Sunday, February 10, 2008

If I build it...

Who will come?

We’ll find out, I guess. With this post, I launch “The Cooler,” my experiment with online film criticism. For more than a decade now, I’ve been putting my movie thoughts in print and distributing those commentaries to a diverse and receptive audience. But after years of the same, I’m finally extending my reach.

I do so after incessant prodding. In Field Of Dreams, Ray Kinsella sprang into action just as soon as he figured out what that vague and mysterious voice in his cornfield was trying to suggest to him. Me? I waited until blogging became so simple, so mainstream and so omnipresent that I couldn’t make up excuses anymore. I’m the guy who plowed under his corn only after seeing all his neighbors do it and coming to the conclusion that, yeah, it really does look like fun.

Without getting too far down this rabbit hole, one of the reasons I’ve been hesitant to launch a blog is that I fear losing myself to it. As it is, I probably spend too much time going to movies, reading about movies and writing about them. And yet they aren’t my only life interest. Not by a long shot. And so I’m at least like Ray Kinsella in that I respect the fact that I can’t go into this endeavor halfway: if the magical field is going to take shape, these orderly rows of corn have got to come down.

At the same time, that’s the fun of it. Since I’ve gone ahead and mentioned Field Of Dreams – and hopefully not for the last time (it’s a magical movie that’s too often marginalized due to its sports theme) – let me also say this: I have no idea how many people are going to walk out of my crop and into my outfield. In the least, I know my regular readers will follow me here. And perhaps I’ll attract some new readers by taking part in blogathons and the like. But I take this step not focused on the ultimate result but on the step itself.

When Ray Kinsella takes a tractor to his corn, I don’t think he does it for Shoeless Joe Jackson. Not at first. He does it because building a baseball field in his backyard sounds like fun. The voice promising Shoeless Joe just gives Ray an excuse (aside: if you have the DVD, you’re cheating yourself if you don’t watch Ray’s first encounter with The Voice in French).

So let’s start building this little field of dreams. Here at “The Cooler,” readers can expect commentary on films present and past, detailed analysis and lite fare, random ramblings, links to interesting reading and, in the future, some guest commentaries. I encourage readers to provide comments to blog posts and to engage in debate with one another. As much as anything, I believe this blog will be measured by what my readers bring to it.

For specific comments or feedback for my eyes only, send me an e-mail at The e-mail address is also available through my blogger profile, located on the right rail.

All that said, thanks for visiting. Hope you come back soon, and feel free to bring a friend. Here’s to the movies, and to blogging about them. The experiment begins now.

-- Jason Bellamy


Jason Wilde said...

Wanted to be the first to post.

I appreciate the guidelines ("Be critical. Be scatterbrained. Be vulgar and profane, if you desire" -- I can be all of those) but I think I'll just go with schmaltzy.

Glad you've decided to share your thoughts with the blogosphere and go beyond the annual Bellamy Awards. We all know how self-important blogs can be, and I think we also know that yours won't be. I'm sure I speak for everyone who knows you when I say we're proud of you undertaking this project and anxious to see where it leads. Can I get an RSS feed to it? (Not that I know how to work those, of course.)

I wanted to use a quote from Field of Dreams here (I love that movie and your use of it in your intro) but couldn't decide between two of my faves, both applicable here.

1. (Terence Mann) I wish I had your passion, Ray. ... Misdirected though it might be, it is still a passion. I used to feel that way about things, but ...

2. ("Moonlight" Graham) You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day.

Good luck on your blogging journey.

~ Wilde

Mark said...

Jason, congratulations on launching your blog. Excellent first post.

I really enjoyed this year's Bellamy Awards and I'm looking forward to following along this year in real time, and maybe arguing a bit along the way.

Good luck,