28 April 2008

More to Life

Matt Zoller Seitz is one of the few film critics whose reviews I will read regardless of what he is reviewing, because even when my taste is different from his (his love of Brian DePalma perplexes me, for instance), his reviews usually make me think about or notice things I wouldn't otherwise.

He's giving up print journalism, though. In a long conversation with Keith Uhlich (who will be taking over command of Seitz's collaborative blog The House Next Door) this passage particularly struck me:
There’s more to life than movies, and I don’t think that, ten years ago, I don’t think I would have said that. But I’m saying it now: there is more to life than movies. And I remember a conversation with Sean Burns—I think it might have been in the comments section of the blog—he casually mentioned that Gene Siskel, God rest his soul, was… there was somebody who looked down on Siskel for saying that he skipped some film festival to go to a basketball game. And Burns was completely approving of [Siskel], and I am too. I am too: Go to the goddamn basketball game! And when I look back on those hundreds and hundreds of hours that I spent watching movies—many of which were not that memorable, and many of which did not tell a whole lot that I didn’t know—when I realized that they were hours that are gone now and I’m not getting them back… It makes me mad. It makes me mad, honestly, that I’m not gonna get those hours back. You know those are hours I could have been spending with my family. With my loved ones.
Seitz won't be disappearing, though. He's got various film projects to work on.
I’m just at the point where I feel like I need to try to concentrate my energies, which are not as profuse as they used to be, on things that I think have a reasonable shot at making me happy. Print does not satisfy me in the way that it once did. In fact, it feels too much like work. And I want to do things that feel like play. And maybe turn ‘em into work, you know? The ideal is to have your job be something that doesn’t feel like a job, and that was the case for me for years with print criticism. It’s not the case anymore.
Seventeen years of writing criticism sounds to me right now like an eternity, so much as I will miss looking for Seitz's reviews, I completely understand his decision, and look forward to seeing the results of his future work.

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