Wednesday, May 13, 2020

For Movie Lovers

by Rob DiCristino
“Far and away, the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Sometime in 2012, I was digging around the internets for a movie podcast. Podcasts were still a relatively new phenomenon, at that point, and although I had been listening to Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s SModcast since its 2007 inception, I hadn’t yet ventured out to find other shows on other topics of interest. Believe it or not, it was kind of tough to find quality stuff, back then. The nascent iTunes Podcast Store was far from comprehensive, and random listens to two or three dozen shows quickly taught me that halfway-decent thumbnail art does not necessarily denote a quality podcast. It’s not about production value, though. Not really. I listened to (and still listen to) SModcast because of the personalities involved. I’m a Kevin Smith fan. I’m a fan of his lore, his mythology, and point of view. I care about his family and his career. I connect with him because he’s easy to connect with, and hours spent in the car on long commutes go by quicker when it feels like you’ve got a friend along for the ride. I wanted more of that, please.
I found a list of “the best movie podcasts” and started digging. I didn't know what I was looking for, truth be told, but I knew that I wasn’t finding it. Most of the shows were pretentious or self-serious; too many were looking to make Definitive All-Time Lists or offering historical authority by parroting IMDb trivia (This is still a problem in podcast land, of course, and I imagine it always will be). Too many offered to tell me Ten Things I Didn’t Know About Jaws (spoilers: I knew them) or argued from critical perspectives with which I simply didn’t agree. I didn’t need a film education. I already knew about Edison and I already knew about the New Hollywood and I already knew what a split diopter does. I just wanted warm conversation from like-minded people who didn’t have anything to prove. Eventually, I made it to F This Movie!. I wish I could tell you which show it was, but I know that JB was the co-host. What followed was an hour of conversation between people who sounded like they were friends. I gleaned little personal details — JB was a teacher; Patrick’s wife’s name was Erika — and heard genuinely interesting discussion that didn’t feel like academic gymnastics.
I was soon listening every week, laughing along with Mike and Doug and discovering new curiosities like #Junesploitation and #ScaryMovieMonth. I started reading “Riske Business” and “Unsung!” I started getting a sense of everyone’s preferred flavors and following along with their recommendations. I cheered their victories and mourned their defeats. I left the stray comment here and there, but I mostly just lurked around as the site became daily essential reading. Patrick and his merry band reminded of what Last Action Hero’s Danny Madigan taught me as a child: that “Movie Lover” was a thing you could be, that love of — and unceasing discussion about — movies could enrich your life and the lives of others around you. They reminded me that I spoke a surprisingly universal language and that knowing the name and birthplace of every Star Wars character wasn’t a handicap, but an asset. I soon began my own small movie blog, cranking out Ebert imitations in an effort to refresh my long-dormant writing chops. Over two years, that endeavor evolved into another blog and a small podcast. But they were just sitting there, mostly untouched. It didn’t feel the same. I wasn’t building anything. I didn’t have a community. What I did have, however, was a portfolio of reviews and F This Movie’s email address.
Most of you know the rest because I never shut up about it. Read a travelog article from my first #FThisMovieFest or listen to an emotional breakdown on the tenth anniversary Zoom conference. I worship this place. I’m a pretty withdrawn guy, but I know when and how to get gregarious, and I’m not shy about sharing my pride. I worked hard to become (and remain) a member of the F This Movie! family, work that has since translated into all kinds of other opportunities and bred some of the most important relationships in my life. I’m proud to share a microphone with Patrick and his merry band. They’re my heroes. They do hard work worth doing. Running this site and hosting our events is hard work. Producing articles every week is hard work. At a certain point, even watching and caring about movies becomes hard work. We’re not getting rich off of this, folks, and any one of us could walk away at any time. But we never do. We only get closer and more involved. We only get more vocal and more supportive. We only scream our movie love from higher and higher rooftops. This is true love, after all. You think this happens every day?


  1. Well-said and heartfelt as always, Rob. As an introvert who is easily distracted, I admire people of passion. You overflow with passion, and your friendship and loyalty to this site and community make it all the better. Thanks for writing this, and for sharing yourself with all of us.

    1. Thanks, Erich! Speaking of sharing: Theres an #FThisMovie10 theme coming, right?


  2. Spoilers for Rob: I wrote that top ten podcast article. BOOM.

  3. Count me amongst those who were moved by your story on Zoom! Thank you for sharing your movie love. And, finally, bonus points for closing out with a Princess Bride reference! Keep on.

  4. Just move to Chicago already Rob.