Friday, January 14, 2011


Well, this session of the (dare I say it?) first annual SLIFR Movie Tree House is now officially closed. I had hopes that this meeting, brought together in the shadow of Slate’s traditional gathering, would be fun, but I had no idea that each post would be so inspiring and so completely fulfill my hopes for the project. What’s clear is that the distinct perspectives from which the four of us approached our Tree House writing were complementary, but also fed by the challenge of respecting individual points, with which we may or may not have agreed, in the interest of propelling a conversation that deserved to last the course of an entire week.

In that spirit, I’m honored to leave the last word to you, Jason, even though your appreciation of Natalie Portman and Black Swan far exceeds mine. You are a fine and cogent thinker and writer, and the work you do effortlessly dispels the prejudices of certain old-guard critics who would continually throw a wet, moldy blanket of objections over the very existence of online film criticism. Your eloquent writer’s voice paints beautiful pictures that make “re-viewing” a film through your eyes a genuine pleasure.

Sheila, I’ve treasured your presence and your point of view here to a degree that I’m confident I could never properly express. As has already been noted, it’s such a delight to read the beautifully articulated observations of a self-described actor-nerd such as yourself. You’ve taught me a lot about the way actors approach their task, an artistic mode which sometimes seems mystical and sometimes mundane, and always in accessibly warm and inviting language. Thank you for spending your week here.

And last but hardly least, thank you, Jim, for lending your generous, egalitarian spirit to the Tree House and for being so infectious in your enthusiasm for examining the means and effect of the cinematic experience. For your detailed conjuring here of the spirit and emotional intensity of Sweetgrass alone I am exceedingly grateful. You’ve made me appreciate anew what was already one of my favorite films of the year, and it’s not the first time you’ve worked this kind of critical magic. That’s worth a People’s Global Golden Choice Award for you from me every year in perpetuity, each one presented by Lola Heatherton, of course.

To each of you, once again my most sincere thanks. I cannot wait for the opportunity to reconvene in the SLIFR Movie Tree House again next year. Hopefully I can be forgiven the excess sentiment offered up by paraphrasing one of the movies’ most well-known and oft-quoted concluding lines to try to express how much your participation has meant to me. It’s not entirely accurate, as I have known each of you for years (though we’ve never met in person), but precision cannot stop me from saying to you, Jim, Sheila, Jason, that I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship… but in a tree, of course!

Sincerely yours,

Dennis (aka Gru), your most honored host


1 comment:

Sheila O'Malley said...

Dennis - I am very glad you are happy I participated. I am too. It was a lot of fun. I have so many movies I need to see now. Always playing catch up!