Sudden Impact

“Bloggers and the writers who turn out well-crafted pieces on their own websites are free to write what they want. The best of them, such as Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule or Kim Morgan at Sunset Gun or Farran Nehme Smith at The Self-Styled Siren, give public voice to the way movies function as private obsession.

“Their film knowledge is broad and deep, but they wear that knowledge lightly. They understand that the true appreciation of any art begins in pleasure (and not in the “work” of watching movies). To read them is to read people grounded in the sensual response to movies, in what the presence or look of a certain star, or the way a shot is lit stirs in them. Reading these writers, I often feel that I’m in the presence of people dedicated to the notion of collective cultural memory in an era when instant obsolescence is the rule.” — from a non-linkable Charles Taylor piece about film criticsm in the Fall 2011 issue of Dissent.

I love Morgan and Smith but who the hell is Cozzalio? I haven’t been to Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule once in my life. Not once. Before this evening, I mean.

20 thoughts on “Sudden Impact

  1. Gaydos on said:

    Not sure what this means, but…casual viewers (who voice their thoughts in Amazon and Netflix comments sections) are about 90% against Monte Hellman’s ROAD TO NOWHERE. The professional critics (according to Rotten Tomatoes) are about 80% for the film. But a casual stroll through movie blogs seems to give us about a 80-90% LOVE the film rating.

    So I am, naturally, rather in favor of movie blogs at the moment.

  2. Dennis over the years has amassed an impressive collection of essays, roundtable discussions with other critics and bloggers, and interviews with figures like Edgar Wright and Joe Dante. You owe it to yourself to start following it.

  3. Reading Hollywood Elsewhere has so many benefits. Thankyou for helping me discover “Self-Styled Siren”

    I found a great piece on how this seems to be Pauline Kael Month. It includes a review of “Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Dirty in Seventies New York” by James Wolcott, featuring tales of his long friendship with Kael. There is also a meaty review of Brian Kellow’s “Pauline Kael: A Life In The Dark.”

    I’m familiar with Kim Morgan’s Sunset Gun. But I was still surprised to click on it and find a tribute to Ray Charles complete with an enjoyable 1960s clip of Charles doing “You Are My Sunshine.”

    Thanks to her striking head shots, I think of Morgan as a glamorous blonde from L.A. via Oregon. But she also spends time up here in the north as a result of recent romance.There is a shot of Morgan in her current blog at Gimli, Manitoba, by Lake Winnipeg. My sister has a nearby summer cottage.

  4. Another name I’d throw out there is Ryan McNeil at The Matinee. He’s not as big-time as Morgan, but arguably just as talented.

  5. Not everyone does the blogging thing for a living (few do, in fact). The downside of this is pretty obvious — and mainly financial — but the oft-ignored upside is you get to write passionately about whatever the fuck you really want to, instead of trolling around for hits on the latest Spielberg or Star Wars developments just because it’s “news” (and drives traffic) when it’s pretty abundantly clear the host doesn’t give the first shit about what he’s covering.

    I can’t imagine this is an easy thing to balance, especially once you get “popular” (as Wells undoubtedly is at this juncture). For what it’s worth, this is one of the few blogs/sites that hasn’t totally lost its interest to me over the years, although I confess that I do find myself checking-in a lot more infrequently than I used to.

    But it’s rarely boring around here, which I feel is essential to a form that thrives on continuing dialogue and debate.

    Oh, and Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule is a perfectly fine title for a blog that maybe 800 unique visitors visit during the course of a week (5 days? Who knows…). It’s the ‘Net equivalent of a greasy spoon diner, not McDonald’s.

  6. Dennis Cozzalio has many good things to say, but he is probably the most long-winded bastard I’ve ever encountered, on or off-line. (Never met the guy, although we both go to the New Beverly a lot.) He’ll never pass up a chance to say in ten paragraphs what he could say in two. His whiny treatise on why he chose not to see IRREVERSIBLE was amazing, and not in a good way.

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