Thursday, March 14, 2013

Movie-a-Day, Part I: The Conversation (1974)

Compared to many of Francis Ford Coppola's films, The Conversation is relatively tame, especially due to the fact that it was released in '74, two years after The Godfather. The film has one of those plots that are extremely simple and rather bland in theory, but if put in the right hands, it can go a long way — in this case, an audio surveillance expert who is hired to spy on a mysterious couple uncovers a potential conspiracy, and spends much of the movie deciding whether or not to close his eyes to it, or risk his life to save others.

Oh Hey, it's Been a While

Wow. So my last post was June 5th. That was nine months ago. 282 days, without writing (I did the math in seconds using a "date calculator" that I found on the internet - isn't technology amazing?). Other than the occasional tweet here and there, that was probably the last time I wrote anything more than an original paragraph. After taking several punches, I started to lose faith in myself as a writer. A battle which I'm sure any writer has gone through at least once (or so I hope). 

It began as starting a review or article that I sincerely planned on finishing and publishing, only to lose interest in it about halfway through and deleting it altogether. A half-page turned into a few sentences, and a few sentences turned into nothing. Just a blank document that I would stare for a while at and eventually walk away from. It felt like an unexplainable phenomenon that I couldn't wrap my head around. All I've ever wanted to be, for several years, is a journalist in film. I knew that the only way to keep about it would be to keep writing. Every day. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't even bring myself to watch films as much as I used to, before that dreaded day in June. I went from watching 3-4 films a week to maybe one, if I was lucky. 

As I'm writing this, I currently have Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret rented out from Netflix since the 18th of August. Thats's seven months, 29 weeks, 208 days, 4992 hours, 299,520 minutes, and 17,971,200 seconds from now (seriously, this date calculator is sweet). I also had Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene for quite some time, but finally got around to watching it a few weeks ago (fine flick, check it out). I now have Pete Travis' adaptation of Dredd beginning the ritual of collecting dust until it finally serves it's purpose. 

The point that I'm making with the super awesome date calculator is that I intend to make up for all those months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds lost. As of today, I am attempting my very own "movie-a-day" challenge. I don't exactly know what I hope to get out of it, other than the possibility that if I force myself to watch something new everyday, and write at least a paragraph about it, I will be taking one more step towards my goal of a career. Ask any writer what the best way to get better at the form is, and all they will tell you is to write. All the time, goddammit, and don't stop. And that's what I tend to do, only I'm also throwing movies into the mix. 

My only fear is that I will wake up tomorrow, and do what I did nine months ago: not care. In another step to prevent this, I am taking a page out of Jerry Seinfeld's book, and am using his "Don't Break the Chain" method to increase productivity. I have a nice, big Boston Terrier calendar six inches from where I am sitting right now (it's my girlfriend's calendar, I swear). Every day that I complete a task (in my case, watching a flick and writing about it) I mark off the day with a nice big 'X'. The idea is to not break the chain of X's. 

It just might be too idiot-proof for me to screw this up. Hopefully, by June 5th of this year, I will have completed a nice, 83-day streak. 

First X: Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation.