Technically, this is two days late; but working erratic hours at a retail job leaves less room for introspection than I’d have liked. Anyway: 1 August, 2010 found Antagony & Ecstasy celebrating its five-year anniversary. I find this endlessly fascinating. Five years ago, I was bored out of my skull at work, looking for a way to kill time in front of the computer, and I did something I swore that I’d never, ever do, which was to vent forth my ideas on this thing and that thing in little bites on the internet. At the time, it was mostly just a “hi friends, let me puke out my opinions over you!” sort of thing – I feel like all blog histories are like Penthouse letters, the way they all start the exact same way, “it was just for me and my friends”.
The first movie review didn’t even come until two days later; the first review good enough for me to mention it by name was Brokeback Mountain, by which point I’d figured out that more people than just my friends occasionally swung over for a read, and I’d begun to refine my prose a bit. The earliest reviews didn’t even creep above 500 words, if you can imagine it; except for my second review, a weirdly conceptual thing about The Dukes of Hazzard – the movie, not the show – that kind of reminds me of my later work in spirit, if not in expression.
Anyway, the idea of becoming a film blogger, instead of a “notions about life blogger” was late in coming; and I think it’s fair to say that if Twitter existed in 2005, I’d have likely just stuck with that, and none of this would have ever existed.
But exist it does, and exist it shall for the foreseeable future; and thank you, everyone reading this, for being part of the community that gives it reason to exist. I am enough of a narcissist that I’d probably keep reviewing movies even if I was certain that nobody was reading; that I am instead certain that so many people are, and apparently enjoying what comes out of my brain more than sometimes seems justifiable to me, makes it a pleasure and a privilege. So thanks, because I don’t say it often enough, to all of you; without you I’d only be a jackass with a keyboard, instead of a jackass with a keyboard and a huge ego.
Like any blog, Antagony & Ecastasy doesn’t exist in a vacuum; the film blogosophere is a rich and wonderful place to be, and five-years-old is about the age to stop acting like a spoiled toddler and give credit to all the writers who remain important influences and inspirations for me (I could start by commenting more regularly on other folks’ blogs, but that would mean I had to stop being lazy!). In no real order, I want to pay tribute to the following for keeping me going whenever I despair that film writing is just for spoiled twerps with nothing real to say (and by no means is this everyone! That would be a long list). These writers all have something very real to say, and they’ve all, in some way, driven me to push myself harder:
-Nathaniel R, of The Film Experience, who gave me my first real boost and remains to this day one of the most generous link patrons I have ever known. It still amazes me a little bit that someone so gifted – smart and hella fun to read! – likes my irritated ramblings that much.
-The Olson brothers, Troy (of Elusive as Robert Denby) and Kevin (of Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies). I don’t know what their mother was taking, but it was worth its weight in gold; two more elegantly casual writers you’ll not find, whether the subject is the art house or the grindhouse. Even if *cough*troy*cough* the posts don’t come as fast as we’d like.
-Glen Kenny, currently of Some Came Running. I remember well the first day I read one of his posts, and clearly thinking to myself, “well fuck, I wish I’d said that”. And it’s never stopped: there might not be another film writer out there who always says exactly what I wanted to say, using a half of the excess verbiage and twice the insight.
-Neil Fulwood, of Agitation of the Mind. There’s making it look easy; then there’s making it look like you just fell out of bed and on the way down bashed out a note-perfect essay on, say, Eastwood, or the cinematic representations of Aileen Wuornos. Or whatever else came to mind. I’d be jealous if I weren’t so impressed, every single time.
-Nick Davis, of Nick’s Flick Picks. My fellow Chicagoan was regularly dazzling me with the sheer depth of his reviews, on obscure middleweight ’40s melodramas, impenetrable art films, and drab Oscarbait alike, even before we became IRL friends – a fact that I whip out solely because, like James Boswell waving his relationship with Samuel Johnson in front of everyone who’d listen, I hope that doing so makes me seem smarter by association.
–The Siren, who puts the rest of us to shame, every damn time she posts.
And above all, thanks to my friends whose cheerleading kept me going, and without whose support I’d probably have closed up shop in the first month: especially Cameron, Ellen, Kat, Jack, Pat, Marc L, Mark K, Rebecca, Steve, & Will.
August is hereby declared Antagony at 5 Month. Which is a fancy way of saying, I have some more anniversary posts up my sleeve, but I don’t want to exhaust them all at once.