Friday, December 2, 2011

From the Archives...

 (Isn't my old business card not the coolest thing you've ever seen?)...

As y'all know, I used to write for SUU's prestigious University Journal! While there, I reviewed movies on a weekly basis. I thought it would be good to log some of my favorite old reviews on this site as this is in fact the new site for not only my new content--but all of my content.

This article was the final one I wrote for SUU prior to graduation... Enjoy...

Critic Reflects
May 4, 2011

It’s a bittersweet thing when something comes to an end. And eventually everything does end, even good things like when Crystal Clear Pepsi got pulled from the market, or when Michael Scott recently left The Office. Yes, even Lindsay Lohan’s Disney movie stint stopped, though my fingers are still crossed for The Parent Trap 2.

Now, I too must close this chapter in life. As I graduate, I not only leave school, but also walk away from my moniker and mantle as “film guru.” To sum up my experience in this position: the ups and the downs, the good times and bad with all the mediocrity in between, I’ll borrow the words of Liev Shreiber in Scream 2: “I can tell you this, [my experiences would] make one hell of a movie.”

I’ve literally enjoyed every minute of reviewing movies. Movies are what get me through the tough times in life, which, if you know me, are numerous. When I need a little inspiration, I watch a movie. When I want to laugh out loud, I watch a movie. When I want to feel happy, I watch a movie. When a certain girl of interest isn’t texting me back even though we had a great date and I’m not exactly sure why, you guessed it, I watch a movie if you’re wondering, I’m still waiting for her to initiate a text conversation, but at least I’m enjoying Easy A!

You see, movies are my escape, my treat that satisfies life’s hunger. Some crave Starbuck’s Frappuccinos with extra whipped cream (Britney Spears), while others yearn for the spotlight at whatever ridiculous cost (Charlie Sheen). I (Matt Howard), however, need the simple pleasure a movie affords. Period. I’d probably choose film over food — unless of course that food is a Chik-Fil-A chicken sandwich in which case, it’s all about “eat mor chikin!”

In fifth grade I wrote my first ever movie column, an Oscar awards prediction feature. I picked Titanic to win it all as well as picking Peter Fonda in Ulee’s Gold as my dark horse winner. I was wrong about Fonda but nailed my Titanic picks, not that anyone didn’t see that coming. It was exhilarating and I knew it was something I wanted to do at some point in my life. I mean, it involved my two favorite things: writing and movies.

Neither high school nor middle school ever reared an opportunity to review films, but it didn’t stop me from watching movies and spilling my thoughts — if sometimes extraneous. My poor family had to endure thorough analysis, and still do, after each of my viewings. My mom especially was good at, and still is, nodding her head in agreement. She’s a smart lady and knows not to stop me when I’m on a kick.

Finally, through the efforts of my friend Amanda Mitchell, who happens to be the University Journal’s equivalent ofJimmer Fredette (she never misses a news beat), I was able to write my first review. It was an utterly awful one too— A little sci-fi film called The Box. Haven’t seen it? If you read my review, you probably didn’t, but it was still a gratifying experience.

Over time, I became aware that people, my peers and friends actually read my reviews. Even some professors, whom I admired and still do, read them and had meaningful things to say about them. There were even some who critiqued my critiques, though it’s hard to take anyone seriously who can’t spell Citizen Kane correctly. In the end, I realized my thoughts actually had an effect on people to some degree, though I’m sure not everyone holds my same fondness for Snooki, Sidney Prescott or Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream. Still, I never thought I’d be arguing about the societal relevance of Scream 4 with anyone other than Internet message boards or horror geeks or even anyone outside of my inner circle of friends. Yet, this job, this privilege, has allowed me to do just that, and for that I am forever grateful.

It’s bittersweet walking away from all this, but I know, just like Michael Scott ditching DunderMifflin, that it’s necessary. I’ll never be able to thank any one person for this opportunity: even you the reader have played a significant if unseen part in my experience. But I don’t have to thank you all with a gift basket or a box of chocolates, because I’ll never forget this, and that in its essence is thanks enough.

Stephen King wrote, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Here’s hoping that this movie reviewing opportunity, my “good thing” while at SUU, never dies.

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