I think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.
By Joshua Miller: Facebook Page
Since the entire point of this on-going column is the spirit of positivity, I must confess that – despite the fact that it is often an integral part of sites like CHUD – I hate snobby elitism in the world of art and entertainment. Having refined and evolved tastes is extremely attractive to me when it comes to the kind of people I want to be friends with, but I also think it is an unattractive quality to bitterly shit on people/things that remain in the middle of the road. For example, I thought Avatar was disappointingly mediocre, but it nonetheless bugs me when people harp on it as a “bad” film. To me, calling Avatar “bad” is at best snobby sour grapes, and at worst a revelation that the guilty party has no understanding of what goes into making a film.
Writing for CHUD it is hard sometimes not to be snobby or bitter when us writers are trying to maintain an air of comedy/entertainment when we write, as there is often nothing more fun to read than a good negative take-down. Last week I kinda shit on Entertainment Weekly. I said it was basically one step above People magazine. I feel the need to makes some amends.
Currently, I have an unhealthy relationship with Entertainment Weekly. I’ve had a subscription to the weekly mag since I was in high school. I used to love it. Live by it. It was my window into the film/TV world. But as my tastes sophisticated (slightly), and more importantly, as the internet overtook print media in the entertainment news sphere, the magazine became increasingly vapid, silly, and irrelevant seeming. But… I can’t look past the fact that it was once an important part of my life.
When I was in high school I wasn’t on the Internet. It existed, but it had not quite consumed the country as a regular part of the regular person’s life. My exposure to the behind-the-scenes world of film and television was confined solely to what I saw on shows like Entertainment Tonight, random TV specials, and the occasional cool interview my mom would clip from the paper for me. There were books, of course, but they were about older films, and often a bit above my interest level at the time. Then one day I discovered Entertainment Weekly sitting in my high school’s library and it was love at first site.
EW was the perfect gateway drug. To a young person starting from bottom, with no older mentors to act as my guide, the magazine turned me onto some great things. It was the magazine’s shameless obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer that got me to finally give what seemed like a retarded “girl show” a chance. It was their review of Mule Variations that got me curious about the album and ultimately turned me into a huge Tom Waits nerd. And more importantly, the magazine was the stepping stone that caused me to start reading “classier” and more in-depth material on film.
There is no doubt for me that my tastes have moved well past EW. In the past four years I’ve let my subscription expire twice, only to panic and get roped back in by some final offer from the magazine. It serves no purpose for me, except for bathroom reading material (in which setting it is admittedly my favorite), but I just can’t seem to quit it. Because deep down… I still love it, I guess. Every now and then they still surprise me with a great piece. Hell, last week’s issue singled out my beloved The Cinefamily as one of the nation’s 10 coolest movie theaters. For me, canceling EW is akin to trying to throw away that ratty old T-shirt you once loved but is now too terrible looking to actually wear out of the house.
I can’t help shitting on EW, yet I also can’t help feeling awkward about it – like a man ashamed of his humble beginnings. EW was my learner’s permit. And for that, I am thankful.