Sunday, December 17, 2006


As I find myself staring down the holiday season for real and for true, I’m starting to get the idea that all the writing I’d like to do for this blog before the end of the year may not get done, or at least may not materialize in the shape and form I’m currently imagining. It seems like this year there’s even more to do that is going to keep me away from my computer for anything except revenue-generating purposes (which is, for the first time in my life, the use for my computer which I least enjoy). And as I sit here watching a Saturday evening get later and later, an evening which is supposed to be filled up by a weekend work project, I find myself filled the urge to take stock of all the blog writing which has tickled me, engrossed me, and sometimes even puzzled and/or annoyed me in a way that underlines a particularly important point-- part of appreciating a good writer is engaging with his or her thoughts and having the freedom to articulately disagree with her or his conclusions. Over the past two years I’ve been fortunate enough to get acquainted with the writing of an awful lot of talented people, and in some cases I’ve even been lucky to strike up acquaintances, dare I say friendships, with some of them. They’ve surprised me with their sensitivity and thoughtfulness, not only in their writing, but as it has been offered to me personally. On one or two occasions I’ve even been honored to get to meet face to face with writers whose talent I’d either long admired or more recently become insistent upon following, and those meetings were, without a doubt, among the highlights of my year. And the inspiration I’ve drawn from getting to know these people is immeasurable-- their willingness to work out their own thoughts and ideas and impulses in such a public and interactive way couldn’t be a better, brighter model of the glimmer of hope held within the mutating concept of film criticism, and every time I see them come up with another sharp observation about a film or an insight into the journey we’re all currently on together I’m glad all over again that I jumped into this virtual sea two years ago, even though I didn’t really know then what the hell I was going to do, or whether I could even do it provided I ever figured it out.

The following will probably feel more like a year-end taking stock of one’s blessings than a simple list of links to blogs and articles I’m currently interested in, and if it does, well, all’s the better for it. Because every time I click these links, I feel blessed in some way. In reality, all most of these guys (and gal) is likely to get from me is a Christmas card (and for those of you who want one and haven’t sent me your post office box addresses, there’s about as big a hint as I’m willing to drop). But in the spirit of holiday fantasy, after each link I’ve decided to imagine what I’d send each of them for Christmas if I had the world’s resources at my fingertips and decided to do something with them other than rule the planet with an iron fist. All gifts are returnable; just save those receipts!


The wonderful realm that is the province of That Little Round-headed Boy finds itself with a newly spare, stripped down look that I find very appealing. Not so many pics as before, and previous posts tend not to stay around to long anymore, so I’m going to have to be more vigilant in pointing them out when they pop up. Like right now, TLRHB has some thoughts percolating on the passing of Ahmet Ertegun, as well as his own get-it-done-while-there’s-still-time wrap-up of 2006—best films, music, DVDs and a great list of short, sharp observations like these: “Film that I couldn't believe was this bad, because I figured there might be a couple decent sex scenes, but, boy, was I wrong: Basic Instinct 2” or “Films I couldn't bring myself to watch: United 93; World Trade Center; Saw III (sorry, Dennis!); Apocalypto (sorry, Matt!)” TLRHB’s site is compulsively readable and so well-written that if you haven’t yet discovered it, please do so now. My only problem: where the hell did that Beyonce sidebar photo go, TLRHB?!!! I don’t want to beg…

TLRHB’S Christmas Present from Dennis: I’ve commissioned Ken Adam to build an office space for That Little Round-headed Boy in which to do all his blogging, plus a pair of tickets each to see Lindsey Buckingham and Zappa Plays Zappa when they reach his neighborhood.


Every time I click on Jim Emerson’s site Scanners I never know quite what I’m going to see. And that’s one of the many reasons why I like it. Jim is a sensitive, intensely smart writer who isn’t afraid to deal emotionally with the movies or politics, and he has the sense and the ability to back up his emotions with cogent thinking. His ongoing “Opening Shots” project has opened up a lot of eyes to the ways movies work, in a technical as well as an ineffable sense, to express the artistic point of view of the director; his enthusiasm over the changing nature of film criticism, as it is practiced in the online community, is contagious and convincing; and his comments columns, filled with disagreement and contention, are still among the most civil and friendly you could imagine, an excellent place to contribute your own thoughts or just lurk and soak up those of others. I’ll always be grateful to Jim for discovering and then highlighting my site, via Professor Van Helsing’s Just-Before-Sunrise Wooden-Stake-Through-Spring-Break Quiz, not only because of the spotlight he directed my way, but because of my own subsequent discovery of his blog, which was then only about a month old. (Jim’s experience as a film critic extends back considerably further than that, of course.) Right now Jim’s got computer problems, so things have been kinda quiet in his neighborhood lately. But he’s taking the opportunity to catch up on year-end releases, so expect some excellent posts and articles very soon.

Jim’s Christmas Present from Dennis: Jim used to program a revival house in Seattle, so I’d get Paul Allen to build and fund a movie theater for Mr. Emerson to do with as he chooses, free from financial worry or concerns about the dwindling audience for repertory cinema. Without worries like that, I’d bet Jim could get those audiences that have abandoned movie houses for home theaters in a time it would take to compose his first calendar schedule. Now, if only Jim is able and willing to take Professor Jennings’s Quiz, we might find out what name he’d give that movie palace…


Getting to know Matt Zoller Seitz over the past year was a real pleasure for me, and watching his blog The House Next Door evolve from a one-man affair at the beginning of the year to what amounts to a evolving publishing house for a crop of terrific film writers as the year closes out has been pretty astonishing too. I’d been reading his reviews for several years, so making the initial contact with him in his comments column—I think it had something to do with Richard Jaeckel’s horrific death scene in Sometimes a Great Notion--was an alternately heady and nervous-making experience, and it was inspiring to see how he was crafting the blogging experience in his own unique way. But a devastating personal loss earlier this year naturally overshadowed all else for Matt, and in offering my consolation through my own experiences Matt and I started to get to know each other through e-mails and the occasional phone call. When he visited Los Angeles this past September we actually got to meet over beers here in Burbank, and it was a real pleasure to discover that Matt was even more engaging in conversation than on the page. Matt and I have disagreed on plenty (The Black Dahlia, for instance), but that never gets in the way of my enjoyment and appreciation of what he’s been able to do with his writing, especially since returning to the blog. (I look forward to my own reaction to Apocalypto in light of his.)
And I often find Matt in my thoughts at unexpected moments—- this afternoon I was putting up Christmas lights and listening to Johnny Cash singing, “I don’t like it/But I guess things happen that way,” and realized I was thinking of him and his daughter and son, which explained the tears in my eyes. If there’s one thing I’m most grateful for about this blogging adventure, it’s getting to know people like Matt Zoller Seitz.

Matt’s Christmas Present from Dennis: A fully equipped film production studio, and a surfboard.

Peet Gelderblom, founder of the excellent film criticism site 24 Lies A Second was one of the first people to contact me after I started Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule to tell me that he liked what I was doing. He liked it enough to offer to publish one of my old posts (a buffed and polished version, of course), and having been familiar with the high quality of stuff that went on at 24 Lies I couldn’t believe Peet wanted me to join in the fun. Since then Peet and I, though we’ve never met, have become good friends, exchanging pictures and DVDs through snail and e-mail, and we’ve even decided that his two beautiful boys will marry my two beautiful girls and create a master race of children too beautiful for you, me, him, or anyone else! And since he’s started blogging at Lost In Negative Space he’s been able to stretch those critical muscles a bit and talk about the form of film and film criticism a little more frequently-— and the discussions are always lively. And every once in a while he posts something like this just to make you realize that you’ll never take his blog off your bookmarks list or your sidebar.

Peet’s Christmas Gift from Dennis: a danger-free Jurassic Park holographic chamber a la Star Trek: The Next Generation for Peet to explore with his sons.


I lost a baseball bet with Andy Horbal earlier this year—- I had to send him a copy of Woody Allen’s Manhattan on DVD as payment-- and the fact that we’re still talking says something about one or both of us, but I’m not sure what or who. But when Andy told me recently that he was looking forward to a Dodgers-Mets rematch next year because “I'd love a copy of Sweet Smell of Success to go with Manhattan! :-)” well, let’s just say I can’t wait for baseball season to begin!

Andy’s site, No More Marriages, has turned into a real classroom on developing ideas about the art of film criticism, as his recent film criticism blog-a-thon so vividly demonstrated. And his fervor for the subject is inspiring and, honestly, a bit intimidating. This guy’s brain goes 10 miles a minute, and his passion for the subject borders on obsession. But unlike some forms of cinematic obsession, Andy’s is definitely of a positive, constructive strain. As a friend of mine put it recently, Andy is one of the nicer obsessives out there, and he’s a good writer too. Check out this recent piece on GoodFellas and garlic, if you don’t believe me about either the “good writer” or the “obsessive” part.

Andy’s Christmas Present from Dennis: All the stuff Philip Lopate had to leave out of his recent book, all bound up in however many volumes it takes, including, of course, the collected works of Joe Bob Briggs.


Ray Young at Flickhead has always got something interesting going on—- the recent Forrest J. Acherman Blog-a-Thon he hosted, plus his contribution of the film criticism blog-a-thon and links to reviews like Tom Sutpen’s consideration of Barbara Loden’s pioneering indie film Wanda make Flickhead a most welcome stop. Flickhead has an ever-changing array of graphics and images that are truly amazing too-— I love it when he finds a great shot (which he always does) of Sophia Loren to incorporate into his masthead! And if you want some great deals on DVDs, check out Ray’s gift shop-- it’s where I’ll be doing my last-minute Christmas shopping. Also, Ray has invited me back to his main site (check out the gorgeous shot of Catherine Deneueve that greets you there), after my review of Dani Levy’s Go For Zucker!, to review Monika Treut’s Female Misbehavior, so look for that soon!

Ray’s Christmas Gift from Dennis: A complete set of Famous Monsters of Filmland back issues.


Perhaps the blog I’m most in awe of, in terms of consistent quality of his posts, is Michael Guillen’s The Evening Class. Click on that link, scroll down, subject yourself to the superior quality of the man’s writing, and remind yourself constantly that he’s not getting paid to do this! Good God, just in the last couple of weeks, look at these pieces on David Thomson, two on Guillermo Del Toro and a review of his favorite interviews from the past year. Michael is a terrific, empathetic, yet challenging interviewer, and a very sensitive writer as well, and it’s been my distinct pleasure to make his acquaintance over the past year.

Michael’s Christmas Present from Dennis: An endless supply of time which he can use to write even more outstanding pieces. (Surely the selfish nature of this gift is not so transparent, yes?)


Here’s my most recent favorite quote from Girish Shambu and his eponymous Girish blog: “Here’s my single favorite thing about blogging: being able to educate oneself in public.” It comes in another typically introspective, yet incredibly universal series of observations (just check out the comments section if you don’t believe me), this time on documentaries (a subject that has a particular hold over me at this moment), entitled ”Six Types of Documentaries.” Girish’s site is about as inclusive and friendly as an intellectually oriented film blog could be, and the reason stems largely, I think, from that sense of discovery that Girish brings to the party every time he logs on. He’s all about exploring every possible avenue of film, yet he’s not a poseur, and he’s unafraid to admit the gaps in his own experience. If he wasn’t, how could he possibly carry on learning? As anyone who has had any contact with him will tell you, Girish is perhaps the blogosphere’s most thoughtful resident—- his comments columns are filled with links to new pieces by writers he’s interested in, and the sense of discovery in any one of them is palpable. And as an example of someone who really gives meaning to the idea of a blogging community, earlier this year I casually mentioned to Girish, either in an e-mail or perhaps in one of those comments columns, that I was going to be taking an exam that would kick-start my intention to begin a new career as a schoolteacher. As the day of the test approached, I became more and more focused on studying, and the day before I took the test I got an e-mail from Girish, who had remembered that I would be doing it the next day, to wish me luck. I doubt I’ll ever forget that.

Girish’s Christmas Present from Dennis: His very own 35mm print of Dressed to Kill, and a posh screening room to show it in.


Everybody already knows how much I enjoy scouring the pages of Brian Darr’s Hell On Frisco Bay, but his recent Open Letter to a self-satisfied viewer had me cheering. Brian’s sense of offense, tempered by his natural balancing perspective and good humor, make the account of his recent trip to see Jacques Rivette’s The Story of Marie and Julien rich and rewarding. And he’s got new stuff up now on the butt-testing Satantango and another of his patented Bay Area film scene round-ups, this one entitled ”Winter of Our Film Content” that will have you headed to the United Airlines Web site to buy a ticket to San Francisco. I got to meet Brian this fall at the Lone Pine Film Festival, which was a real treat for me, and since he dropped a hint that he might be headed this way for the Palm Springs Film Festival in January, I might have to start adjusting my 2007 calendar already.

Brian’s Christmas Present from Dennis: This.


David Lowery’s Drifting has been on quite a roll lately. David is a talented filmmaker and writer whose observations about films and his experiences in filmmaking are always worth keeping an eye on. Just in the past couple of weeks he’s offered up fascinating takes on The Good German, Inland Empire, and Pan’s Labyrinth. And you can see his films at Drifting too- they’re right there on his sidebar. When David was in Los Angeles this summer, he was kind enough to drop off a DVD copy of The Outlaw Son, which I’ve seen a couple of times now and hope to write about soon, hopefully with the sort of intuitive intelligence and sensitivity he put into his film.

David’s Christmas Gift from Dennis: The prop of his choice from Pan’s Labyrinth.


Here’s a piece of the latest from Tom Sutpen at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats, a consideration of Joseph Losey’s first credited film:

“In 1939, Joseph Losey became a walking emblem of what is still a relentlessly paradoxical and fitful accomodation between the imperatives of art and progressive ideas. He was at that time a stage director who could cite as accomplishments a tour of duty with the Federal Theater Project's Living Newspaper series; awards from the National Child Labor Committee and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union . . . both bestowed for his 1938 staging of Francis Faragoh's child labor melodrama Sunup to Sundown (which, despite this honorable amen corner, ran seven performances); a stillborn attempt to produce Ernest Hemingway's hideous Spanish Civil War play, The Fifth Column; and little else. Attendant to this, he had been occupied since 1937 as Production Supervisor for the Progressive Education Association's Experimental Film Project (his sole involvement in motion pictures to that point). To call him a committed man of the Left, in short, would be to understate the matter.

It is terribly odd, then, that the first film to bear the name of this future Blacklistee,
Pete Roleum and His Cousins, was a deliberate work of propaganda produced for and financed by America's Petroleum industry for exhibition at the legendary New York World's Fair of 1939. Like all such works, its primary message is simple (if immodest): We . . . you, me, and everyone not reading this . . . would be nothing without oil companies.”

Tom is kind enough to include the movie itself in the post as well so we can match his measured, spot-on commentary to the images and sounds. It’s rare to get moving pictures from Tom’s sites—- most of the ones he highlights are of the still variety, and they are a brilliant crop. If Charlie Parker… has come to achieve an austere, haunting eloquence day to day—it has carved out unique ground out in the blogosphere, and Tom, with contributors Stephen Cooke and Richard Gibson, is superb at maintaining the high level of graphic integrity, philosophical grounding for the photos, and an unerring sense of what faces will fascinate. I don’t remember how I found my way to If Charlie Parker… (probably David Hudson and Green Cine Daily), but I know my own daily blogging experience would be a whole lot less rich if I hadn’t.

Tom’s Christmas Present from Dennis: A bottomless archive of rare stills from which to create more and more fascinating posts. (again, there’s my selfish side showing again…)


Kim Morgan wears her id on her sleeve delightfully, like almost no other film critic of any seriousness that I can think of. And it’s no problem accessing that sensibility-- she and I tend to share the same appreciation for a certain trash aesthetic derived from the ‘70s barrel marked “horror/action/suspense/thriller,” or whatever you want to call it. (She sent me an e-mail after I posted my article on underrated horror movies in which she chimed in favorably for the new version of The Omen and expressed the same confusion I had over why people who hated it seemed to have such a hard time articulating the reasoning behind their animus.) So you can imagine I was tickled beyond reason to read her new post, ”Not on Christmas! Not on Christmas!”, in which she considers, in that very insouciant Kim Morgan way, whether or not to look forward to the new version of Black Christmas; her own journey from dismay to excitement to ambivalence over the prospect of the remake; just what the hell is wrong with opening a slasher movie on Christmas Day; and whether or not L.A. Weekly writer Nikki Finke is off-base in suggesting that no one wants to see this kind of movie on Christmas. She also throws in some John Waters and Silent Night, Deadly Night for good measure. Kim’s site Sunset Gun is like a wonderful clearinghouse for all things Kim-- there are links galore to all her various writing projects, photos, video links, and a backlog of posts that reveal a real affinity for not just ‘70s shock cinema, but also Hollywood classics, film fashion and those great lists that she does so well. Speaking of lists, I’d love to see her tear into Professor Dave Jennings’s latest. Kim, if you’re reading this, consider that a not-so-subtle hint!

Kim’s Christmas gift from Dennis: A life-size cut-out standee of Warren Oates.


I think I’d like Paul Matwychuk’s The Moviegoer even if he hadn’t already been so kind to me and SLIFR, in print and now at his own site. Paul’s history is an interesting one, and he’s already shown some great blog moxie with fascinating, personally-tinged posts on Bela Tarr and a minority view on Christopher Guest, as well as what makes a good horror film. As 2007 dawns, I really look forward to welcoming Paul into the wide world of blogging—- he’s already said he’s enjoying the freedom to write about anything he wants, and when you write as well as he does, well, that’s something for a blog reader as well as a blog writer to look forward to.

Paul’s Christmas Present from Dennis: the collected works of Robert Altman on DVD.


Ross Ruediger deserves a spot in the Blogger’s Hall of Fame for his interview with filmmaker Steve Balderson regarding Balderson’s film Firecracker, which Ruediger hated. The resulting discussion is fascinating as a dissection of the attitudes a filmmaker takes toward his own work and whether or not seeing other filmmakers’ work is important and/or even necessary, as well as a look at the personal nature of viewing films and receiving the filmmaker's intent. In the past year, Ross has joined Matt Zoller Seitz’s stable of fine writers, largely as the resident Dr. Who expert, but I most look forward to keeping up with him in 2007 at his own site, The Rued Morgue.

Ross’s Christmas present from Dennis: a ticket to see Idiocracy.


Finally, a bit of good news! Mr. Middlebrow is back! This expatriate Oregonian, who spent his days projecting film in Oregon City, just outside of Portland, is one smart cookie. He’s taken some time off from his site, A Drinking Song, but it looks like he’s slipping back into the stream—- why, he even posted a list of answers to the latest quiz, and they’re good ones too. Great to have you back, sir!

Mr. Middlebrow’s Christmas gift from Dennis: A giant poster of the State Theater with something Mr. Middlebrow really likes blazing forth from the marquee.


But there’s more!
Check out the The Self-Styled Siren on Bunuel’s Viridiana and a great anecdote from Gene Wilder about working with Orson Welles on Start the Revolution Without Me!

Chris Stangl at The Exploding Kinetoscope has been on a tear recently. Click here to get his thoughts on anticipating greatness in ”Movie Anxiety”, film criticism on the run, Joe Dante, why Chris can’t forgive Robert Altman for The Long Goodbye, and even expanded versions of the answers Chris submitted to Professor Jennings’s Milton-Free, Universe Expanding Holiday Midterm.

I’ve come to love Thom Ryan’s exhaustive Film Year, which devotes a detailed post about one movie from every year of motion picture history. He’s up to 1920 and The Last of the Mohicans as of December 14, 2006, with usually about two weeks or so between entries. But Thom also took time out from his format recently for this witty entry in the Alfred Hitchcock Blog-a-Thon. I look forward to revisiting the history of the medium with this site, and I have to thank Brian Darr for turning me on to Thom’s work.

Finally, Mystery Man On Film is a blog written by an unnamed screenwriter that takes all kinds of interesting angles on the industry and the art form that supports it (or should that be the other way around?) Scroll down and enjoy. Of particular interest, the Mystery Man offered this post, spun off from one of Jim Emerson’s post-Toronto Film Festival pieces earlier in the year, on why screenwriters don’t have a community the way film bloggers seem to. Fascinating stuff.


Finally, a couple more links to individual pieces that I found worthwhile, for one reason or another:

Here’s a roundtable interview conducted by Green Cine’s John Esther between himself, Laura Dern and David Lynch.


Of all the critics that are not yet blogging, David Edelstein is one who I wish was (and I’m not saying that just because I miss the Slate Movie Club, which would be getting underway right about now, if Mr. Edelstein hadn’t moved to New York magazine). Here he waxes enthusiastically, if briefly, about last October’s brief run of California Split at the Film Forum in New York City. I continue to hope that this screening might bode well for a new transfer to DVD of this great Altman film, one that would see the music rights issues that resulted in three minutes of the film going missing on its only DVD release to date resolved. So far, no word, but I’m keeping my ears open.


How to take heat off of Mel Gibson? If you’re Paul Verhoeven, announce that you’re going to make a movie about Jesus too. Here’s the director on the Passion and The Passion:

“My [portrayal of Jesus’] life will be much more realistic and much more historical. I just want to go for what is historically, sociologically and politically real, and is defendable. I mean we couldn’t have the scene of Jesus praying at Golgotha when everyone else is sleeping. How could we have a report of that when everyone’s sleeping? That’s a contradiction in the text already. So all those will be eliminated… (Gibson’s film) seemed to be saying the more blood is shed the more we are purified. I mean, honestly, such a thing is not possible. Nobody is purifying anybody else. The Church, not knowing how to handle the death of Jesus, this idea had to be presented. It is the ultra-fabrication. This is a corrective to 2,000 years of Christianity.”

My guess is that Verhoeven’s film will perhaps be steering clear of the Crystal Cathedral and other such promotional venues that Gibson’s movie exploited so successfully.


Finally, a nice mention of SLIFR from the British newspaper The Guardian in regard to how the blogosphere responded to the recent death of Robert Altman.

And it’s true-- SLIFR has invaded the continent proper: check out these réponses Français to Professor Jennings’s quiz! As Frank Zappa might have said, zoot allures!


If I don’t see you between now and then (and I’m sure I probably will), Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! And thanks very much for reading!



Anonymous said...

Those quizes from Profs. Jennings and Brainard are gifts that keep on giving. The questions are always entertaining while some of the answers show the variety of readers you have. Perhaps Professor Immanuel Rath or Professor Georg Manfeldt will answer the call for the next quiz. Best holiday wishes from halfway round the world.

Uncle Gustav said...

And a happy holiday to you. I appreciate the set of FMs, but do you think I can get a set of CoFs instead? (Don't tell 4E!)

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Peter! How's the weather over there? I'm glad you guys enjoy those quizzes as much as I do. I have to admit that my motives are selfish, in that I just love reading what everybody comes up with. But coming up with my own answers is fun too!

And I can only blame the delirium of trying to assemble this piece way late at night on no sleep and a case of my new favorite beverage, but your site, Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee has been on my favorites list and my sidebar since I started blogging, and I'll take this opportunity now to thank you for an awesome run of commentary-- your site, like Brian's, keeps me in touch with a whole slice of cinema that is often unfamiliar but never less than enticing. Plus, now that I have an all-region DVD player, reading your suggestions has become an even more addictive treat. And I'll always appreciate your Sam Whiskey review, and the accompanying photos as well. Get better, Peter, and lay off the hot Thai chili (when you're up to it, remind me to tell you my hot Thai chili story...) And like you said, happy holidays from halfway round the world!

Flickhead: The swap is on! Boy, what I wouldn't do to have those Castle of Frankenstein back issues too. I always had to smuggle that mag into the house though-- Mom was never a big fan of the Frazetta-esque pulchritude that often ended up on the covers! Happy holidays!

The 'Stache said...

Dennis, you are one of the kindest-hearted guys out there. As I've said before, it was your enthusiasm and overall positive attitude that kept me at blogging when I might have chucked it. ("Chuck"ed it, good grief!) Thanks so much for the season's greetings, and I couldn't agree with you more about all the bloggers you mentioned. It's quite a fine little community, and I'm thrilled to be a small, sometimes ornery part of it.

Now, as far as my gift goes, I'd be thrilled to have an Adam-designed work pad, especially if it comes with the trap-door chairs and the pool of pesky pirahna. But, after seeing this post's opening image, I think I'd much rather be Billy Bob Thornton. Can you arrange that?

Happy holidays to all!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

TLRHB, I don’t think I could, in good conscience, have any part of turning anyone into Billy Bob Thornton. But I will inquire and see if Billy Bob’s Bad Santa costar Lauren Graham would have any objection to being shipped to you UPS. Happy holidays, my friend!

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to see you say that Girish was the "most thoughtful" film person in the blogosphere, not because GIrish isn't great (I love his blog), but because I think *you* are the most thoughtful. I only discovered your blog a few months ago, but it's become a daily stop, and clicking on the link is like entering the cyperspace equivalent of a Jean Renoir movie- it's funny, thoughtful, challenging, and above all, generous; as this lovely list of yours suggests, you have a wonderfully democratic spirit when it comes to film writing, and everyone is invited to the party. Thanks for a great blog.

Anonymous said...

Brian is right. People don't come more generous than you, my friend. If it's any consolation after your post on Shirley Walker: no one can accuse you of being closeted from your friends in the blogosphere, that's for damn sure! And it's not as if you're neglecting your wonderful family either.

Thanks for the Jurassic Park holodeck. I'll tell Rasmus he can stop playing Zoo Tycoon with Dinosaur Digs on my laptop!

My Christmas present to you is - apart from all the happiness in the world, which you deserve - a 48-hour day to live life to the max. (Me too! Me too!) Love ya, man.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words, Dennis, and a merry christmas to you as well! Hopefully we'll have more than a few minutes to hang out next time I'm in Los Angeles.

For the record, the prop of my choosing from Pan's Labyrinth would have to be the magical book that fills its own pages. Maybe it would write a few of my own gestating blog entries for me...

Anonymous said...

Great list Dennis. It is going to take awhile to work through all of it, but that is happy work. Merry Christmas.

Ross Ruediger said...

Dennis -

This is an outstanding list that shows why I continually envy your skills: You make it look so damn easy. (Thanks so much for the mention, by the way.) Every time I click on SL I'm blown away by the mass of new content. I don't know how you do it, dude, but it makes the rest of us want to work that much harder.

For the record, I could say much the same about Round-Headed Boy - between the two of you, I almost don't have time to read any other blogs!

And I DO have a DVD date with IDIOCRACY on Jan. 9th...

Mr. Middlebrow said...

Thanks for the State marquee. To honor your generosity, I'm going to imagine a Nashville/Hollywood Blvd. double feature, just for you. (If I squint really hard, I can almost make out in my memory when Nashville actually played there.)

I'll just second RR's approbations. You are both a marvel of blog engineering and a helluva nice guy. And like Ross, I always feel a bit remiss in my haphazard posting after one of your endorsements.

Thanks for the kind words and the undeserving inclusion among the blogherati. Your blogroll is the one exception to the Groucho Marx rule: it's the one club that would have me as a member to which I'd actually want to belong. (How's that for some prepositional calisthentics?)

Warmest holiday wishes to you and yours, DC.

Brian Darr said...


Your posts are always filled with generosity, but this time you've outdone yourself. What a great highlighting of excellent recent work by friendly filmbloggers.

And I love your gift selections! Mine felt extremely appropriate, in part because a local theatre's promise to screen the documentary accompanying that long out-of-print and rare volume, Friz on Film, sadly turned out to be "vaporware" as they used to say in the computer magazines I read in high school. That Freleng-For-All was a real highlight of my year, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it helped to inspire someone to put together a Carl Sagan Blog-a-Thon yesterday.

Of course, another real highlight was meeting you in Lone Pine in October. I'm very regretful to say that Palm Springs is out for me this year (all the moreso after seeing that I'll be missing the U.S. Premieres of intriguing films from the Black Book to Paraguayan Hammock; hopefully they'll work their way up the coast somehow) but I hope I can find another good time to travel to SoCal relatively soon!

A very merry Christmas to you and yours!

andyhorbal said...

This truly is an inspired post and about as nice a Christmas present as a fella could ever want! (Though that Lopate Vol. 2 would be awful nice... )

Happy holidays, and hurry back with that list of the best films you didn't see this year!

Matt Zoller Seitz said...

Thanks, Dennis. The feelings are mutual. Merry Christmas.

TAS said...


I truly apologize for not seeing this until now (I've been woefully absent from blogosphere activities of late), but don't let the tardiness of this reply cause you to think I'm any the less grateful for your words than if I'd been the first responder. I can only say I'm honored to be in your list (and how I wish I had them images!) . . . and even more honored to be a member of this small community of film bloggers.

My best to you and yours (and everyone reading this) for 'le Holidays'.

Thanks again, Dennis.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, and as we say around here : Joyeux Noël !

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the kind words and encouragement, Dennis. SLIFR is a always a treat to read, but this was unexpected. A heartful thanks, and Merry Christmas to you.

Neil Sarver said...

Great list. There are several of those blogs I'm going to have to check out... including a couple that seem likely to make my regular reading list... I'm unsure if that's good or not.

I know Verhoeven has been talking about the Jesus movie for a dozen years now, because I first heard about it when I was doing a lot of reading on historical Jesus information and that was... about then. He's strongly involved in the movement of people doing continuing research on the subject. Personally, I hope this means it's moving forward, because I will be first in line!

Ryland Walker Knight said...

Hi Dennis,
I gotta say, at first, a couple months ago when I got serious about this blogging biznass I was nothing but intimidated by your posts. My first exposure was your essay on THE BLACK DAHLIA, which I have to admit I haven't read fully because I was so disappointed by the movie. While I kept honing my skillz and was given the brilliant opportunity to join The House I kept stopping by and have only grown to love your blog and your writings. As Brian has said, you are definitely thoughtful and honest and your from-the-heart commitment is enviable. I wish I could generate as much -- or simply spew as much -- as you write in any given post. SLIFR is truly a beacon in the blogosphere. Anybody who wants to read dedicated film love need look no further. I can't wait for the next post.

Happy holidays,

PS - I love baseball, too, but I hate the Dodgers for 1988 and Gibson's trot: Oakland (Fremont?) A's til I die.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Brian: I just call 'em as I see 'em! But nothing could make me happier that you enjoy what I come up with here. There are some days/weeks when it's harder than others-- this week was harder. But comments like yours give me fuel, man. Thanks!

Peet: Your Christmas card is on its way. By the time you return from Denmark, you should have a snapshot of Girls Cozzalio version 2006. Thanks for your friendship. I love you too.

David: Just let me know when you'll be here. Two minutes is ust not enough. Merry Christmas!

Benaiah: One of the originals! So glad your back and commenting. I'm looking forward to rading more of your blog in 2007!

Ross: I see Idiocracy popping up on a few honorable mention spots on year-end lists. I hope the DVD provides some sort of vindication for Judge (although I hear it' a pretty spare affair), and I hope that you like it. Please let me know what you think. And thanks for the kind words. I take so much inspiration from all you guys that it's a real joy to pu a long list together every now and again to highlight just a sliver of what spurs me forward.

Mr. Middlebrow: I love that Groucho Marx inversion! Thanks so much! I hope you and yourfamily has a great holiday. Any chance you'll be making it to the West Coast anytime soon, please let me know.

Brian D: I got an e-mail from Dan ALoi re that Sagan-a-Thon, but I was neck deep in life, and I think I got the e-mail the day it was supposed to happen! So I'm just gonna have to go back and read that one! Again, thanks for your site (I feel like I ca never say it enough), and thanks for the heads up on Michael Guillen. I'd love to get together with him. Talk about inspiring! Merry Christmas, and please give my best wishes to your dad also!

Andy: No Zito signing yet? That will make things VERY interesting indeed, won't it? Keep a watch out too for my Swiss Cheese Top Ten (with acnowledgments of all the holes in my moviegoing for the year!) coming next week. Plus, I've talked my daughter into giving me comments on all the children's movies we saw together this year. That'll be her first contribution to the blog other than
. Thanks, Andy, for allk the great work you're doing, and for being so much fun to read!

Matt: May the Brooklyn sidewalks stay shoveled and ice-free, and may you and your daughter and son have a wonderful Christmas. Coming back to L.A. anytime soon?

Tom: I, like you, feel so lucky to be amongst this kind of company. That's one of the main reasons I feel like sharing it: because I often can'tbelieve it and need to pinch myself to be reminded it's true. Thanks for brining me and everyone so much joy and fascinating reading in 2006. Here's to an even more exciting 2007!

Vincent: Joyeux Noel to you too, my friend! Thanks for spreading the quiz across the ocean! A friend ofmine is working on translating all the lists for me!

Thom: Getting to know your site has been one of the big treats of my year. When next I make it up to Portland, which may be fairly soon, I'll send you an e-mail! I'd love to buy you a beer, or your beverage of choice!

Neil: I can only assume that Vrhoeven, perhaps reenrgerized by his return to the Netherlands, is going full steam ahead. I look forward to what he does with the material, that's for sure. And my fried Peet says his latest, Black Book, is spectacular. Thank for stopping by!

Ryland: Beween you, Andy, Benaiah and I, we could start our own fantasy baseball league. How do you like Piazza for Thomas? I do like some of the A's young talent, but was anybody squirming over giving up Andre Ethier last summer?
And thanks so much for your support and encouragement and kind words. I do tend to err on the logorrheic side on this blog, and I'm glad that pople like you enjoying reading it anyway. I really wish I'd appreciateThe Black Dahlia more too, but you know, even De Palma can't hit a homer every time out. I've really enjoyed getting to know your work and your voice too, through the House mainly, and I look forward to you stopping by here more regularly. Your answers to the quiz were great!

Happy holidays, everyone! If it's not clear enough by now, I couln't feel more blessed and chalenged by the company of you all, and I look forward to expanding and enriching it in 2007 and beyond, when we all take the next steps into the future of film criticism together.