A refreshing meme came my way from Greg F's corner of the web, Cinema Styles. The post is titled "Why Being a Cinephile Matters", and it discusses the importance of cinephilia and blogging in the context of the current movie scene. This was a refreshing thing to see first thing in the morning, as most discourse surrounding movie bloggers tends to involve disparaging of them. Mere "hobbyists" who are stealing thunder from the oh-so-mighty and essential canonized crew of "professionals". The evolution of blogging is a perfectly natural evolution of the mass-communication of the internet and traditional film criticism.
Though if there's one thing I despise it's the 'one or the other' mentality with respect to the print criticism/blogging dichotomy. Blogging, to me, is a natural extension of the art of criticism; and the two certainly need not be mutually exclusive. Look at people whom I would consider Teachers to us all on the way this exciting new technology should be harnessed; David Bordwell, Matt Zoller Seitz, Jim Emerson--- these critics/bloggers have shown us the way digital technology can be harnessed in order to approach a greater sense of objectivity in criticism. They've used frame-grabs and videos to, what I feel, is a revolutionary effect: to back up their critiques with actual evidence. No longer are you left scratching your head at what may seem like baseless observations--- it's right there, in the movie, and this allows for a more detailed illustration of the criticism itself. Film is a visual form. Criticism is a literary form. The two are only compatible to a certain extent.
And this move towards a larger sense of objectivity is perhaps the most important thing about blogging to me. Blogging has torn down the notion of a 'consensus' surrounding films. With more voices out there, film criticism is not as black and white as it used to be. Which isn't to say that there isn't a uniformity to a certain extent--- but you're more likely to find dissenting or niche views on the internet than you are in the mainstream press. In an age where so many print critics pander to audiences and regurgitate ad copy, the blogsosphere is a place where anyone can put their voice out there and be heard. And the sheer volume of voices indicates that movies do indeed matter to a great many people. If a movie doesn't have discourse surrounding it, the film dies. Bloggers help keep the spirit of cinema alive.
There are a great many lessons to be learned from the blogosphere. Here are some of my most valued:
* Spielberg isn't exactly hated, but I still like him proportionally more than most.
* You're allowed to make a case for Hollywood and genre. You don't get voted off the island for making a case that Rio Bravo is as good a movie as The Seventh Seal.
* Ebert is a better blogger than critic.
* Comments don't necessarily need to have anything to do with the topic discussed in the post. There is no such thing as a non-sequitir.
* Speaking of non-sequitirs: waffles.
* That Jonathan Lapper dude is really named Greg.
* It's pretty commonly accepted that Verhoeven is totally boss.
* Opinions come in many shapes and sizes.
* The Siren is a class-act through and through.
* Sometimes, one of the net's most eloquent bloggers will inexplicably join your blog when you don't have a single reader.
* Maybe Lars von Trier isn't so bad after all.
* People actually like Marnie.
* Saying you like Mission to Mars will still get you into trouble.
* In fact, you still kinda get weird looks for liking De Palma.
* No, actually, there's no performer too obscure.
* Girls blog about movies, too.
* They will never, ever let me play "Name that Movie".
* Bill R. will fucking kill your ass.
* Just be yourself, engage with others, and you will make friends. Thanks to all my blogger posse, you guys and gals are what make it fun.
*There's so many movies in this world worth seeing. It's a banquet that can never, ever be depleted. And every time you think you're a littler closer to having it all figured out, the well grows even deeper. It's truly humbling.
And there's my 20. I even managed to avoid being sappy right up until the very end there.
Th-th-th-th-th-th-th-that's all folks.