Skip to main content

The Book That Never Was

Be wary of people who like to say they don't care what anyone thinks about them, for those are often the people who care the most about others' opinions. There's nothing wrong with that. As human beings, we do not live in a vacuum, devoid of social interaction and all that comes with it. The need to impress and gain approval is fairly ingrained in us, and to deny it is silly at best, folly at worst. Thus we land on a topic that's been foremost on my mind this past week.

Another Ebertfest has come and gone and, with it, a reminder of the book that I never wrote, and likely never will. It was to be a collection of film reviews, and some of the work had already been done. For a few years during the early aughts, I wrote reviews on Amazon, many of them for movies I'd seen. Some of them needed a bit of polish, but for the most part, they were a good spring board for a nice collection. The plan was to edit those film reviews, and write perhaps twenty or thirty more, privately, to help create the compendium.

I was inspired to put together a collection of film reviews by the late, great Roger Ebert. He'd published a three volume collection of his own "Great Movies" reviews, and I thought I'd do the same. Part of it was to emulate, part of it was to impress. For over a decade I'd witnessed several writers/film buffs from around the world become recognized by the esteemed film critic, with him giving both a figurative and a literal thumbs-up to them, and I wanted the same. I didn't want a job, or anything like that, just a bit of recognition from someone I greatly admired.

Every year, during the 51-week interim between the Roger Ebert Film Festival, I would contemplate which movies to review, which reviews from Amazon would make the cut (Cabin Fever would not be appearing in the book), and how best to provide the tome to Ebert, like Ralphie presenting his What I Want For Christmas thesis to Miss Shields. Once the reviews were completed and edited, I would have them bound at the Lincoln Bookbindery, and then present the finished masterpiece to Ebert, a wink and a nod being the only hint at the wonder he was about to experience.

Seriously, though, I so wanted to do that. I wanted to finish the reviews to the best of my ability, bind them together beautifully and, somehow, present them to the film critic I'd so admired over the years, in print, on television, online and in-person. And, truthfully, I wanted him to like the reviews. Really, really like them. A simple e-mail of approval from him would have sufficed. Of course, that may not have been the case. He could have never got around to reading them, or, perhaps, read a few and thought they were mediocre, at best.

Roger Ebert is, of course, no more. He passed away three years ago and that grand moment of giving him a piece of my heart and soul never came to pass. Perhaps it's for the best? When we seek approval, there is always the possibility that it will never materialize, or that we might very well experience the opposite. And so Matt's "Great Movies" book, if it ever does materialize, will have to exist without the ultimate review. I'm okay with that. Perhaps the important thing isn't Ebert's approval, but that he inspired me to write something in the first place?


  1. Well stated, Matt and I enjoyed the Cabin Fever reference ;) As an aside, I think you should proceed with your plan. I'm sure RE would agree.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …


"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…