance!”
Before you roll your eyes and say, “Really? As if watching 175 movies for the first time last year wasn’t obsessive enough,” let me explain a few things about the projects.
I know you. You like having set parameters or you feel like you’re not in control. And you’re a control freak, Kate. So what rules have you set for yourself?
Each review will be under 500 words and focus on the value of the film as both entertainment and a piece of art. Some movies are junk food — taste good, fun to consume but lacking in nutritional value (The Hangover is a great example of this). Others are the kale of the cinema world — hard to swallow but full of intellectual vitamins and minerals (example, Citizen Kane). I’ll be looking at both and examining what they’re like to watch and what possible “deeper meanings” they might have. It’s like tasting a new cereal first and reading the dietary information label second.
But what about your super-long reviews on Quills and Typewriters? I loved reading 1,100 words on Django Unchained!
Oh, you flatter me. Don’t worry; my in-depth reviews of Oscar contenders will continue — and dominate, seeing as I’ve only got two months to cram in probably nine movies (check Gravity off that list). 2014: A Film Odyssey is mostly about older films and looks at how they translate to today, much like my work for MOVE Magazine three years ago (holy crap, that was three years ago). If I’m really in a bind or decide to pander for more website views, which will most likely happen, I’ll publish shorter versions of my Quills and Typewriters reviews on the site.
So why are you doing this?
When I met New York Magazine editor and Vulture.com founder Adam Moss in 2012, the first question I had was “Can I work for you?” After his polite but negative answer, I followed up with, “How can I get hired by you?” He told me to keep writing and publishing my work online. Many times pop culture magazines and websites will find writers through online work. This is my way of getting noticed.
There’s also the inevitable perk that my writing skills will improve. I’ve declared 2014 as the Year of Writing (among other titles, such as the Year of Employment, the Year of Getting Healthy and the Year of the Marmoset). This is one of the channels I’m using to exercise my critical writing skills and develop my wordsmith capabilities.
OK, so one last question. What’s with the creepy face as the logo?
You mean you don’t recognize Dave from 2001: A Space Odyssey? That’s it, we’re not friends anymore.
I’m kidding, of course. Although Stanley Kubrick’s film is far from a favorite of mine — I think I referred to it as “pretentious codswallup” in my History of American Film class paper — I understand its importance in the cinema schema and that it has much more significant meaning to it than “Don’t trust machines named HAL.”
Similarly, using Dave’s image for the site’s Twitter and Facebook profile pictures and overall logo is for a deeper reason than “I based the project’s name after the movie because I thought it had a nice ostentatious ring to it.” In the film, Dave is a space pioneer on a mission to discover an explanation for our presence on Earth and beyond. The image I used is from his jump through time to Jupiter, where he finds himself on his deathbed. To me, the shifting light and open-eyed clarity in his face symbolizes self-realization and final enlightenment. The journey has opened his eyes and showed him something he never knew before about himself and the world around him.
2014: A Film Odyssey is my way of doing the same thing. By taking the time to write about different films, I am sojourning through the cinematic universe to find deeper meaning and enlighten myself on what makes certain movies great and others incomparable. If my readers experience the same thing, then I’ve done more than accomplish my goal. As a writer, I’ll be able to gauge how I improve from being a somewhat-novice movie fan who knows how to string a sentence together (astronaut Dave) to an experienced critical writer and thinker able to craft short but poignant reviews (old wrinkly Dave).
Happy reading, viewing and odyssey-ing.
Kate Everson, cinephile enthusiast/freak