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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: oy vey

On this day in 1997, the very first Flick Filosopher movie review appeared on the Web, at a site housed in the free server space AOL supplied to its subscribers. Which means that today, FlickFilosopher.com enters its tenth year online.

Ten years. That’s like 87 years in the real world, or something.

I feel like the grandma of online film criticism. Or at least the crazy old aunt with too many cats.

To commenorate this historic milestone, I am going to spend the next 365 days — or at least the ones that fall between Monday and Friday — highlighting a review from the past, starting from the beginning and running all the way up through whatever review I post on or near September 8, 2007.

With a little more than 2000 films and DVDs already covered here as of today, that means I’ll be mentioning barely 15 percent of what I’ve written.

So, here’s the very first film review I ever wrote, for the Sam Neill/Laurence Fishburne sci-fi/horror flick Event Horizon. (It’s been ported over to the new blogging format. You can see what the site once looked like, lo those many years ago, at Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The first page it logs is from late 1998, but I don’t think the design had changed very much in that first year.)

As for that Event Horizon review itself… well, it’s not quite as embarrassing as it could have been. Of course, I’d been writing at that point for well over ten years already — everything from fan fiction to food, fashion, and beauty copy at a major women’s magazine (the now defunct McCall’s) to promotional book stuff for a slew of catalogs connected to Book-of-the Month Club. I was no neophyte — I was a paid professional writer already in 1997. But though I was determined to approach film criticism from a new perspective, examining issues that didn’t always get discussed when it came to film, I think it’s clear that I didn’t quite hit my stride right off the bat. The idea of what I wanted to achieve is there, but the execution isn’t really satisfactory.

Mostly, what this first review makes me realize is how dramatically my writing has improved over the years. I hope you agree.

And tune in every day Monday through Friday for the next damn year for more retrospective.

review of Event Horizon, posted 09.08.97

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