Exactly 489 days ago I wrote a blog post entitled “Welcome to Criticwire” and introduced myself. Today, I write this one and say goodbye. And thank you.
Seriously: thank you.
From March of 2012 to July of 2013, the number of readers looking at this site on a monthly basis more than quintupled. I’m grateful to all of you for reading and supporting me — and even occasionally denouncing me. Traffic is traffic, folks. Can’t be choosy in this day and age.
It’s certainly been an interesting time to have this job; it’s hard to imagine a more eventful year in the world of film criticism. Not all of the news has been good; critics have received threats — and even death threats — with alarming frequency. We’ve had more than our share of layoffs, an all-too-common story in this day and age. In April, we lost Roger Ebert, one of the greatest critics who ever lived. We’ll be struggling to fill the void he left behind for years.
Replacing Roger Ebert is an impossible task. But when people say he was the last great critic, or they bemoan the lack of quality criticism on the Internet, or they complain that things used to be better in the good old days, I bristle. Because it’s simply not true. Like a great man once said: the good old days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.
That’s certainly true in the world of film critics. Even in a very tough job market, even without our finest voice, these days are pretty good too. Trust me; I’ve read a lot of criticism over the last 484 days. So much of it was great. Some of it was incredible. I leave this blog with a long list of articles I wanted to cover and never got around to. There was just too much good work to spotlight. There are reasons to be cynical. But that work is all I need to remain optimistic about the future.
Maybe I will pass some of those articles along to my successor as the steward of the Criticwire blog who, I’m happy to report, is none other than critic and journalist Sam Adams. Sam’s resume speaks for itself: the Los Angeles Times, Slate, the A.V. Club, the Philadelphia Inquirer and City Paper, and many more. Back when I was an intern at the Village Voice, I helped compile the paper’s annual year-end poll, which included a section of pithy comments from critics all over the country. Sam’s were always the best; I’ve been a fan ever since. The pieces he wrote for Criticwire this month — particularly his outstanding post on critics’ obsession with Sofia Coppola‘s upper-crust upbringing — show this blog is in good hands. Really good, frankly. I’m glad he’s following me, because I sure as hell wouldn’t want to follow him.
I do hope you’ll continue to follow me, of course — to The Dissolve and wherever else I convince people to let me act like a doofus and talk about movies. Before I turn off the lights (just for the moment; Sam’ll turn them back on shortly) let me just extend a very heartfelt thank you to everyone at Indiewire for giving me a great home, particularly Rick Allen, Dana Harris, and Eric Kohn, for making film criticism a site priority with the wonderful Criticwire Network, and for giving me this incredible opportunity and forum to write about Poochie sequels, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and obnoxious Spider-Man fans. I will always appreciate their support and generosity.
The late Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert ended each episode of their television show with the phrase “until next week, the balcony is closed.” I miss “Siskel & Ebert” but the nice part about the Internet is that it never closes; there are always new movies and new voices with new ideas and new ways to express them. And as long as you’ll have me, I’ll be here. Keeping the faith.