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?

Advertisements




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