Everything I Wrote in 2019

30 12 2019

Marshall Shaffer New York Film FestivalHello friends! A number of you might be getting this because you subscribed to email alerts from Marshall and the Movies way back when. Or maybe you’ve arrived from a social media platform. Either way, it’s very reasonable for you to think, “I know Marshall is writing a lot but don’t know where to find it since it’s not on Marshall and the Movies anymore!”

Well, this post is for YOU!

I’ve collected all my writing from this past year – and even included some writing I did about 2019 films from last year out of film festivals, just to give you a more robust reading list. I’m really proud of the work I did and felt myself grow as a writer, interviewer and thinker. I hope, as always, you can derive some kind of benefit from what I’ve written as well. Be it your next movie night or (if I may be so presumptuous) a new lens on a film or cinema at large, I’m always writing with you in mind. These pieces mean little if not shared with other people!

There will be more from me on this site in the coming days – a best of the decade and best of 2019, at the very least. Thanks for sticking with me in this 10th year of writing, and I know that 2020 and the decade to come hold some very exciting things!

“Smells Like ’10s Spirit” Column

“Smells Like ’10s Spirit” takes a look at the decade in movies through the lens of success stories only made possible by unique trends that emerged. This series explores ten films – one from each year of the 2010s – and a single social, economic or cultural factor that can explain why it made an impact or lingers in the collective memory. Each piece examines a single film that tells the larger story of the tectonic forces reshaping the entertainment landscape as we know it.

How That Iconic Trailer Saved ‘The Social Network’ (2010)

Why ‘Bridesmaids’ Owns the GIF Era of Movie Comedy (2011)

How ‘The Avengers’ Assembled the First Successful Cinematic Universe (2012)

How ‘Blackfish’ Epitomizes the Era of Hashtag Activism (2013)

How ‘The LEGO Movie’ Gave Brands a New Way to Talk (2014)

‘Jurassic World’ and the Era of Nonstop Nostalgia (2015)

(Stay tuned for the rest in 2020!)

Reviews of 2019 Releases*

*Some of these were originally published out of festivals in 2018, but since I’m rounding up everything for this year, I figured I might as well throw them in! (Things that I wrote in 2019 about 2020 films will be in the “Festival Coverage” section below.)

“Everybody Knows”

“To Dust”

“Birds of Passage”

“Climax”

“Gloria Bell”

“The Hummingbird Project”

“High Life”

“Peterloo”

“Dogman”

“Her Smell”

“Teen Spirit”

“Hail Satan?”

“Non-Fiction”

“‘Charlie Says”

“Wild Rose”

“Los Reyes”

“Jawline”

“The Laundromat”

“American Dharma”

“Motherless Brooklyn”

“Queen of Hearts”

“Ford v Ferrari”

“Waves”

“Varda by Agnès”

“Knives Out”

“Feast of the Epiphany”

“Temblores”

“Little Joe”

“Knives and Skin”

“6 Underground”

“Invisible Life”

Interviews

Joanna Kulig, star of “Cold War”

Mike Leigh, writer/director of “Peterloo”

Claire Denis and Robert Pattinson, co-writer/director and star of “High Life”

Marcello Fonte, star of “Dogman” (from TIFF 2018)

Mary Harron, director of “Charlie Says”

Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails, co-writer/director and co-writer/star of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”

Jack Reynor, actor in “Midsommar”

Lynn Shelton, co-writer/director of “Sword of Trust”

Riley Stearns, writer/director of “The Art of Self-Defense”

Julius Onah and Kelvin Harrison Jr., co-writer/director and star of “Luce”

Lauren Greenfield, director of “The Kingmaker”

Trey Edward Shults, co-editor/writer/director of “Waves”

Marielle Heller, director of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

Céline Sciamma, writer/director of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

Eddie Redmayne, star of “The Aeronauts”

Jessica Hausner, co-writer/director of “Little Joe”

Jennifer Reeder, writer/director of “Knives and Skin”

Features

Significant ‘Other’: How Chris Kelly’s ‘Other People’ Informs ‘The Other Two’ on Comedy Central

I Must Think of a New Life: On the Deliberate Duration of Judd Apatow’s Funny People

Taking ‘The Goldfinch’ from Page to Screen with Editor Kelley Dixon

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless May: Elaine May’s Discarded Women in A New Leaf and The Waverly Gallery

The 10 Biggest, Craziest and Most Important Cinematic Career Reinventions of the Decade

Festival Coverage

The Streamer’s Guide to Sundance 2019: What Non-Festgoers Can Watch at Home

The Kids Aren’t Alright: A Preview of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2019

Tribeca Report: The Inaugural Critics’ Week

Tribeca Report: Here Comes Generation Z

Tribeca Film Festival Review: Christoph Waltz’s ‘Georgetown’

BAMCinemaFest Review: Tayarisha Poe’s ‘Selah and The Spades’

BAMCinemaFest Review: Diana Peralta’s ‘De Lo Mio’

What To Expect at Fantasia Festival 2019

Fantasia 2019 Report: At the Mercy of the Programmers

Fantasia 2019 Report: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

‘Mosul’ Director Matthew Michael Carnahan on Filming His Directorial Debut in a Language He Didn’t Speak and in a Foreign Nation [Interview]

The Streamer’s Guide to the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival: What Non-Festgoers Can Watch at Home

TIFF Report: Keeping the Faith

‘Guns Akimbo’ Review: A Gaming Satire That Indulges in What It Critiques [TIFF]

‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘A Hidden Life’ Offer Alternate and Equally Compelling Takes on Fighting Back Against Nazis [TIFF]

“Now Is Our Time”: How Global Female Directors at TIFF 2019 Subverted Everything

The Unsung Gems of TIFF 2019: Three Under-the-Radar Films You Should Know About

The Streamer’s Guide to the 2019 New York Film Festival: What Non-Festgoers Can Watch at Home

‘Liberté’ Review: A Prolonged Graphic Experience That Overstays Its Welcome [NYFF]

‘Young Ahmed’ Review: A Realistic But Uneven Look at the Effects of Extremism [NYFF]

‘The Moneychanger’ Review: A Slight Political Drama with a Few Delights [NYFF]

‘Wasp Network’ Review: Even Recut, It’s Still a Clunker [NYFF]

10 Lessons From Watching the Entire 2019 New York Film Festival Main Slate

‘First Cow’ Review: Kelly Reichardt’s Intriguing Tale of Early American Capitalism [NYFF]

Reporting

Todd Phillips Denies ‘Joker’ Sequel & Meeting Reports; Responds to Scorsese’s Marvel Comments





A decade of Marshall and the Movies.

28 07 2019

“I have no idea where this inspired idea will take me,” a 16-year-old Marshall wrote on his first day of blogging, “but I know that the first thing that write will somehow come full circle.” This is not the end, to be clear. In fact, hopefully, this is far from the end. But nothing like a big milestone to inspire a lot of introspection, self-congratulation and gratitude, right?

Writing this blog changed my life. Maybe even saved it, if we want to get dramatic. The person who started writing this blog is forever a part of me, but in a ways, the 26-year-old Marshall who’s banging out this post feels like an entirely different person. So, if you’ll excuse the potential pretentiousness, I want to write in a kind of third-person omniscient narrator voice about this person who now seems so foreign to me but is also so dear.

“I have trouble getting things started,” he typed at 11:47:50 P.M. on Monday, July 27, 2009. “I don’t know where or when this will end, but it starts now.” He couldn’t know that he’d log over 1,500 movie reviews and 2,500 posts on the site. He couldn’t know that it would be a crucial selling point (perhaps) in interviews for scholastic and professional opportunities. He couldn’t know that the act of sharing his passion with others rather than keeping it to himself out of shame and fear would radically change how others saw him – and open up new opportunities for authentic, meaningful connection.

He couldn’t know that someday, he’d still be writing about movies, just exceedingly less and less on this site he started. (The “American Hustle” banner art ought to give away the last time the layout was seriously examined.) He couldn’t know that the passion project he worked on after finishing homework, during lunch breaks at work and (every so often) in class would open up an avenue for professionalization and monetization.

He couldn’t know that a childhood hero like Roger Ebert would compliment him. That he’d be interviewing some of the filmmakers behind some of his favorite films. (That he’d even want to talk to the guy who played Edward Cullen in the “Twilight” movies – remember, this was 2009!) That he’d be accredited to attend some of the world’s greatest film festivals. That his word would carry enough weight that a studio would put it in trailer and marketing collateral.

He knew he’d love combining his passions of film and writing, but he couldn’t know just how much that love would ripple out and affect everything else in his life. He just had the idea to start something, a Julie Powell-inspired burst of inspiration that his thoughts mattered and were worth sharing. 26-year-old Marshall thanks 16-year-old Marshall for this every day. It wasn’t always easy, but we made it somewhere neither of us thought was possible.

To everyone who humored me, especially in the early days when this seemed like more of a self-indulgent waste of time than anything else (and who’s to stay it still isn’t, honestly?), I owe you beyond anything you could ever imagine. To feel like my words and ideas had some merit meant so much to that teenager who felt small and alone. This also applies to anyone I’ve ever connected with online through movies as well and maybe hasn’t even met me in real life or has no idea about the person behind the words!

I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know how much longer this will go. That’s not any indication that I’m hesitating, by the way, just an admission that perhaps I’m not quite so different as the 16-year-old who banged out that first post over his MacBook a decade ago. But 26-year-old me has so much more than that – confidence, experience; community, self-reliance; support, trust.

If you’re reading this, you’ve played a part in making that possible. This accomplishment belongs to you, too. I hope you know the impact you have on people, including me, and that you continue to use that impact to make the world around you a brighter place. Be it through supporting others or believing in yourself, your affirmations have power. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing about movies for 10 years, it’s that there is a world of people out there who are full of passion. Many of these people I’ve come to know share this spark for film, but I’ve also come to realize that being your most authentic self can help inspire others to be theirs as well. I promise you that there’s someone out there who shares your very particular brand of zeal for something. Let others know, and you’ll find your people.

That’s all I’ve got for now, as most of you really just come here for me talking about the movies! But on this milestone occasion, I hope you’ll spare me waxing a little sentimental and personal. (And I know this site is getting a little rusty from lack of use. I promise I’ll start making it back here more … some day!)





Here we are. Year 9.

28 07 2018

“I found that life intruding on writing was, in fact, life. And that […] one must not think of life as an intrusion. At the end of the day, writing has very little to do with writing, and much to do with life. And life, by definition, is not an intrusion.”

– Sarah Ruhl, “100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write”

I could go back and count, but just having a number probably won’t make the point as well as my next phrase will: I’ve barely written on Marshall and the Movies in the last year. Less so than any year in the history of the site, which, as of today, is nine years. If writing this blog followed the same rules as the presidency, I’d be term limited by now. (That is NUTS to me.)

The past year has held arguably the most monumental changes in my life, probably ranking up there with … well, starting this site, for one! I’ve now been residing in New York for eight months and have been ramping up both my moviegoing activity and freelance writing as a result. (You can read a lot about that here.) I’ve left Marshall and the Movies, my original baby, on the back-burner as I reconnect with old friends, make new ones and explore all that this city has to offer. To be clear, I have absolutely NO INTENTION of ceasing activity here or shutting the site down. (One year short of a decade, are you kidding me?)

I’m trying to make it a priority to start writing here again, in part because I can toy around in it like a sandbox before attempting similar feats in pieces sent off to professional editors. I love writing this site and often feel like jotting down my thoughts here after seeing a movie is the only way to complete my experience of processing it. While my initial goal of reviewing every movie I’ve seen that’s been released since summer 2009 when I started this blog seems unattainable now (losing a year will do that to you), I do want to regain some ground.

Even though I’m not always updating this site, know that the passion for cinema still burns deep inside me. You can find information and updates from me on the following sites in lieu of posts here, in case you’re really dying to know what I’m watching and thinking:

Facebook

Twitter

Letterboxd

Portfolio site (literally everything I’m writing elsewhere, always kept up to date)

As always, thank you all for continuing to support, encourage and read. There would be a site without you – just being honest – but it would not be nearly as fun or useful. Your readership makes this something besides a vanity project or a selfish hobby! It probably still is those things, but at least you give me some reassurance that it serves as something more.

Anyways, here’s Greta Gerwig telling me she’s happy I moved to New York, a major peak in my life, because how else was I supposed to end this post?





An Explanation, and a Return to Normalcy (I Hope!)

1 05 2018

Hey everyone,

If you checked this site recently, you’d probably assume I quit writing or something. Quite the opposite! I’ve actually been busier than ever with my freelance writing, which has included covering the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve already soared well past my writing income for 2017 in just the first four months of the year.

If you’re curious to read what I’ve been writing, check out my full portfolio site for clips – or click on the image below!

I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing reviews and other commentary here with some sense of regularity. My new normal has more or less asserted itself, so it’s time to try and fit Marshall and the Movies back into my routine. (Plus, I’m a little embarrassed at how rusty I was writing a straight-up review for Tribeca.) This site is invaluable for me to push my writing in more adventurous or strange directions that an editor might not approve. So you have that to look forward to!

That’s it for tonight … see you again soon!





Where I’ve Been

30 09 2017

Hey.

It’s been a while, I know.

The last time I posted, August 19, feels like a lifetime ago. That it’s been just over 40 days seems impossible. (Apologies in advance for the ensuing humblebrag.) I took off for a week-long trip to visit a friend in London on August 22, not knowing just how different my hometown of Houston would be when I returned. Toward the end of my trip, Hurricane Harvey caused widespread devastation across Houston and much of southeast Texas – though, luckily, my home and family were spared any flooding damage.

I was not able to return home as planned on August 29, instead taking a detour to stay with family friends in Baltimore until the airports reopened/I was able to get a flight. That wound up taking until September 3.

Then, I packed up and left again on September 7 to attend a friend’s wedding in Los Angeles. From there, I left on September 10 to spend five days soaking up the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which I covered for Slashfilm and Vague Visages. It was an honor to attend and cover for these outlets, but man, was I wiped after 20 movies and everything else that had happened in those whirlwind three weeks.

So, to put it bluntly, I needed time for myself. Things had changed and will continue to change. I needed time to hear my own thoughts. To return to some sense of normality. To fall in love with movies again rather than seeing them as a box to be checked or a review to be filed. I’ve taken longer breaks from Marshall and the Movies in the past, although this one feels much longer.

Starting tomorrow, October 1, the new month will bring about a fresh start – and I’ll do my best to start posting once per day again. I make no promises as so much remains in flux. But it’s something I’m ready to begin reincorporating into my life. And you’re going to get a more thoughtful version of me now than you would have gotten were this just another checklist item on my personal agenda, trust me!

(Anyways, I don’t feel like I had to do this – and if you’ve read this far, I’m impressed and flattered. This was more for me than you, admittedly. It’s mostly a little bit of accountability.)





A third of my life later…

28 07 2017

Well, folks, it’s time for that yearly check-in on the state of Marshall and the Movies. I truly cannot believe it, but this strange journey began 8 years ago today. Over 1,500 reviews later, here I still am.

Most of the growth I’ve been focused on hasn’t occurred on the site, admittedly. When I wrote a year ago, my writing had really only appeared on one other site besides my own. (Technically two if you count my brief stint being syndicated on The Christian Science Monitor, which essentially just mined content from here.) Since then, I’ve contributed to four new sites based on pitching and my own merits – and I’ve started making real money for my words, not just because I can sell some weird ads to sketchy vendors. It’s enabling me to grow in some really fun, exciting ways – albeit ones that might not always be visible here on the site. (Hopefully the writing continues to show maturation, though!)

On that fateful first late night shift of blogging, I wrote, “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.” Putting in 10,000 hours (to borrow a term from Malcolm Gladwell) here has enabled me to do that now on a much bigger scale and platform. My goal is to eventually shape the cultural conversation in whatever small way I can. I’m grateful to others who will lend me the megaphone to do just that.

But, at the same time, I’m grateful to have Marshall and the Movies as a sandbox. Here, with no editor and no one to answer to but myself, I can see what I want and write what I want. I can set my own deadlines and let a piece take as long as it needs to develop. I can push myself to take my writing in more exciting, unconventional directions. I can fail here with fewer consequences.

So what I’m trying to say is thanks for sticking with me here. I’m grateful to have this small little space where I can make sense of the media and culture I’m digesting, especially as the world around me seems to make less sense with each passing day.

P.S. – If you want to see all I’ve been writing off the site recently, check out my portfolio site.





7 years later, and still at it.

28 07 2016

Holy cow. 7 years ago today, I started Marshall and the Movies. Then, I was 16 years old approaching my junior year in high school with trepidation. Today, I’m 23 and rounding the corner towards my first year in the “real world” … which is scary in its own way.

In many regards, the famous saying from Joan Didion, “I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be,” rings accurate today. I don’t recognize the writer who often laid out reviews in the same blueprint as an academic essay. I don’t recognize the film enthusiast whose passion for the art barely extended past the 1970s. I don’t recognize many of the insecurities and the doubts of that person. (For good measure, I also don’t recognize some of that teenage presumptuousness.)

But after rewatching “Julie & Julia,” the film that launched me on this journey, I was also reminded that some things haven’t changed. As Amy Adams’ Julie Powell declares, “I can write a blog. I have thoughts!” I did (and am) because I had (and have). Sometimes, it really is that simple.

Though admittedly, I have let a lot of things slip – traffic, SEO, social cross-promotion, comments, reading the words of others, etc. – I cannot fully express my gratitude for those who continue to come back and read. Whether you know me personally or just found me floating in cyberspace, THANK YOU! Through your continued readership and encouragement, I can push my form on this blog and prepare to make a big impact in the freelance world.

In just the past year of expanding my writing beyond this site, it has been one heck of a ride. I have interviewed two Oscar-winners, the directors from two of my top 10 films of 2015, and three actors from my favorite movie of 2016 thus far. I have covered three film festivals, including the cream of the crop here in America: Sundance.

So … let’s fight the seven-year itch together! Here’s to bigger, better things here on the site and beyond.





Win passes to see “Sing Street” with me in Houston!

13 04 2016

Hey, Houston friends!

I’m a partner on an upcoming screening of The Weinstein Company’s new movie “Sing Street,” opening in Houston on April 29! The screening takes place at the River Oaks Theater on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:00 P.M. I’ll be seeing it then for the first time as well since I missed the film in Sundance.

SING STREET

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR PASSES FOR “SING STREET”





REVIEW: Beyond the Lights

9 08 2015

Beyond the LightsBeyond the Lights” features one of the more interesting dialogues about the suffocating pressures of fame and the stifling sexualization of our culture.  Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Noni Jean, a digital-age pop star with all the qualities of a true songbird, gets fed up with both and threatens to throw it all away by jumping off a balcony.  Thankfully, Nate Parker’s officer Kaz is there to keep her from making the leap.

What follows in writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s film is partially a demonstration of what happens to women who rebel against the implicit contract that they must become objects of sexual desire first and bearers of talent second.  (Shocker: people, men especially, HATE it.)  But to keep Noni from another complete relapse, she needs some source of comfort; she finds that in Kaz.

A romantic subplot is hardly objectionable, yet it seems odd when it ultimately becomes the main storyline in a film that otherwise concerns itself with female empowerment.  Prince-Blythewood directs the scenes between Noni and Kaz with all the subtlety of a Hallmark movie.  They are drawn-out, sappy, and far too numerous.

The discussion “Beyond the Lights” wants to start is worth having.  But whether you want to endure some of the standard-issue syrupy adoration to join in is a decision you have to make for yourself.  B-/ 2stars





5 Years a Blogger: How did it get so late so soon?

28 07 2014

So late so soonOnce upon a time, I sat in front of a computer screen for 30 minutes and typed out a post entitled “Marshall and the Movies – The Beginning.”  That was five years, 744 reviews, 568 random factoids, and 1,658 posts ago today.  I don’t think anywhere in my wildest dreams I could have ever imagined I would be sitting here, five years later, still cranking out posts on my blog.

When I started “Marshall and the Movies,” I could not attend an R-rated movie without parental supervision.  Now, I can legally buy and consume alcohol.  The writer who began this blog was a naive high schooler, and the one who is writing this post is a (perhaps slightly less naive) rising college senior.  At times, I still feel like the same person who started the site – but realize that I’m really not.

My life now scarcely resembles what it looked like July 28, 2009, but I’ve been grateful to have this site – and the movies – to fall back on through the various sea changes over the past five years.  I haven’t always been entirely consistent, I’ll admit.  I’m so thankful to everyone who kept coming back regardless, though!

Not to beat the “Boyhood” drum again, but Richard Linklater’s film really does have me hypersensitive about the seemingly imperceptible changes in ourselves that accumulate over time.  I look back at the way I reviewed a Woody Allen movie in 2009, and it looks absolutely nothing like the way I review it now in 2014.  But I can’t really even be embarrassed about the way I used to write because the site is such an incredible time capsule for my intellectual growth (not to mention all that’s happened in the world of cinema).

I’ve so enjoyed sharing these past five years of moviegoing with you, from the good to the bad.  The discussions and debates I’ve had over posts I’ve written, whether in the comments or in person, do hearten me so.  Clearly, I’m a firm believer in the importance of film on both a personal and cultural level, and I thank you for working with me towards achieving my “mission statement,” 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.”

Marshall and JulieI’m filled with nothing but gratitude for everyone’s support of this endeavor, particularly those who encouraged me from the beginning when the continued existence of “Marshall and the Movies” was nothing certain.  This site has led to so many great things in my life, and I hope it has led to something great in yours as well.  Maybe it was connecting you with a great movie, or maybe it was making you think a little more about a film.  But whatever it was, I’m so humbled and honored that you’ve let me be a part of your life in some small way.

So thanks for 5 interesting years, and here’s to … who knows how many more!  I can’t express my gratitude to you all enough.

 





Four years later…

28 07 2013

The last two years, my quasi-“State of the Union” speech on my birthday/anniversary has taken a self-loathing tone.  This year, however, things will be a little different.  Perhaps this lovely announcement from WordPress set the tone for the day:

4 years

Curiously enough, I would have forgotten the significance of July 28 had it not been for a calendar reminder on my iPhone yesterday.  Rather than see it as a day of shame signifying how far I’ve fallen from my days of daily posting with a consistent commenting community, I choose to see today as a day of accomplishment and pride.  I can’t say I ever thought I’d see this day.  I was rising junior in high school when I wrote my first post; I’m a rising junior in college as I write this one.

The time has flown by, and I’ve loved every minute that I’ve spent writing this blog.  Every time I pick up after a long hiatus, I’m reminded of how much joy I receive when I sit down and bang out something that could pass for insightful criticism or a valid recommendation.  Now, I seem to be back on a pretty regular schedule, and that will last until … well, until I’m not on a regular schedule.  And I’m OK with that.  Sometimes life has other plans, and I’m glad that there are still some people to read when I choose to start writing again.

But enough with reflection – time to talk about the future.  I figure this would be as good a time as ever to do that.  I’m going to make some goals, many lofty and some perhaps unrealistic, in the hopes that their codification in writing will drive me to accomplish them.

  1. Finish all my reviews from Cannes 2013 by August
  2. Clear my review backlog (which is probably close to a hundred unwritten reviews) by the end of 2013
  3. Finally start the “Auteur Hour,” a column I’ve been planning since summer 2012 to take a look at a director’s entire body of work
  4. Revive the “Classics Corner” column, perhaps to an even greater frequency than once a month
  5. Publish at least one feature/opinion every month – reviews are nice, but I can’t capture ALL my thoughts in them
  6. Provide more extensive Oscars/awards season coverage, perhaps even with a few “Oscar Moment” pieces on individual films vying for the industry’s top prize
  7. Finally finish “The Godfather” trilogy and see “Gone with the Wind”

I think I can achieve these things, but I’ll need some help and support from my readers!  So if you see me slacking or think I’m doing a great job (or a poor one), be vocal and let me know.  You’ve done a great job so far providing a feedback loop, and I’m sure you all will come through again.

So thanks once more for all you’ve done over the past 4 years.  That’s almost 20% of my life, which is a significant chunk.  It’s already become hard to imagine a past where I wasn’t blogging, and you make it even harder to see a future where I’m not blogging.

Until the next reel,
Marshall





The Three-Year Itch

28 07 2012

I had to be reminded by a repeated event in my calendar today (which popped up in the Notifications center on my iPhone) that it was my blogoversary, blog birthday, whatever you want to call it.  Just shows you how shoddily I’ve been treating this blog.  I poured blood, sweat, and tears … no, really just time, caffeine, and sanity … into this thing, and it’s barely staying afloat.

After one year of blogging, I was ecstatic.  I was baking cakes, publishing four posts per day, and enjoying the heyday of my blogging career.

After two years, I labeled the blogoversary post “Anticlimax.”  Yeesh, that was prescient.  Here’s some of what I wrote:

“Well, I had almost entirely forgotten about my blogoversary.  Unlike last year, when I celebrated it with fanfare and cake baking, this year the day just kind of came and went.  Unspectacular, uncelebrated, really just like any other day.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself – er, wait, I did write that myself.

I put some thought into what this day means to me, given that it is a milestone of sorts.  Basically, what my reflections led me to as a realization of my own laziness.  I’ve grown complacent.  Content to simply consume movies, not ruminate and discuss them.  Selfishness.  Gluttony.  Self-indulgence.

When I started this blog way back in 2009, I wrote this:

“What the heck am I thinking?!?  I am a full-time student with hours upon hours of homework each night.  And on top of that, I have a season of athletics, two musicals, one play, two select arts companies, volunteer work, religious commitments, college searching, standardized testing preparation – and trying to retain some vestige of a life.  How on earth am I going to have time to maintain a blog?”

I look back on that time in my life through the lens of retrospective and can easily call that the most hectic, stressful period of my life.  And yet I managed to write this blog at full capacity then.  Now the burden of college admissions has been lifted off my shoulders and the engine is rolling smoothly towards the professional world … and it feels like a heavy burden to write a movie review?!  Come on, Marshall.

So starting today, I recommit myself to this blog.  To write reviews, to analyze, to discuss, to be a part of a community of cinematic connoisseurs.  If I could do it my junior year of high school, I know I can do it now.  So now, after this post, I rest.  Tomorrow, I start with my review of “The Dark Knight Rises.”  And I begin to battle the three-year itch.

I will fight.  And with your help, I can win.  Thanks for reading this piece … glad to know you still exist, reader.





Because I Can-Cannes

14 05 2012

Well, folks, it’s been another good long absence because of school – but have no fear, because “Marshall and the Movies” is about to be back and better than ever.  I’m writing this post now from an apartment in Cannes, France.

Yes, hopefully you read between the lines there correctly.  I’m at the Cannes Film Festival.  Hopefully, I’ll see some incredible movies and maybe even a few celebrities!  But check back here constantly or on my Facebook fan page (shameless plug) for updates on anything I deem significant.  Pictures, reviews, and hopefully more will start heading your way when the festival officially starts on Wednesday, May 16th.

But since I write “Marshall and the Movies” not merely for myself but also for you, the readers, please strap along with me for this amazing ride.  Hopefully, I won’t disappoint!





Anticlimax, or The Second Birthday

28 07 2011

Well, I had almost entirely forgotten about my blogoversary.  Unlike last year, when I celebrated it with fanfare and cake baking, this year the day just kind of came and went.  Unspectacular, uncelebrated, really just like any other day.

But that doesn’t mean this day isn’t significant.  I doubt that I thought I’d go this long when I started blogging back in 2009.  Two years is big because it’s the first milestone that I can kind of let roll off my back, and now that I’m at that point, I realize that blogging is just a part of who I am now.  It’s not just a fling or a half-baked idea; it’s actually a significant chunk of my life and my thoughts.

So in that case, I guess I have quite a few people to thank.  I guess the first (and cliched) place to start is with my family and friends, who either read what I write or put up with the fact that I do it.  I also have to thank all of you all who read this site, whether you are a blogger or normal moviegoer, blog surfer or Google surfer, and a commenter or just a regular reader.  I may notice your contribution through a comment, written or verbal, or perhaps just as a number on my stats page.  But both are equally crucial, and on those days when I’m feeling like I don’t want to write, they can really pick me up and keep me going.

I also have to thank everyone for not giving up on me after my three-month hiatus.  I’m slowly gaining those readers back, and I certainly hope that I’m earning them as well.  I know that taking a break like that means a loss of momentum, and I like to think I’m starting to pick it up again.  I can’t promise smooth sailing in the future as I don’t really know what college will bring for me, but I love writing this blog and feel a certain obligation to keep providing reviews and commentary for you all.

That’s about all I have to say.  I’m going to indulge myself in a little birthday fun now – watching a movie before I go to bed, that is.

P.S. – This trailer is awesome, happy birthday to me.





“Lazarus breathes again” *

12 03 2011

Dear blogosphere,

I have a review for “Bridesmaids” open in another tab as I write this, and now I’m ACTUALLY prepared to say that I’m back for good.  I’ve been an unfortunate tease for the last two months, and I do apologize.  It’s just been one thing after another requiring my utmost attention, and the one thing that can wait is … you guessed it, blogging.  So I’ve been acting, singing, writing plays, studying for tests and quizzes, writing papers, and dealing with the general craziness of my last semester of high school.  I haven’t had much time to breathe – I made myself stop one day a week ago to take a deep breath and realized how little I had actually breathed.

So breathe easier, readers.  I’m back with my breath.  And with that breath, I intend to blow your mind (punny, I know).

I’m ready to earn your clicks and eyes again. So SPREAD THE WORD – I’m back!

Marshall

* Biblical allusion but also lifted directly from “Angels in America,” the play I’m reading in my English class/am totally obsessed with at the moment.

I’M BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!! After a month’s leave to write a play (yes, I actually wrote a play; it will be performed in a little over a month), put on a production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” and just deal with second semester senior year formalities, I am back to the world of blogging.  It sure feels good to be back!  I’ve missed engaging in such a vibrant community of film lovers and blog readers!

I’m headed for a lovely Spring Break in Hawaii and will have plenty of time on my plane flight to write loads and loads of reviews.  I’ve been watching plenty of movies in my absence, so you’re about to get hit with a tidal wave of opinion.  Heads up.

Thanks to those of you who still stopped by (as traffic didn’t totally come to a halt!) and understanding that I can only handle one writing job at a time.  For a month, I had to be a playwright.  But now I’m back to being a blogger.

So bring on Marshall and the Movies 2.0!

UPDATE: 43 days later, I finally get to work.  This post sure haunts me, “Mission Accomplished”/George W. Bush style.