Marshall and the Movies – A Month in Retrospect

28 08 2009

You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.

– Steve Martin

31 days ago, I sat on my bed with my computer and a dream.  Never did I think it would reach where it is today.  I had feared that the blog would just be a new outlet for my obsession, but it would really end up being me talking to myself.  Yet as I am writing this post, the blog has just passed 1,700 views.  Not too shabby.  So, I think that thanks are in order.  THANK YOU, READERS!  This blog has become somewhat of a success because of you.  And I especially commend those of you have commented, whether on your own will or as a result of my constant prodding.

Usually anniversaries are a good time to sit down and reflect since the original event.  And I intend to do just that.  In my first post, I laid out a very rough mission, if you will: “What I do hope to do is to inspire a deeper appreciation of movies, foster a desire to discuss movies, and connect with people through the glorious medium of film.”

Have I reached the goals that I set out?  Overall, I think I have made good progress towards them, but my work is by no means finished.  Of those three categories, I think I have done the best job of connecting with people through movies.  I have several movie blogs that I now check because they stumbled upon my blog and commented, and I felt the need to pay it forward and read their blog as well.  Some of these excellent blogs include Joel the teen critic and James the Central Florida film critic. The blog has served as a great conversation piece among friends and acquaintances at school, allowing me to talk without being reticent about my obsession.  One post even inspired an hour long debate with a friend.

I can obviously work on fostering a desire to discuss movies, seeing as I have 1,707 views and 43 comments.  For those of you who don’t have a calculator within reach to do the math, that is a meager 2.5% of all viewers who have left a comment.  I hope I am not nagging about commenting, but the blog becomes a project in vain if I can’t get your input.  And as for inspiring a deeper inspiration of movies, hopefully that will come with some of my guided projects that will be starting soon … I PROMISE!

Some AP U.S. History reading has me in a very analytical mood, so here is a more in-depth analysis on what has worked and what I could improve.

What Has Worked

  • Many people have told me that they love the “Random Factoid” that I provide each day.  I hope it gives a sense for who I am, making me not just another pretentious movie critic, but someone with eccentricities and flaws that he is more than willing to admit.  I think they provide a personal feel to the blog, and they will continue to be offered up every day.  And if you think what you have read so far is outrageous, just wait.  You haven’t seen anything yet.
  • I really put a lot of time and effort into the “Mindless Moviegoing” piece, and the response was overwhelming from fellow bloggers, friends, and even a legendary film critic (Roger Ebert).  I have several columns similar to that in the works, and I hope they can “inspire a deeper appreciation of movies,” a part of my mission that I feel has been left very unfulfilled.  And just as an experiment, if you want to see more quality movies in theaters, pass the link to the article onto someone.  Set it as your Facebook status, e-mail it to someone, or find some unique way to get the word out that we DO support good movies.  The link is:
  • The “F.I.L.M. of the Week” feature seems to have been quite persuasive.  I have 2 comments from people telling me that “Little Children” going on their Netflix queue, and someone stopped me in the hall today to tell me that they were now dying to see it.  Hopefully, people continue to take my advice whenever the movie isn’t quite as amazing as “Little Children.”

What Could Improve

  • I think the movie reviews could definitely be better.  A friend bluntly told me that they basically consist of an introductory paragraph, a paragraph about the plot, the cast, what worked, what didn’t work, and then a conclusion.  I’ll admit that is probably very true, but I believe that having a dependable format makes it easier on the reader.  This same friend also castigated me for my review of “Inglourious Basterds,” stating that I didn’t have the right to say that the movie wasn’t Tarantino’s masterpiece because I hadn’t seen his entire film canon.  In response to this, I say that I try to avoid blanket statements or saying things that I don’t have the authority to say.  But if you think I’m full of hot air in saying something, don’t be afraid to call me out on it.  Comment and start a discussion.  Do something productive with your negative energy.
  • Speaking of reviews, I feel like I have taken a lot of myself out of them.  I think I may be giving too much facts and opinions and not enough of what I got out of the movie.  This is something that hopefully will begin to show in future reviews.
  • My knowledge of classic movies, as you may know, is pretty bad.  I am checking out movie after movie from the library, trying to catch up on decades of film history that is unknown to me.  Give me time, please.  If you are going to take the time out of your busy day to read my blog, you deserve a better and more knowledgeable critic and writer, and I am striving to become just that.
  • Obviously, with such a low viewer-commenter ratio, something isn’t going right.  Everyone’s opinion is welcome here.  Just because you don’t know much about movies doesn’t mean that you can’t start an equally engrossing conversation as a film industry executive.  What you get out of a movie is different than everyone else, and I want to hear about it.  So please, comment.  I can’t do it alone.

Proud Moments

  • During the first few weeks of the blog, someone stopped me and told me that they saw “The Hurt Locker” because they read the review on my blog.
  • Roger Ebert commenting on the blog was a pretty big deal.
  • My drama teacher commenting was a huge victory too.  I was quite humbled when he said he dug the blog.  (When you read this, Burfs, I hope you know that I’m not sucking up.)
  • The newspaper at my school is writing an article about me and my blog and possibly might publish my reviews in the future.

Fun Facts

  • For anyone curious about the results of my “experiment” posed in “Random Factoid #20” about what tag would draw the most people to my blog, the winner was “skin.”  I use this to segue into some of the most random referrals I have gotten to the blog.  People that searched for “graphic male nudity,” “movies with male nudity,” “The Proposal nude video,” “Julia Child eating,” “pee in sink,” and  “more marijuana and no time for baby mama” have all been redirected to my blog.  Curious.  The most referrals I have gotten from a single search have come from “Julie & Julia Blog.”
  • Facebook has provided most of my traffic.  Over 300 views have come from it, more than any other website.
  • Other than my bulk movie review pages, the most viewed post has been my review of “Julie & Julia.”
  • On my first post, I put a poll asking if I should keep doing the blog or not.  5 said no, 6 said yes, and 1 said maybe.  I wonder what they think now…

Thanks for reading!  It’s been one amazing month and I look forward to spending many more writing for you.

Until the next reel,



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