Monday, July 13, 2009

TOERIFC is just a week away

The blogathon is over, the office is empty, the clock is winding down. Time for some new posts, new reviews, new photos and new arguments. Time for new discussion. A new Toerific discussion, coming in just one week. The movie is Blackbook and the host is Ed Howard. Before we delve into the next discussion I'd like to be a spoilsport and call for a renewed vigor to the film club. Don't get me wrong, each discussion has exceeded 170 comments and the discussion has been heated at times, which is great. Sometimes people do get upset, sometimes they don't, and I'd be happier if they didn't but I suppose that's the nature of the beast when discussing cherished films.

However, Flickhead (Ray Young) who hosted the last one (Somebody to Love) was wondering why everything had to be crammed into one day. Originally the idea had been for the discussion to go on and on. The first day would be jam-packed for sure but for a couple of days after it would continue. I noticed this is indeed what happened with the first two posts by Marilyn and myself but after that it kind of died off and now everyone seems to think that after the first day the discussion is over. Now, I don't want to spoil the party for Ed at all, so I'm not suggesting we change anything radically. But I would like to make a suggestion.

One of the things that makes for a bit of confusion is the rapid-fire commenting. Often times a point will be made and get lost in the firestorm of comments or three people will respond to the same comment while the original comment has been forgotten by the next four people already discussing something completely different. And so on. But how to correct this?

I'd like to suggest, only a suggestion you understand, that the host moderates a kind of question and answer session in which he or she poses a question concerning the movie and members in turn give their take on it. In other words, something that would slow the conversation down a bit. I make this suggestion knowing that Ed Howard is the next in line and in Ed I have the utmost confidence. I believe if anyone is up to this task it is Ed.

If that suggestion doesn't go over well with anyone how about this, for much further down the line. Suppose after watching the movie every member writes it up and posts it on the same day. Then we could each go from blog to blog and discuss our reactions to what everyone has written. This guarantees everyone will have a well thought out response to the film. A host will still pick the movie but will no longer bear the burden of single-handedly moderating it

Or perhaps both of these suggestions are lacking and you, dear TOERIFC member, have a better idea. Or perhaps further, Ray and I are the only two who get a little befuddled on posting day and nothing should change. A part of what makes this film club great and the reason I am constantly getting requests to join (which I haven't forgotten about for those who have e-mailed me) is that all of our members come together in striking solidarity once a month for an intense, heated discussion. I don't want that to end but I would like this club to grow, evolve, never remaining static.

Please let me know if any of these ideas sounds reasonable or if perhaps you have a few of your own. Thanks, and don't forget: Blackbook, directed by Paul Verhoeven, Monday, July 20th at Only the Cinema, hosted by Ed Howard.


Marilyn said...

Greg - We did intend the discussion to go on for several days, but after about 24 hours, nobody had anything else to say. I think it puts kind of a burden on the host to moderate a Q&A myself, and can't think of another way to stretch the discussion. As for everyone posting on the movie, that led to a huge flop at the Film of the Month Club (many slackers). The beauty of TOERIFC is that it's easy for all the participants, with only one post to write every 10 months or so.

I tried to keep my discussion going by prompting with questions after the initial burst. We could try it in an informal way, but honestly, I think the fewer rules, the better.

Greg said...

Marilyn, I agree, the fewer rules the better. I would call these suggestions in the strongest terminology. Not rules. If you want to do it fine but if not I don't want to require anyone to moderate.

I was wondering how things worked in other film clubs. So basically, everyone posted on it but not enough so... yeah, I suppose I can see that happening too. For now, I believe we have the best system and I don't want to turn it upside down, I just want to slow it down a tad. Find some way for everyone to get their analysis in without having to speed type. Maybe there isn't a way to do that. Just thought I'd try.

Pat said...

Greg- I'm flexible. My biggest challenge is that if TOERIFC falls on a hectic day at work for me (and it often does), it's hard for me to fully participate till after work, and then it's a real challenge to get through all the comments. If the discussion continued beyone one day, that might be nice - but, also, as Marilyn notes, that could be a burden to the host.

At any rate, I treated myself to my own copy of "Black Book" which I'm hoping to watch in the next couple of days. Can't wait!

Greg said...

Pat, thanks for your input as well. I know there is no solution to this it's just that I always want to keep the dialogue open so TOERIFC doesn't become a limping, static film discussion that gradually dies out. Mainly, I just want to see discussion move a little slower and last a little longer.

And Pat! Friend me on Facebook, and follow my blog! I'm excited to be on it and don't know where you're listed.

Marilyn said...

I really don't see what the urgency to keep the discussion going is. When you go to a book club among friends, it lasts a few hours, everyone has coffee-and, and goes home. This is exactly what we're doing in a virtual way.

Kevin J. Olson said...

I like your suggestions Greg, and as a newbie I'd like to throw my hat in on a few ideas.'s difficult to find the "perfect" formula I think because like Mariyln so astutely said, we're doing a virtual film club, here. She likened it to a book club where people meet-up, have drinks and talk about the book for a few hours and then as the conversation dies down people continue to hang out if they want and engage in small talk, or they go home.

However, I also here what Pat is saying. I'm on the west coast and would most likely have to wake up at 4am to get a good start on the conversation, as most of the posts are up 7 Eastern time. Sifting through all of those comments can be a hassle even though they are always valuable comments.

It's hard sometimes to wake up early (as early as I can...I'm a night owl) and try to play catch up. I usually have notes I've jotted down from watching the movie, and I find that a lot of my points are moot because the conversation has just moved past that moment in the film already is onto something completely off topic or, as you mentioned is a problem for some, I write-up my responses and they get lost in the rapid fire nature of the commenting.

I don't think that's bad, either, but it does make it harder for those of us (and maybe I'm the only one) on the west coast.

I think the person hosting the film should have some questions ready to go...a way to facilitate the conversation so when it feels like it's losing steam the whole thing doesn't get lost in non-sequiturs.

Anyway...there's no perfect formula, I kind of like the craziness of the initial day, but it also has its obvious downside for the us late-comers...and I also see the value in having the conversation continue for a few days, encouraging those who didn't jump in initially or have the time to watch the film before the conversation to go ahead and jump in with their comments.

So, I'm probably no help as I definitely see where both Marilyn and Pat are coming from. I don't think people posting their own thoughts on their blog about the film is necessarily a bad idea, either...but that also has the tendency to feel more like a blog-a-thon than anything else.

I plan on watching the Verhoven film this week, but I'll refrain from posting thoughts on my blog and simply link to Ed. I think that's the way it should be...but I could be in the minority on that one.

Those are my thoughts at least. I may have more later, but I'm tired (which is why this post just kind of rambled on...).

Ed Howard said...

Yeah, I'm gonna have some questions ready to throw into the conversation whenever it's losing steam, but I don't think I'm up for a more formal moderated Q&A. I'll be doing this from work, and since I haven't been super-busy lately, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time during the day to check in and comment -- but I'm not going to have all-day, every-minute total access to my computer. So I think the way we're doing now is working fine, pretty much.

bill r. said...

I did try throwing some questions out during the comments when I hosted, but nobody was biting, because, I guess, they simply had other things on their mind. Unless the host hits on just the right questions, that probably wouldn't change from host to host.

I'm with Marilyn, in that I don't really know what the problem is, although I do understand the West Coast people having an issue with the time, so something should probably be done about that.

As for keeping the conversation going past the first day: I know that, for myself, I'll come back to the discussion the next day and not find any new comments, so I figure the thing is over. I imagine everyone feels the same way, and even if they have something else to say they'll figure that no one will see the comment, so why bother? If people stopped thinking that way, and just put up their thoughts anyway, maybe we could stretch it.

Marilyn said...

Why don't we start the discussion later in the day? There's nothing sacred about 9 or 10 am ET. Why couldn't it start in the afternoon or evening? If it started in the evening, that would leave the next day for additional discussion (since I assume we all have to sleep sometime). What time might be better for everyone?

BTW, I'm certainly not opposed to people posting on the movie if they want to (Ed does all the time), just against having everyone do it. I really like the idea of having the chooser post because there was a reason for their choice that is more illuminating to me about the movie.

Ed Howard said...

I'll add that I'm with Bill - I think it'd be nice if the conversation keeps going past the first day, so everyone should continue adding their thoughts. If nobody has anything left to say by that point, no big deal, but I hope no one will feel restrained by being late. I always subscribe to the comments on these conversations, and other posts, except for those annoying few sites (ahemmmm, Rick) that don't provide that feature. So that's one way to ensure that the convo keeps going -- I at least will be seeing and responding to any comments that come in the next day, and so will anyone else who subscribes.

Greg said...

Thanks everyone for your feedback. I don't think there is a problem with what we're doing, just wanted to know if there were any suggestions to slow down or moderate the conversation and everyone has provided the answer which seems to be everyone is happy how it is. That's fine with me of course, I simply wanted to put the issue out there.

I would ask Ed to wait until at least 10 to start just because I would like West Coast folks to be able to join in. As for later I think most of us prefer that this does happen during work hours because I know for me, three o'clock on becomes iffy at best with family taking over for most of the rest of the night. If I'm going to regularly comment it will probably be during the day.

Of course, my biggest fear is that once I find a new job it will be where I cannot access a computer during the day which is sadly, a distinct possibility, so be warned, I could be dropping off the face of the earth as a blogger in the next few months. And that sucks because I really love talking to all of you online all day.

bill r. said...

Of course, my biggest fear is that once I find a new job it will be where I cannot access a computer during the day which is sadly, a distinct possibility, so be warned, I could be dropping off the face of the earth as a blogger in the next few months...

That had occurred to me, as well. My advice -- my instructions, really -- is to not take a job like that. Simple! Or make it a stipulation for your acceptance of any job that you be allowed to dick around on-line all day.

Marilyn said...

I agree with Bill. What job, aside from manual labor, doesn't let you near a computer these days? I know you have to behave for a while, but this doesn't seem as likely as you may think.

Greg said...

I hope not. I'll take whatever I can of course but I'm hoping it's not some company that actually keeps an eye on what you do. In this job I was in charge of employee personal information so my computer was off limits to the IT crew or anyone else wanting to snoop. I doubt I'll get that lucky again.

Pat said...

What job, aside from manual labor, doesn't let you near a computer these days?

Teaching jobs, for one. I don't know that we have any teachers in the film club, but my teacher friends are forever letting me know that they can't be online or check email during the day. Apparetnly, even during their break period, they're very limited as to how much email checking or online activity they can do.

Pat said...

Sorry, I just realized my prior post was a little dumb, since it doesn't sound like Greg is going into teaching. But that was the first thing I thought of when I saw Marilyn's question.

Greg said...

Pat, I'm not going into teaching no but it's still a good answer. And I'm still waiting for a Facebook friend invite from you because I don't know your last name.

Ed Howard said...

Just FYI, I'm going to be starting at 10am Eastern time. I know this is a bit of a pain for the West Coast people, but most TOERIFCers do seem to be on EST and posting from work, so I want to make it most convenient for the majority. It's seemed to work so far, anyway. If anyone thinks another time would be better, do let me know...

Greg said...

Ed, I sent you a Facebook friend request yesterday morning and still haven't gotten confirmation. I guess you just don't want to be my friend. Sniff.

Ed Howard said...

But I'm following your blog!

The thing is, I didn't go on Facebook last night at home, and from work, due to the way our IT department selectively blocks things, I can get into the Networked Blogs application but not into Facebook itself. So I'll make sure to add you tonight.

Kevin J. Olson said...


10am Eastern is okay by me. Waking up at 7am to partake in a discussion is much easier than waking up at 4am (which is when I think the last few started for us West Coasters...and I may be the only one...).

I'm really looking forward to this discussion as I have yet to see this particular Verhoeven film.

kassy said...

Being a West Coaster myself, 10am EST works for me because I start work at 7 so will be able to participate from work instead of doing that darn thing called working. :)

As for the posting, I like that we have one host where the discussion takes place, but I was wondering. Say its a month after the meeting and I think of something else to say, should I re-comment at the host's site or would it be acceptable to post a little something on my own blog? I'm finding that a lot of these films are resonating with me for some time after the meeting.

PS. Greg, I "friended" you as well.

Greg said...

Thanks Kevin and Kassy.

Kassy, I think you should just post something on your blog. You could comment on the original post but I think more people would see it if you posted it on your own blog.

And thanks for friending me. I'll log on to accept.

Fox said...

I know I'm way late to this, but just wanted to add that I like the way it is right now.

I agree that it would be nice to extend the conversation past one day, but I think natural momentum just doesn't take us there. Maybe it will eventually, if more commenters show up... but I don't know. I think the conversation has a lot of punch to it in it's shotgun blast of a first day.

And you're right that some people's thoughts get passed over, and that's unfortunate, but I think it would be more difficult for me to keep up over a week's time than it would for one day. Right now, with the more work I've been committed to do during the day, I kind of schedule my month around the TOERIFC day so I can has as much free time that day as possible.

I'm flexible, of course, but I think we've got a good thing going. I pretty much agree with everything Marilyn said, and that's NOT just b/c I have a crush on her.

Flickhead said...

"Of course, my biggest fear is that once I find a new job it will be where I cannot access a computer during the day which is sadly, a distinct possibility, so be warned, I could be dropping off the face of the earth as a blogger in the next few months. And that sucks because I really love talking to all of you online all day."

How times have changed. The above has been circling around in my head ever since you posted it. Amazing.

Greg said...

I pretty much agree with everything Marilyn said, and that's NOT just b/c I have a crush on her.

And you're scared of her. Don't forget that part.

Fox, thanks for chiming in. I think we have a consensus on this and there probably is no way to slow it down without imposing too many restrictions and thus making it less free-form and more controlled.

Greg said...

Flickhead, I bitched about this job endlessly but now that it's almost over (tomorrow is my last day) I'm thinking maybe I took it for granted. Hopefully a new job will allow the same freedoms but I fear it won't.

Fox said...

Flickhead & Greg-

You know, it really is funny ... the whole work vs. blogging thing.

When my recent work scenario
became more demanding, the first thing I thought of was the time it would take away from my blog and reading all of y'alls blogs and commenting and chatting etc. And I would be lying if I said that didn't give me pause.

That's why it will be great, one day, when we're all paid to just talk and write about movies.

Flickhead said...

Fox & Greg: what threw me about Greg's statement which I mentioned in my last comment is that I've never worked in a place that I'd feel comfortable (or get away) with blogging during work hours. To me that sounds like a method to get the boot.

I doubt I'll ever get paid for writing about movies. I've got rejection slips from publishers and editors dating back to 1978, so there's really no use in continuing to delude myself. In a way, it's liberating. Now I just don't give a shit; from that, my writing could very well improve.

Greg said...

It is amazing how it all works. Online activity is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about a new job. Why, I don't know. It's not like anything big is ever going to come of this. And yet somehow, you feel like something big will happen the second you're out of the loop and you'll miss out.

Fox said...


What so weird to me about you (and people of your caliber... meaning most of the people we read regularly on the blogs) receiving rejection letters is the question of WHY?!?

I really don't mean to piss on the newspaper critics who are linked from sites like Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes - they've got a nice gig and I respect that - but how in the hell can you be getting rejection letters when some of those jokers just write summary reviews each weekend. There isn't even passion in a lot of the weekend writing. It even seems to be a chore to them, at times.

I went back home recently and read the Friday movie reviews and they were just so uninspired, like I was reading a description of a movie in the TV Guide or something.

Flickhead, have you ever considered writing a book?

Greg said...

but how in the hell can you be getting rejection letters when some of those jokers just write summary reviews each weekend.

There's your answer. Your average ticket buyer, i.e. low expectation drone with little to no artistic inclinations, couldn't make heads nor tails of a Ray Young review. Now if Ray did a quick four line summary and threw in a "roller coaster ride" or two that'd be a different story. But as it is Ray makes too many points that require a working brain.

Flickhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flickhead said...

Flickhead, have you ever considered writing a book?

One in particular: a bio on Henry Jaglom. It would probably be authorized as he and I have exchanged emails and he's promoting himself all the time.

Interviews would take me to LA and Europe, where I'd chat with vitually anyone from Jack Nicholson to Candice Bergen, Vanessa Redgrave to Omar Sharif, Anouk Aimee to Tuesday Weld.

And he's such an easy subject for me that such a book would almost write itself.

First all I'd need is expense money to cover all travel, accomodations, car rentals, meals, plus extra to cover my utilities at home while I'm away. Figure six months on the road, taking millionares to lunch at Spago's. How much do you think I'd need?

A publisher might be easy to find, but one who'd actually pay me for writing the thing is another story. I'm in my fifties with very little ambition left regarding what I consider to be my art. I'd need a publisher and editor to coax me; just diving in on my own could be a disaster.

On another note: I once had a very smll column in Fangoria magazine when it first started, and editor Bob Martin shaved every sentence of mine down to a nub. Just to make sure he'd reach his desired demographic. These days, Bob's a blackjack dealer in Vegas. Don't ever let him near vodka.

Greg said...

Damn Ray, you've put some thought into this. Ask Jaglom to pay your expenses or put you up for a while.

As for Bob, well, I had a friend who wrote a total of three pieces for the Washington Post back in 2003. He was going to be a feature writer for them but left after only the third piece because they kept dumbing down every sentence he wrote. I read his original pieces and then the Post's edited ones and seriously, that pathetic rag should be ashamed of itself. No one believes anymore that you should write for anyone smarter than a ten year old.

Flickhead said...

"Ask Jaglom to pay your expenses or put you up for a while."

You saw Someone to Love. How long do you think it would take until he and I whipped out the guns and did a Kinski/Herzog thing on one another?

And after a few nights on Jag's sofa, I'd definitely be Kinski, right down to those whacked eyeballs.

Greg said...

Yes but it's promotion for him. Everybody loves promotion!

Tom Sutpen said...

This is going to sound facile, but I assure you it's not:

Assuming I finish my TOERIFC entry by October 1 . . . and that is still an immensely tall assumption, sorry to say . . . and given its nature, I don't anticipate any discussion to last more than an hour; not unless a separate topic is immediately bootstrapped onto it ("Hey, y'know what this reminds me of? . . . ").

There are, after all, only so many keys in which one can ask the musical question, "Does he really believe what he wrote here?"

Greg said...

Tom, each self-doubt-filled comment you leave or post you make concerning your entry for TOERIFC for October makes me anticipate it more. I'm fairly certain it will be exemplary.

My only humble request is that you wait until halfway through the month (15th, 16th, 17th, etc) to post. It's become the accepted post date with the club and if posted only two weeks after the last discussion I'm sure fatigue would taint the discussion.