In the chance that you haven’t noticed, it’s been over four months since my last post on my Play it Again Dan website.
I used to be prolific with this site when I first created it back in December of 2015. During that time, I wanted to build a site that was largely built off of analysis. I wanted all of my work to be evaluations of certain films or a particular canon that had been grossly ignored or forgotten.
For a good while, I felt that this site was becoming a beacon for film and television analysis, where readers could come and be educated with certain dimensions of cinema, while also being given content that would encourage them to watch things that they would have never even considered viewing before. For a time, I felt this site was achieving that goal.
When tackling a project for this site, I don’t simply post anything. My work is intricately mapped out, which usually takes days to establish. When writing, I am careful to have my arguments be clear, organized, and easy to follow. I write with the belief that perhaps many of these films I have chosen to focus on haven’t even been on the radar for the vast majority of my readers. Needless-to-say, the process to post one article that is comprehensive, original, and informative is an arduous and time-consuming process.
My preference for older film is simple: There is an appreciation, but a total disregard for the canon.
Many people refer to the go-to classics that have been repeatedly referenced by critics, but do not even bother with the smaller films. For example, many will think of Alfred Hitchcock in regards to Psycho (1960) or North by Northwest (1959), but have never heard of Lifeboat (1943). Many will associate Humphrey Bogart with Casablanca (1943), but will never have heard of The African Queen (1951) or The Maltese Falcon (1941). Bette Davis is often associated with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) or All About Eve (1950), yet nobody has ever heard of The Letter (1940). It is my goal to thoroughly introduce readers to these films that have been unfairly forgotten and deserve a certain level of attention.
I am also astonished that there is an entire generation of filmgoers who are ignorant to old film and the Golden Age of Hollywood. There is such an emphasis today on blockbuster hits with excessive special effects that diminish the artistry of film. Content has been replaced with loud explosions. Even worse, the majority of actors and actresses today, who are glorified, outright lack any genuine talent. Hollywood actors and actresses of today are more concerned with appearance and status than actually respecting the art of filmmaking. There is no organic process with these people, but instead, they place an expectation that people should glorify them for their name and abdominal muscles, rather than their actual achievements.
The reason why I place much more emphasis on the older generation of acting is because it was an era in which one had to have unadulterated talent. It went beyond memorizing the lines provided to them. It went beyond having the perfect body. Many times, such actors had to prove themselves first on the stage and be initially noticed from there. Broadway was the pathway to becoming respected. It’s quite the opposite with today’s contemporary actors and actresses, many of which I have no respect for.
More glaring is contemporary moviegoers being horrendously blind to the history of cinema. It is shocking to me that many do not know the names of Deborah Kerr, James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Gloria Swanson, Claude Raines, Ingrid Bergman, Anne Bancroft, William Holden…to name a few. Some of you may scoff at this, but this is a shocking reality. Most people actively ignore any film that is older than twenty-years-old. That is why it is the mission of my work and this site is to be sure that these names are still recognized.
This leads to my explanation as to why Play it Again Dan has been limited and lacking in content these past few months. The first reason is because I felt much of this work was disregarded and preference was being placed in works that went against my site’s mission statement. I had more than one outside source reach out to me and express interest in my work (having it published in another online medium), which initially got me thrilled and excited at the prospect of reaching a larger audience. Then I learned what content they were interested in: Contemporary film and/or any list features that were almost devoid of analysis content. I could read between the lines: Essentially, I was being told that nobody wanted to read about older films. Even worse, readers were more interested in prosaic list-format features. To say the least, I found this to be incredibly discouraging.
Part of the issue in being even moderately discouraged falls in that it starts to spread to other facets in your work. For this site, it spread to the worry that my readers were no longer interested in learning and being introduced to classic, older film. When observing my page stats, it seemed that my site was starting to veer into contemporary film, which I felt was me negotiating the content of my site in an effort to maintain the interest of my readers. To readjust the content of my site was me deviating from my original mission statement.
Even worse was being told by someone that my articles had achieved “TLDC Status”: Too Long, Don’t Care. To be directly told that nobody wants to read my work because it is too thorough and “too long,” it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
As I wrote prior, a single article can take days to write and post on this site. Therefore, if this site’s readership is not interested in the primary content of this site, why should I dedicate my time and energy in writing material that will be grossly ignored? Furthermore, if readers are interested in list-format articles that have minimal analysis, they can refer to articles from Variety, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, or Empire. Sure, I’ll write something in list-format occasionally, but the bulk of my work is dense analysis.
The primary purpose of this post is to not only reinforce my mission statement and provide a reason as to why my work has been lacking, but to also gauge if there is still an interest with the content of this site. Already in my to-write pile are five Bette Davis films that have been watched and need to be reviewed, with another twelve films from her career still to be watched. I have some other projects that are in the planning phase, many of which could be great additions to this site.
Nonetheless, I leave the future of this site up to the readers. Whatever the future is for this site, I am eternally proud of the hard work I have put in this near two-year-old website. I further want to encourage anyone to leave me feedback, comments, or suggestions.