Monday, September 26, 2011

And So it Begins…Four Years Strong

Four years ago yesterday, I started And So it Begins, an act initially committed out of equal parts desperation and laziness.  Since Jan. 1, 2000, I had been handwriting reviews of every single film I watched.  After several years, I realized two important things: I no longer enjoyed the art of dictation and I had an urgent need to communicate my thoughts about film in a more public domain.

Film, you see, is my life.  It challenges me, defines me, educates me; it is who I am and what I do.  Many are to thank for this, chief among them are my parents, who very early on realized that the words, “No, you can’t watch what,” did not factor into their stubborn little son’s thought process.
When my friends were joking about The Simpsons on the playground, I was taking a walk, reflecting on The Deer Hunter.  When my sixth grade history teacher finished her four day lesson on slavery, she was unequipped to answer my questions on how slavery directly influenced contemporary gentrification, something I had studied incessantly since watching Boyz n the Hood.  I was told to leave my post-War World II class in high school, simply for asking more specific questions concerning the Holocaust, which I’d become fascinated with thanks to Schindler’s List and The Pianist.

I spoke in great length with my principal about the meaning of 21 Grams.  I told my soccer coach that if he liked Saving Private Ryan, he’d love The Thin Red Line.  My History of the Documentary professor asked if he could keep my essay on Werner Herzog, as a reference paper for future students.

Film has directly impacted nearly everything I’ve done and everything I do.  It’s all relative. And that’s why And So it Begins was formed.  I knew I had something to say, I didn't know, however, that so many people would care.
Immediately, And So it Begins amassed a loyal readership of about nine people.  But the low hit count didn’t matter.  I needed to write.  I had found, I soon realized, my ultimate niche.  That of combining my two deepest passions (film and writing) into one form. 

When I reached my 400th post, I thanked every single person who takes time from their day to read what I have to write, a sentiment I will continue to repeat as long as this blog is active.  I appreciate every comment, every tweet, every Facebook like, every e-mail; I’m grateful for it all. I write, in part, for my own self edification, but that’s not nearly the half of it.  I write because for some strange reason, people (friends and strangers alike) are interested in what I have to say.  I can think of nothing more humbling than that. 

In the midst of my reflection, I’ve put together a few blog superlatives.  Personal highlights from the last four years:

First review: In the Valley of Elah (Sept. 25, 2007)
Most popular post (based on unique hits): Nine Worthy, non-animated, G-rated films (May 6, 2011)
Personal favorite post: A Great War Debate (June 3, 2011)
Favorite thrashing: Sex and the City 2 (May 30, 2010), and Remember Me (March 23, 2010)
Review most likely to be changed after posting: I’m Not Here (Sept. 13, 2010)
Movie people still don't believe I actually love: Point Break (July 12, 2011)

People in Need of Thanks
It’s no coincidence that my readership has more than doubled since this summer.  In July, I officially became a part of The Large Association of Movie Blogs. Since that time, I’ve gotten tight with a handful of bloggers who, aside from being genuinely nice people, all run fantastic movie blogs.  Among them:
Andy Buckle’s Film Emporium
I swear to God, Andy Buckle is my Australian doppelgänger.  When I came across his excellent blog, I was stunned by how much we agree. Just look at his list of the Best Films by Year, it’s damn-near exactly what mine are.

Aziza’s Picks
Aziza is relatively new to the game, but I’m seriously liking what she’s writing.  Encouragement is like bread to us bloggers, especially when we’re starting out.  Keep it going, Aziza!

blah blah blah gay – a movie review blog
This fella Toby is a madman.  The amount of insanely good content he cranks out is somewhat stupefying.  He’s currently on a noir fix, which I have enjoyed immensely. 

Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews
Dan O. posts frequently and thoroughly, none better than his laborious thrashing of Miami Vice, a film I absolutely love.

Defiant Success
Anna’s blog was a great find.  I loved her write up on Fashion Trends in Film.  Her actor, director and film lists are damn fine as well.

Duke and the Movies
Sam Fragoso is a machine.  He continually churns out review after excellent review, as well as several dedicated columns, my favorite of which are his Director Match Ups.  Also, he’s not afraid to bash a classic.
Movie Reviews by Tom Clift
According to Movieline, Tom Clift wrote one of the nine most scathing reviews of Abduction. Need I say more?

Southern Vision
T.J. Atkinson recently posted an epic list of The 100 Essential Foreign Films.  It’s detailed, engaging and wildly necessary.  It’s the type of list that kicks bloggers into the mainstream.

And on and on
Great recent finds that I’m continuing to explore include:  Castor’s work on Anomalous Material, CS’ Big Thoughts From a Small Mind, and Colin’s pick ‘n’ mix flix.

There are so many more, and I apologize if I didn’t give you the proper credit you deserve.  I love all your work, and I'm so grateful for the support many of you have given me.  I'm gonna keep rockin’ and rollin’ and I sincerely hope you do the same.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank all of you.


  1. Thanks for mentioning me man.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Aww, that's sweet. Congrats on four years of blogging. Here's hoping for more!

  3. Hi Alex, thanks for the blog mention. I'm definitely adding you to my blogroll and I'll be visiting And So It Begins regularly from now on.

  4. Thanks again for all the support, gang. It's been a real blast.

  5. Congratulations on the four year anniversary. That's a wonderful feat!

    Your writing is fantastic, and I'm always happy to swing a link your way.

    Thank you for mentioning me and for the kind words. I feel very privileged. Keep up the great work!

  6. you are a lovely man. although my content has slowed this month. blogger burnout!

    i have one question: what happened to all the reviews you hand wrote before 2007? if you put them all on here surely you'd have a shot at getting linked from imdb external reviews. that would open up a whole new world for your 5th year as a blogger.

    if you ever want to join us with 500 words on a forthcoming noir you're more than welcome.

  7. I actually still have all of the spiral notebooks I wrote those reviews in. I’ve never had the motivation to type them all out, but your IMDB idea is a great one. Might have to give that a shot.

    Also, I may take you up on the noir contribution. Can it be any noir flick? I’ve got just the one in mind.

  8. any from the list if that's ok? keep in mind that we're watching in chronological order.

  9. Thanks for the mention Alex, and congratulations on the anniversary!

  10. It was my pleasure, Tom. Keep up the good work.

  11. Four more years! Four more years!

    Congrats, keep it up.

  12. And here is to four, and many more, years. Honored to have been a part.....
    Oscars, Tig? the artwork.

  13. First of all, congrats on your anniversary! Your blog is one of the first I started reading and I love your writing style and your posts! Keep up the good work!

    Secong of all, THANK YOU so much for mentioning me! It means so much to me, especially since i'm just at the beginning of this journey!You just made my day! :)

  14. Aziza, it was my pleasure. And like I said, keep at it!!