Return to the movies, return to the world: Ratatouille and Paprika at The House and some notes about me, as if you cared.
[To read the essay, click here, and you will be forwarded to The House Next Door.]
02007: 110 minutes: written and directed by Brad Bird
02006: 90 minutes: dir. Satoshi Kon: written by Kon & Seishi Minakami, from a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui
[A large chunk of mostly unedited text from a late-night email to Keith about the essay, and my writing of late in general:]
I thought long and hard at certain points today about your advice about making sure this new authority I've assumed in my developing voice is all me and not simply a theory from elsewheres laid smack dab onto each new film I watch. I like to think it is all me. I'm just developing my skills to articulate myself better, to the point where I think I am comfortable with my work. I understand there's a certain strain of academia in my recent writings but I don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing. Also, I find it annoying that "academic" is a pejorative in the film criticism world, you know? I think I'm just trying to write thoughtful, engaged essays. I know it's a little more than what our developed audience at The House is looking for from time to time (ahem) but I also think my writing is pretty easy to follow -- pretty readable -- despite it's, uh, "headiness" as you put it.
This is also why I've basically stopped work on the "Ryland's Repertory Corner" column ideas: My whole approach to criticism has been evolving at a more and more rapid rate since returning to school and I think I've simply found what it is I find limiting and unsatisfying about some of my earlier works, and other critics I like, too. That is, what I want to avoid. And what I want to proffer in response.
As I've said elsewhere, I really didn't start thinking to write anything about movies -- anything critical period outside schoolwork -- until I moved to New York in Fall 05: after buying _The Life Aquatic_ and realizing there was more going on there than I'd given it credit for, I wrote about 1000 words in a document titled "why i paid full price for a dvd of the life aquatic". Then I started posting things on the film geek board where I met Steve and then I started to spill over onto my blogspot address with the _Superman_ thing. And from there I've only ever expanded my horizons. It's been a wild year since that _Superman_ thing. I've grown a lot in the writing and in my life. And I think I've only gotten better.
[Dr. Chiba is the missing ingredient. Make fun all you want, this shit is amazing.]