Thank you. In early September of last year, the 4th I believe, Maleigh Crespo asked if I could be a staff writer for the school newspaper she was heading. Earlier, Addison Laird told me about it, I was skeptical to say the least. I’m a cynic, what can I say? But what Maleigh said changed my attitude.
The main thing that changed my mind was the fact that I could write film reviews. I’ve been writing non-professional film reviews since 2017 using Letterboxd. In fact, I’ve been reviewing movies even longer. A few days ago, my mother sent me a video she found on an old SD card. It was a video of me from 2012, maybe age 9 or 10, reviewing the Universal classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Looking over the video, the audio quality is so poor I can’t exactly make out what I’m saying, but the spirit is there. The spirt and drive to share and review is there. In short, I’ve been reviewing movies for some time now.
I’ve uploaded a film review or something film related almost every week, I believe I’ve only missed once. When I started, I had one goal in mind: to spread awareness of great movies. I’ve reviewed a lot of great movies (Blindspotting, Malcolm X, American Utopia) and some bad ones (The Trial of the Chicago 7, Wonder Woman 1984).
I hope I inspired you to check out a movie you never would’ve watched otherwise. I hope I might’ve made you see another perspective when it came to a certain film, whether positive or negative. Regardless of the quality of the film or the review, I hope my reviews enlightened you in some way, hopefully positive.
Well, I guess an explanation is in order. To answer the question you’ve all been clearly thinking: why do I love movies? I’m not sure, but I do know how.
From an early age, I was hooked on YouTube. I remember being 5 or 6 and watching videos on there about LEGO or superheroes or LEGO superheroes. I’m not sure what video it was, but eventually, I found my way to horror movies on there. I probably begged my mom to let me watch some of them, so, as a compromise, I could watch horror movies as long as I watched a documentary she got me.
The documentary was called His Name Was Jason: Thirty Years of Friday the 13th. It was a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of all the films in the Friday the 13th franchise. My parents’ thinking was that if I knew the films were fake and that no one really died, then I wouldn’t be scared by them, and they were right. I don’t remember being scared by a single horror movie I saw as a kid.
Another early influence was a man named James Rolfe. Now, you may or may not know who he is, but you know his legacy. Every single YouTube personality owes a debt to him. Rolfe paved the way for persona-led video-game/film reviews. One of his series was Monster Madness, where he would review a horror movie every day in October every year. James, like me, was fascinated by horror movies, and so he was my gateway into more and more films.
James Rolfe and that documentary instilled in me a love of film and filmmaking. I remember making my own home movies, whether it’d be using my LEGO Spider-Man figures to make my own story or getting some neighbors together and making three Friday the 13th fan-films in one day. I couldn’t get enough of it.
Since there’s only so many articles you can write in a school year, I want to leave you with a few short lists of some of my favorite things:
My favorite film directors: Stanley Kubrick, Robert Bresson, David Lynch, John Waters, Charles Chaplin, Akira Kurosawa, Sergio Leone, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini
My favorite films: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now (Redux), The Big Lebowski, L’Argent, Once Upon a Time in America (Extended Director’s Cut), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Fanny & Alexander (TV Cut), Brazil, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Repo Man
I’m currently working on my list of the best and worst films of 2020 for the printed edition of RISE, so, this is technically my second-to-last piece, but we’ll act like it’s the last anyway. I’m not sure if anyone would be interested, but if you’d like to see more of my writings: I have a Letterboxd page where I review movies (here) and I have my own blog on WordPress (here) where I share my thoughts and analyses on films.
It’s been a great pleasure to write for RISE. To all those that have read or liked my pieces, thank you so much. To end this, I’d like to quote Roger Ebert, an inspiration to me:
So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.Roger Ebert, A Leave of Presence