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,

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!


* 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.

I’m NOT Dead!

20 02 2011

To everyone that reads this site:

I am alive. You probably doubt that given my total lack of activity over the past two weeks. And for that, I apologize. We all come to points in our lives where the things we love can’t be our priority. Blogging has taken a backseat this month, and I’m sorry to disappoint my loyal readers. I realize that I have to earn your readership, and I look forward to winning you over again once I get back on my feet. But for now, please be patient as I try to regain that footing.

I thank you all so much and apologize again. I think all will be well in the end, but my energies have been required in a lot of places recently. Hopefully it all turns out the way I hope.

Until the next reel,