There are two types of film criticism; academic and journalistic. Academic tends to focus more on the film itself, what went behind the scenes during production and the greater cultural context it was made in. Journalistic focuses more on informing potential audiences what is worth spending money on in the movie market, as well as providing entertainment themselves à la Siskel & Ebert.
In this online project, I would like to explore a bit of both. I am a student of journalism, not film, so I will grant that my experience in the academic is more amateur. As for journalistic film criticism, I participated on Northwest College’s former newspaper as a reporter. I often wrote for the weekly film review section and was tasked to redesign and reformat it a few months after I joined. I set it up as a weekly preview for upcoming films where three people shared opinions on whether a film was worth watching based on the latest film trailer, and the new format was well-received. So, I’d like to think I have some experience in that regard.
What I aim to do here on this blog is to explore popular culture in a journalistic style. How I plan on doing this is via two methods.
- Weekly reviews of Western films: Inspired by the fact that I am a student at the University of Wyoming, the “home of the Cowboys.” Despite growing up in Wyoming, I did not watch a lot of Western films. Having little experience with the genre, I’ll be coming at it from a completely fresh and unbiased perspective. I will gradually come to understand the appeal of ‘the Cowboy’ as a recurring aspect of American zeitgeist. Or to put it simply, I’ll know why so many people are obsessed with the stories and the aesthetic of the Old West. The purpose of this is too further and focus my interest in film into a productive outlet for critical analysis and entertainment.
- Biweekly essays exploring specific aspects of popular culture: Unlike the first method, this method will be more open to different genres of films and focused on contemporary issues. The purpose of this is further my, and hopefully other people’s, understanding of what goes on behind and surrounding our favorite media.
What we, as individuals and as a culture, choose to make successful or not says something about us. That goes for anything, whether it be businesses or political figures or social movements, but also for the entertainment we consume. We often take our entertainment for granted, thinking that it is inherently less important than those other things, but it isn’t. The dreams and innovations of writers, artists and scientists created moving images that do anything, from teaching small children to informing grown adults. From reliving the past to predicting the future. The entertainment we create and consume shouldn’t be taken for granted. With this blog, I hope I can bring out new ideas that help people to think about what they watch. So I hope you’ll enjoy my exploration into the worlds of popular culture.
And my attempts at humor. Hopefully someone will enjoy those too.