There's No Such Thing as Too Many Funded Critics

A drive for paid subscribers, a pledge for readers to try - plus a movie review (of course).

Dear Moviegoers,

When I initially jumped on Substack about two years ago, I had already gone through multiple blogs with Blogger, Medium, and WordPress. My Rotten Tomatoes profile has a few remnants of these online zines and outlets and, staying the course as the fickle pickle I can be, this pattern of zany changes includes the very newsletter of which y’all are reading. Sometimes I wait to post until it feels right, sometimes I launch before finding proper footing, sometimes I go back and switch things up. Nothing has to be static, not even movie reviews.

Especially movie reviews.

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I started this career over ten years ago with a tweet to local writer and fellow film critic Mike Scott: "How does one get to write movie reviews for a living?” if I remember correctly. Years later, the question has become “How does one get paid to write movie reviews on their own terms?” It’s nice getting freelance pay here and there, but on a recurring and consistent basis would really… really free up some anxiety and, ultimately, produce a bundle of healthier work.

This is the goal for the foreseeable future: To gain at least two hundred paid subscribers - monthly or yearly - through Substack, by posting more articles more frequently, by keeping colleagues and my network of friends updated, and by participating as an active supporter within that network.

So it’s not simply for personal growth mind you, but for helping to further a new initiative called the Support Indie Reviewers Project, or S.I.R.P. I’m already supporting multiple writers and publications on Patreon and do plan on increasing those pledges asap, but it’s the mission of S.I.R.P. to get everyone from filmmakers and writers to distributors and moviegoers to chip in and strengthen the film community of arts journalists.

If a tree falls and no one is around, did it make a sound? If a movie is made and no one covers it, did it screen, and will it screen again?

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I want to help keep the projectors heated and the screens lit. I want to keep the conversation going, no matter how tedious or challenging it can be. And I need support to do so. I need readers like you to make an investment. $5 per month or $60 per year. If two hundred romantics can do so here, we can do so everywhere, and the culture will thrive because of it all. Because of all of us.

Let’s never find ourselves static or stuck. Let’s moviego together.

The Schmaltz and The Sincerity of klutz.

Soaked in the tears of its own accomplishments but also a well-produced fantasy drama, this is Michelle Bossy’s klutz., a story about grief and progression. This is a short of melodramatics at their lightest value, reaching more for an ethereal attitude than one driven by heavily-motioned pathos. For this, the film works most splendidly. If only it didn’t feel so happy with itself from the get-go.

A writer in mourning over her deceased sister tries to get a children’s book on grief and memory as literal super abilities published, only to hit roadblock and confusion after roadblock and confusion. Certainly, the frustration feels as real as can be - after all, who hasn’t been misunderstood? - but the tears expected to be shed feel forced upon by a movie over-written and oh so under-congratulated. I wouldn’t go so far as to claim klutz. as pretentious, but that descriptor is closer to true than it should be. That being so, is the film an achievement of some sort? Does it leave a mark, so to speak?

Yes and yes.

For every ounce of pride expressed, klutz. demonstrates a reason to love it. Before an ending that’s maybe too clean (if extremely well shot), we have a wonderful vignette that merges three meetings into one. In each meeting, our lead goes through the same song and dance over her book, only for each editor to come to the same exhausted conclusion of refusal. Unlike similar practices of such scenes, klutz. leans the annoyance of having to repeat oneself multiple times into the pain of losing a loved one. A high and a low, at once and in sync. With that, the movie warps through anything problematic before and after, having at least worked one major wonder that rivals the biggest of features.

A lovely tried and true portrait that frames sadness as just one step toward moving on, if such a thing is ever possible. No need for a pat on the back as that’s been taken care of, but it was much deserved I’m certain. 3/5

Sincerely Yours in Moviegoing,