Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Time Lost

Jim over at The Moviezzz Blog has written about a recent Time magazine article about the world of film blogging. The Time article got Jim thinking and Jim's article got me thinking (isn't this a crazy world?). Time's article talks about fanboys (Jesus I hate that label, and it isn't even referring to me) and their blogs about movies. Time talks about The Movie Blog and and Dark Horizons. And you know what? They missed it. They missed an opportunity to talk not about the flavor of the month (that being fanboy or Harry Knowles) but of film lovers. Not pimply faced kids or grown men for that matter who write about if the upcoming Hulk is going to be green or grey or whether that really is a picture of Heath Ledger as The Joker. True film lovers who celebrate the anniversary of Annie Hall as Edward Copeland recently did. Man, they missed a great site in Edward Copeland on Film. Edward has purchased the second season of Twin Peaks and he is watching an episode every Tuesday night and reporting about it as if a regular show again. That's not geeky, it's a great idea that celebrates great TV all over again. And as an incredible fan of Twin Peaks, I can't wait to be right there with him. How about The Rec? How about it? How about Ray who minces no words when he doesn't like something (the first thing that attracted me to his blog). He's having a Summer Movie Tournament this entire summer. Actual brackets and you pick which Summer Blockbuster you think is going to make the most money. Or Nathanial at the Film Experience Blog who every morning randomly stops a movie exactly at 20:07 and writes about the scene and dialogue. It's strangely telling and Time missed it.

Time also missed Burbanked, a great blog out of Pittsburgh who recently dissected why a one sheet poster for the upcoming movie No Reservations sucks so bad. Or Damian at Windmills Of My Mind who shares my disdain for Michael Bay and Eli Roth and who wrote such a thoughtful article about the Virginia Tech shootings and how it relates to entertainment, it should be required reading for everyone. And then there's Joseph at itsamadmadblog2 who covers the more mainstream and then opens my eyes wide about great unknowns like Lovers Of The Arctic Circle. Or Neil at The Bleeding Tree who loves zombies and all things trashy. Neil recently hosted the Trashy Movie Blog-A-Thon where bloggers took extreme delight in what others might call celluloid waste. I myself was more than happy to revisit an old favorite in The Beastmaster. And speaking of Blog-A-Thons, J.D. Judge (who's 14. Really? 14?) at Joe's Movie Corner is taking a new approach to recruiting for his upcoming Ghiblog-A-Thon. If you don't participate, he will come after you. And Time missed them.

They missed Adam at DVD Panache who features a different movie blogger on Friday Screen Tests. An idea that's so incredible I am re-amazed by it every Friday when I read his blog. Or Lucas at 100 Films who has a new project Uber-Indie Project which features relatively unknown movies like Mutual Appreciation and gives them a bigger voice in which to be heard. Or Asterisk at Movie Reviews (such as they are) who scares me with his photo but engages me with his eclectic collection of movie reviews. One day it's Hard Candy, the next it's The Family Stone. Or Pacheco at the always under construction BOHEMIANcinema who lives a few lives on his blog. One of journaling, one of criticism and one of writing the ongoing tale of Bohemian Williams. And of course there's The Moviezzz Blog, who without him there would be no reason for this entry. Jim keeps me on my toes by the interesting subjects that catch his eye whether it be for a recent story on Richard Gere or a forgotten video by The Cars. But what I love best is recent features, a whatever happened to, on female stars from great teen movies like Better Off Dead and Can't Buy Me Love.

Good lord, I'm exhausted. Has anyone ever linked that much in their life? Have I set a new record? It's for a good cause. These are the true movie lovers and there are plenty more too. Going to The Movie Blog to discover about movie blogging is like going to San Fransisco and hanging out at Fisherman's Wharf all day. It's touristy. And Time magazine took the grand tour while missing all the great stops along the way. But I haven't. And thank God for that.


J.D. said...

I think you have actually set a record for one-post non-blog-a-thon linkage. But honestly, that was a great post, and the linkage to my blog is only secondary. And yes, I am 14. yeah, it scares me too, lol.

Adam Ross said...

I think there should be a moratorium on the "Wowweee Ain't Harry Knowles Cool?" articles. I've been a frequent reader since ... 1999, and it's been on the web for longer than that. The guy even wrote a goddamned book about himself and his web site (four years ago!) yet every year there's an article like this treating it like it's something new.

The problem with our little blogosphere is that it's not as accessible as the sites Time listed. Sadly, you really have to work to find our community from the outside, and the writer clearly did not put forth that effort.

PIPER said...

Thanks Judge


you make a good point. It's obvious that the writer didn't do any kind of research considering that The Movie Blog is the first thing that is listed when you search for Movie Blogs.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

Great post (and thanks for the links)

"Going to The Movie Blog to discover about movie blogging is like going to San Fransisco and hanging out at Fisherman's Wharf all day. It's touristy. And Time magazine took the grand tour while missing all the great stops along the way. But I haven't. And thank God for that."

That is a great point.

All the sites Time mentioned are fine for what they are, but for Time to single them out as opposed to others is kind of sad.

It takes more work for another film blogger to watch and find something interesting to write about a film than it is for Harry to just post up an anonymous review from some kid who went to a sneak preview of a film.

Take Adam, and his 700 blog names project. Hysterical stuff. Isn't that worth more attention than Harry and pals?

I'm always amazed on Adam's Friday feature how many film bloggers I am NOT aware of. There are so many great writers out there that I'm sure we don't know about.

And I read Harry's book when it was first published. I still can't get over how he spent an entire chapter villifying the guy who started test screenings, the thing that got him on the map in the first place. Without him, Harry wouldn't have a site.

Damian Arlyn said...

Thank you for the kind words, Piper. You've linked to a lot of my favorite blogs in this post. I am somewhat ashamed to admit (or maybe I should be proud instead given what some people are sayin) that I have yet to read anything by Harry Knowles. I shall have to check out his site.

Although I haven't yet read the Times article, I've seen a lot of bloggers' reactions to it and most seem to agree that it didn't quite research its topic intensely enough. I can tell you, though, that as someone who has only been blogging a little over six months, I would never anticipate getting mentioned in any sort of article on the subject. Not yet at least.

Anyway, great post. Oh, and incidentally, I also don't care for the term "fanboy" (but, unlike you, I think it might actually apply to me).

PIPER said...

Adam, Moviezzz and Damian

Let me tell you that I saw Harry in Austin a month ago and you do not want to change places with that dude under any circumstance. If fanboy fame comes with a couple extra hundred pounds and someone to push me around in a wheelchair because I can't walk around myself, then forget it. I'll stick to my modest audience and the tandem bike three times a week.

And Damian, I guess I didn't expect any of us to get a write-up in Time. Especially you or I since we are so new in this world, but I don't think the writer is doing his/her audience any good by covering the expected. It's like if you kind of like Scorsese you probably watched The Departed, but if you really wanted to know about him, you would watch Mean Streets and The King Of Comedy. The audience got gyped by lazy reporting. And I don't consider you a fanboy. You are a lover of films. I don't believe that a fanboy is a lover of films. A fanboy is a lover of a certain type of movie. But not a general lover of films. Whether you fit the age or not.

Damian Arlyn said...

It's like if you kind of like Scorsese you probably watched The Departed, but if you really wanted to know about him, you would watch Mean Streets and The King Of Comedy. The audience got gyped by lazy reporting.

Good analogy.

And I don't consider you a fanboy.

Read my latest blog entry and say that. ;)

Burbanked said...

Good God, Piper, your post looks like you reproduced my RSS feed reader. Thanks for (another) shoutout, as well as a very well written and reasoned viewpoint, as usual.

I also haven't read the Time article, but it seems clear to me that they did what a lot of OM outlets do: find the path of least resistance to get the story done. The sites mentioned in the article are the most well known by the studios because they are the ones who are the least likely to galvanize their audiences against a major studio picture.

Time gets a very real benefit by hyping the product coming out of the studios and keeping them happy, just as these blogs do. Everybody's scrubbing each other's backs like it's Sadie Hawkins Shower Day at Shawshank Prison.

And that's fine, really. I prefer to visit those sites for quick news and fan reactions to things, and then spend more quality time with many of those you mentioned. At the same time, I guess I have to admit that I'd like to be quoted in Time magazine someday...

...because you know, that's my 70-something father's favorite magazine.

Anonymous said...

That is so typical of any traditional media reporting on blogs no matter what the topic is. Great post, I will probably get carpal tunnel syndrome from all the clicking.

PIPER said...


It's worth it. They're great blogs.

And to everyone else,

Guy's Blog, while not 100% movies, is a great blog to check out as well. The Short Fat Kid on my sidebar.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the plug!

Anonymous said...

And just like that, Guy's got another visitor to his site.

Ah, the power of a recommendation.... ;-)

Anonymous said...


What a brilliant article!! I will link to it immediately, thereby completing the circle of love and affection :)

I am constantly fighting with my two compadres on The Rec about not being an "entertainment news" site, but rather a place high above the fracas where we can sit and laugh and ponder and enjoy what goes on in movies and television.

There are a million movie news sites - CHUD, AICN, Cinematical, Cinema Blend, Obsessed With Film, First Showing, etc ... and while they all have some opinion pieces and reflective articles, most of it is crawling over each other for the next scoop.

Frankly, I got more enjoyment out of your recent article about "Running Scared" - even though I disagree somewhat - than I did about all of last week on AICN. Burbanked is another one of those gems ... his recent post about John McClane made me smile broadly.

Keep up the great work, fellas!! True movie fans always recognize each other!!

Anonymous said...

Reading about blogs in Time is like hearing someone trying to describe the color orange to a blind person.

There is no way to convey (in print) the energy and sheer diversity of ideas being shared in the online space. I'm not surprised they missed the mark – or the real opportunity to look beyond the flavor of the month.

It reminds me of when I was younger and was really into underground graphic novels. Every so often you'd see a major publisher do a piece on comic books. They'd all say the same thing.

"Comics aren't for kids anymore!"

No shit. Welcome to the party.

Anonymous said...

Actually, let me rephrase that.

Reading about blogs in Time is like hearing a blind person trying to describe the color orange to a UT fan.

Joe Baker said...

Thanks for the kind link, Piper. I'm avoiding the Times article because it'll probably only piss me off. I'll continue to dig through the blogosphere and dig up film writing treasures that way.

PIPER said...

You are a wise man Joseph.

You're not missing anything.

Charlie said...

Good God Piper, all these nice comments about you and your post. I sure as hell hope it doesn't go to your already inflated ego, but again, I digress.

You post, as much as I hate to admit it....IS PERFECT. With all the links, I think it is safe to say it is you who is jacked on doughnuts and Red Bull!

Main stream media is a thing of the past, and thank god! Blogs are the free press of today. Raw, uncensored, and hard hitting. Keep up...the blogging that is. While I think many of your points are whacked (Costner is a good director and Fandango is truly one of the most boring movies made) I think your thoughts, for the most part are well played out.


Neil Sarver said...

Thanks for posting this. Your links offer good example of the kind of richness and variety that the movie blogging community offers, especially when one considers the incredible number of equally interesting blogs you didn't include.

But thanks, anyway for including me. As it happens, I also love boobs and Jack Kirby. In fact, many things, but if my grave read "Here lies Neil. He loved boobs, Jack Kirby and zombie movies." that'd be ok with me.

I wrote a letter to TIME editors and included a link to your article as an example of how easy it is to gather an interesting list of what interesting things are happening in movie blogs.

I also, reminded largely by your post, suggested that if they wanted to stop regurgitated 12 year old stories about fanboys and rumor sites, they should cover the blog-a-thon phenomenon, which has clearly taken over the online community and seems still to have eluded the mainstream media's notice.

PIPER said...

Boobs. I missed a chance to highlight boobs. Damn.

The coverage of Blog A Thons is a great idea. Somebody should do a story on that.

Lucas said...

well said, Piper.

although, i wonder if for most (all?) of us getting mentioned in TIME Magazine would have, you know, completely blown our fucking minds.

me, I'd walk around stunned for at least 2 days.

re: the whole fanboy/AICN thing...i still don't get the fascination. it all strikes me as sort of pathetic in a breathless hype completely devoid of substance sort of way. the type of site where if you write about Annie Hall, people just go "that movie like sucks"

but maybe that's just me

Neil Sarver said...

Oh, the biggest draw for the mainstream media at this point is that it doesn't require any actual reporting. It's the easiest, laziest, most un-reporterly story on movies and the Internet possible. I mean, we all wake up some mornings and don't want to do our jobs, so we do something half-assed. I won't even get into the fact that the media as whole has taken a decades break, but to say that if you're an entertainment feature movies, the Internet, seem of-the-moment (although it must fail miserably at this even for the most uninformed mainstream reader at this point)... and because you're talking about current rumors about current or upcoming big Hollywood movies, it gives them an opportunity to include promotional pictures from big Hollywood movies which helps their relationship with the studios involved and hopefully draws in readers interested in those movies. It's everything you could want except a good story.

Which is why I suggest that now is a perfect time for the Blog-a-thon story. It's new. It's still exciting for us involved in movie blogging that plenty of us would be excited to talk about, including people with some print media credibility like Jim Emerson and Tim Lucas. The upcoming Blog-a-thons for Star Wars, "The Simpsons" and Action Heroines offer plenty of opportunity to include promotional pictures from studio movies. For TIME it could prove their professed interest in the blogging community wasn't simply a show or a cop-out.

And there can't be one person interested in movies or blogging who couldn't find even the laziest article on Blog-a-thons more interesting than even the most well-researched article about fanboys and rumor sites at this point in time. It's simply not possible.

J.D. said...

Concerning Cash, thank you. The video is that good. It really is. Oh, and I gave you and a bunch of people extreme linkage. It must be that kind of week!


thank you for the kind words about my latest series... it's been really fun to do so far.

as the article itself. What's more disappointing to me than the very limited blogs mentioned (all very high traffic pit stops) is the lack of diversity of the chosen mentions. Joblo, Movie Blog, Aint-It-Cool... these are all sites that serve the same purpose: conveying press release info, rumors on casting, test screenings, franchise favorites, box office, new studio released stills, etc...

I have been to all of them and they're very useful for what they are but they're basically the same piece of a huge online puzzle.

diversity of opinion and voices is what makes the blogosphere go round so essentially Time fully missed the mark. There are a lot of different ways to talk about movies. Covering press releases is just one of them.

I agree with Neil about how easy it is to find interesting stuff but I assume it's laziness plus a matter of numbers: even blogs with relatively high traffic (i'm pretty happy with how well I do --aside from the money or lack thereof ;) --all things considered) probably don't come anywhere close to the numbers which sites like Joblo maintain because we all need movie news, don't we? They're basically agreggate sites: here is the news from Hollywood...

PIPER said...


You make a great point. There is so much diversity in what is covered in movie blogs and they didn't do the audience much service in their coverage.

Neil Sarver said...

Oh, I also agree there. AICN and such are all busily selling big Hollywood product, whether they think of themselves as doing so or not. As such, while Hollywood may occasionally consider them a nuisance, they ultimately have incorporated them into their machinery, keep them fed, etc.

I also agree that regarding getting a readership in anything like their numbers. I frankly don't want it. It would put more pressure on me to write more... and better... that would distract me from other things I'd like to be writing instead.

But then I also think that what people like us are doing is much more exciting and newsworthy in a real sense. The diversity of opinion, technique and movie choices are wonderful and make me happy to check my regular blogs in the morning... or afternoon.