So it’s that time of year again, I suppose. Turkey and shopping and alllll that family. But, for better or worse, underneath all the rampant Thunderdomed consumerism and passive-aggressive condiment passing, Thanksgiving still means something, dammit. Hell, it’s right there in the name. And we here in the Sewer take tradition somewhat seriously, so we figured we’d band together and share our warm fuzzies about the previous year and wax hopeful for the year ahead.
As for me, 2011 hasn’t necessarily been the most eventful year but that’s not to say it didn’t have its moments and things. On a social scale, I’m thankful for the Occupy movement. I won’t go into a whole political thing, but I feel like when the dust settles on this generation, that movement will be written down as a turning point for the better. On the superficial front, even though I slightly feel bad about it amidst certain…controversies, I’m immensely grateful for Spotify. The amount of music at our fingertips is miraculous and, even though it’s not entirely fair to the artists and rights holders, it is a step in the right direction away from piracy, and that’s never a bad thing. In terms of movies, well…there’s entirely too much I haven’t seen yet, but aside from being eternally thankful for Netflix Instant, I am thankful for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. I won’t bore you with the details, but Harry Potter is a series (of books) that has a tremendous amount of sentimental and emotional value to me. Yet, in terms of the movies, I always ended up catching them after the fact on DVD. 7.2 is extra special because not only did it cap off a franchise that l love dearly in a tremendously satisfying way, it’s also the first and only one of the films that I managed to see in the theater and it’s an experience that I treasure. Also – Drive.
Which shifts us to the personal front. And, as always, I’m incredibly thankful for my daughter. She turned 9 this year and she’s already better than I am. Not just at that age but in general. I see all the best qualities of all the major players in our family in her and while a lot of parents remark on their kids’ growing up with sadness, I’m so unbelievably stoked to see the young lady and soon-to-be-woman she’s turning into. I think about her graduating high school, going to college, starting a family of her own (or moving to Paris with her best friend and being Fashion Designer Dentists who live in a big house with a tiny dog, as is her current plan) and I’m just simply excited to see where she goes. The things she manages to bring out of people are remarkable and she’s without a doubt the biggest influence on my entire life. I’m also thankful for friends, both new and old. Friends that I’ve become closer to and friendships that mean enough to me that it makes me sad when we drift apart. I’m thankful that I almost don’t feel the need to distinguish between “online” friends and “real life” friends, because the bonds are the same. And all the ups and downs and everything being what it is, I’m thankful for Nick and CHUD and all the people here who’ve helped this little hobby of mine feel like home. Speaking of, we’ve heard enough out of me. Let’s toss it over to…
Like Jeremy 2011 has not exactly been about excitement, it has though been a good year for reflecting on life in general. On the social front the world is going through a re-birth of sorts with uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, and the OWS movement, which saw people standing together demanding change. Only time will tell to what extent these movements will have on society as a whole but for now I want to believe that the quality of life will get better.
My optimism that things will get better was somewhat diminished thanks in part to the Republican Presidential debates. Not so much because of the candidates but how some in attendance reacted a few times. When I heard people applaud the death penalty, waterboarding, and allowing people to die due to lack of health insurance, my frustration grew. To sum this all up, I’m thankful for the awareness that individuals who are truly struggling are taking a stand.
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
On the entertainment front this year has been average at best. Unable to see a lot of movies in theaters I am thankful for the ones I did manage to catch.
For me 2011 is all about Potter. The final movie in this remarkable series was satisfying until the last scene. It was intense, fun, sad and entertaining. Even with all that the most enjoyable part was watching this movie with a packed crowd of fans who made the viewing experience an event. Speaking of events, I am so happy to see Alan Rickman have a fantastic year, which has been overdue for a long time. Not only did Alan star in Deathly Hallows 2 he also performed in two plays – John Gabriel Borkman, and currently running on Broadway, Seminar. Alan also starred with Emma Thompson in the television play A Song of Lunch. Other standouts for me (for one reason or another) are Cowboys & Aliens (if you know me online no explanation is needed), Rise of The Planet of The Apes, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (kidding), Captain America, Rango.
“I think Hollywood has a class system. The actors are like the inmates, but the truth is they’re running the asylum.” – Robert De Niro
This year has been about listening to music I grew up with and YouTube has been a terrific place for me to revisit those days. Facebook never lets me down as I get to not only watch some family members have meltdowns but I have a chance to enjoy what other FB buddies are enjoying in their lives. Oh, and I get to bore others with my righteous indignation posts and share a little bit of what is going on in my corner of the universe.
The year ahead is simply about hope.
2011 has been a busy bastard of a year for me. As much as my natural inclination towards grotesque sloth has kept me keenly annoyed with not being able to devote all my time to lying around my apartment drunk, eating nachos, and interrupting an unending film marathon for brief bouts of Mario Kart and sex, I’ve had enough lean years of not being busy to be extremely thankful for the work that good lord Cthulhu has provided me now. I had my first book hit shelves last Xmas, and it has been fun tracking its progress this year. I have another book hitting shelves this Xmas. And I feel very blessed to be currently discussing a deal for yet another book for next Xmas. I am thankful to Mr. Nick and the rest of the CHUD staff and community for keeping this site afloat amongst shitty financial situations so that I can proudly thump my chest and say, yes, I got paid to watch all the Police Academy movies! Who knew that my Film Studies degree would actually be useful for anything? I am thankful to Something Awful and Fox Digital Studios for also regularly contributing to my bank account. I am thankful to fellow CHUD contributor Sebastian O’Brien for helping me realize a secret evil dream of mine this year when we launched our midnight movie series Friday Night Frights at my hands-down-favorite movie theater in Los Angeles, The Cinefamily. And similar thanks goes out to Cinefamily founder Hadrian Belove, my ladyfriend Laura, and the Cinefamily staff for humoring Seb and I’s silly spookfest twice a month.
On an entertainment level, like Jeremy, I too am thankful for Netflix. They had a rough year, partially their own dumb fault, but also partially undeserved. Qwikster was a fucking stupid, stupid idea and died as abruptly as a sane world demands, but everyone was more so up in arms about the price increase. Has it seriously been so long since people rented something at Blockbuster that they don’t remember paying five fucking dollars for one movie? That the idea of paying $20 a month for unlimited content (even just five movies a month leaves you financially ahead) was due cause to freak out and warranted some clowns to cancel their subscription? Yeah, it sucks when a price increase happens all at once like that, but let’s have some perspective people. As a freelance writer (ie, well-nigh vagrant) I don’t have tons of cash to toss around. Yet, Netflix actually allows me to intake as many, if not more, films each month than I did in college when I worked at a video store. And with Hulu too, who needs to spend $70 on stinky cable? Long live Netflix!
I’m also thankful to Tom Waits for continuing to make music. National Geographic and The Smithsonian Magazine for filling my head with more worthless trivia. And Marc Maron’s WTF podcast for giving me something to listen to at the gym. Yes, I like to listen to comedians talk about their emotional problems while I work out.
Mine will be quick and short. First and foremost, I’m thankful for my daughter, whom, I realize, is becoming more and more like me every day (God help us). I’m thankful that she’s healthy, happy (until she doesn’t get her way that is), and getting to be the age where we can really start hanging out and interacting. It was lovely having a baby, but I’ve never been a baby kind of guy. Now we’re able to walk places, do stuff, and even converse (somewhat…I have a lot of words I still need to learn). The whole rest of the world could go in the crapper and as long as I have her, I don’t need a lot of the other bullshit I thought was important before she came along.
I’m thankful to have had a steady gig the last three years with everything that’s going on. Extremely thankful.
Thankful for my health, family and friends, you know, the go-to thankful subjects.
I’m thankful to have been able to write for CHUD and GUY when it was (will be?) around. It’s been a lot of fun to date and has fulfilled a personal need for expression that I thought I’d lost when scriptwriting didn’t seem to be going anywhere anymore.
And that’s pretty much it. Boring I know, but I seem to be simplifying in my old age, which I’m thankful to have reached to date.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
It’s weird to consider, but 2011 has truly been the first real year of my adult life. The first year in which I lived entirely on my own without school in some way dominating my life, 2011 has been a persistent reminder that I’ve got a long road ahead of me as a person and a professional. That said, it’s also been a year that’s shown me just how fortunate I am at this point, and I don’t take it for granted for a second that I’ve been gifted with some amazing opportunities. Many of them spring from this site in one way or another, while others have shown up in my personal life or arrived through mere chance. I’m happy for all of them.
In terms of CHUD, I couldn’t be more thankful for the people who read and remark on the site’s content. There are some truly stellar people that make each piece worth doing, who are supportive or offer constructive criticism day in and day out. I don’t know that I’ve been able to take things by the throat and drive them into a new future, but hopefully I’ve done my part to keep the place active and vital. I’m going to keep doing my best and looking for ways to improve and find balance, and I’m thankful that I get to do so. Most of all I’m thankful that the man in charge has so fully supported me, been patient with me, and trusted me to such a large extent. When this site began my parents were still being strongly cautioned by the MPAA to “provide special guidance for my attendance of PG-13 movies,” so the idea that I’m now a big part of keeping such an institution running still blows my mind sometimes. I’m thankful for the people that find my weird, inexperienced yet academic, vaguely formalist, technically-minded reviews worth making a part of their dissections of the films they watch. I’m thankful for every last one of you that watched a CHUD video this year. While intensive and not tenable as a year-round, week-in-week-out feature, I’m proud that we produced a season’s worth of shows that covered so much with so little. I’m happy with how varied the shows are in tone, format, location, humor, and focus, and yet we managed to bring many thousands of people along for the ride.
I’m thankful that a few months ago a stellar group of helped me put my foot down to not let a year go by without having made a film of some kind. It was small and oh-so-humble, but it kept me energized and looking towards the bigger things ahead. Pull back further I’m thankful that I live in a house populated by interesting, talented, hilarious, and complementary people.
The year has too been a rough one in many ways, to the point that my family went through a pretty impacting event that represented the climax of years of financial stress that dated back to well before the wider national collapse. There’s finally a little (very relative) light at the end of the tunnel, but it took a pretty harsh transition to get there. Nothing like literally digging through your childhood spread across the driveway, trying to make impossible decisions about what to salvage as dark clouds loom overhead filled with the rain that will soon ruin so many artifacts from your life. I’m thankful though, that this gave me a new perspective on what’s important and set the stage for things to improve. Ultimately our health and our strong relationships are the most important things and I’m happy to have both along with my parents.
Finally, I’m thankful for a lot of small things: Keyboard Shortcuts, Contagion, The Artist, Yates not completely fucking up Potter at the clincher, SXSW, Bellflower, cats, The Larry Sanders Show, They Might Be Giants, Drive, Boardwalk Empire, Chick-Fil-A, Hugo, deciding not to watch The Walking Dead Season 2, the Zoom H4N, The Savannah Film Festival, David Cronenberg, Attack The Block, WTF & DLM podcasts, Party Down, Detention, the cheapening of Blu-ray/surround systems, creative screenprinters making movie posters, poker, and every passing day that my laptop doesn’t decide to shit out on me.
2011 on the internet front has been by far the most trying and least rewarding. But we’re still here and it looks like we’ll be around a while longer. I’m thankful for that. There’s life in these hills yet and without resorting to piggybacking on viral links to boot. Personally it’s been a taxing year as well. 2011 was Our Cancer Year as we dealt with the daily rigors of not one but two forms of cancer as my mother got handed two diagnosis back to back. Radiation. Chemotherapy. You name it. She’s still here and looking like she may have dodged a bullet. Thankful for that. My kids are healthy, and it’s been a year where I hear of parents accidentally backing their cars over toddlers and sickness taking the lives of others and the trials a few close friends have had with high maintenance newborns. Thankful. It really seems that the past two years have been about testing me, or preparing me. Luckily I’ve been somewhat me, and have found ways to keep the machine moving. Thanks to a lot of odd jobs and a lot of hours doing alternate labor. Thankful.
Luckily, the many relationships I’ve fostered over the past decade are flourishing. I have two films, a television show, and a few other things very close to making the trades and it’s all choice A material Ones I’ve been heavily involved with. Good stuff. Things which add to their respective genres. High profile stuff. A List stuff. I had my first theatrical movie finally see theaters and even with a hurricane cutting box office numbers by a quarter it was still a fulfilling experience. A book I cocreated has done very well in hardcover and now paperback and our next collaboration is going to be in stores in 2012. Thankful. A lot of great creative projects. Scripts. Comics. Books. Movies. Shows. Long lead stuff finally coming to fruition. The television thing is one we’ve been developing for the better part of a decade and with financing, a director, and a great script we’re nearly there. The film is looking great and the filmmaker behind the lens there is a fan favorite and one who will undoubtedly be a big deal and it’s cool being part of it. On top of that we released like five CDs through my various bands. Thankful.
And television has been as energizing as it’s ever been. Breaking Bad. Mad Men. Justified. Boardwalk Empire. Sons of Anarchy. Homeland. Just to name a few. Never before has a day been so utterly compromised as Sunday where I can’t look away from that horrible zombie show, the ever-shittening Dexter, and a whole mess of legitimately brilliant shows. In a crappy economy it’s nice to get real entertainment without leaving the house.
And friends. Both online and off. There are a few folks who have been huge for me personally and others for the site. You’ve made all the difference. And the few people I actually get to spend quality time with, though it’s never enough, are a huge salve on the wounds life dishes out. Alongside my super family, it’s as close to perfection as one could strive for. Thankful.
But what really gets my juices flowing…
Despite all the negativity and second guessing and potshots, the people of the CHUD community boast so many people not only worth having a drink in the real world with but ones worth a lifelong friendship with. Special folks, up and down. Not classified by post count or whose side they’re on but rather that they contribute and how they do. It’s not something you can fake.
And I’m very thankful for it.