Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Introduction of William H. Dirkness

William H. Dirkness (The H stands for Hoffman, and you know why)

For years upon years now, I have been showering you all with my sports wisdom freshly squeezed from my golden mane (with a little extra knowledge emanating from my beard as of late). But, now that I have the platform to do so, I'm gonna dip my pen in some company ink (#misusedcliches), and take on a new endeavor for the next two weeks...

MovieTox with William H. Dirkness

My passion for movies sprouted from a college course (English Topics in Youth Rebellion) where I wrote a paper for Professor Iain Ellis (A Punk-Brit-Rock-Hooligan who couldn't wait to tell me what a pansy Leonardo Dicraprio was in response to his casting in The Basketball Diaries) on Sam Mendes, concentrating mostly on his directorial work on American Beauty. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed what I had found once breaking down every scene of the film down (in the most elementary way possible).

That same semester I watched, and for the first time, really focused on the Academy Awards. It wasn't so much Ellen Degeneres that got me hooked, but just the whole atmosphere of the event. This led to a IMDB obsession, a Netflix infatuation, and an EW subscription that would be read on the pooper until this very day. It all peaked at the 2008 Oscars when my two favorite films of the 2000's (No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood) squared off for Best Picture honors. Since then, the Oscars have been an event scheduled on my calendar, and I look forward to them every year.

But now, it's time to take it to the next step. Writing about movies. I've been on a quest to watch all 10 of the Best Picture nominees this year, and share my personal rankings 1-10 with the world. My goal isn't to judge the cinematic achievement of the films, but rather share with you what they meant to me on a more personal level. Movies aren't intended to mean the same things to everybody, which is what can make people's opinions of them so fascinating.

I've put together a list of criteria that I look for in movies that I watch (in no particular order). I don't use them to the rate the movies in any way, because I don't feel like movies are meant to be relegated to numbers like that. I might reference a certain criterion that a movie excels at or disappoints in. Here's the list:

  • Substance - The essence of what goes into a movie. The script. The depth. The message.
  • Style - All-encompassing feel of a movie. I'm more of a style over substance kinda guy.
  • Originality - Has it been done before? Or, more importantly, have I seen it before?
  • Creativity - This is what separates the men from the boys (and also why it's hard for me to enjoy action movies). I draw your attention to a brilliant scene in (500) Days of Summer where a split-screen of reality and the main character's expectations play out simultaneously. Can't get it out of my head.
  • Risk-taking - Give me something my Mom wouldn't like.
  • Connectivity - Did you relate with it? Did the movie spark an emotional reaction out of you?
  • Transcendence - Does it take you above and beyond the movie itself? Or is it supposed to?
  • Entertainment Value - Was there a story? Did I care? Would I suggest it to my dumb friends?

So for all those sports fans out there, this will be just a short 2 week hiatus until after the Oscars, while I give movie blogging a shot (although the always growing live Gametox will continue). I'll be hitting you with my thoughts on each and every Best Picture nominee (yes, even The King's Speech if I don't fall asleep at it tonight) over the next two weeks. Be sure to check back make some fun.

William H. Dirkness


Anonymous said...

Cool. I'm looking forward to the next two weeks.

Dr. Zaveous

The Leadoff Man said...


I'm toasting your hiatus from sports with a nice frothing Budweiser purely cuz i've been waiting for you to finally expand this blog site hopefully in terms of keeping us up to date on "The Master", PSH, PTA, and EWs seasonal picks.

Nick the Nut and I were just reminiscing on Dr. Ellis the other day. I said I'm waiting on the day I see him bee-boppin across Hollywood Blvd. goin to an underground britpop club or at a book signing for his NY Times bestselling britpop dissertation. Nut said he figures he'll see him playin futbol in Central Park drinkin Guinness with a bunch of hooligan skins. Best class I ever took.

I appreciate the 8 characteristics you base your analysis on. I think you truly know the qualities to search for in a good FILM and not treat it like a MOVIE, which is what people consider a production when they dont search for artistic traits in it.

Bravo on shouting out to one of the most creative scenes in recent film..I hold (500) Days and THE WACKNESS as the 2 films that really stand out to me as a step forward in modern filmmaking and scored highly in your categories (most notably b/c the directors had a pure music video background...Fincher anyone?)

I won't condemn your rating system, but I really do feel you are leaving out in my opinion one of the most essential elements of film....the AESTHETIC quality. I know not everyone looks for great cinematography or lighting or movement or editing...but I try to convince more people to look beyond just the storyline/meaning. If you added AESTHETIC to your list, you would be The Master.

Jonny Utah

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His Dirkness said...

Leadoff Man I'm not sure if you've put down the frosty frothy Budweiser since the disaster that was KU-KState on Monday. And that's not a condemning statement, but rather a recognition of accomplishment. However, that money should be saved away into the Pujols fund if you were a true die-hard.

I purposely avoided the term 'film' instead opting for 'movie' to avoid any pretentiousnessism. I didn't wanna go all King's Speech on my audience (although my prior usage of the word 'pooper' may have already given that message).

As far as your concern about the aesthetics of film go...I believe all the aspects that you care so strongly for are already heavily considered under style. In fact, they make up the base for my Omaha Stylee criterion. Your fellow DPers and Key Grip mates will not go unnoticed, for this I am sure.

W.H. Dirkness

Leadoff Man said...

You've explained yourself well Sir Dirk, obviously I should've known better in my Budweiser-induced analyzation to not have even deemed it necessary to point out what WHD may have missed.

Maybe I should just stick to the popular generic comment of "Good article. Cool. Well said. Nice. Man."

His Dirkness said...

Come on everybody, gather round, at the same time now so The Leadoff Man is sure to hear it....1, 2, 3.....

NAH, I DON'T THINK SO! (kid-faintly heard from a few in the back)

I won't have any of that Kid B. I hope that you don't think that your comment wasn't taken into consideration because it most surely was. Maybe it would've been better rationalized if I had explained that not all the criterion are weighted equally, with style certainly being one of the most crucial aspects.

Also, if you happen to run into PTA out in the 'Wood, do me a favor and give him my card and tell him I might come into some free time around April, and I'd love to work something out on The Master, pronto!

W. Hoffman D.