Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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This is still a work in progress as I migrate from my old platform at Tumblr. For now, you can still access the whole backlog of posts there at http://reelmatt.tumblr.com

End of Year 2 / Beginning of Year 3

When I started my movie marathon two years ago in the summer of 2012 I had the goal of watching 365 films in as many days. Beyond my many doubts, I managed to accomplish that goal and I strived to extend my initial goal and make my movie marathon into a continuous project. For this second year I thought my goal of watching 135 films was modest enough and would get me to a nice even 500 films total. Unfortunately, I failed to recognize the amount of time and effort it took me during the first year and I overestimated my commitment for this year. The result: I ended up 50 films short for a second year total of 85 films and an overall total of 500. As I did with my first year, this second year of the movie marathon brought many revelations. The biggest of which is that I have no regrets about this past year. I may not have reached my original goal, but because of that, I was able to watch films I cared about more, rather than watching something to reach a certain number. Over half of the films I saw this year (43 out of 85) I saw in a theater, which is just under the 44 films I saw in a theater last year (but a much higher percentage). But the statistic that’s more telling, and one that I’m proud of, is that my average rating was considerably higher this year ringing in at 3.75 compared to last year’s 3.57. One thing I did realize was happening though is that occasionally I would not watch a certain film because I felt compelled to write a review. The point of setting a much lower goal for this year was so I could relax and watch some more films just for fun without having a nagging obligation I felt like I needed to fulfill. And while I saw a lot of great films this year, the downside is I probably could have seen a great deal more if my self-imposed restriction of reviews was lifted. Then again, writing my reviews is in many ways one of the most rewarding parts of this marathon. It helps me look at films more critically than I did before and is an important exercise in honing my own filmmaking skills as an editor. One of the biggest differences I saw with this second year is that my average review length increased a whopping 300 words per review. This statistic is telling in itself but more revealing is the amount of time I spent writing this year compared with last. Many times I would hold off on writing or publishing a review until a day or two later to give myself time to really get my thoughts out. Contrast that with this past week where I pretty much watched and reviewed one film per day which brought back many memories from my first year. I managed, but it’s been much more stressful than I feel it could or should be. All this is to say that, this movie marathon will continue. I will continue watching a wide variety of films this year and I’ll continue to write out my thoughts about the films I see. But as the second year brought changes, so will this third year. The first, I’m not going to set a numbered goal (or limit) on the amount of films I need to watch. The second is that I’m going to change up my (and therefore your) expectations for what my reviews will be like. Just as I got rid of my “Before” section because I felt like it would be unnecessary and often repetitive, this year, I’m going to reduce my reliance on the singular “The Review” section. Often times, my review will ramble on, basically reiterating a few positives or negatives that constantly show up in many films. Instead, I’ll be breaking it up into two sections: “The Good” and “The Bad”. These might vary depending on whether the film is spectacular or spectacularly bad, but for most films, these two sections should cover most of my thoughts. And instead of having wordy paragraphs that usually just beat around the bush, I’m going to strive to have more, smaller paragraphs that are more like extended bullet points to highlight individual points rather than having an all-encompassing paragraph to include many thoughts. As always, things could change as this third year progresses, but as things stand now, this is my game plan. I look forward to watching many more great films (and I’m sure some not so great films too) and sharing my thoughts with you. I also want to try and double down on more “Topic” posts this year. I’ve promised multiple times to try and review television shows, write about new filmmaking technologies, or other various topics but so far I’ve only written one, on high frame rate. I’m really looking forward to writing about my experience taking part in this year’s Boston 48 Hour Film Project with the Weekend Warriors and am planning to watching some major television shows this summer (like The Wire and The Sopranos) and hopefully, with this new direction, I’ll be able to commit to these posts, but we’ll see how the rest of this summer goes. Thanks again for reading and your support over these past two years. I hope you join me for this coming third year.