I did not expect for my feed to immediately start blowing up. It was as if Twitter suddenly realized that I’m a long lost Kardashian relation. 31 people responded with more than 65 directors whose body of work they would recommend.
It dawned on me during the Tony Awards last night that the only musical I have seen in the last six months was a disastrous production of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. When you figure that I saw it with many of my former high school teachers, this was easily the worst Broadway experience of my life. So I have started the “help Joanna go to a Broadway show that isn’t Spider-Man so she can regain her faith in humanity musical theater” fund. (Note: This is a legit fund. I don’t care which show it is. I will sit in the most nosebleed-y seats of any production as long as it is NOT Spider-Man.)
Thank god for the Tony Awards though. They were great fun and gave me a dose of exactly what I was missing out on – Sutton Foster, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, dancing and singing Mormons, dancing and singing Harry Potter, Sutton Foster. The Book of Mormon cleaned up by winning nine awards, including Best Musical. The Book of Mormon is arguably the best thing to happen to Broadway in a while; it has injected far more life into the stage scene than Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ever could.
(By the way, everyone’s favorite musical mess opens for real this time on Tuesday. What’s that? The sound of you casually strolling to the Times Square TKTS Booth to purchase your tickets for Anything Goes and not Spider-Man? I don’t blame you.)
Aside from The Book of Mormon domination (music to Joseph Smith’s ears?) and the success of plays, War Horse and The Normal Heart, Neil Patrick Harris was once again the best host imagineable. Did I mention the awesome NPH and Hugh Jackman host off/dance off? (“But buddy, if I’m the bottom you’re the top!” – Annie Get Your Gun will now have a revival.) Please Oscars producers, take note.
What follows next are some of the entertaining Tweets I read during the night’s festivities:
When I was 16, I started a blog. This blog. Except back then it was on blogger, I didn’t know anything about HTML, and I thought I knew everything about film. Everything. Some of the posts from back then are cringe-worthy. They filled with these statements that only emphasize how naive I was back then about a lot of things, especially film.
Then I thought the username I created, cinefille, was pretty brilliant. It is a play on words for “cinephile” (movie lover, which I am) using the French word for girl (which I also am). Cinefille became a mask for me. I could easily hide behind the double meanings of this word, say what I wanted to say, and move on. What I didn’t realize then and I have come to realize now is that when some people see the word “cinefille” they think I am trying too hard and that I saying something about myself that I don’t necessarily mean.
Going to college helped me move past my sometimes very jaded view of the cinema. It helped me move past my “cinefille” identity. The degree program I entered into was rigorous and beyond beneficial to my understanding and appreciation of film. Before college I implemented and hosted a classic film series at my local community center. But suddenly the cinema didn’t just consist of the Hollywood greats I had cultivated a passion for anymore. Instead it encompassed everything and everyone in between and beyond. I developed a passion for experimental filmmaking – Maya Deren, Marjorie Kellor, Kenneth Anger. (One passionate instructor can do that for you.) I discovered Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura and realized that this is my favorite film. (Sorry Bringing Up Baby.)
I worked on film sets. I attended the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. These experiences opened up the industry to me and really showed me that so much more goes into a film than what you see on screen. (This is something that I had been taught in class, of course, but it is so hard to truly understand the filmmaking process until you see the industry in action.) All of these experiences – my education, my firsthand industry experience – culminated in my senior honors thesis that I have written a bit about on this blog.
Then I graduated from college with a film degree that I am incredibly proud of. I am among the first students to graduate from Mount Holyoke’s film studies program. It may not be a big name undergrad program like USC or NYU but there are amazing things coming out of this program that I feel challenge industry norms.
This has all worked to change how I approach writing about cinema. I think, I hope, that this shows in my blog. Since graduating last May, I have made an effort to write sustainable and original content. I don’t just regurgitate news stories anymore or post a review that focuses solely on performance or character. I try to read each film, write something meaningful about the cinema, and have that conveyed in my writing. I plan on pursuing all this further in graduate school. (One day.)
This brings me to last night’s YouTube debacle. I mentioned earlier in the week that I won a 30-item goodie bag from the Criterion Collection. For me, this is unbelievably exciting. I’m stuck in this awful post-college lull; there is no way I can afford any of the 22 movies I received. I have been handed a great opportunity that I realize has made many people jealous. I was caught up in the excitement of winning this gift bag when my friend Nicole and I decided to make a short vlog of me opening the package. We never intended for it to be taken too seriously.
This is intended as a short, lighthearted, fun video. If only it had stayed that way.
Initially people were receptive to the vlog. Then late last night one someone commented that it was stupid. Things spiraled out of control from there. Commentators called me obnoxious, an ungrateful brat, an ungrateful bitch and ignorant. Oddly, I don’t mind any of those comments. I can see where some of them are coming from. I clearly I didn’t show how appreciative I am for the goodie bag. If you don’t follow my blog and twitter, you would assume I didn’t really care. But it was when these commentators started saying I didn’t deserve to win because I am clearly “just a normal person who sees a movie and only sees a movie” and that I should return the movies. Now, this is where the gloves come off.
The vlog, in some people’s opinion, does not show me earnestly appreciating the Criterion Collection and analyzing each film in depth. Instead I am seen making some pretty stupid jokes. Oh, then there is that Charlie Sheen reference. (How dare Charlie Sheen and the Criterion Collection be put in the same context?) Because of this I know nothing about film. I admit I come across as a bit foolish and not as informed as I really am. It is frustrating that this is only how people saw me. But if there is one thing I am not, it is the ungrateful and uninformed bitch that all of these commentators are making me out to be.
Why are they so amped to attack this video? When I used to post my blog under my cinefille moniker because my online persona masked my insecurities about my lack of film knowledge. These people, who I have never met and really don’t take their criticism too seriously, they are hiding behind their usernames to attack me because they see themselves as better and more knowledgeable than me. My film degree by no means makes me more of an expert about film than anyone else. I just read films differently. It seems to me that I understand this about myself which is why I can make a silly vlog about the Criterion Collection. I just didn’t realize that this silly vlog would generate so much flack. It was a naive presumption but I still don’t regret making or posting the vlog.
For all the good things that come from social media, it has created this black hole in our society. It has given people, what they see as a right, to be unnecessarily rude and mean to complete strangers just because they can. It is really bizarre to think about. But if I didn’t look at it this way, I would probably be more angry about this right now than I am.
Any thoughts on this hoopla is more than welcome. Sound off below.
About this time yesterday I was sitting in the library of my alma mater having just spent a much needed weekend relaxing and revising my approach to my post-college daze. Maybe I would edit my resume for the umpteenth time, send out a few more cover letters that won’t get any response, and maybe watch my Netflix that I have had for over a month. That is when I noticed a tweet.
Congratulations to the winner of our Twitter contest: @Cinefille of Boston, MA. Thanks for playing everybody!
What? My first thought was: When did I enter a Twitter contest? (Seriously, I barely remember retweeting the tweet that entered me.) Then I started jumping up and down out of pure excitement. The prize was a 30-item gift bag from the Criterion Collection. I’m not entirely sure what DVDs are in it and I don’t plan on finding out before the package arrives in the mail. Where would the fun be in that?
Within minutes after the winner was announced, my Twitter feed started exploding with messages ranging from congratulatory to jealousy to just plain funny. Twitter is a funny thing because it gives complete strangers a great deal of comfort saying things they might not necessarily always say aloud to other strangers. Not that I’m complaining. I found the whole joking (I hope) Twitter rage completely amusing. It’s just another reminder why I love social media. Now, here are the tweets: