Monday, April 28, 2008

Best of luck... Matt Zoller Seitz, who opened The House Next Door online a couple of years back, and is turning over the keys to a colleague as he embarks on a new career as a filmmaker. Seitz, who has been freelancing (not enough) for the Times, lives right down State Street from me here in Brooklyn, and I wish him well in this career change.

Something he said in his farewell address jumped out: "When I look back on those hundreds and hundreds of hours that I spent watching movies—many of which were not that memorable, and many of which did not tell a whole lot that I didn’t know—when I realized that they were hours that are gone now and I’m not getting them back… It makes me mad. It makes me mad, honestly, that I’m not gonna get those hours back. You know those are hours I could have been spending with my family. With my loved ones."

There are some who will say to that, stop whining. Suck it up. Grow a pair. Like this scribe. To which I say, to each his own, and people who have either failed in other endeavors, professional or domestic, or are too apprehensive to think outside the box of cultural commentary should respect someone who is stretching beyond its boundaries. As it happens, with our own "co-production" due in late August, I am rethinking my priorities, and they are definitely tipped to the home-and-hearth side of the equation. Not that I plan to give up on film and theater writing (I'm sure Seitz won't, either) but the time spent on both (and, more crucially, the time spent out-of-house seeing movies and shows) will decrease. This all ties into my next entry, which was an attempt (successful, I think) to give back to a community that has meant so much to me as I consider my own transition.

Where the movies are concerned, let's face it; on a weekly basis, there's not much to engage a sentient 42-year-old. To write about, sure--but to actively stimulate and challenge synapses tiring of the same old thing endlessly redressed, very little. Plus, unlike live theater, movies recur, on DVD, PPV, cable, etc. As the "theatrical experience" is degraded every year--high prices, bad screens, worse audiences--I don't think I'll be missing much. Like Seitz, I can't believe I'm writing this, nor will the folks who've known me the longest, but: Things change. And it's best to embrace change, not shrink from it.

Is this a sneak preview of an end to this experiment in blogging come summer? No. But you may find more DVD reviews for a time. Top 10 lists in May when all the year-end features are on home video. More of...well, I'm not entirely sure, but that is the fun, and the challenge, of new experiences. And, given time, in-depth analysis of Alvin and the Chipmunks 2 and The Return of Wicked as our little girl takes her dad to the theater and to the movies.

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