February 16, 2012
Ben Vargas (@bensower) sees more movies than almost anyone else I know. He's relentless in his pursuit to absorb as much cinema in his lifetime as one (or possible two) human beings logically can. He's unbelievably generous in the way he engages people on Twitter into discussing whatever film that person just viewed.
In the past, as Ben Vargas could probably attest to better than anyone, I was able to keep up with the best of the movie aficionados regarding the sheer number I was able to consume. In 2008, I think I saw nearly 280 films. I saw close to 200 2009 releases alone. Luckily, from 2007-2010, when I was at my best, I saw most of the classics necessary to give me the ability to teach a high school film class, which I love to do and plan to continue for many years to come.
In the last two years, however, I lessened my watching habits drastically. There are many reasons for this, some of which I won't share because they are personal. I will say, however, that there came a point when I felt like I didn't NEED to see anymore specific films considering that I watched every single movie on AFI's 100 Greatest Films lists. Sure, I have yet to watch Metropolis, but I have seen The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance and Sunrise, so I am conversant regarding silent film. Further, I've seen Man with a Movie Camera, Broken Blossoms, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Passion of Joan of Arc and many Chaplin and Keaton films. I feel confident in the basics of cinema history.
The real reason, however, that I slowed down my watching and writing was because of issues of anxiety. As my list of movies to see kept growing, my anxiety grew as well as my thoughts kept returning to my goal of tackling chunks of the list in short periods of time or else I'd never finish. This anxiety often resulted in weeks without watching any movies at all. I always imagined (up until now) that I'd get through this list. Now, I realize that I won't and can't. I'll never see every film I want to see. That's the realization to which I just resigned myself.
Sounds sad, sure, but, on the contrary, I feel more at peace with this blog than I have in years. This doesn't mean I'm getting out of the film blogging business. Instead, I hope to reignite Brian's Film Review Blog big time. However, I'm going to get rid of all lists of films to see, resolutions of watching so many movies a week, and marathons to finish by a certain point. I'm going to simply watch movies when I want to watch them and write about films when I want to write about them.
I'm never going to be a professional film critic, but I think I have the ability to keep up a pretty damn fine movie blog. That's what I'm hoping to do. Things have happened in my life that make it necessary to lower anxiety and stress for my own personal well-being. Today, I'm letting go of what I like to call "blog stress." Ironically, I think this will make my writing more frequent and hopefully worthy of the 120 blog followers whom I appreciate more that I can say.
So, thank you to all of you who have stuck with me during this multi-year transition. No longer am I in Ben Vargas' league regarding consumption, but thankfully, he hasn't unfollowed and blocked me because of my inferiority (at least not yet). I do look forward to taking this step back in order to move ahead.