These final few hours before the holiday season is relegated to the memory bin are the times when I usually try to take a look back and think about what I wanted from the year just past, decide whether I got there or not, and then start racking up my hopes for the year to come. Too often of late, I’ve had to look back on the dissipating wake of the year past and realize that despite my renewed, almost obligatory optimism at the beginning of another new (arbitrary) cycle, I’ve found little, outside of the love of family, to make me feel like I was making any significant progress on my human journey. The past five years have been maddening on a professional level, increasingly (and despairingly) meager on a financial level, and have offered little indication of relief from the black hole of despair burned into the center of our lives 10 years ago when my wife and I lost our son.
This year, all those feelings have not faded away. They are as tangible as ever. But as I look back on 2007 I realize they coexist with an authentic sense of achievement, of having not just settled for worry but for having made some attempt to take responsibility for righting my own ship and making sure it sails in the direction I want it to. Going back to school to become a teacher has been one of the more difficult things I’ve ever tried to do, but it’s been made easier by seeing just how centered that pursuit has made my perspective on just about everything else in my life. It has given me hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is not, as would befit Wile E. Coyote, an oncoming truck.
And it has made me, a person who eschews icky sentiment in the movies but often succumbs to it in real life (just a good Italian should), newly aware and very grateful for all the friends I’ve made since I started this blog. I have been grateful for the friendship and support many have offered for several years now. But the past year has afforded me the opportunity to get to know many whom I’ve admired as writers and/or filmmakers for quite some time on an unexpected, often personal level, if only through the magic of electronic communication. So, whether I actually met any of you on the following list or not in 2007, I just wanted to take a few moments before the year gets under way for real to express my sincere thanks, first of all, for your writing. You all have set a standard for me that I can only hope to approach. But as much for what you say, I also wanted to express my appreciation for the way many of you have helped to clarify my perspective in 2007, on the movies and on life, how you’ve taken the time to support my efforts in your comments and e-mails, how you’ve taken the time to offer of yourselves your understanding and empathy and teaching, becoming, in my eyes, what I think of when I think of true friends.
Larry Aydlette: I’m glad you’re out of the closet for 2008, Larry! Ready for some more Oscar talk, old pal? It's hard for me to imagine what all this writing would be like without your thoughts and good sense to bounce off of on a regular basis. Here's to a wonderful 2008 for you and your whole family!
Beege: I'm so glad you finally made it to the Left Coast. I hope that one day our families will be able to run into each other at Cannon Beach or someplace else nearby and have a grand old time. Thanks for your generosity and your spirit, Beege. It's a tonic. And sorry about the crotch shots.
Andrew Bemis: Welcome to 2008, Andrew. I look forward to reading more from you and finally seeing your films too!
Bill: What would my comments column be without you? Thanks for being a good sparring partner, a good sport, and a sharp thinker besides.
Terrea Bryson: 26 years doesn’t seem like that long, now, does it? I’m very grateful to be back in your orbit!
Paul Clark: The Muriels are coming! The Muriels are coming! Yea!
Edward Copeland: Here’s to the hardest working man in the blog business—or at least it sure seems so around Awards and Film list time. Your blog seemed essential to me from the start, and it’s just gotten better. Thanks, EC!
Campaspe: What can I say? One of the best blogs around turns out to be written by a genuinely wonderful person. Surprise, surprise. Thanks, Campaspe, for all your support and generous words over this past summer. They meant more to me than you’ll ever know.
Brian Darr: I look at your most recent post on Intolerance and it’s not hard for me to remember why yours was one of the first blogs I got hooked on. Shall we to Lone Pine again someday, my friend?
Dr. Savaard: It is indeed an honor, sir, to have you here! May your mad experiments continue for many years to come!
Editor A: Thanks for being there from the start, sarcastic, cranky wit and all, and for making sure December 2007 went out like a lion!
Cat Elrod: I’ve never had more fun getting my car towed than that fateful night this past October when it happened to the both of us and we walked the mean streets of Hollywood together in search of the impound lot! Nice to meet ya!
Jim Emerson: Your attitude, your generosity and your writing continue to inspire me, and posts like this are, well, lovely as well as formally exciting. All the best to you and yours for 2008, my friend, and many thanks for being part of what made 2007 such a rich and special year for me.
Robert Fiore: May you always find reason to stop by the comments thread, Robert. Your thoughts are provocative, sharp as hell and most welcome!
Peet Gelderblom: Peet, you are the man. Thanks for stepping out and offering your guidance and your friendship, for sharing photos of your lovely family with a cyberfriend from another country, for Directorama, for the pictures from the Nile, and thanks for the snow too. We can take the "cyber" off that, now, can't we?
Sal Gomez: May the drive-in never die! See ya next summer, and hopefully sooner than that!
Aaron W. Graham: I love your header image, AWG! And I’d love to hear more of your take on The Choirboys. But most of all, I look forward to the day when we can sit down and talk movies in person. In 2008, perhaps?
Andrew Grant: I was very happy to see Jesse James and Sweeney Todd so high on your list. The flu prevented me from seeing There Will Be Blood on Saturday. But I’ll catch up. Thanks for being one of my inspirations and for being so essential to my blog experience, not to mention your recent shout-out, which was one of the highlights of my year. And one day I will at least place in one of your Screen Capture quizzes!
D.K. Holm: The first Todd Haynes movie I’ve liked, and you didn’t! (I’ll admit Julianne Moore was a bad choice for Joan Baez.) And I was with your take on Southland Tales, right up to that part about Altman being “a bad filmmaker.” You’ve promised to elaborate! Here’s to that and much more in 2008!
Andy Horbal: Wherefore art thou, Andy? You and Me and my Dodgers and your Mets have some catching up to do!
Robert Hubbard: L. Rob, I’ll be forever in your debt for my very own copy of Mandingo-- more from me on that one in 2008! And I can’t wait to see Bunker Hill. Thanks for your friendship and all the keen Netflix suggestions!
David Hudson: David, all the best to you and everyone at the Hub for All That’s Important in the World of Web-Based Film Writing. You folks are beyond compare!
Alex Jackson: For saying what you think, for keeping us all on our toes going into Christmas, and for being an incurable cinephile, I say, I'm glad you've checked in with Professor Potts! Here's to an even better 2008 for you and yours!
Jonathan Lapper: For the serialiest of serial commenters, and a mighty fine blogger too, I wish an excellent 2008! (I love that picture of Janet and Tony working out!)
Kimberly Lindbergs: Okay, as if I need to emphasize how much I love your blog, Kimberly, you just broke the news of the Honey West DVD box set to me! Whoo-hoo! 2008, come what may! And thanks for your exceptional friendship, support and ideas over the past year. You are the best.
Karina Longworth: Karina, I’ve enjoyed getting to know your writing this year and hope that 2008 will offer more occasions for our paths to cross. Come on over and take the quiz, won’t you?
David Lowery: It was a real pleasure meeting you this year, David. Sorry we couldn’t hook up for Hostel Part II! And thanks for sharing your films with me this year too. I look forward to more of them, but even more to your continued friendship!
Ken Lowery: Ken, it’s been a pleasure having you drop by my site, and I’m happy to recommend yours as well. Have a great 2008!
Bruce Lundy: What needs to be said? I love you, man.
Don Mancini: My fine friend, what a dull year 2007 would have been without you. All congratulations for your successes, and hopes for an end to this damned strike too. Now, excuse me while I get back to negotiating these pleats…
Paul Matwychuk: Paul, yours was the very first public shout-out I ever got from a stranger, and I’ve never forgotten that sense of giddy disbelief upon discovering it. I value your work and really appreciate your generosity. I made for a huge boost in my confidence as a writer, and I thank you for that!
John McElwee: John, I’ll always be glad for your unique presence on the Internets. You are a treasure.
Lucas McNelly: No one does interview like you, Lucas! Good luck with gravida, and please keep me updated on all the latest!
Kim Morgan: Always nice to know the House of Pies is there, eh? It was really wonderful to finally get to meet you this year and spin hours of fun conversation with another kindred movie spirit. Did that life-sized Warren Oates stand-up I promised you last year ever arrive in the mail?
Mystery Man on Film: Yours is one of the most addictive blogs I’ve come across in the past couple of years, and I’m always glad when you’ve posted anew. Thanks for all the great links of late!
Peter Nellhaus: All the best to you and yours, Peter. You were one of the original blog-a-thoners, and I’ll always remember your encouragement and kind words during the earliest days of this site.
Patty: “Doubt that the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move his aides, Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.” To Shakespeare I would only add the word “you” at the end. I know 2008 will be better, my dearest.
Ted Pigeon: Keep on rockin’ in the free world Ted! Sometimes I like a good article about top-10 lists as much as I like the lists themselves! Have a great 2008!
Stacie Ponder: Kim’s right—you’re amazing. Stop on by and take the quiz, won’t ya?!
Adam Ross: Thanks for screen-testing me in 2007 and lending me some of the Panache. But most importantly, congratulations on the birth of your son. I’d say it can’t go anywhere but downhill from here, but with a new baby it just gets better and better…
Thom Ryan: Tons of thanks for your addictive and obsessive blog. It’s a wonder I ever get any work done around here…
Matt Zoller Seitz: Matt, thanks for being such an inspiration in the work that you do, and also for the support and friendship you’ve offered me over the last couple of years. It has truly been a pleasure getting to know you and your words.
Girish Shambu: Girish, one of the singular pleasures of entering the blogosphere has been getting to know your voice and your generous spirit, both of which come through your blog seemingly without effort. Yours is an invaluable presence, my friend.
Chris Stangl: I can’t decide whether I like your blog better or the comments you leave on mine, which are always incisive, smart as hell and always elevate the conversation around my table. Thanks for taking part and making my world brighter in 2007. Here’s to more in 2008.
Stennie: Same goes for you, Stennie. It sure was nice meeting you this year and getting hooked on your podcast too. You’re on my iPod now! Looking forward to more laffs, and more Yaki’s too, in 2008!
Tom Sutpen: The Pauline Kael CDs alone would be evidence enough for sainthood, but you have to go and have one of the most brilliant and compelling blogs around too. All the best to you and yours for the new year, Tom, and for successes where you never imagined them.
Anne Thompson: Your kindness and support are much appreciated, indeed, as is your everyday presence in the blogosphere. I hope 2008 brings you nothing but joy.
Keith Uhlich: Keith, thanks for all the props this past year—it makes me feel like I must be doing something right! As for that last one, all I can say is, “Yeesh!” Have a great new year!
Walter: Thanks for your excellent writing, and especially for all your support and good vibes dating all the way back to “81 Candles for Robert Altman.”
Tom Watson: Tom, thanks for the invite. Here’s to more in 2008!
Mike Werb: It was an honor and a thrill meeting you this year. I’m looking forward to catching some Dodger games together this coming summer. Don mentioned something about checking out Blood Car together soon! Let’s do it!
Bob Westal: Great to meet you this year at Chucky! And congratulations on your Lenny piece too! I don’t suppose you’d be down for Blazing Saddles and History of the World Part I at the Aero, with special guest Mel Brooks, wouldja? Happy 2008!
Ray Young: Ray, Flickhead was one of the first sites I glommed on to when I got introduced to this wide wonderful blogging world, and I’ll always be indebted to your sense of seriousness and connection with your moviegoing past. And you hosted the Forrest J. Ackerman Blog-a-Thon, for God’s sake. St. Peter need know no more!
A truly happy new year to everyone above, to all the lurkers out there (who I hope identify yourselves this year), and anyone else I may have forgotten! Next: The Best of 2007!