There has been a shift in my philosophy on film criticism of late. While everything I said in my longer post about film criticism a few months back remains accurate, I have shied away from the film reviews I used to post here. There haven’t been the standard “Review: [Film]” posts lately, as I’m sure Constant Readers (if they exist) have noticed. That’s not because I haven’t been seeing movies – quite the contrary – but because I began to feel as if those posts were not particularly worthwhile. They were ultimately surface thoughts and first impressions rather than longer, reasoned thoughts and critiques of films. And that’s not the kind of criticism I want to foster. If I want to give first impressions and gut feelings, I’ll post that on Facebook or Twitter. If I think people should go see The Lego Movie (note: you should go see The Lego Movie), then I’ll tell them, quite plainly. No need for 1,000 words talking about why they should go see The Lego Movie when those words ultimately amount to “it’s a whole lot of fun with a lot of heart.”
Instead, you’ll notice that film reviews have been tagged with “Longread” – at least the two most recent ones. The Frozen “review” wasn’t even tagged as a film review, but rather as film theory. And that’s the kind of change I’ve been making: I’m no longer talking about immediate reactions and thoughts about movies, because frankly I think most people are going to already have realized what I would say in those pieces. Instead, I’m allowing movies to sit in my mind for a lot longer, to take root, and fester. To let their ideas percolate down and affect my basic thought processes on a profound level. Then I’ll talk about them. But I won’t talk about “this is why it was good,” but rather “this is what this movie has to say, and this is why that’s awesome.”
I think this approach has been fulfilling. I got a whole lot of positive feedback about my Frozen post, and for that I thank everybody who read it. I had a blast writing it, and your good vibes meant a lot to me. I never got feedback that strong about my simple reviews, and I think this change in philosophy is in large part responsible. A lot of people saw and loved Frozen. My article about it dug into some deeper ideas within Frozen and, in trying to intimate why I loved it, I believe I helped a lot of people come to a deeper understanding of why they themselves loved Frozen. That may be a bit presumptuous, but a lot of you told me something to that effect, and it warms my heart so much to know that I am succeeding (at least in part) at that goal I stated back in the criticism post in July: to help people love movies as much as I do, and understand on a deep and profound level exactly why they love them.
The Wind Rises post got a lot less response, but I think that’s because so very, very few people have seen it. And while it was written very shortly after I saw the film, I do believe that it was as thought out and reasoned as the Frozen article. This isn’t just a trend of posts. Film school has made my time evaporate, and I’ve been devoting what free time I do have to writing other things. I assure you, though, that when a film manages to capture my heart and mind as Frozen and The Wind Rises did, you will hear about it. I want to assure you all that this is the new normal for Cox in a Box. I hope you will continue reading and continue following me on this journey, as I pursue this singular dream of filmmaking and film criticism. Your continued support has meant more to me than you can ever know.