| May 25, 2020
The original Movie City News launched in October 2002. The philosophical core was about curating the best of the news and to add our own take to all of it as well.
A lot has changed since then. There were no blogs. The trades were dailies, printed five days a week. The film industry was driven primarily by DVD revenues, not IP or streaming. I had neither a wife nor a child and had the time to work insane hours, along with my business partner Laura Rooney, to feed the internet beast that had barely started to roar.
The year before we launched MCN, I ran the Miami International Film Festival. I loved the work around the art, but I was too naive to protect myself from the people who hired me. And when the Miami Herald decided to come after me, as I had replaced a local legend who somehow needed to be protected, I was quickly shown the door. (I designed a programming structure that the festival still uses, eighteen years later… but let’s not go down that bitter road.)
Launching into a dying film journalism world was challenging. But I was lucky and was able to make a living and contribute to the lives of other writers. One of the two trades was always having its death sentence written. And the internet was still defined by the rough-and-tumble days of Ain’t It Cool News, followed by a succession of other successful grifters.
I decided not to take on the trades because I realized that I was just a content monkey and didn’t want my primary job to be being a boss to others. I would probably have been well served by being more ambitious… but it just isn’t me. We had a good run.
By 2017, I was pretty much done with entertainment journalism. I loved the work of producing DP/30. I continued to be a big mouth. But interview subjects were spoiled by too many photo shoots and bad interviews as well as people on beats without anyone who had been on the beats forever teaching them to ask the right questions and not just accept lies and spin as fact. I despaired that I was no longer able to help the films and filmmakers that I cared about, because the role of the journalist had been so reduced to either spreading gossip or going along to get along.
So, I spent 2018 pursuing consulting. And I did some. And it wasn’t a good fit. What I bring to the table and what people want from a consultant were not a natural match.
I spent most of 2019 chewing on what would be next for me. How I would put food on my family’s table. And what would be fulfilling over the next 20 years (I hope) of a fully engaged working life.
This is where I landed. Back where I had been for a very long time.
This is a simplified version of Movie City News. And what we launch with today may be quite different than what the site becomes, in terms of content, as the months pass.
I want to create a stew of ideas and arguments and worship of film. As times goes on, I will be out there trying to tame the beast that is television and streaming. If things go well, there will be more theater coverage as well. I want to feed the readers. And I want to be fed by them. Because while I am quite capable of screaming into a void, what would the point of that be?
I am enriched by engagement, good and bad. Every day. By people who think I am an idiot. By people who think I am not. The hours I spend with talent doing interviews bring me immeasurable joy. We are all sharing this journey, as hokey as that sounds. People who are passionate about their work are, as Jule Styne would say, the luckiest people in the world.
Every day is an opportunity to try to figure out what is next in this business called show. Twenty+ years into a journalistic career and over thirty-five years as a participant in the industry, I still love it. I still care about it. I still believe in it.
So I hope you will sign up for our newsletter, try a podcast now and again, comment when you feel the urge, and become a part of the MCN extended family. I am going to work my ass off trying to entertain and inform you.
And away we go…
| May 25, 2020
| May 14, 2020
| May 12, 2020
Bilge Ebiri: "In the wake, are movie theaters, having long since lost their essential place in our culture, going to become relics of the past? Probably not. People are desperate to get out of the house, get their kids out of the house and get back to normal. “When this lifts, none of us are ever going to want to be anywhere close to our couch or our TV ever again,” predicts Richard Rushfield, who runs the popular film-industry newsletter The Ankler. “Our couch is going to have associations for us of this awful time.” One recent survey found that almost three out of four Americans said they missed going to movie theaters — which is significantly higher than the percentage of Americans who regularly went in the before times. New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis spoke for many of us when she wrote, “When at last we can go out again and be with one another, I hope that we flood cinemas, watching every single movie, from the most rarefied art film to the silliest Hollywood offering.”
| May 26, 2020
"In the world of performing arts, the coronavirus pandemic has already sunk summer. Now it is felling fall. Even as reopened barbershops, beaches and bookstores herald the resumption of economic life across America, concert promoters, theater presenters, orchestras and dance companies are ripping up their 2020 calendars and hoping 2021 will mark a new beginning. “I think 2020 is gone,” said Anna D. Shapiro, the artistic director of Chicago’s storied Steppenwolf Theater Company. “I’ll be stunned if we’re back in the theater.”
The Autumn That Is Not To Be: Live Producers Shut Down 2020
| May 26, 2020
"I meet Buscemi (he says it boo-sem-ee, not boo-shem-ee) for the first time at an airy Italian restaurant a short walk from his place. Neither of us knows it yet, but this cloudless March Wednesday is one of the last normal days on record, before New York City all but shuts down because of the coronavirus and we are collectively advised to confine ourselves to our apartments. As it turns out, my last sit-down restaurant meal until who knows when is this lunch, with Steve Fucking Buscemi. He has the spinach frittata."
| May 26, 2020
| December 13, 2019
| December 4, 2019
| December 4, 2019