Every thirty seconds, a new film blog is born.

And every day, one of those is about movies “from a Christian perspective.”

The more film blogs there are, the more I’m losing interest in participating in them or reading them.

The more I discover and enjoy great movies, the more I come to think that most of the films that rate in the U.S. box office Top Ten each week seem trivial and disposable by comparison. Oh sure, they’re relevant because people are seeing them and talking about them. But in search for meaningful dialogue about art, I want to spend time talking about the best films… not just the most popular. And most film blogs are about commercial entertainment more than they are about art.

Over the last few years, I’ve had a lot of fun throwing around trivia and rumors and watching favorite comic book stories become movies. But I’ve also wasted a lot of time pondering trivia and rumors. People could have read such speculation, or found links to those “breaking news” stories on hundreds of other sites, spelled out in wild variations. Such stuff is starting to bore me. These days, I often prefer blogs of writers with whom I vehemently disagree because, well, they inspire those strong feelings in me by demonstrating passionate thoughtfulness. I’d rather read an aggravating perspective by a thoughtful, attentive moviegoer than just another post about who might play Wonder Woman.

As a longtime film-trivia blogger myself, I’m criticizing myself here more than anybody. Lately, I’ve felt an urgency to invest my time in more meaningful writing. I mean, anybody can find out who’s being cast in The Avengers on a bazillion blogs. Does Jesus really need me to join the chorus?

So I’m less and less interested in investing time here at Looking Closer with just another link to Variety with casting news for another potentially-blockbusting, potentially-disappointing superhero movie. I’d rather focus on trying to contribute something personal and unique to the dialogue about film, or else drop the subject altogether. I want to do something that helps us live our lives inspired by the beauty and truth of art, not something that keeps us from living meaningful lives by wasting our time with entertainment buzz. There are too many more important things to do.

I mean, really: Do we need one more film blog that’s going to post the trailer for Star Trek? Or that’s going to rush to be the first to declare “the movie of the year” when it’s only March? Or that’s going to contribute to time-wasting, lurid hubbubs around things like, oh, the Joaquin Phoenix appearance on Letterman? “Hey, look! A celebrity’s embarrassing himself! And I present this to you for the glory of God!”

Way to be relevant.

As these questions and frustrations have gone from a nagging whisper to a shout in my head, I’ve recently received several invitations to blog for other websites. They offer to post high-profile links to my website on their site. And I’m grateful for the compliment and the opportunity. But frankly, I really don’t want to spend time writing about movies unless I feel that it’s really going to contribute something meaningful to people’s lives. I believe that art is essential, and in a culture that buzzes about the director chosen for the sequel to Alvin and the Chipmunks… I think we need even more people taking time to teach us how to engage with art in a way that will enrich our lives.

It’s not my intention here to condemn film-buzz sites. I’m just encouraging people who blog that way, as I have, to stop and ask themselves if this is really the best thing they could contribute to the experience of art for their readerships with that time and space. Are we really serving people? Or are perpetuating “idle talk”? My fellow Christians often go into hysterical convulsions if somebody uses the word “shit,” but does anybody care if pages and pages of “engaging pop culture” amounts to… well… a load of crap?

I could spend all day reading details that have almost zero relevance to my life, my vocation, my relationships. How much time do I spend reading this stuff when compared to how much time I spend talking to friends and family about the details of their lives?

Confession: I know more about the upcoming Wolverine movie than I do about what’s going on in my brother’s life right now. How sad is that?

I really, really, really don’t care who’s currently being considered for parts in Dawn Treader. Especially since the folks running those movies are clearly more concerned with ticket sales than preservation of Lewis’s vision. Call me when the movie arrives. Then we’ll really have something to talk about. (But, on the other hand, I *am* interested in who’s involved in the adaptation of Silence, because that is a work of literature that has changed my life, and I see the potential for the film to inspire a passionate conversation in our society about the definition of faith. But I don’t want to waste time musing about the buzz so much as I want to make people aware of a story that has tremendous significance to me.)

So if you notice less trivia, and fewer posts, here at Looking Closer in the coming months, that’s part of the reason why.

Why am I bringing this up?

Friends of mine are brainstorming a new film site. I’m interested in their perspectives on film, so I’m excited to see what they come up with. They’ll be unveiling it soon. So I want to hear from you:

  • Have you had enough of film blogs?
  • What would you advise these writers and moviegoers NOT to do?
  • What would you like to see them do that other film blogs aren’t doing?
  • Would you encourage them to make room for comments? Or does that take away from the appeal of the site?
  • Would you like frequent, short posts, or occasional, more substantial quotes?
  • What would inspire you to tune in?
  • Some, if not all, of the writers are Christians. What shape should “Christian perspective” take?
  • Are there other blogs that you’re excited about that you would recommend as examples of significant contributions to film dialogue?

I’m curious. Pick one or two of these questions and let me know what you think. Or, heck, answer them all!

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