But the second and more significant reason why I abandoned my blog is that at the time of the redesign, I was really starting to get burned out on this whole DVD reviewing gig altogether. I know that sounds ridiculous, considering the fact that at the time I’d only been doing it for about two months, and had less than a dozen reviews under my belt. But between a new day job monopolizing my time and a steady string of truly dreadful DVDs to watch, I was reaching the end of my CHUD rope. What had started as an intriging opportunity to contribute to a web site I’d read and enjoyed for years was suddenly starting to feel like a massive chore. The biggest culprit was my review of Little Britain: The Complete Collection. It wasn’t just the straw that broke the camel’s back, it was a two-ton safe dropped from ten thousand feet that mashed the camel into a fine paste. You can’t imagine the despair I felt after watching the first episode, hating it with every fiber of my being, and then realizing I had dozens of episodes to go, on top of something like 25 hours of bonus materials. I practically had to prop my eyes open with toothpicks to get through the damn thing. For a brief moment I considered making my review three words long: “IT’S A SIN!” in big bold letters, to be immediately followed by a gif of Alex DeLarge throwing himself out of the attic window from the end of Clockwork. It wouldn’t have been a very professional review but dammit, it would’ve accurately summed up my mental state after slogging through that entire fucking set.
I’m glad I didn’t throw in the towel though (or throw myself through the attic window, as it were), because now I feel totally rejuvenated. For one thing, I finally got around to re-uploading my reviews that were lost during the revamp (Feel free to browse). I’m normally my own harshest critic, and I don’t enjoy going back to read something I’ve written lest I nitpick myself to death. But as I went through my first batch of reviews, I got an opportunity to peer back into a time when my soul had yet to be crushed by a certain television program from a certain island nation, and it made me remember just how much fun it can be writing these things. Though unfortunately a few odd reviews from January were lost forever… in my doldrums, I wasn’t bothering to back them up anymore. So if any of you were desperately looking for a DVD review of the dull-as-dishwater TV-movie thriller Deceit, or the nauseating Rob Lowe Christmas vehicle A Perfect Day, you’re outta luck.
I think part of what was initially exciting about this gig is the idea that I might discover some obscure masterpiece, one that maybe in my own small way I could help find a wider audience. It’s part of what I loved about CHUD even before I joined the staff: So many DVDs get reviewed here in the course of a given year that you feel like no movie, no matter how obscure, could possibly slip past CHUD’s collective notice. If something was good, CHUD could be counted on to let you know about it. But after a few months of looking at things from the inside, I began to realize that most movies are obscure for a reason: namely because they’re total shit. And frankly, it’s not much fun to review something that’s both very obscure and very bad. Basically what I’m telling you with a review like that is “Hey guys, you know this movie you’ve never heard of? Well don’t see it.” Ideally I’ve made the review entertaining enough in and of itself to make it worth your while to read it, but I haven’t exactly affected anybody’s viewing habits one way or the other. Nobody was going to see the thing prior to reading my review, and nobody is going to see it afterwards either. So unless I come across something worth recommending in the middle of this big pile of shit, there’s a certain degree of futility to reviewing these titles that begins to wear on you.
Which brings me to the other reason why I feel so rejuvenated: I’ve finally found my diamond in the rough. Two actually, although one moreso than the other. Both are Spanish language films, interestingly enough, which seems to reinforce the idea that the best filmmaking talent in the world right now is coming out of Latin America. I watched both movies over the weekend, and I literally couldn’t wait to tell you guys about them. But of course, in my excitement I don’t want to just crank out any old review as fast as possible. Both movies deserve better than that. And besides, no matter how many people see a DVD review, it’s only one article. Even after the reviews are finished (look for them by the end of the week), I want to be able to talk about these movies somewhere in an ongoing way, to remind people that they’re out there and, in the case of one of them in particular, absolutely must be seen. Hence, the return of the blog. And this time I’m doing it because I actually want to, rather than because I feel obliged to. Which will probably make it slightly less worthless, though only time will tell in that regard. Stay tuned…