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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

like Fruity Oaty Bars…

…FlickFilosopher.com is Not Mandatory.

I mean, if you’re here at all, you probably think that at least some of FlickFilosopher.com is Mandatory. But I get that not everyone is going to be into all the new Doctor Who and Female Gazing stuff going on lately. I hope that it’s relatively easy here to just skip over the stuff you’re not into in order to find the stuff you are into. I think it will be even easier to do that soon, as I plan a redesign of the home page. (Don’t worry, the blog-style home page will always be available, too.)



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  • Lisa

    Miranda …

  • markyd

    It’s funny you put this up, because I was just thinking yesterday about how the “tone” of your site has changed a bit. I see what you are doing, and hope it works out for you, but I wonder if you are alienating a part of your audience. Or perhaps the people who’ve been with you all this time are minor compared to the hoped for new audience brought in by these changes? Sure, it’s easy to just skip over certain posts, but you seem to be more “out there” in all your posts, not just the obvious ones.
    I will continue to come here multiple times a day, regardless, as I love your reviews, and all the random geeky posts. I’m sure there are plenty others around just as loyal, or more so. But I wonder if you’ve lost some regulars as of late due to said changes. Not that you would have any way of knowing about specific people(unless they e-mail you their discontentment).
    It’s all just #’s in the end, I suppose.

  • MaryAnn

    I certainly hope I’m not alienating part of my audience, and I don’t think the tone of all my posts have changed (you may disagree, of course). But I absolutely MUST boost my traffic considerably. My dilemma is how to do that in a smart way. It is extremely frustrating to see the kind of idiocy that gets huge traffic and huge ad revenue, and there’s no way I can do the same thing: I mean, I just constitutionally could not become a Perez Hilton or a Harry Knowles. But is there some way I can get more traffic while being true to myself and the things that concern me and the things I want to write about? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. So inherent in that would be continuing to please the readers who’ve been here all along, and just finding new ones.

  • I’m not sure what markyd means by “out there” but the tone of the site has definitely changed. I’m not sure if I even could describe how… really it’s just turned from a site I had in my daily RSS feed list to one I only go to when I have a specific intent, such as for a Doctor Who post or to find out if you hate “The Last Airbender” as much as (apparently) everyone else does. I see the red light, by the way… can’t wait for the review.

    You might not even be soliciting this sort of feedback, so ignore the rest of this if you prefer, but I guess if I had to nail down what had changed I’d say it started with the Lost posts: deliberate, (and surprisingly inattentive) negativity for the sole purpose of generating comment traffic. At least that’s what it seemed like you were doing… but it was half-hearted at best, and felt like you were just niggling at the show without actually paying any attention to it. Really turned me off.

    And the dustup over the “Maternal Nudity” rating of Babies? I mean, who cares? I detailed my problems with that in a comment on that page, so I won’t go over it again here. It’s just, there are several other examples of this attitude shift, and I’d describe it as a sort of hyperbole, I guess — searching for offense in the smallest of things. It feels put-on, like you’re trying to ham up the outrage, maybe? Or maybe it isn’t new, and I just missed it over the past 2 years I’ve been reading your blog daily?

    Anyway; I still think (as I always have) that you’re a great writer… it just doesn’t seem like we’re on the same track anymore. Dunno if that’s a true “alienation” but it’s what happened in my case. :)

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Frankly, I’m here because having grown up with a newspaper critic whose taste in movie was dramatically different than my own, I feel it’s important to find a critic whose taste is similar to your own for the subjective part of the review to have any value.

    If I want a general feel for the subjective opinion of a film, I’ll check out metacritic. I’m here for the MaryAnn reviews, and as long as those are here, I’ll be here. :)

    (Knowing this won’t become a celebrity gossip site is a good magnet too. :D )

  • MaryAnn

    And the dustup over the “Maternal Nudity” rating of Babies? I mean, who cares?

    I care! I’ve never posted *anything* just for the sake of generating traffic. Certainly not the *Lost* posts. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have *stopped* them because of reader complaints, would I?

    I don’t mind if people disagree with me and I understand if people stop coming around because they don’t like what I have to say, but the suggestion that I’m posting things not because I have something honest to say but only because of some perception that such a post might draw traffic… that really stings. It’s *precisely* the thing that I’ve tried to avoid. And that’s why I stopped writing about *Lost*: because I realized I didn’t have anything to say about it anymore.

    And maybe I’m going to discover that it isn’t possible to build traffic without hyperbole and hamminess. That will really, really depress me.

  • Bassygalore

    @Lisa – first thing that popped in my head too.

  • Victor Plenty

    If the tone of the site has changed, it’s a change in the right direction: bolder and more clear discussion of what you really think about a wider array of subjects that matter.

    I’ve always loved your take on science fiction, fantasy, and popular film. Even when I don’t necessarily agree with all your opinions on them, your perspective gives me new ways to see these things. There are few things in life I value more highly than that.

    Far from “searching for offense in the smallest of things” (in itself a ridiculously wrongheaded and offensive accusation), you are discussing issues that seriously damage the quality of human life. And not only for the more than half the world’s population who happen to be women! Men also lose out in the bad bargain of male privilege, which offers so little of any real benefit, in return for the loss of healthy and stable human relationships, all of which are poisoned by the violence of an oppressive culture.

    This situation, and every “small thing” that perpetuates it, should cause offense in anyone who values human life.

  • Mimi

    Hmm, I am into both the “Doctor Who” stuff and the “female gazing” stuff… MaryAnn is writing for me, me, me!!!

  • Lisa

    I, for one, like the changes. I’ve been coming here a lot more recently. I love your take on stuff. But if you want more hits, you probably are gonna have to the hammy thing, sell your soul a bit. I’ve seen plenty of Free Roman Polanski posts on other sites that are just looking for hits. I understand you want to be true to yourself but there’s probably a price for that.

  • Kat

    I’ve been lurking here for years but hardly ever commented. I like the changes – it’s as if you added a couple of comfy chairs to what used to be an (occasionally at least) austere auditorium. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Brian

    MaryAnn, I think your recent shift in tone feels like exactly the opposite of “searching for offense.” It seems that you’ve wanted to say things that you are now saying for a long time, that you can’t help but notice the things you’re commenting on, and would in fact be disingenuous if you didn’t mention them. I think the site feels freer because of it. You’ve begun speaking more clearly with your own voice.

    I do not always agree with the specific points you make in some posts, and I just don’t read the stuff that doesn’t pertain to my interests. (Amazing how easy that is.) What I do appreciate is your unique point of view – or at least your uniquely expressed point of view, since you are hardly the only feminist film critic, just the most engaging and accessible one, IMO. I know that I’ve begun looking at film differently since I’ve begun to read your site — and yours are some of the only reviews I’ll read even if I have no intention of seeing the movie. (Especially, really: Your shredding of bad movies is often milk-snortingly funny.)

    I’ve begun talking to my film-loving friends about this site. It’s worth a boost in readership.

  • MaryAnn

    You’ve begun speaking more clearly with your own voice.

    I’ve heard several people say this, and I admit that it’s a bit mystifying. Because I’ve certainly not been holding back all these years. Perhaps it’s just that I feel like my tolerance for bullshit in general is suddenly much lower than it was. I don’t know what’s changed to make that happen, though. :->

  • Keith

    Perhaps it’s because the level of bullshit we are being asked to tolerate lately has become so much that our systems are rebelling.

    Think about some of the stuff that is considered wildly popular today. Do you really want a lot of traffic from the people who appreciate such idiocy?

    It’s also a signal to noise ratio problem. Everyone is so bombarded by information; it’s just hard competing with all the other sites out there trying to generate traffic. They all want to succeed and not everyone can or will. Darwinism exists, even in cyberspace. We all want the easy path to greatness and the truth is there is no such thing.

    Just keep experimenting and using that fabulous brain of yours. You’re doing the best you can. Keep it up, we believe in you.

  • Sonja

    I was initially drawn to your Doctor Who reviews about six months ago – and at first only came to read those. Gradually, though, I’ve read more of what you’ve had to offer, especially enjoying your views on the male/female gaze (even sharing the daily photographs of the female gaze with some of my other female friends). I know I haven’t been around that long, but I have enjoyed what changes you have made and I now lurk several times a day.

  • Victor Plenty (Thu Jul 01 10, 2:32PM):

    Far from “searching for offense in the smallest of things” (in itself a ridiculously wrongheaded and offensive accusation)

    Which is why I was careful to phrase it as a feeling I had, a personal opinion, and not as any kind of objective accusation. I figured at least some of what I had to say would be misinterpreted, but I just wanted to get some honest feedback out there about why my affections for the site have waned over the past few months, in case it mattered.

    I definitely appreciated that you stopped the Lost posts, MaryAnn, but it took about 5 weeks of complaints for you to do it! And then you started them right back up again after the finale. :)

    Honestly, though, how could you not? It was huge. Spoilers on the nightly news, for crying out loud!

    Anyways, I didn’t mean to suggest you need “hyperbole and hamminess” to expand your readership (if I even did)… my view is quite the opposite.

    Keep on truckin.

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