Today's 'Because You Asked' is a little bit of what I call behind-the-scenes baseball. It comes from a young(ish) reader who was introduced to the site a few years ago (believe it or not!) from a friend whose teacher used to read an occasional trivia blurb from the site, a little something-something to kinda get his students talking about films. I won't put the question up directly -- I never do that -- but I'll paraphrase the focus: this reader wants to know why I spend so much time talking about older films and less emphasis on the newer ones. It's a great question -- one I get, honestly, fairly regularly -- though not in the same format. For example, I might get a question like "Hey, where is your She-Hulk coverage at?" I'll reply, saying that I'm not watching She-Hulk, so why would I give it coverage? Things like that.
But, yes, since you noticed, I do spend a lot of time talking about older films. That's very true.
The simplest answer is that, frankly, I enjoy older films more than I do today's releases. This isn't to say that older films are necessarily 'better,' but it is to acknowledge that -- for several reasons that relate to how stories are told -- I tend to fit in better with an older sensibility much better than I do today. Modern Science Fiction films are heavy -- heavy -- in the effects department -- with gobs and gobs of CGI -- and I'm not a huge fan of it. I understand why it's used so much; but I'd also argue that it's overused or -- even worse -- used poorly, and this ends up distracting me from enjoying the picture.
Also, if the latest and greatest releases playing either on the Boob Tube or at your corner cinema is what you're interested in, there are literally hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of blogs that already cover those. When you're a writer -- and you're trying to build both your own voice as well as your own audience -- it's hard to fit in when you're competing against so damn many others doing what you do. While I might go out and see the latest SciFi flick and I might even do a review of it on my MainPage, these pieces I don't as heavily promote as I do my analysis of older features. Again, it's hard to compete against a reviewer who has thousands of followers as well as a popular YouTube.com channel, so I leave that stuff to them. They do it very very well, and I'd likely not have as much to add to that subject as they do. So why compete? Also, why settle for being second, third, or fourth place? It just seems a bit self-defeating to this old brain.
Furthermore, I think my focus on evaluating films is a bit different from most.
As I've always said, I strive to find something of value to say about a motion picture. Understanding that there can be an awful lot of garbage said about a film, I like knowing that I've taken a bit of time, put a bit of extra analysis in, and reached an assessment that has value to myself and my readers. If watching an episode of a popular current TV show doesn't inspire me right away, I might mull it over for a day or two before penning a review. Were I working for a major media outlet, I wouldn't be allowed that kind of time to reflect upon the specifics. Achieving something of substance may not be an instant process: when I have, I go with it. If I haven't, then I don't want to waste your time ... much less my time in struggling to come up with something to say.
Lastly, this is the same kind of thinking I apply to smaller films. These may be releases that don't get all of the major publicity that the big stars demand, and these independent features do tend to both say something worth hearing, offer good performances, and establish a narrative or story worth investigating. Just because these storytellers couldn't spend as much as Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg doesn't mean they're inferior in any way; they just have to find more affordable solutions to resolve their production challenges ... and I tend to find those efforts more interesting.
For example -- and I use this a lot -- Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau were famous for saying whenever they came up to some production kerfuffle in making the Iron Man films: "Don't worry about it; we'll fix it in post-production." They could say this because they have major bucks to spend along with an awful lot of expensive special effects to correct any errors they may have captured in making their story. Smaller productions? They don't have this luxury, meaning that they have to get it as close to perfect the first time. If they don't, then they have to figure out a way to use what they did capture ... and it's these folks I have a great deal of respect for. Their love of making something in the moment overrides the demands for money ... and that's how many of us out here in back-breaking reality live our everyday lives. We can't simply spend someone else's money to fix it later ... so we work a bit harder today.
So you see, sure, I may have something to say about each and every SciFi and Fantasy and Horror release that comes out in theaters right now ... but those films are being covered every damn day somewhere else ... so I'll eventually get around to my thoughts on them. In the meantime?
I'd rather watch something older.