Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mission Statement

So, why create a blog in the first place? Aren't I about the forty-millionth person to jump on the blog bandwagon?

The immediate answer is simple: I was laid off from my job a month ago, I screw around on message boards enough anyway, my wife keeps nagging me to do so (not that I married her because I care one iota about her opinions), or maybe I just have too much on my mind.

The larger answer may be a bit more difficult, but I think it has to do with wanting to be in charge of something. I've never been a boss or a supervisor, I've never been an editor-in-chief, or president, or captain of a team. In my professional life, I'm a perpetual "at will" employee, at the mercy of the whims of outside forces. In starting this blog, the ultimate force is me. The Review Pile lives or dies at my mercy. I can only make it great--or awful--if I will it so. Control, wanting something you can absolutely call your own, maybe just a place where your mind can flow unfiltered and unsanitized--a place where you aren't having to worry about violating a corporate anti-harassment policy, or cussing in front of a kid, somewhere completely free to speak your mind. Maybe that's the larger answer, and if I'm only carrying on a conversation with myself then so fucking be it.

Why "The Review Pile" then? Well, a few reasons. The first reason is that on the message board I most frequent, there is an annual thread called "Every Movie You Have Seen In... (in this case, 2009)" where all you have to do is list every film you see throughout the year. Some simply list, others write little mini-reviews, and some (myself included) have written essay level work about the films they have seen. Since movies are pretty much my biggest passion--in my freshman dorm, I was given the moniker "Jon The Movie Guy"--I figured it would be a nice thing to do, simply for posterity's sake.

Well, I think I've evolved a little further than that.

When you realize, "Shit, I've just devoted twenty whole minutes to why I think Sandy Bullock hasn't lived up to her potential as an actress", you either have a problem, are a total obsessive, or you watch way to many movies. It's all three for me, so I figured "Hey! I'm gonna start a blog!"

I'm also a notorious hoarder and collector (not to the unhealthy extent that I need to be profiled on the A & E Network or something like that). I've got a collection of comic books that has been growing exponentially since 1993 (damn you, Tommy Wiley and the X-Men cartoon!). A year working at a record store pushed my CD collection into the 400+ range (damn you employee discount!) (And for the record, I still prefer to buy whole albums on CD. I'm one of those troglodytes that showed up late for the I-Pod party.). I have shelves of books, DVD's, VHS tapes (yeah, I still watch those too), watch too much sports throughout the year. I've spent my whole life consuming entertainment; it's about time I started to create something for myself, even if it is as insipid as writing a review of what I've just seen. A fair warning: if you start to follow this blog, you're going to collect stuff right along with me.

I'm also going to try and focus my obsessions. One of the first projects I'm going to start is to watch every film that has won the Best Picture Oscar and write a review on each. Anyone see that movie or read the book Julie & Julia? I didn't, but it looked like one of those movies where the preview tells you the whole story, in this particular case how one lady (Julie Powell) attempts to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking within on year. Well, I only have to watch (and re-watch, in many instances) eighty-two films. I'd like to do that before the next Oscar ceremony, which gives me about 138 days to accomplish my task (the 82nd Annual Oscar Ceremony is on March 7th, 2010).

Why watch every Best Picture winner? For starters, film awards--and awards in general--are fraught with controversy and I'd like to be able to form my own opinion on what a "Best Picture" should really be. It should also be an interesting tour through the last eighty years of history. Film, as the ultimate, most dominant, and most influential artistic medium over the last century, has had much to say about our own culture and has made as many diverse changes as we have. Finally, I'm interested in knowing my own opinions on the subject.

So stick around. I'm bound to talk about more things besides movies and comics and sports. If you love me, let me know. If I piss you off, let me know.

My review of Wings, the first Best Picture, will be posted tomorrow.