Lately, I’ve entertained the idea of writing movie reviews again. It’s not the first time I’ve pondered this idea… In fact, I’ve pursued this avenue of review series once or twice.
First off: yeah, I know, blind guy wants to be a film critic. It’s like a deaf guy wanting to be a music critic. But that was always a dream of mine when I was younger. Also, back when I had both my eyes.
I never really went to film school, I didn’t take any college courses in cinematic history… Hell, the closest thing to writing classes I took in regards to being a cyndicated film critic was “intro to journalism” in high school. And if creative writing counts towards that, I took a shit ton of creative writing.
I’d dabbled in filmreviews in my very first blog, but I didn’t really take it all that seriously. I didn’t really hand out scores (as far as I remember, anyway), and the writing style… Well… Let’s just say it’s not what most would call professional. Between the spelling errors, and my filthy fucking mouth, you weren’t about to see these reviews in The Kansas City Star anytime soon.
I wouldn’t actually build an actual film review website till 2005. It was a little something I messed with over the summer of that year: a little project I called The Vampire Cowboy From Hell. No seriously, that was the name I went with. STOP LAUGHING!
Okay, that actually was kind of funny. It’s probably no wonder nobody ever read that site apart from my parents. And maybe a classmate of mine. I was taking English comp that summer, and I distinctly remember showing her a review I’d written for the first Saw movie with the intention of getting some notes on how I could make it better.
The Vampire Cowboy From Hell, in the grand scheme of things, was less of a serious effort to get into film review, and more of an effort to teach myself HTML. I’d actually been teaching myself off and on for the better part of both my senior years of high school (I repeated twelth grade for the record). My dad sent me tutorials through email, and I taught myself from there. I never did get the hang of tables, and I still need a guide to remember what hex codes turn the text what color, but The Vampire Cowboy From Hell was, in the longrun, the ultimate test of everything I’d learned from those tutorials.
On a technical level, Vampire Cowboy From Hell… Was nothing special. The design was so bare boned, you’d swear to god the source code was plagiarized from Maddox or something. Fairly large yellow text against a black background, no tables, no columns, no pictures, no flashy gimmics. Just yellow text that detailed my overall opinions of movies old and new that I’d seen recently, graded on a 5-star system. Occasionally, I’d turn the text light blue if I was pulling a quote directly from the movie itself, or from other sources, but for the most part, that was it.
I ended up shutting down the website later in the summer. I can’t remember why, though.
I uploaded other movie reviews to a Yahoo360 page I’d made. I can’t remember what it was called, but I want to say it was something like “The Critic of Everything”. Much like VampireCowboy From Hell, it was less about seeking out my passions, and more about playing with the platform. And considering it was Yahoo360, the platform was fucking garbage on rye.
In 2010, I started the blog Egyptians Like Triangles. I have a nack for picking stupid titles, don’t I? Interesting fact: I came super close to calling that website “Frank Miller Likes Pizza”, but decided against it. Even if it’s true, odds are the man who gave us such disasterpieces as Holy Terror and All Star Batman and Robin probably wouldn’t have a sense of humor about a joke that only I and one other guy thought was funny. Egyptians Like Triangles was ALSO a joke that I and only one person thought was funny, mostly made at the expense of that dumdum who hosts Ancient Aliens.
“Did it ever occur to you conspiracy nuts that maybe ancient Egyptians just really liked triangles?”
Egyptians Like Triangles was my first real attempt at making a serious review page. For music.
I’d come to the conclusion after diving face first into the community that’d soon become known as Channel Awesome that movie reviews were a bit of an oversaturated market. Sure, I didn’t have to be a snarky bastard like Spoony, or The Cinema Snob, or Blockbuster Buster, or Count Jackula, or Obscuris Lupa… Or Brows Held High… Or… Jesus Christ there were a lot of these guys! No wonder I went with music reviews! I mean hell, the only guy I knew of who did rock and metal reviews was the review series super creatively titled “Rocked”. And maybe Spectrum Pulse.
So yeah, the blog that proudly announced that the people of Egypt had a bit of an obsession with all things three-sided… Posted music reviews. Upon Retrospect, I don’t know what’s more baffling: the fact I never changed the name of that blog, or the fact it had a reader base.
I had two review series.
A. What’s in Thomas’ CD player: a series where I reviewed an album track-by-track, assigning letter grades to each individual song. At the end of the review, I’d give a grade to the overall album, and finish off with some final thoughts. If the track was a poem, or a comedy sketch, or random nonsense, I didn’t grade it. Towards the end of that series, I just talked about the album in its entirety, because I found I was assigning the same letter grade to a lot of the tracks overall.
B. Songs I’m Sick of Hearing: less of a review series, and more of a way of venting my frustration at songs I fucking hated. Most of which were seeing an obnoxious amount of radio play.
I got compliments, and I got angry hatemail alike throughout that blog’s lifespan. Suffice to say, my absolute hatred of Halestorm was a bit of a hot button topic.
Had the blog REMAINED a music review site, it probably would’ve kept the reader base. Unfortunately, I also decided to commentate on certain issues, whore out an attempt at an MMA podcast I was doing throughout 2011, and maybe venting my frustrations with the publishing industry for refusing to pick up my books, but gladly publishing hot literary garbage like 50 Shades of Gray. Oh, and I’d occasionally review other things. Like movies. The movie reviews were few and far between, what with me trying to keep things focused primarily on rock music, and the few movie reviews I DID post had no grades or any professional touches.
ELT lasted for about five years. In 2015, the reader base was pretty much gone (most likely I made one jab at Halestorm too many), and I couldn’t afford to pay the hosting fees anymore, so I discontinued it.
Now, I run this blog.
Recently, I’ve found myself with the review itch again. Throughout this year, I dabbled with Youtube… Only to find it’s become a much bigger headache than it was in 2007. While the software ITSELF isn’t a glitchy piece of shit that rarely fucking works, the management is a different story. You’d have to not be all that deep into any given YouTube community if you aren’t aware “Advertiser friendly” is its longest running meme.
Also, I don’t have a camcorder anymore. As much as I love the In Bob We Trust style of slideshow video, those things are a bitch to assemble. Almost MORE than sitting in front of a camera, talking, then editing out your various flub-ups. So yeah, I think I’ll stick to text.
I know for sure I can host multiple blogs on one WordPress.com account. Hell, I have no problem with even going by TJB on that blog. Yeah, I apparently can’t post under a different name if I have multiple blogs on one account… Which is kind of a bummer, since Thomas J. Black is the name I planned on associating with my efforts as an indie author. Although I post movie reviews on THIS blog all the time, and have no qualms with my initials being there.
Really, my only MAJOR concern going in is an obvious one: will anyone read it? There’s already a shit ton of film critics out there. Never mind some of them are super elite film academy graduates, and others have been doing this shit since Livejournal was considered a credible platform. Hell, most of those Channel Awesome critics are like me dudes with nothing better to do with their free time than talk about movies they love/hate on camera. What the hell could Blindo MacIntyr over here contribute that other people haven’t already?
And I swear to god, if you’re going to tell me to play up the whole blind guy angle, we may have words. While I’m not ashamed of my vision impairment, I’m not about to use it as a gimmick. Partly because there’s other dudes who probably do that already, and also because I don’t WANT a fucking gimmick.
I think in the longrun, I’m just stuck. My writing projects, while progress is being made, are moving at a snail’s pace. I’m bored, I’ve been watching a lot of DVDs by myself as well as with my current girlfriend…
Oh yeah, did I mention I have a girlfriend now?
Yeah, anyway, I’m bored, my writing projects are moving slow at best, I’m watching a lot of DVDs and Netflix, and I’m really just in the mood to start something new. Also, I’ve been watching a lot of that old show The Critic on YouTube lately, and I can’t help but think maybe this is what’s motivating me to try my hand at reviewing movies again.
All of this is just me kicking ideas around at about midnight. If I go through with it, believe me, I’ll keep you in the loop. If nothing comes of it, this’ll probably be the last you hear of it. In turn, you got yourself a bit of a history lesson about your favorite indie author, so hey, at least there’s that.