Resolution: Pictures or No Pictures

January 19, 2004
A thought by James Berardinelli

Recently, after assembling eight or nine reviews with pictures (five of which have been posted to date), I came to a decision about how to proceed. The ultimate vote was roughly split, with a slight majority of 5% urging me to retain the pictures. Only one e-mailer indicated that he would boycott the site if the pictures were not promptly removed. Thanks to everyone who shared his or her opinion... even those of you who were utterly ruthless in your assessment.

My original decision was to keep the one-sheets at the top right and retain a limited number of other pictures, where appropriate, within the text body (primarily for foreign and/or independent films). However, a possibility raised in an e-mail from Andrew D. Myers intrigued me - use javascript and cookies to hide or reveal pictures at will. Still, considering my knowledge of javascript (which, if I was being kind, I would call "rudimentary"), it seemed like an awful lot of work, consuming time that could better be spent doing other things. Then Eddy Carroll came to the rescue. Over the course of two succinct e-mails, he gave me enough tools to be able to accomplish this goal with minimal difficulty. Hopefully, in the true spirit of "having your cake and eating it," this will now provide everyone with what they want.

You have a simple choice: view the site with pictures enabled or disabled. The default is for the images to be shown. (If you have javascript disabled, you will never see the images. If you have cookies disabled, you will always see the images.) To make them vanish, simply click on the link that says "Hide Images" (this can be found on the main ReelViews page or at the bottom of any review that contains pictures). To cause them to reappear, simply click on the link that says "Show Images" (found in the same places). You can go back and forth as many times as you want. Without the images, the reviews look exactly as they used to.

One option I considered, but decided against, was to allow the display of the one-sheet without any of the "internal" images. That takes customization a little too far (although this was probably the most popular "compromise" option expressed by e-mailers). So, if you want to see the one-sheets, you'll have to endure the one or two small pictures that I include within the text. Finally, if you have any problems, let me know. I spent some time testing this approach while licking my wounds from the Eagles 14-3 pasting at the hands of the Carolina Panthers, but I only have a couple of browser versions available, so the checking wasn't thorough.

No Pet Zone

A few faithful viewers noted that I did not review Teacher's Pet, which did abysmally at the box office this weekend. The reason is threefold: (1) it screened on a Saturday morning (and there's nothing I dislike more than having to get up early on a Saturday to see a movie I'm not enthused about), (2) I'm not a "dog" person, so any movie featuring a canine protagonist is likely to be ignored, and (3) I avoid animation whenever possible. Combined, these factors placed Teacher's Pet very low on my "want to see" list. Yes, it has gotten fairly good reviews, but that hasn't enhanced my appetite for it.

Refreshed Links

This week will mark the debut of my refurbished links section, which I expect to be ready by Friday. The concept of the "Site of the Week" is gone (too much unrewarded work), but I will keep to its spirit by adding one new link per week (although there will be several new ones at re-launch). All defunct links will be removed. Submissions for consideration will be evaluated in the order they are received. I will visit each site and make a determination whether it meets my subjective criteria. Please don't expect that just because you link to ReelViews, I will reciprocate (likewise, if I place a link to your site, there is no requirement that you link back to ReelViews). I do not participate in so-called "link partnerships." However, if you have sent me a link during the page's hiatus and I indicated I would add you to the list, you'll be up later this week - provided you have sent me a reminder in the last seven days.

Coming Up

Over the next month, I'll be tackling several (hopefully) interesting issues. One will be to finally explain exactly what my rating system means. Another will be to question when box office tallies became a spectator sport. In what will be a multi-part commentary, I'll grapple with the piracy problem, with an eye towards being as unbiased as I can be. (That means I'll be saying at least one thing that the MPAA will not agree with.) On the 27th, I'll have something to say about the Oscar nominees. Shortly thereafter, I'll write about "Nudity and Nominees," a topic that piqued my interest after someone commented that Diane Keaton's bare-all scene in Something's Gotta Give marks the latest example of non-sexual nudity becoming more accepted in mainstream films. (I'm researching this now, and it's not as exciting as one might suppose.) Finally, although there will be quite a few new "ReelThoughts" this week, there won't be many next week - too many movies to see and reviews to write.