Wednesday, January 2, 2008

In Case You Missed It 2007

I'm late on this, but my time between Christmas and New Years was crazy. I won't waste anyone's time with a top 10 film list for the year because it will look similar to a lot of top 10 lists. And aside from that, I don't know that I've seen enough good movies to put together a top 10 list. Instead, I'm going to focus on the best of the film blogging community because there were lots of great things that happened blog-wise in '07. I want to highlight stuff that when I read it, I was jealous that I didn't think of it myself or I was especially taken with the insight or the entertainment of it. These are ranked in no particular order. Number one is no better than number whatever. They're all noteworthy in my eyes. Hopefully, you'll take a moment to check these out if you get a chance. You won't be disappointed. And if you are, then I didn't write them so don't blame me.

1. Ray at The Rec is a good drawler and talker. There's something out there called Sketchcast. I wasn't familiar with it when I witnessed its power at The Rec. Ray comments about Sex In The City as he draws and it's the perfect balance of sight and sound. When I saw it, I wanted to kill Ray and claim it as my own, but there's the nasty jail thing and who has money for a really good lawyer these days.

2. Burbanked re-experiences Star Wars. For the Star Wars Blog-a-Thon hosted by Edward Copeland On Film, Burbanked interviews his son after watching Star Wars for the first time. As a father myself, there is no greater joy than re-watching a movie through the eyes of your child. It's not as magical as the first time, but it's pretty damn close.

3. Getting Dirty Feels Good. I participated in a lot of blog-a-thons this past year, but the one that I may have enjoyed the most was the Trashy Movie Celebration Blog-a-Thon at Neil Sarver's The Bleeding Tree. Because every once in a while you gotta let your hair down and celebrate stuff so bad it's good.

4. If I Blog It They Will Come reaches a milestone. The descriptor of this blog goes like this "A blog About getting A particular celebrity to visit A blog about themselves and send in a photo of themselves looking at said blog." That line is the launching pad to one of the greatest blog ideas I've ever seen. The author is Evan Kessler and the first subject of this blogging experiment was Kevin Costner. Nearly every day Evan wrote a post to Kevin Costner in the hopes that word would travel back to him and the movie star would do as he was asked. Well, word did get back and Costner did send in his photo. So I guess that's one small leap for bloggers everywhere. Robin Williams is now on the clock, so we'll see if Evan can find success twice.

5. The Rec creates the Summer Movie Tournament and almost gets its swiped. Here's a great idea to help you get through the summer blockbusters. Create movie brackets. That's what Ray at The Rec did. I loved the idea. And so did The Movie Blog because it announced one a few days after Ray had e-mailed the editor about his idea. Hmmmmmm. Needless to say, Ray did not mince any words (if you read his blog, you know he never does). It was a rather nasty on-line fight which unfortunately is lost because someone hacked The Rec and most of the archives are gone. But it ended with The Movie Blog dropping its Summer Movie Tournament and the two blogs making up with passionate kissing.

6. This Distracted Globe completes 31 Days Of Hitchcock. I've never cared much for straight reviews of movies. But what Joe Valdez does is to bundle them in such a way as to make them interesting. For example, Joe spent a month reviewing remakes. And then another month reviewing Miramax films that didn't get the usual Harvey Weinstein marketing blitz. And then in the month of October, Joe reviewed a Hitchcock film a day. It was a huge undertaking and the reviews are fantastic. Not only does Joe give you his take, he writes about the politics behind the scenes. Can't wait to see what Joe tackles next.

7. Get To Know Your Bloggers: DVD Panache hosts Friday Screen Tests. There's a self-serving attitude that can run rampant while blogging, but not with Adam Ross at DVD Panache. Last year, Adam posted about a different film blogger with his Friday Screen Tests. Not only did it help this guy with some traffic, but it also helped me learn about the many film bloggers out there. It's my understanding that Adam plans on continuing this in 2008, and with that I say carry on.

8. Elijah Price proves to be a familiar nemesis. For those of who don't know, Elijah Price is the name of Samuel L. Jackson character, David Dunn's (Bruce Willis) arch nemesis in the movie Unbreakable. Elijah Price is also the name of a blogger who frequented this blog. One could say that he was my nemesis as well. He loved Dances With Wolves, hated John Carpenter and couldn't stand the movie Fandango. He and I often exchanged heated comments and while I was often frustrated with his comments, he sure made stuff a hell of a lot of fun. Well, it turns out that Elijah Price of the blogosphere was actually my best friend Charlie Calhoun from back home in Lincoln, Nebraska. He knew every button to push and he pushed them hard and frequently. I know that Elijah is Charlie because Charlie admitted as much at a recent family vacation. So now that the cat is out of the bag, Elijah doesn't come around any more and Lazy Eye Theatre is not the powder keg it once was.

11. 31 Days Of Spielberg comes to a screeching halt. I thought a lot about whether to include this because I'm sure Damian at Windmills Of My Mind would like for all of the hoopla surrounding his 31 Days Of Spielberg to just go away. But I just can't. It would be wrong to talk about the year in blogging and not mention this mess. I have read and enjoyed Damian's blog since it started. In fact, it is one of my favorite blogs because Damian is a true fan of film. A selfless critic that is able to make his passion for film come alive on my computer screen. That being said, when Damian was accused of plagiarism towards the end of 31 Days Of Spielberg, I was saddened. Although I don't know Damian personally, I never took him as an opportunist. I think Damian got in over his head and lifted a couple of sentences and got busted for it. Yes, it was wrong but the lashings that Damian took were unforgivable. One minute people are saying that Damian should publish a book of these writings, the next they are on their soapbox waxing prophetic about what is and what is not plagiarism and saying that, in fact, they never thought Damian was a good writer anyway. And then there were those that felt that Damian's apology was not sincere enough. It's all a bunch of hogwash if you ask me. I'm not releasing Damian of his guilt, but I'm sure as shit not condemning him. And the fact that he has hardly written a word since is sad, because the blogging world has been without a very good blog in Windmills Of My Mind. So Damian, come back to us soon and not just with a post here and there. And if you're not going to write, at least comment for gosh sakes.

12. Shoot The Projectionist exposes us to Pinky Violence. I'm not a very good blogger when it comes to reading about stuff I'm not familiar with. It's something I desperately need to work on. But I take a special interest in Asian cinema so I'll read about anything related to it. When I stumbled on to Ed Hardy's posts about Pinky Violence, a Japanese exploitation genre, I was strangely fascinated and the posts did not disappoint. He is still in need of a conclusion, so get on it already Ed.

13. The Online Film Communities Top 100 is selected and then debated. Cinema Fusion came up with the idea of creating a Top 100 movies list from a slew of bloggers. I was included and excited about doing it. When the list finally came out, I had regrets because it didn't feel like a list that should represent all films - and what's further I questioned my ability to even contribute to such a list. But it's still a huge undertaking and my hat goes off to Johnathan and everyone else involved because the truth is, right or wrong, you have to have the balls to put it out there and they did. And while I may have had some reservations, most involved were very happy with the list.

14. Final Girl Writes Things And Those Things Make For Some Laughing. I will not call out anything specifically that Stacy Ponder at Final Girl wrote this past year because they are all gems. Okay, how about I call out her last post Le Year in le Review. All I can say is that it is a sheer pleasure reading her stuff and she should be required reading for everyone, whether you're a horror fan or not.

15. Moviezzz makes us remember. Ever wonder what happened to Amanda Peterson, the little sexpot from Can't Buy Me Love? Or the French exchange student from Better Off Dead? There are actors out there that seemed destined for stardom but for some reason or another don't make it. I for one am fascinated with how the Hollywood machine can shoot some stars to the heavens and yet grind some down to nothingness at the same time. And Jim is just the guy to tell me about all that. I'm looking for more of the same this year.

16. The time is 20:07. If there is a safe house in this crazy film blogging world, it would have to be the Film Experience blog, as run by Nathanial. It is informative, entertaining and most importantly unpretentious. All are welcome to put up their feet and enjoy a cup of coffee and a nice bunt cake as we read reviews, film commentary and the weekly post praising Michelle Pfeiffer. And while I have lots of favorites about Film Experience, I would have to say that Nat's 20:07 posts are brilliant and strangely prophetic. They are over now for obvious reasons, but take a moment and check them out and we'll look for the next great idea in 2008.

Here's to more amazing stuff in 2008.


Burbanked said...

TERRIFIC summary, Piper, and as usual told with your patented blend of humor and humility. Too many bloggers (even some I know personally, ahem) spent the end of 2007 looking naval-ward at what they liked, how they felt, what they thought and what they had written. You've traveled the road more rarely taken and highlighted the work of the blogging community. Nicely done and thanks for including my little site.

Happy 2008! I look forward each day to what you're doing here!

Moviezzz said...

Great list Piper (and thanks for the inclusion!).

If I might add, your lists, especially the Chase and fight scenes, were some of the blogospheres best posts as well.

I think we had more fun with that ( arguing, debating, convincing you leaving off BULLITT was a mistake) than anything that was written on say AICN or the major movie sites.

Ray said...

Piper, you're the best!!

By the way, I never ever made up with The Movie Blog, although I do passionately kiss my blown-up picture of John Campea doing his studly head-cock.

Damian said...

Well, Piper, because I respect and admire you so much, here's a comment just for you.

Believe it or not, I actually do appreciate your including the "incident" concerning my site on your list of important blogging events of 2007 because there is no denying that it was a very significant one. If it had been someone else and not me who had responsible for it, I would have included it on the list myself.

You are also right in that there is a part of me that wants it all to just go away, but the fact is (and I am still in the process of coming to grips with this) that it porbably never will... nor perhaps should it. At the very least, maybe it can serve as a deterrent for others who might possibly end up making the same mistake that I did. Hopefully, others can learn the lesson that I learned the hard way without having to endure what I went through.

For whatever it's worth, I am trying to return to the world of film blogging. Believe me, I'm trying. All I can bring myself to do at this point is to slowly inch my way back into it bit by bit (like a timid swimmer returning to the cold water after a brief hiatus). I just posted two pieces on my site and am curently working on a third one. That's really the best I can do right now because I find, unfortunately, that just when I start to get excited about movies and passionate about blogging again, the sense memory of what it felt like during that period starts to creep back over me, all the bad feelings surrounding it return and I sort of retreat once again into the safety of the "non-virtual" world. How long this will last, I don't know. I wish I could just "get over it" and "move on." Stop looking behind and forge ahead, but it's hard. I'm not as strong as I may seem to some. I'm actually a rather weak and sensetive person and this whole debacle proved quite traumatic. I'm not saying I didn't deserve some of it and I'm not singing sad "Oh, poor abused, misunderstood Damian! Woe is me!" songs. I'm just explaining a bit about myself and why what others think about me really does matter to me (as aspect of my personality that no doubt got me into this mess in the first place).

Nonetheless, I appreciate your words of encouragement and your continued support. It's been a rather dark and lonely time for me and I must say that you (along with a few others) have been very understanding throughout it all.

At any rate, great list, Piper. Keep up the good work. Here's hoping 2008 is a great year for you and this blog.

lucas mcnelly said...


best of luck to you in that regard. i'm gonna buy you a virtual drink on facebook

jake e said...

I loved the interview about Star Wars and the genius behind 'if i blog it they will come.' lots of brilliance floating around out there. thanks for exposing me to some.

Piper said...


Don't think that my first instinct was to do a little naval gazing myself, but the truth is I've been holding on to this post for some time. I almost want to create a separate blog that does nothing but points out cool posts, but I'm guessing that's been done about 100 times. Anyway, I always admired the Star Wars post as well as dozens of other posts you've written. Glad we bonked heads and got to know eachother. Keep up the good work.


You know, that is one of my favorite parts of the year as well. There was some really good writing going on. I'm planning many more Mayhem lists for 08.


I thought there was a love/hate kind of thing going on there. Oh well, can't wait to see what The Rec disses about in 08. It promises to be a crazy one, at least with politics. BTW, love the new layout.


As always, a very thoughtful comment. I know your feelings. I have gotten into many an online debate on my own blog and elsewhere where my nerves have been rattled and I have doubted my own writing. So take it gradually and come back when you feel ready, but ain't nothing going to put out that passion for film, so there's always going to be that desire to write.

And Lucas, I love the idea of a virtual drink on facebook.

Jake e, since you're somewhat new to the scene, this is just a small sampling of what all these misfits are capable of. And there's plenty more where this came from.

Adam Ross said...

Great list, I'm honored to be on it! Friday Screen Test will indeed return later this month. I think this kind of this kind of list would be harder to fill than a 2007 Top Films rundown, because there are many more worthy candidates. I would like to nominate the Bizarro Blog-a-thon to the list, as it was a lot of fun to read and participate in.

And here's another avid reader hoping 2008 will be a successful new beginning for Windmills of My Mind.

lucas mcnelly said...

it's not as much fun as the real thing, but it's cheaper and no one has to drive drunk

Neil Sarver said...

Nice, interesting list. Thank you for including my humble event along with such a crowd.

Joe Valdez said...

I'm jealous I didn't think of writing this great article. A top ten list that has nothing to do with No Country For Old Men. This deserves an award!

Thanks for including me on your list, Pat. I wasn't aware of half the events you mentioned. That's what a great website does: provide me with material I can steal. No, I mean, provide readers with information they can't find anywhere else.

Happy new year!

Piper said...

Neil and Joe,

No thanks needed. Just keep it interesting in 08.

Megan said...

Good stuff. Looking forward to 2008!

Stacie Ponder said...

Thanks, Piper. It really means alot.

It's awesome when people you respect respect you. Or something.

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