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January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts" 
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Post January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
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Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:30 pm
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
I can understand you getting weary of cinema now, I suppose if I were 20 years older i'd be getting tired of it as well, but as it is i've only been going to theaters for around 5 years or so(May 2006 to be precise) and although I do have lower standards then most people do for enjoying films, I can also be somewhat picky about what films i'll see(I generally tend to avoid Oscar Bait films as they rarely ever appeal to me) which sort of balances it out.


Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:56 pm
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
James,

Have you considered writing, in place of a full-length review, capsule reviews with star ratings for those films that can't or don't warrant the time invested in a 1,000+ word piece?


Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:33 pm
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
I feel the same way. I barely contribute to the Last Movie You Watched thread anymore, hell I barely watch movies anymore. I still got two of Holloway's movies to watch, I still haven't watched Major's gift of The Informant. I got The Rock Criterion to watch so I can throw away the receipt.

The only reason I saw Season of the Witch was cause of a free movie pass. I have another one that I was planning on using on The Mechanic but my dad thought chauffeuring him to a stupid college basketball game was more important. And no, I can't see The Mechanic until it's out on DVD now...I'm weird like that. So I'll probably use that on The Roommate...joy.

I don't even vlog about movies anymore nor do I want to. I have other things I want to do involving music.


Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:50 pm
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
Do you think maybe it would be more energizing to you and informative for your core audience to stop reviewing things we know will be dreck like Season of the Witch and Little Fockers and maybe start concentrating on the smaller films that not only deserve more recognition but also allow us to discover these movies through you. I, for one, would certainly make the trek to NYC or Montclair or Chatham, NJ to see the lesser renowned titles if a reviewer I trusted gave it a raving thumbs up.

It should give you better things to write about and sit through too....

And on occasion we get to hear you rant about a move that potentially would interest us, like Somewhere. (73% at Rotten Tomatoes, btw)

And as much as Id like to support your endeavor here, I simply do not remember to click ads or even really see them at all. I am so anti them, that its impossible to manage supporting you that way, even though I buy a lot of shit from amazon, for example.

I still would be willing to pay $'s per month or year, however, directly to you...


Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:44 pm
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
MrGuinness wrote:
I still would be willing to pay $'s per month or year, however, directly to you...


That makes you and about 3 others. The harsh reality of the Internet is that if JB were to charge for access he might as well pack it in.

There are of course different revenue models that he's already discussed via Reelthoughts. Some sites make all ads go away for members who financially contribute. That's certainly a good idea but it's probably far too complicated to implement for a one man operation like JB. The fact is that Little Fockers will probably bring in more revenue than a review of an independent movie will so the ads will stay. I like the Amazon links a lot but supposedly they don't bring in as much as expected.

I like majoraphasia's suggestion quite a bit, but James strikes me as someone who'd rather not review a movie at all instead of providing a capsule review. It's certainly something to consider though. The 1000 words certainly work when he can tear into the pictures, but there are so many "meh" films where it even feels like reading the reviews alone is too much effort.

I'd really like to see some reviews of worthy films that James didn't see in a theatre. I'm sure he saw/will see Exit Through the Gift Shop at some time and those DVD/Netflix/On Demand reviews might not interest the general population but they will please a lot of the loyalists.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:26 am
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
I totally understand where you're coming from James, and agree that releases are at perhaps an all time low (or at least the lowest since the 1960s). Don't expect things to change much in that department. While it's true that 2010 was especially bad, and that 2011 and 2012 are far more promising, general trends of quality are not going to change anytime in the near future. I would seriously recommend that you consider placing more focus on reviewing older films from before 1965. If you were to review one film from this era per week, I think they would potentially add up to a steady string of 100% positive reviews for several years. I know this sounds exactly like Ebert's Great Movies thing, but hey, his series was extremely successful. To make it different from his randomization, you could categorize it by director (I know you had once mentioned the idea of doing Hitchcock and Bogart series). If I looked strictly toward modern releases for inspiration, I would have no desire to work in this industry. The classics are what keep me going.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:34 am
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
To echo Mr. Guinness:

Since, JB, you can't earn a living off your writing, why not ditch some of the God-awful multiplex dreck and dig into the arthouse fare? When I lived in Philadelphia, there were countless multiplex movies I ignored in favor of films that got one-week showings in the city...and I was a better, happier moviegoer for it. I would encourage you to consider this; I'm sure there's great films out there, but they aren't playing in the multiplexes.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:25 am
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
Congratulations for the 15th anniversary of Reelthoughts, in my opinion the best movie-review website. Keep up the good work.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:40 am
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
ed_metal_head wrote:
MrGuinness wrote:
I still would be willing to pay $'s per month or year, however, directly to you...


That makes you and about 3 others. The harsh reality of the Internet is that if JB were to charge for access he might as well pack it in.

There are of course different revenue models that he's already discussed via Reelthoughts. Some sites make all ads go away for members who financially contribute. That's certainly a good idea but it's probably far too complicated to implement for a one man operation like JB.


I know a few one person operations that have succeeded by going that route. I don’t agree at all with charging for content, but giving people the option to subscribe and send a few bucks his way each month couldn’t hurt. Tying that with an ad free experience would be perfect since, in all honesty, reelviews has the most obnoxious ads of any website I currently frequent.

But I'm sure all of this has been discussed in exhaustive detail before. I'm just saying if I ever saw a donate button on the front page, I know I'd happily send a few bucks his way. Lord knows I've done it for dozens of other sites.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:07 am
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
"naked women and piracy have been replaced by 3-D and video games" - Shouldn't it be the other way around?

There is a lot of dreck out there. I am about the same age as you and movies that would have got me excited 20 or 30 years ago no longer interest me. My favourite film was once Warlords of Atlantis, for example! I'm thinking of the big blockbuster, movie-making by numbers dreck that the studios churn out like Clash of the Titans, Transformers, Tron Legacy, Harry Potter, A-Team, Wolfman.

Now I am more interested in "art house" (or as I prefer to call them, intelligent) movies. There have been many films this year that I have discovered (often thanks to this site) and enjoyed. Films like The Road, Winter's Bone, Of Gods and Men, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim, Blue Valentine, Black Swan, Made in Dagenham, 127 Hours.

Reelviews is my first port of call whenever I want to read about and discover the next film I would like to see. Please keep it up, JB!


Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:54 am
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
ed_metal_head wrote:
The 1000 words certainly work when he can tear into the pictures, but there are so many "meh" films where it even feels like reading the reviews alone is too much effort.


That's exactly it. I come to the site multiple times a day and I'll read any review of any movie I'm semi-interested in. I'll even read a review of a bad movie to get a laugh. But why am I going to read a review of some mediocre film (like The Dilemma or Country Strong) I'm not interested in? There's nothing to really say about those movies. It's easy to see why James wouldn't get excited about writing that sort of review. When you're writing review after review on mediocre, soulless movies, who wouldn't feel some sort of apathy? No one gets excited for average.

Sexual Chocolate wrote:
To echo Mr. Guinness:

Since, JB, you can't earn a living off your writing, why not ditch some of the God-awful multiplex dreck and dig into the arthouse fare? When I lived in Philadelphia, there were countless multiplex movies I ignored in favor of films that got one-week showings in the city...and I was a better, happier moviegoer for it. I would encourage you to consider this; I'm sure there's great films out there, but they aren't playing in the multiplexes.


To piggyback off of this, I say not just arthouse fare, but whatever the hell you want? Just write about whatever movies interest you. If that happens to be a blockbuster, so be it. If it happens to be a silent film, then so be it. I think James would be a happier overall movie reviewer, and might even make a similar amount of money.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:04 am
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
Well. I feel very bad that you feel this way. I love movies. I understand your waning interest in them. But yours is my favorite review site to go to. I understand your reviews, your opinions, your objectve/subjective ideas ... and I am saddened that you 1) are seeing less and less films. And 2) so disenfranchised. I figured this was so because of the lack of reviews and reel thoughts. But I was hoping there was some other life answer. Please don't give up on movies, your site, and us. :)


Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:10 pm
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
I, personally and rather selfishly, think the site is better if it's not your major source of income. You write about movies because you love it, and you create this site for fun. I have been coming here for at least the past 15 years because that love comes through in your writing. I take much more stock in your opinions than some other corporate review because I know where it is coming from, and that means a lot.

I hope you keep doing it. I believe you would miss it if you stopped. And if that means some times you don't feel like writing a ReelThought then so be it. If you HAD to write a ReelThought every week then it becomes a chore, and that's not what ReelViews is about. Keep having fun and we'll keep reading, deal?


Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:23 pm
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
A few things...

While I recognize that I can't make a living from ReelViews, I would still like to maintain something close to my current traffic, and ditching mainstream fare for art house fare would not be a good move in that direction. Actually, one of the problems I have with art house movies is that the screenings are almost at 10 am weekday mornings, when I can't attend (baby care/day job combo is deadly at that time). That means, for most art house movies, I have to see them on weekends after they open. Which in many cases is a pain. (I actually see *a lot* of art house films, but the majority are DVD views for me and go unreviewed.)

For argument's sake, assume a medium-profile mainstream release is read by 20,000 people. A medium-profile art house film might be read by 5,000 if it goes up *before* it is released. A low-profile art house film might be read by 2,000 if it goes up early. The numbers drop radically for post-release reviews, even if they're only a few days late (Sunday/Monday). The 5,000 will drop to about 1,000 and the 2,000 might drop to 500.

My policy for what I review may seem obtuse but it's actually straightforward: if there's a weekday evening screening, I'm 80% likely to attend and write a review (the exceptions being things that sound absolutely dreadful). Doesn't matter if it's art house or mainstream, I'm there. The only time I will attend a movie that doesn't have a press screening is if it's something I *want* to see. Ditto for art house movies that I see post-release (such as BLUE VALENTINE). So I'm opportunistic.

January has been slow more because of the lack of new releases than because I haven't been attending screenings. You can probably count on one hand major releases I have skipped.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:49 pm
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
James Berardinelli wrote:
A few things...

While I recognize that I can't make a living from ReelViews, I would still like to maintain something close to my current traffic, and ditching mainstream fare for art house fare would not be a good move in that direction. Actually, one of the problems I have with art house movies is that the screenings are almost at 10 am weekday mornings, when I can't attend (baby care/day job combo is deadly at that time). That means, for most art house movies, I have to see them on weekends after they open. Which in many cases is a pain. (I actually see *a lot* of art house films, but the majority are DVD views for me and go unreviewed.)

For argument's sake, assume a medium-profile mainstream release is read by 20,000 people. A medium-profile art house film might be read by 5,000 if it goes up *before* it is released. A low-profile art house film might be read by 2,000 if it goes up early. The numbers drop radically for post-release reviews, even if they're only a few days late (Sunday/Monday). The 5,000 will drop to about 1,000 and the 2,000 might drop to 500.

My policy for what I review may seem obtuse but it's actually straightforward: if there's a weekday evening screening, I'm 80% likely to attend and write a review (the exceptions being things that sound absolutely dreadful). Doesn't matter if it's art house or mainstream, I'm there. The only time I will attend a movie that doesn't have a press screening is if it's something I *want* to see. Ditto for art house movies that I see post-release (such as BLUE VALENTINE). So I'm opportunistic.

January has been slow more because of the lack of new releases than because I haven't been attending screenings. You can probably count on one hand major releases I have skipped.


Incidentally I noticed that quite a few of last year's reviews aren't on RottenTomatoes. I've realised this while going through DVD releases. I go on that site and read the reviews but quite a few times I've thought "Didn't JB review this?" only to come to your site and see that you did. RT should really allow users to update them about reviews that they've missed.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:23 pm
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
It always makes me sad when I see people loose passion for movies. I will never loose it. Sure, there are occasional down years but I actually found 2010 to be a superb year. The best year in a long time.

But I don't really write reviews anyway myself. My passion is of movies, but also about MAKING movies. Right now I'm writing. Eventually I'll be getting into directing and producing while doing the occasional acting as well. But movies has always been a passion of mine and always will.

Although lately, I've gotten into television a lot as well. I no longer consider television to be inferior to movies although I'm still more of a movie person, than a tv person. But shows like 24 and Lost have made me fall in love with television.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:09 pm
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
James, thank you for the commentary and attendant remarks. Sounds
to me like you're "growing up," and I mean that in the most positive of
ways. Fatherhood (and husbandhood) has a tendency to do that to a
man, at least one who is responsible and caring, intelligent and wise. I
say more power to you. I've been reading (and very much enjoying)
your stuff for a long time, and hope you never stop, but I understand
the burn-out entirely. You're surely right, there's a lot of crap out there
(Sturgeon's Revelation), and the cinema-going experience assuredly ain't
what it used to be. I probably don't actually go out to a movie more than
a handful of times each year, and it's been that way for a good, long while.
And I don't see that paradigm changing; it's simply far more convenient to
rent or buy videos, or use the public library (hey, I'm paying for it, I might
as well use it), and watch movies in the comfort of my own home, and I
don't have to deal with the moronic dweebs that seem to infest most
moviehouses. If it's not a must-see-on-the-big-screen release, or at
least something that triggers one of my geek buttons, I'm not going to
bother.

As for your readership, I can relate to that, too. I've been posting (what
I guess would be called) mini-reviews on the IMDb for the last five or six
years, and what I came to realize was that next to no one was reading
them. That's okay, since I'm not doing it for approbation, more just the
practice of keeping my writing skills, such as they are, from rusting away.
I spend far more time now on a favored gaming site, where the response
is perhaps equally limited, but at least I have fun doing it.

I'm sorry all your efforts haven't granted you entrance to "the big time,"
but in a way, that's not so hateful, is it? Your wife and child are far more
important than money, as I'm sure you know, and the responsibilities of
being a gen-yine fulltime film critic would have undoubtedly cut into your
far more valuable time with them.

Do what you love doing; that's all that's important. Everything else is gravy.
Thank you again for all you've written so far, and for all you'll write in the
future. I'm very pleased to have discovered your work, way back when,
and look forward to your continued sharing of knowledge and opinion.

Cheers and best regards,
Geoff


Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:16 pm
Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
Mr. B:

Have you considered paring down the "pre-release" aspect of your operation? Ridding yourself of a partially-filtered diet of dreck might enable you to engage more with movies that you enjoy--or, at least, that you enjoy writing about. If you see one movie you love on Netflix and another that you feel nothing for at the cinema, there's no reason you can't devote more time to the former than the latter. It seems that your greater obligation to the latter, to the detriment of the former, is largely responsible for your increasing indifference.

Jim Emerson is just one critic who has found greener pastures with his Scanners blog, where he sometimes chimes in on current movies--if he feels like it--and otherwise devotes his time to whatever movie-related topics strike his fancy. He rarely writes in the review format, although it is his prerogative to do so if he wishes.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:29 pm
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Post Re: January 31, 2011: "Real Thoughts"
If anyone deserves to be a full-time professional movie critic it's you James, and that is why I have always yearned to one day see you be able to quit your day job to focus entirely on reviewing movies. Needless to say, I am very sad to hear about the rapidly declining revenue from Reelviews.

I was just wondering if you have any plans of perhaps endeavoring to secure a position as film critic for a major (or at least somewhat large) newspaper? I know the newspaper industry has been in a steady decline, but there are still numerous film critics that are employed by newspapers, and perhaps if one of those critics ever left their newspaper employer, you could apply to take their place. I'm sure Roger Ebert would be happy to recommend you, and if the newspaper saw your remarkable output of reviews over the past 20 years, combined with the fact that you already bring with you a loyal fanbase, they would be crazy not to hire you.

Anyway, just something to consider.


Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:43 pm
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