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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

no go on ‘Gran Torino’

My day started off shitty, with all sorts of hobbling of the site just as I’m starting to build up traffic again. Fantastic. I get some new people in here, and the first thing they see is a messed-up site with half its content missing, or a site that looks okay but when they try to post a comment they get an error message. I swear, it feels like I can never catch a break.

Then I discover, via a chat with a fellow critic at a screening this afternoon, that emails are not getting through to me. Turns out about 24 hours of emails have been piling up, including an urgent request for a review from one of the newspapers that syndicates my stuff. Of course it was too late by the time I finally replied to that editor — he’d grabbed a review from someone else. At least he was able to do that — I felt horrible thinking that I’d left him hanging when I’m usually so good at being responsible and responding quickly to editors who turn to me for help. Still, that’s a coupla bucks flushed down the toilet, and you can’t sneeze at even a couple of bucks these days.
These problems were all the last (I hope!) of the fallout from the server issues my Web host, Fused Network, was having last week. I don’t blame Fused — problems are inevitable in Web environments, and Fused acted quickly to solve the problems, and then quickly again to resolve issues that invariably develop, like a string of falling dominoes, when those first problems get solved. So no one’s to blame, except the capricious gods who like toying with us. (I heartily recommend Fused for anyone looking for an attentive and reliable Web host.)

But then, after all that — when I’m already feeling very fragile and ready to burst into tears at the first person who looks at me crosseyed (it’s always worse when things are shitty and there’s no one to blame for it) — Warner Bros. refused to let me into the screening of Gran Torino I thought I was going to see tonight. I was told that my RSVP had not been received. Other critics and awards-voting guild members were turned away, too, all of whom had RSVPed via an online RSVPing Web site that Warner Bros. has set up to deal with these awards-season screenings. But because Warner Bros.’ IP people don’t know how to set up an email form, I couldn’t see the film.

There are other screenings of Gran Torino coming up. But the next few weeks are so jam-packed with screenings of other films that fitting this one in — again! — is not going to be easy. Now, I won’t be able to see the film till after my nominations deadline has passed for the awards given by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which I’m a member.

It was all very annoying.

And then — and then! — on the subway ride home, I discover from another rider from my neighborhood that my bus line, the BX34, is scheduled to be eliminated by the MTA as a cost-cutting measure. Because why shouldn’t my day get any shittier?



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  • Ugh! One thing after another! Sorry your day’s was so shitty!

  • Christie

    {{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS!}}}}}}}}}}}}
    A good hug never hurt anyone.

  • Mimi

    Dude, that sucks (as I would phrase it to a buddy). Hope tomorrow is better.

  • TheGaucho

    Hope today was better!
    Cheers!!!

  • Anne-Kari

    MESSAGE TO ALL NEWCOMERS: Stick it out while MaryAnn sorts through her server problems. It is absolutely 150% worth coming back, and coming back often. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.

    Also, if you are new, check out her archives of film reviews (listed at the top as “all reviews”). Even if you don’t agree with a particular entry you will ALWAYS be amused, informed, and entertained.

    Hang in there, MAJ.

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