The Man From Porlock commenced blogging two years ago to the day: September 22, 2007. My first post, a long-winded defense of The Graduate, managed to contain at least one thought worth repeating: What I responded to immediately in that film (and still do) is how it evokes "the possibilities of cinema." Similarly, the possibilities of online criticism have opened doors that the print media, to its detriment, still hasn't fully grasped. I'm not without sympathy toward the original form. My first real job was at a professional newspaper; I've even been paid twice for cultural critiques in The Chronicle Review. I got hooked on reading movie reviews in my teens and I'm still hooked today. Some print critics are still worth reading, but the hard truth is that Internet criticism is now heads and tails more topical, versatile and stimulating than its hard-copy counterpart. The creation of this blog was a modest yet overt effort to go where the action is. To contribute to the discussion. 200 or so posts later, I hope in some small way to have accomplished this.
Marking my 2nd anniversary will be equally unassuming: no "Here are links to 18 posts that inexplicably nobody commented on!" from yours truly. I'm always grateful when anyone takes time to leave a comment, and frequently surprised about what provokes a response. A year and half ago, my pan of the little-seen indie comedy Rocket Science stirred an angry rebuttal from an anonymous reader. And little did I guess that my latest post, a snarky doodle about Legends of the Fall, would prompt some impassioned defenses. Of course I'm susceptible to compliments and have been inspired by the generally positive response to my stuff, especially those longer "think-pieces" every few months when I have a bug up my ass about a topic and need to vent. I appreciate the huzzahs when you think they're warranted. But I hope it's clear that I enjoy disagreement too.
I want to extend thanks to everyone who has ever posted a comment, with special acknowledgements for regular FoPs (Friends of Porlock) Jason Bellamy, Ed Howard, Fox, Hokahey, Edward Copeland, Steven Santos, and Fernando Croce. Relative newcomers (for me) FilmDr, Kevin J. Olson, Adam Zanzie, and others have also contributed vitally to the general discussion. Additionally, I want to thank Helen, Mary, Caius, Robin, and the many incarnations of Mr. & Mrs. "JD," a handful of real-life friends and family who are aware of my double-life on these pages and stop by to visit now and then. (Helen has also contributed as a guest-blogger and will hopefully do so again.) If you are a regular reader that has never commented, that's okay too. You have my deepest gratitude.
Except for the aforementioned, The Man From Porlock came into being largely due to the absence of real-world counterparts who shared my enthusiasm for movies. (Which is more than fair; I suspect many of them have eked out private domains for their own obsessions.) I spent about a year leaving the occasional comment at The House Next Door before a "Close-Up Blogathon" finally spurred me to build an online home. (I was inspired enough to make not one, but two contributions to that blogathon.) For this, as well as providing several "Links of the Day" to my stuff in its tenuous early months, Matt Zoller Seitz is an indirect founder of this blog. More currently, Keith Uhlich has welcomed my sporadic contributions to The House and has been a constant source of encouragement. Thank you, Matt and Keith.
Readers can expect more of the same over the coming year. (A cause of personal amusement in looking back was my initially frenetic pace: about 15 posts per month. That's dwindled to approximately 8 or 9, a more reasonable number for my own time, energy and sanity, so thanks for your patience between posts.) Two things that I think more or less distinguish The Man From Porlock are A) comparisons between different films or media; and B) forays into television and the odd book. The Fall TV Season promises more of the latter and I'm looking forward to delving into my favorites again. That said, movies will undoubtedly occupy the majority of my attention. They are my passion and always will be. The day they stop being so will be the day I stop writing.
Not gonna happen any time soon.
Onto Year 3!