Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why Do We Love Film? An Open Letter To The Scene?

It's been over 3 months since I took a little holiday from the blog and for at least half of that time I've been meaning to write something but obviously I haven't. Is anyone still out there?

The major concern for any possible blog post during this period has been my lack of affection for the medium as a form of entertainment. Looking back to October you'll see how my weekly viewing habits slowly turned in to a struggle. And nothing has changed.

To be honest with you it has gotten to the stage where I can hardly bring myself to insert the DVD in to the player let alone keep watching until the credits roll. You could probably count the number of films I've watched in the past three months on two hands. And that state of affairs does not make for interesting blogging. Both in writing and reading.

I've been analysing the situation, believe me, I like to analyse things so it came natural to me. The major question I've been asking myself is this, 'why do I love cinema?' or perhaps more 'what is it about film that made me want to watch it in the first place?' the answer? I still don't have it.

I feel like saying something along the lines of "the way cinema manages to offer insights in to the human condition, the medium transcends from entertainment and in to something altogether more pure," which is the kind of thing I would say. But then some of us might look at a Michael Bay movie and wonder what the hell I was talking about.

Beauty. Beauty is what it seems to come down to. Whether it be emotional or psychological or visual. Sometimes that guy in American Beauty is so right about cinema, there's so much beauty that I just can't take it but mostly I feel like my standards have become too high and I just can't seem to find any beauty in film.

I can't bring myself to put the disc in the player because I know there's a very good chance that I'm going to watch something mediocre or overrated. And whilst Bonjour Tristesse seems to have a never ending supply of amazing artistic films to watch there's only so much room in my life for 3 to 4 hour examples of cinemas true majesty. Let alone writing about it afterwards.

Perhaps the disappointment I felt in seeing Drive the first (and still only) time was that point where my heart just wasn't in it anymore. The point of realisation, that thinking and reading and writing about cinema constantly was driving me to over think every movie I ever watch.

It's not your fault fellow bloggers, your content was always fascinating to me, your quality spurred me on to read even more of your great articles which in turn drove me to day time movie watching of more and more films and then the writing about them. It's my fault, obviously.

Among you I had my favourites. It's only natural. My friend Scott who I, quite horribly, left in the lurch over at Front Room Cinema with my aborted attempt to write for two blogs simultaneously seems to be going from strength to strength. His enthusiasm should be enough for 20 bloggers, I wish it would rub off on me a little. Alex at Film Forager was my initial inspiration to pick up my game and take this blogging business seriously, she always has great content that I looked forward to reading. Aside from those two and the previously mentioned super blogger at Bonjour Tristesse I should mention my fellow Antipodean, Tyler at Southern Vision, as a source of great film blogging joy.

I've not visited a film blog for over three months but I've missed those guys the most.

So what have I been doing? Aside from the usual suspects of work and (attempted) sleep I've been reading novels. Lots of them. Some good, some bad. I even started writing one myself instead of the same script I've supposedly been writing for 4 years now. So I guess you could say it's a positive change.

Which brings me to the main point of writing this post. An indefinite hiatus I suppose you'd call it if I was a band. I am admitting to myself that I will not be back writing here any time soon unless I find that magic spark once more, that aspect of film which makes me fall back in love with what I've been doing on this blog, what we've all been doing with our blogs.

If anyone is reading I'd like to thank you for being a comrade in arms, for your support and for returning when your reader said there was a rare post here at blahblahblahgay. And I'd like to ask you all to think about the titular question. What is it that you love? Share a link to a post in the blahs or just leave a long incoherent ramble in the blahs. Maybe it will be you that gets me back on the horse. Until we meet again, cheerio cobber.


  1. I found this post more interesting than any film review I've read recently Toby, probably because I feel exactly the same way as you do.
    I hope you find that "magic spark" again, until you do, take it easy.

  2. Okay, this wholly depressing. I think I found your blog one week before you disappeared, so I'm a bit sad I never read your work as you were writing.

    It's doubly sad for the way you've lost interest in cinema. A number of fellow bloggers have expressed the same lack of interest, and I too feel like this year has been generally - not necessarily bad, but somewhat turgid - so, your feelings are understandable.

    Hopefully you find that spark to pierce the dark.

  3. Toby - I'm glad to see that you are still alive and healthy. After the long layoff I was wondering if something bad had happened.

    I tend to go through binges of watching a lot of movies all at once, then a few weeks of not watching any. I am able to still write regular reviews because of the format I use. I may review a film I got done watching an hour ago, or it might have been many years since I saw it. If it's the watching, and not the writing, that's a drag perhaps you could try that. Alternately, perhaps some book reviews, if you still feel like writing.

    Again - glad to see you're okay.

  4. Hey Toby, I too am glad to see you back even just for this post! Interesting thoughts here- I'm sorry you've lost your film-loving spark but I understand how you feel. Sometimes I need to sort of step back and remind myself why I spend so much of my time watching and writing/talking about film. I try to never take it too seriously or it stops being fun. Lately I'm so stressed/overwhelmed by other things that movies are the only way I can ever get my brain to stop worrying for a few hours.

    Glad you're settling into reading/writing as an alternative, would you blog about that in the future, do you think? (Aside from what I see on goodreads.)

  5. It's been a rough six months or so for fans of movies, although I've seen one or two I really liked most have been blahs. Glad to hear from you again.

  6. Like Chip ( Entertainment), I am glad to hear from you again in the "he's alive!" sort of way. I've been checking in every week or so to see what's new, so I'm a little disappointed that I don't have someone to inspire me to get around to some of the noir classics I wind up enjoying (eventually) so much. But you're reading now, and that's even better. I just reread Chandler's stuff recently, myself.

    But why do we love film? Because it is, at its best, an artistic statement that is like no other. Timing, editing, script, lighting, acting, the contemporary and yet timeless nature of the medium, and dozens of other things can make movies into film. Admittedly, there's a lot more movies than film out there (especially in Hollywood), but a great film can still make me smile for days.

    Even if you never come back to analyzing film (blogging sure can drain the fun out of it sometimes, especially with your frequency and depth), I hope you start watching movies again. I know you have that Melville box set waiting for you, right? You're an articulate fellow, and I have enjoyed reading your thoughts. I wish you the best, sir.

  7. Toby, nice to hear from you again, and I'm glad that you are well. I do greatly miss your comments and try to check here from time to time in the hopes of hearing some news or even a new Noir film post.

    To answer your question - I think for me, finding the masterpieces or truly beautiful artistic works is a nice bonus but not the main goal. Sometimes I want a decent story to escape to, sometimes I just want a good chuckle, cry, or scare - but most of all I think I just simply enjoy seeing interesting strangers doing strange things. That's why I focus so much on foreign films, even if it's the same old story it's still different to me in some way, if that makes any sense.

    Anyhow, take care and good luck with your writing endeavors, and like the person above, I do hope you are able to discover the joy in film again soon, even if you don't return to the blogosphere.

  8. I can't say I haven't missed you, Toby. It's nice to hear from you again. It is tremendously sad to read that you've lost your interest in film, but instead of clubbing you over the head and saying "Snap out of it!" I will simply wish you well in whatever endeavours you choose to pursue, whether it be film or anything otherwise. Of course it would be nice to have you back, but if you don't gain any pleasure from blogging than doesn't it seem like a pointless act? I can't really muster the energy to write a long, powerful monologue about why I love film, so I'll simply finish here with good luck and thank you so much for the enjoyable writing you've produced.

  9. Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement. Just knowing this helped me to eventually decide it was worth putting the effort in to get writing again.

    Nice one.