William H. Dirkness (The H stands for Hoffman, and you know why)
For years upon years now, I have been showering you all with my sports wisdom freshly squeezed from my golden mane (with a little extra knowledge emanating from my beard as of late). But, now that I have the platform to do so, I'm gonna dip my pen in some company ink (#misusedcliches), and take on a new endeavor for the next two weeks...
MovieTox with William H. Dirkness
My passion for movies sprouted from a college course (English Topics in Youth Rebellion) where I wrote a paper for Professor Iain Ellis (A Punk-Brit-Rock-Hooligan who couldn't wait to tell me what a pansy Leonardo Dicraprio was in response to his casting in The Basketball Diaries) on Sam Mendes, concentrating mostly on his directorial work on American Beauty. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed what I had found once breaking down every scene of the film down (in the most elementary way possible).
That same semester I watched, and for the first time, really focused on the Academy Awards. It wasn't so much Ellen Degeneres that got me hooked, but just the whole atmosphere of the event. This led to a IMDB obsession, a Netflix infatuation, and an EW subscription that would be read on the pooper until this very day. It all peaked at the 2008 Oscars when my two favorite films of the 2000's (No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood) squared off for Best Picture honors. Since then, the Oscars have been an event scheduled on my calendar, and I look forward to them every year.
But now, it's time to take it to the next step. Writing about movies. I've been on a quest to watch all 10 of the Best Picture nominees this year, and share my personal rankings 1-10 with the world. My goal isn't to judge the cinematic achievement of the films, but rather share with you what they meant to me on a more personal level. Movies aren't intended to mean the same things to everybody, which is what can make people's opinions of them so fascinating.
I've put together a list of criteria that I look for in movies that I watch (in no particular order). I don't use them to the rate the movies in any way, because I don't feel like movies are meant to be relegated to numbers like that. I might reference a certain criterion that a movie excels at or disappoints in. Here's the list:
- Substance - The essence of what goes into a movie. The script. The depth. The message.
- Style - All-encompassing feel of a movie. I'm more of a style over substance kinda guy.
- Originality - Has it been done before? Or, more importantly, have I seen it before?
- Creativity - This is what separates the men from the boys (and also why it's hard for me to enjoy action movies). I draw your attention to a brilliant scene in (500) Days of Summer where a split-screen of reality and the main character's expectations play out simultaneously. Can't get it out of my head.
- Risk-taking - Give me something my Mom wouldn't like.
- Connectivity - Did you relate with it? Did the movie spark an emotional reaction out of you?
- Transcendence - Does it take you above and beyond the movie itself? Or is it supposed to?
- Entertainment Value - Was there a story? Did I care? Would I suggest it to my dumb friends?
So for all those sports fans out there, this will be just a short 2 week hiatus until after the Oscars, while I give movie blogging a shot (although the always growing live Gametox will continue). I'll be hitting you with my thoughts on each and every Best Picture nominee (yes, even The King's Speech if I don't fall asleep at it tonight) over the next two weeks. Be sure to check back make some fun.
William H. Dirkness