writing like a critic again

Yesterday, I saw a movie in the cinema again. Haven’t done that in a while — two weeks is a long while for me — and because I didn’t want to see Furious 7, I decided to lift my self-imposed ban from reviewing Filipino films, I saw You’re My Boss.

I put up this self-imposed ban on reviewing local films because, having written two films that came out, I felt that it was unethical for me to write reviews of local films because I wanted to protect myself from being seen as biased. I mean, I’m part of the industry now. Anything I say could be misconstrued as a political move on my part to ensure my space in the film industry. And my father, being who he is, people might think my views are the same as his.  I just wanted to stay away from the politics of all of that.

But by the looks of things, I’m probably not going to be able to write another movie — except for my dad, I don’t think anyone wants me to write a movie for them (except for my friends) — and I believe that I’ve worked hard enough to create a sense that I’ll always be honest about my reviews and that I will have no other agenda when I write my work other than to share what I know about films and how it allows me to have a say in whether I think a movie is good or not. I’ve also worked hard to establish my own identity outside of my father’s.

Anyway, in this country, there are quite a number of filmmakers who write reviews as well and vice-versa. Why should I be taken away from that opportunity? I’m honest about my feelings and I always make it a point to say whether my feelings are subjective or objective and I try to be constructive and clear in my reasoning on why I like or dislike a particular film.

I was hoping for an Antoinette Jadaone film with the backing of Star Cinema and ended up seeing a Star Cinema film with the backing of Antoinette Jadaone. Those are two very different things. My review will be up on Juice.ph later today.

I was hoping for an Antoinette Jadaone film with the backing of Star Cinema and ended up seeing a Star Cinema film with the backing of Antoinette Jadaone. Those are two very different things. My review will be up on Juice.ph later today.

Anyway, I love the work of Antoinette Jadaone, so I was pretty secure in watching You’re My Boss, thinking I would have a great time at the cinema and watching something that wasn’t Furious 7.

But I was mistaken. There are hints and splashes of the brilliance of Antoinette Jadaone in You’re My Boss but it felt, to me, that Star Cinema put too much of themselves into the work and did not give Jadaone a chance to really shine as the filmmaker that she is. I could actually feel the struggle between Antoinette Jadaone’s craft and genius with Star Cinema’s insistence on formula and playing to the masses. It didn’t feel like an Antoinette Jadaone film. It felt like a Star Cinema film with an Antoinette Jadaone flavour. And I haven’t really enjoyed a Star Cinema film in a very, very long time.

I got home last night but I did not write my review right away, like I usually do. I wrote a paragraph, then stopped, stood up, and thought about it some more. I sat down again and continued writing and then stopped, stood up and thought some more. I always felt that writing for an online publication that expediency was key. I wanted to write quickly, submit it, go to sleep, and wake up the next day to continue my other work. But my reviews always end up feeling rushed and scattered and not as good as I would want them to be.

My Dad is actually quite frustrated by my reviews. They don’t have the sort of articulation that I have when I talk movies with him. I wanted this article to be different. I want to write my reviews differently now. I’ve come to rely on this standard and template of how I write my reviews and while they work for me to meet my deadlines, I feel like I’m short-changing my readers from an actual proper review.

I want to change that. It’s the perfect time to do so since there was the whole Easter break and I haven’t written a film review in a long time. The change would be timely.

I used to like my film reviews. They were more like essays on pop culture and social behaviour using the movie as a jumping point to talk about these things. I’d end up critiquing the movie and its elements but to help bring out my point about culture and pop culture.

Here’s an example:

Clint Eastwood as America (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Don’t mind the weird formatting. That was lifted from the newspaper and when it transferred to the online platform, a lot of the punctuation marks got screwed up. But regardless, I think it is a pretty good review in comparison to my new work at Juice, and I have every intention of improving on my writing starting today.

My review for You’re My Boss will come out today and I’m just waiting for it to get through the editors and hopefully see it go live later around noon or early afternoon. I’m excited because I was able to take my time with it (even if it meant sleeping late) and checking up on my grammar and spelling. Writing online made me focus on getting my thoughts in order and putting it out there right away, thinking that the people at editorial will make sure I’m clear, what’s important is I get my ideas out there quickly. I still see a lot of grammatical errors and wrong spelling in my old articles and it makes me shudder. I’ve always been the type of writer who needed good copy editors.

But that’s laziness in my part. I’m a grown-up and a professional. It’s time to start becoming more responsible about the work I put out there.

I’m going to have to rethink my whole online writing process. I will not go out there and just write in a rush. I’m going to pace around my room and think about the pieces as much as I can before putting it to the page. Even if that means I have to rethink my whole sleeping pattern.

I’m an adult. I’m a professional. It’s time to level up.

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