The Precarious Attainment of Relevance

It may be the end of 2011, but I have no year-end lists or resolutions or anything of substance to say, really. Just a few goals for SBBN, a slight modification to my previously-announced plans, and a bit of randomness.

One of the best and first film bloggers I have encountered in our vast blogoverse was Arbogast on Film, whose keen eye for sublime cinematic visual moments and incisive analysis made his blog a must-read for anyone.  Arbo has announced his blog is shutting down, and while I am happy to hear that he’s retiring from blogging because his real life work has picked up, I’m still ridiculously sad. I learned an immeasurable amount from his blog over the years and Arbo has earned my undying gratitude. Thank you, Arbo, for everything, and best of luck!


My dear SBBN readers, there is no schedule for this month, but I would like to refer everyone to my BBFF Ivan’s January TCM schedule post. It is comprehensive and uncommonly good, just like those cookies made by tree-dwelling two-dimensional freaks of nature.

As for the schedules posted on SBBN, if anyone really really reallyreally wants me to keep including Sundance Channel, this is your last chance to say so. Their schedule is more TV shows than movies, plus the online schedule webpage is clunky and late to update, so I’m inclined to drop Sundance altogether from my future schedule posts.

Things have been a bit sparse around here lately, but at least it’s because I’m working too hard instead of not working at all, so that’s a change. This current project is kicking my ass, leaving me semi-conscious on the pavement while rifling my pockets for all my spare time, but I think it’s ultimately a good thing. I think. I… think. Remember when I wondered aloud how hard this serious writing stuff was going to be? Now I know! Ha ha!

Sure, maybe I’ve lost some of my sanity, but I’ve also learned that I cannot do a series of these projects end-to-end as I had originally planned. Once this project is done, expect the shorter posts and the Phantom Creeps series to continue apace. I’ll need the breather. But until the project is done, things will be dead as fried chicken around here. If you simply cannot go more than a few hours without reading my unbelievably genius prose, there’s always Twitter. I am on the Twitter; I’m given to understand many of you are, too. Perhaps we can exchange geniusness on the Twitter?

I have little to say about 2011 except that it has been anything but boring; it has been exciting and frustrating and has stretched the limits of both my thigh muscles and my sanity, so that’s neat. Unless the Mayans come down in their calendar-shaped spaceships and take us all to Valhalla, naked and in tubes, 2012 looks to be like another doozy of a year.

My very sincerest thanks to you all for reading SBBN, humoring and encouraging me, and inspiring me with your own blogs and comments. Have a wonderful 2012 full of the kind of excitement you most desire!



  1. Happy New Year!

    A real shame what has happened to Sundance (and IFC before it). They are gruesome now.

    My only schedule note–Ivan missed it!–is that TCM has the original of The Vanishing on at 2am ET (the 29th into the 30th). This is easily the most interesting non-retread they have in January, right before the dreaded 31 Days of Annual Repetition.

  2. Happy New Year, Ivan! Be careful, the overlords have Mr Pibb in their vending machines.

    Thanks Fresca, but I can’t take credit for it — it’s a quote from Susan Sontag.

    Hey KG, Happy New Year! Thanks for the heads up on The Vanishing, I didn’t realize it was the original. Say, I have a question: I’ve watched two movies because of what you’ve said, High and Low and Zabriskie Point, both of which were phenomenal. Care to give me another recommendation? It better be life altering and amazing… no pressure!

  3. What’s going on with Fox Movie Channel’s online schedule? I haven’t seen a complete day’s schedule since Friday.

  4. I have the same problem with Fox’s schedule. I noticed it in December, you couldn’t click into January 2012. Now that we’re in January, it looks like they want you to go here

    and wade through that crappy flash animation schedule that doesn’t tell you ANYTHING. If that’s the only way to get the schedule, I won’t be doing Fox anymore either.

  5. I just discovered Fox Movies has “rebranded” into FXM and is now showing commercials, which explains the new webpage and lack of functionality and, honestly, complete lack of relevance.

  6. It seems like most every channel that was formerly decent has gone to hell–movie channels (IFC, Sundance, FMC), The History Channel (are UFOs, the Antichrist, etc. “history”?), and the various other channels now stuffed to the gills with low budget “reality shows”. Despite its flaws, TCM is at least still true to its mission (perhaps to a fault sometimes, but that is a lesser evil).

    As far films to recommend, I don’t know–you have such varied tastes, plus you’ve seen so many films already. For example, on ZP–I don’t find it a great film, so much as it is an extraordinarily interesting failure. The failures of geniuses are often far more interesting than the greatest efforts of the more mundane.

    But I will try to think of some.

    PS: The other night, before FMC became FXM, I watched their 10,000th presentation of The Hustler, and I was awed once again about how GREAT Piper Laurie is in that film–in a film loaded with fine performances (Newman, Scott, Gleason and even Myron McCormick), she is just heads and shoulders above them all. What a strange career she had! She just released a memoir which covers, among other things, Ronald Reagan’s proclivities in the sack. I may have to get it.

  7. I honestly thought ZP had a terrific second half, although the first half was a slog at times. One of the most satisfying endings of a film ever, too.

    I felt the same way about Piper Laurie in The Hustler, which I rewatched on TCM last year IIRC. She is a terrific actress, very underrated.

  8. Well, the ending makes the film. Sticking the finish elevates any movie, because that is is, ultimately, what you take away from the film, if nothing else (of course in a great film you take away so much more).

    Have you ever seen The Passenger? Another Antonioni film with a tremendous ending, but in a different way–it ends with one of the famous composed shots ever (technically it is the penultimate scene–just like, technically, Chinatown’s last line of dialogue is NOT “Forget it Jake–it’s Chinatown”; nobody really remembers the small bit afterward).

    It is an amazing 7 minute tracking shot (I guess more accurately an extended take). Do not watch it on YouTube–you really can’t appreciate it there. There are reflections in glass that are too subtle, etc. The Wikipedia article on it is a bit misleading, too. The film also has that just amazing sequence where Nicholson and Maria Schneider are in the car going down a tree-lined road (they used about 3 seconds of it for Maria in TCM’s memorial reel, not withstanding that her role in Last Tango is much more famous). I understand why some people dislike a lot of Antonioni (I’m not fond of La Notte myself–I have to give it another chance, I think), but when you see scenes like these, you just have to be in awe.

Comments are closed.