On the subject of Reviews

As some of you are already aware, I watch a lot of movies. When I watch movies I often take Edison, a stuffed monkey, along with me. We have, in the past, done movie reviews of a sort of some of the movies we’ve watched. In fact, that was part of why I originally started carrying him with me down to the local theater to see movies; I didn’t want to be writing reviews with him if he hadn’t actualyl seen the movies we were discussing. Except that now we don’t seem to be reviewing any movies. I take him to the movies around 2/3 of the time, but we review less than one in twenty movies, it seems. When I first started carrying a stuffed monkey with me down to the movies, and people would ask me why I had a stuffed monkey with me, I used to be able to say ‘We review movies at my website’ and hand them a card with the URL on it. Now that we haven’t done a review in a coon’s age, I can say ‘we do movie reviews sometimes’ but am reluctant to give out the card, since we have only done one review since February.

So I’ve reached a point where I’d like to start writing about the movies I’m watching again, if only because I calim to do so once in a while. Except I’m not sure I really want to write reviews, per se. I don’t usually have a general recomendation about whether anyone should see a movie, though if someone I know asks me about a movie, I can make a personal recommendation about that specific movie. I often have something to say about most movies I see, and sometimes movies I haven’t seen, and I think I’d like to get them posted somehow. The problem right now is that I often want to mention things that are “spoilers”; things that would give away some essential part of the movie to someone who hasn’t seen it.

In real life, I can simply verify whether or not the person I am speaking with has already seen, or has no plans to ever see, the movie in question before saying anything that would give something away. I really like twists in movies myself, and never like giving them away to people who have not yet seen the movie but may. I have no such control on the web. Worse, if I call what I’ll be writing a review, I’ll upset some people twofold: First by not really reviewing the basic story of the movie, and Second by breaking the unwritten rule of reviews and revealing important plot points.

I guess reviews are generally intended to be read before seeing a movie, to help people decide about whether they should spend the money to see it or not. I’ve never been good at helping people with that; in my opinion there are more movies worth seeing than not, and most people can’t afford financially or temporally to see them all. I really believe that for any movie with a marketing push behind it, anyone I come across has already decided whether they will see it or not before they get to me. For other movies, I have to explain what the movie is, and as soon as they know the idea of the movie they make up their minds before I make a recommendation. Most people only watch a few types of movies, and no matter how great I say Gosford Park is, the Action/Adventure-only-guy won’t go see it.

What I want to write is targeted more to people who have already seen the movie, or people that plan never to see the movie. What kind of warning can I give to let people know that? Just state that at the top of every one of these ‘reviews’? I don’t know. I’m going to lunch.

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