Discover more from The Weekly Stuff Wordcast
My New Book, "200 REVIEWS," releases next week!
Coming Sunday, October 8th!
This is a big, surprise announcement, so let’s do the short version and the long version.
Short version: I have a new book coming out one week from today, on October 8th. It’s called 200 Reviews, and it is what it says on the tin – a collection of my best writing, mainly on film but also on TV and video games, from the last 20 years, alongside a huge amount of new and previously unpublished material that’s never been seen by anyone’s eyes but mine. I’m publishing this massive collection (the PDF is 868 pages) independently as an eBook, and you can pre-order it for Kindle from Amazon now, or wait to buy the EPUB and PDF versions from my Ko-fi store when it launches next Sunday. It’s $10 either way – only 5 cents per review!
Long version: I don’t really remember exactly how this project started, except to say that some combination of turning 30 last year, recommitting myself to regularly writing film criticism, and writing my PhD dissertation has prompted a pretty intense period of reflection on my own voice as a writer and what I’ve created over the years. I felt like I’d gotten disconnected from that voice somewhere along the way, and started looking through a lot of my old writing for inspiration; in doing so, I found some work I was proud of, some I was embarrassed by, and a lot that had never seen the light of day. The phrase 300 Reviews walked into my mind one day, and the image of a big, ‘definitive’ collection of the 20 years I’ve spent writing movie reviews. I started collecting pieces, published and unpublished alike, and realized that while I had plenty for a book with 300 (or more) reviews, it would be an untenably large collection. So I lowered the number, called it 200 Reviews, and the book started taking shape (it is entirely possible the finished product is also untenably large).
Of the 200 reviews, 67 are in some way new and exclusive to the book; 54 were either previously unpublished or newly written for this project, while another thirteen are new pieces composited from the best parts of multiple older reviews. In looking through my archives, I not only discovered fully finished pieces that, for whatever reason, never found a home, but uncovered almost-complete drafts that only needed a small amount of work, excerpts from projects that were started and abandoned, and many sets of notes and outlines that could be turned into full reviews. These pieces were variously dusted off, edited, revised, expanded upon, or written fresh from the ground up based on the notes I found, and several entirely new reviews were written just for this book for the sake of completionism; for instance, several new Star Wars reviews were crafted to complement existing writing and provide appraisals of all nine mainline films in one place. And of the remaining 133 reviews that have been previously published, many, particularly from the early-to-mid-2000s, are no longer available online in any form, and are exclusively reproduced here.
Here's a sample of some of what you’ll find in the pages of 200 Reviews:
Reviews of all the feature films directed by Hayao Miyazaki, my favorite filmmaker, many of them previously unpublished;
An entirely new set of reviews for all thirteen theatrical Star Trek films, the foundation of which was a never-published piece I wrote on The Motion Picture in 2013; I then built off this using extensive notes I took while rewatching all the films in 2022 to complete the series, and for the two J.J. Abrams films, used excerpts from my original reviews to compare my thoughts now to how I felt back then;
Reviews for all the films in many other popular series and franchises, such as Star Wars, Rocky, Indiana Jones, The Godfather, Fast & Furious, Mission: Impossible, John Wick, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and more, many of which include new or previously unpublished pieces to round out a series’ complete run;
Never-before-seen reviews of classics old and new, like Yasujirō Ozu’s Tokyo Story, Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Sanjuro, Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, Michael Mann’s Miami Vice, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, Bennett Miller’s Moneyball, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, and Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, all based on unpublished or unfinished writing;
An unpublished set of reviews of the early albums of Bob Dylan, which I wrote over a decade ago for a project that was eventually shelved;
Some of my earliest Colorado Kids reviews, which have been hidden away on my computer for many, many years now, and I am setting free for the first time in over fifteen years;
Three sets of Appendices, one of which includes a “Top 10 Films of the Year” list for every year of my lifetime, from 1992 to 2022
The eBook will be available in two formats: First, there is an Amazon Kindle version that you can buy worldwide on Amazon. I’m linking to Amazon US in this post, but it’s also available on Amazon UK, Australia, Japan, and so on – anywhere Amazon distributes eBooks, for the equivalent of $9.99 USD in your local currency. You can pre-order it now, and it will be delivered to your device on October 8th.
Second, if you buy through our Weekly Stuff Podcast page on Ko-fi, you’ll get the book in three different versions. One is the same EPUB file being sold on Amazon, which you can open with any tablet, eReader, or application you like! Second is a PDF that is more specially formatted, including images for each of the films; this is sort of my ‘definitive’ version in terms of layout, made to look like a big, welcoming coffee table book. It looks great on your computer or on a tablet, or if you wanted to print it out (which would be a lot given the book’s length, but hey, that’s for you to decide!) And the third is a compressed version of that PDF that’s a smaller file size, with lower-quality images, but all the same text and formatting – probably better for a smart phone. This will cost $10 and be available on Ko-fi, and is the best way to buy and support the book, giving you the most options. That will go live on Sunday, October 8th as well.
Sean Chapman and I will be talking about the book a little bit on this week’s Weekly Stuff Podcast episode, and there will be a special episode on October 8th where we’re going to discuss it at greater length, and you’ll hear me reading a selection of 10 reviews as a little audiobook ‘preview’ of what you can expect from the full thing.
I am so excited to finally share this project with the world. If you’ve got any questions about it or where/how to buy, let me know! And if money is a hardship for you, for whatever reason, please just shoot me an email or a DM and I’ll send you a copy – especially if you’re a student, because I’d love for this book to serve an educational purpose for anyone learning about film or how to write about film.
Thanks for reading The Weekly Stuff Wordcast! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.