Reader E-mail

July 25, 2007
A thought by James Berardinelli

From among the numerous e-mails I have received in the last few days, I thought I'd reprint (and respond to) a few in a public forum. (This is a cheap excuse for me to superficially cover a number of topics without going into any real depth.)

(1) "I have read more of your reviews on various other films, and have come to the conclusion Its people like you who spoil the enjoyment of watching films for others. your comments and reviews stop people going to see certain movies just because you dont like them. these people listen to you and think"well if he dont like it, it must be shit". well, it may be shit, or it may not. let the people decide for themselves."

Is there some law that there's an inverse ratio between the level of venom and the level of intelligence displayed in hate mail? I mean, come on, if you're going to attack someone, at least have the decency to get the spelling, punctuation, and grammer [sic] correct...

(2) "I have noticed that recently you haven't been reviewing old films for your videoviews section and your reelthoughts are slacking off. What gives? Are you getting tired of your site?"

The real culprit isn't desire; it's opportunity. People have often wondered how I can keep up full-time reviewing while holding down a day job. It's a balancing act, but something has come along to upset the apple cart, so to speak. I'm trying to sell my house so I can move to one closer to where all my screenings are held. Selling (especially in this market) and looking for a new home take an inordinate amount of time, so that's why reviews of older movies have temporarily stopped and there's only about one new ReelThought per week. Once my current house is sold, all the legal stuff is handled, and I have moved into the new house, there should be an upsurge in content. Until then, things will be slow. It should be noted, however, that my output of new theatrical releases has not diminished, and I will still be going to Toronto in September.

(3) "Any thoughts about the latest on Lindsay Lohan?"

Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between Shakespeare's comedies and tragedies. Such is it with Ms. Lohan's life. As with all addicts, though, it's up to her to want to change. And wanting to change means dumping all the enablers.

(4) "How many of your top 100 have you bought on DVD?"

Ninety-nine. Ask that question in a few weeks and it will be 100. Hamlet (Branagh version) is the missing title because it's not available yet. (I have the laserdisc box set.) However, it's coming to DVD in the middle of August. I have been assured that it will be "worth the wait," whatever that means. I should also note that MGM just re-released Raise the Red Lantern this week and it's a huge improvement over the previous copy, which I dubbed Raise the Orange Lantern. MGM also released To Live (another Gong/Zhang collaboration that just missed my Top 100) and a double bill of Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring. At $15 (discounted), it's tough to beat that package.

(5) Here's an interesting exchange I had with someone:

Reader (this is the entire e-mail, not an excerpt): "to say that [The Machinist] is dirivative of fight cub, and wtf the other one you mentioned, seems to me an indication of your faults as a reviewer. come on; FIGHT CLUB?? intellsectual crap. the other one (i don't remember) same thing. at least this guy went for it; that counts for a lot. there is so much more power in this film (compared to the others you cite) i can't believe you expressed any opjectiom."

My response: "The other one? dirivative? intellsectual? opjectiom? Is English your second language or are you just illiterate with a bad memory?"

His response: "(I can't recall my email; sorry; I'll respond new--- I was drunk at the time. sorry for the intrusion). Yes; the machinist is a real film vs "the fight club. I agree with all your post. (I wish I could remember /the over movie I You are right; I was wrong for posting that crap. BTW; I am absolutely amazed at Baile (sp?) between this and b'man begins. sheesh-modern science I guess. good movie."

The moral of this story: certain things (like cars and e-mail) do not mix well with alcohol. This also raises the question of whether he was sober when he wrote the second e-mail. It didn't seem much more coherent.

(6) "What did you think of Harry Pooter [sic] and the Deathly Hallows?"

I thought it was... umm... okay. I guess the Harry Potter books aren't my cup of tea. I like the movies better. I won't say any more becuase I don't want to toss out spoilers. (Many of my readers are still making their way through it.) A while ago, I used the term "immersive" to describe the category of books I crave. HP7 doesn't fit into that category. My wife will read it four or five times. Once is enough for me.

(7) "Your review of [Transformers] is pathetic like the feeling you have for the movie. All you reviewers do is go to the movies & as critics you certainly are critical... but every time you rag a movie, I seem to love it. I guess we are truly dumb sheeple, or at least I am... We must be no taste hicks, because majority opinion was everybody laffed, loved it & applauded it. I guess it was trite, so us unsophisticated dooffuses liked it or maybe the people who still go to movies do so, for ONE REASON, not mental stimulation, but for chewing gum for the eyeballs."

See my comments for #1, above. I will admit, however, that the phrase "chewing gum for the eyeballs" creates quite an interesting mental picture.