Monday 4 April 2011

Slacker Cinema's Big Birthday Bonanza!!

Woohoo! It's Slacker Cinema's first birthday! Well, technically it was last Friday, but I decided to give myself a well earned week off. Join me now as I take a look back at my big year of film blogging, pointing out the fun times we've had and the often unforgivable errors I've made...

Remember April 2010? It seems to so long ago that if Rebecca Black's Friday is current, it was two weeks last Wednesday. Or more accurately, about 365 days ago. Faced with a video shop 'career' that requires me to dole out snappy film reviews to people who couldn't actually care less about my opinion and with a degree in Film Studies that was slowly becoming obsolete, I decided I should start writing down what I really thought of all these odd films I'd been watching all this time and share my opinions with the one place I was sure to be welcomed with open arms... THE INTERNET.

The first thing I posted onto Slacker Cinema was a short snippet about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Hit RECord website, having just checked it out and liking the look of it. I was just getting to grips with Blogger and didn't yet know how to include any images or links, so it's a little bit crude compared to what I can conjure up nowadays. I didn't even capitalise the single i's, so that just shows how much my brain had turned to mush from inactivity. Once I'd learnt some of the tricks of the trade the first turning point for me was the frankly brilliant idea of watching some films no-one else would ever want to watch (this is Slacker Cinema after all) and then writing about them. And so began the continuing series of Obscurity Files whereby thanks to my ever expanding collection of terrible films, I was able to use the wonders of YouTube to create a multi-media sensation to fully illustrate what I thought of these often great, but more often godawful, films. I'll be honest with you, I occasionally go back and have a gander at the things I wrote then and I know they're not very good, but there's a learning curve involved in this blogging lark and it's not like there's a Dummies Guide to Blogging I could have learnt from (n.b. having just checked on Amazon it turns out there's loads). Sure, I could go back and alter those articles or perhaps even delete them, but then I wouldn't have the satisfaction of seeing how much I've improved. Feel free to correct me on that.

Another April highlight for me was Happy Birthday Jack Nicholson, a collection of Jack's movie posters that show which films he's been nominated or won Oscars for. This was my first experience of how random the internet can be, and how people search for the oddest things. It's an educational but flimsy post, yet still proves to be one of my most read articles even when it's nowhere near his bloody birthday. It seems everyone loves a bit of Jack, and I expect this article will go massive again when his birthday rolls around again at the end of this month.

Onto May and June, and you'd be surprised as to how much material I got out of the Death at a Funeral remake, reviewing the original film, reviewing the remake and making snarky comments all over the place. I also decided to see if I could make any money from this blogging game and took advantage of the Amazon Associates product linking system, something I've come to realise is a massive waste of time if you're not getting a million hits a day (which I'm not). I also did a piece on the posters of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema that still proves popular, and perhaps properly started my love affair of writing about posters.

July saw me hit my 100th post with a thanks to everyone who'd read what I had to say up to that point. That's still valid but a thousand times more so. I marked the occasion with a re-design of the blog, something I'm planning to do again fairly soon as frankly, I'm a bit fed-up of how it looks at the moment. July also saw me reviewing the release of Splice and drooling over the wonderful Drew Struzan posters I'd found up for sale on the internet. If only I had a spare $100,000 I could buy the poster for Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol. That'd look great in my flat.

August was a pretty average month except for my amazing reviews of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Hackers, but September saw some interesting developments in the form of being asked to contribute to the rather lovely and much better looked after site than mine, I took the bold step of choosing to review David Lynch's Lost Highway as part of the CHRONOLYNCHICAL project, forming a chronological list of reviews of all of Lynch's films. Not to get too sappy, but after feeling somewhat alone in the world of blogging it was great to finally be able to meet up with some fellow writers and talk about films, so thanks to Adam at for that. I also started contributing my DVD reviews to, who were nice enough to publish my work and get me some much needed exposure.

October gave me the opportunity to review the admirably unique but utterly disgusting The Human Centipede, an experience I don't plan on re-living. From that uncomfortable experience to a rather memorable one, I was lucky enough to see the 20 minute preview of Tron Legacy for It's just a shame the final product didn't quite match with what I was anticipating after seeing the footage, but it was still great to be put into that beautifully realised world early. One thing I have learnt over the course of the last year is how much I appreciate the art of poster design, something I decided to use in my article on the posters of the Halloween franchise. I really enjoyed putting that together and plan on doing similar things in the future.

November saw the long awaited release of the Hammer and Tongs Collection, something I had no hesitation in reviewing favourably (I also had a brief chat on twitter with @tongsville about my review, something that just about made my year). November also saw my entry into's CHRONOFINCHICAL project, bizarrely choosing to watch David Fincher's Alien 3 when I probably could have chosen something else. Never mind, I quite enjoyed it in a nostalgic kind of way. I also thought I'd try my hand at a bit of TV reviewing as I was going to be watching the very cinematic Walking Dead series anyway, and it might make me more of a disciplined writer if I knew I had a deadline every week. were nice enough to publish my episode guides on their site, so thanks to them for that.

As the wintery nights were closing in during December, I was busying myself watching the quite excellent Catfish and the not quite so excellent killer Snowman movie, Jack Frost. As it was a ridiculously short series The Walking Dead may have drawn to a close just as it was getting going, but at least we have a compilation of all the zombie deaths to keep us amused until the next series starts. I also chose to commemorate the life of Leslie Nielsen by watching one of his less fondly remembered films, Repossessed. I could have watched The Naked Gun but that's not how my mind works.

January saw the most amount of exposure the site had ever been given, thanks to the lovely folks at Total Film who saw fit to put me as one of the nominees for Best Review Blog at their Movie Blog Awards. I may not have won, but I did come in a respectable (but off the podium) 4th place up against some stiff competition. There may well have been some suspect voting going on from some of the candidates (not from me), but Kino Obscura totally deserved the win, so congrats to them. Perhaps the strangest occurence in January was the inexplicable popularity of my Social Network post. Frankly, there's sod all to it and was only meant to be a 'post-of-the-day' filler, but it's the most popular thing I've ever done by a long way. If I knew that all I had to do was post an image of a DVD cover to get hits, I'd have started doing that a long time ago.

February managed to prove that I don't know shit about Oscar voters, as virtually none of my surefire wins actually took home a statue (unless they nicked it). At least I got to express my love of John Hughes film's by taking a look back at all of his movie posters, and shared my trepidation over the sudden arrival of the Paranormal Activity clones. The highlight of the month for me has to be my first official invite to a press screening, which luckily turned out to be for Animal Kingdom. That, my friends, is an amazingly memorable film to watch at your first press screening.

And then finally to March, which saw the release of Richard Ayoade's Submarine, a film I'd been anticipating for so long and that thankfully delivered exactly what I'd been hoping for. March also brought us the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of Hammer Film's Wake Wood and Let Me In (two films I enjoyed to different degrees), as well as my second press invite to the Bradley Cooper implausibility-fest that was Limitless. I also broke new ground by having a DVD sent to me to review for the first time, thereby slowly removing my need to ever rent a film again. What followed was a battle of conscience as I couldn't help but give Arrivederci Millwall a bad write-up, but thanks to Vertigo for giving me the opportunity to see it. More screener discs please.

And so here we are, one year older and not much the wiser. Somehow I'm still employed in the same job, telling the same people the same recommendations for the same films, but at least Slacker Cinema has given me an opportunity to flex what creative muscles I may have. I do appreciate it when anyone takes the time to read my reviews, be it the 'proper ones' or the daft little oddballs that pop into my brain and then onto your monitors, so seriously, thanks to everyone who chooses to visit Slacker Cinema as it means a lot. Oh, and obviously thanks to my amazingly patient and lovely girlfriend for putting up with my late night typing for the last twelve months.

Here's to the next year!

Thanks, Colin

1 comment:

  1. Well done. You deserve to go a long way. I hope this blog helps to forward your career in film.