I know, I've been MIA. I guess it's for a good reason. I randomly got myself a little side job writing movie reviews for a local weekly newspaper and I've been focusing on that. Let's just say it's a whole different ball game when you are writing something that has your name -and picture - on it.
I've written three reviews so far and they also asked me to interview a writer/director/actor who was in town screening her film so I got to practice acting like a real journalist in front of an unsuspecting interview subject.
So far I think I'm doing pretty well, though I found myself a bit flustered when I had to review the latest Holocaust movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." Why? Well, I am well aware that the readers of this paper skew towards the older, Jewish variety. And, being Jewish myself, I am overly sensitive to anything I might say that could be construed as offensive. Basically, I loved the film. But my main thought that I wanted to convey in my review was that after so many hard-to-stomach holocaust movies over the years, one might become just a little desensitized to the horrors of it all. (C'mon, haven't you heard yourself think, "Ugh. I couldn't possibly sit through another Schindler's List. Let's go see Old School instead").
But this movie, simply because of its total lack of in-your-face ugliness all seen through a child's eyes, manages to re-sensitize you all over again. I think it 's a valid point. But I chickened out and said nothing of the sort in my final review, which ended up reading so stale you could almost hear me restraining myself from what I really wanted to say.
If you're Jewish you might understand what was bothering me. Or maybe not. But the more I thought about it (overthought I'm sure), I could just imagine the paper's editor opening the first of many angry reader letters, "How dare your film reviewer even suggest that one could become sensitized to the idea of the murder of 6 million Jews!" Of course, that isn't what I was implying at all, but, well, it's tricky. So I kind of sold myself out and overly sanitized my review.
I already regret it and don't plan on doing anything like that again. Hey, it was only my second one so I figure it is all part of the learning curve.
I had one friend and frequent blog reader tell me that he thought my first review (of "Role Models," which I actually liked, despite its gratuitously vulgar children) was a little "vanilla" compared to my regular blog voice (which is very similar to my in-person voice). My response to that? I totally agree. But, dude, this column has my name and picture on it. No cute little Dating Trooper pseudonym to hide behind! But I can already feel that I'm finding my voice for this new platform and am hitting my stride.
The coolest part of this little gig is that I get free movies and can take a friend. I even get a little extra spending money for my trouble. It's especially sweet this time of year when all the good Oscar contenders are coming out. I am basically booked up through Christmas with free screenings. But I have a feeling that come January, when the studios start dumping their crap movies in the theaters while everyone is preoccupied with Oscar nominations, I will find this job less of a privilege and more of a chore. But for now I will enjoy it.
On another note, some of you may recall that every year I come up with a motto for the approaching New Year (last year's is here, but don't think it means I actually accomplished what I set out to in 2008). Well, with Wine Guy so busy working on his own side project most nights, I decided that I am going to dedicate 2009 to getting my book together. I finally came up with a really good framework/idea that could actually turn into something other people might want to read. And I promise it will have my real name on it (maybe even a picture!).
Why am I announcing this here? So I can't get lazy and put it on the back burner like I have with so many other things. In fact, my birthday is approaching and I am buying myself a daylong writing workshop specifically designed to get my ass in gear.
Wish me luck. In the meantime I'll do my best to keep Dating is Warfare up to date. Trust me, there is plenty to spill (and it doesn't all have to do with my dog, I promise).