Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Drop2013Another year has come to a close, so it’s time once again to take a look back at that year on the blog. Just like everybody else in the blogging community. 2013, I’ll admit, was a bit of a rough year for the blog. A broken tooth disrupted a lot of my movie viewing and posting early on, and just general busyness disrupted it in the last few months. The last few months in particular, where the blog had to go on the back burners sometimes due to being busy with more important tasks, caused me to do a little re-evaluation of things. There is therefore going to be a little change in that regard in 2014: I’m going to stop worrying about it.

The calendar sidebar widget is gone, and I do not anticipate it coming back. I’m not going to remind myself of missed updates because I’m not going to hold myself to a “post every day” schedule. It’s unrealistic, especially if it’s mostly movie reviews, and it makes it less fun. I’d rather watch films when I feel like it, and review them if I feel like I have something interesting to say. It isn’t rational for me to spend effort writing a review for a middling movie that neither I nor you are going to care about just for the sake of turning a number on a calendar blue instead of grey. So if I don’t feel like watching a movie on a particular day, I’m not going to fret about it. If I think a movie I’ve watched isn’t notable enough to review, I won’t. This probably means the three-star films will dip a little bit — it’s easier to write when you love or hate something. Mediocrity is less prone to be interesting. In practice, this change probably won’t look like a big one (especially compared to the last couple months), but it will take a little of the self-imposed pressure off. It’ll also mean that if I need extra time to write a review — such as those Favorite Films whoppers — it will be easier to manage.

So that’s what will be. Now on to what was.

January brought an interesting lesson on page views to pretty much everybody in the blogging community, as Google Images changed their search functionality. Now instead of always showing the page that an image comes from, it shows the image and gives the viewer the option to view the page — an option they seldom exercise. As a result, everybody’s page views dropped dramatically as we got a more realistic sense of who was actually viewing the blog and not just the pictures. Though I will note that Christmas Vacation is still one of my more popular posts, so it’s not completely gone.

I experimented with Reddit a few times, and while it was responsible for my most heavily-trafficked day, I have to say it’s not really worth the effort. Every once in a while it’ll garner a page some attention, but it’s rare — and it’s never permanent. I suppose if I were making money off advertising on the site (any ads currently on the site benefit WordPress, not me) I might feel differently, but as things are, I’m interested in comments and repeat visitors. A whole bunch of page views on one day is just an interesting highlight.

Despite the occasional outage, I still posted a total of 318 posts to the blog; 165 of these were movie review posts. Additionally, I wrote 16 movie reviews for Fogs’ Movie Reviews. While he ultimately decided to shut down his site, I’m still glad to have had the opportunity to help out my friend by providing content for his site. Between the two sites, this brings my movie review total to 449 since I began blogging. Perhaps I should have worked in just one more this year to make it a nice round number.

2013’s Highlights:

Most Commented Post: As stated before, I consider comments a much better metric for popularity than page views (though the latter can be interesting as well.) The post that got the most comments this year was my review of Snow White and the Huntsman. Apparently you all like talking about Kristen Stewart. Following closely was Man of Steel.

Most Viewed Post: Just like last year, the post that technically got the most page views wasn’t from this year. It was my tech review of Flixster Desktop; I won’t link it here since some of the info is now outdated, but apparently there were a lot of people searching for where the program hid the movies. The most popular post that actually was from 2013 was Top 10 Unfilmed Superman Villains. This was the post that I linked to on Reddit, and which garnered 1200 page views in a single day. Posting right before the release of Man of Steel probably had a lot to do with that. It even did pretty well with the comments, largely due to the blog’s regular readers — like I said, Redditors don’t stick around.

Personal Favorite Post: It’s a bit of a toss-up here for me on what my personal favorite was. Obviously I enjoyed pretty much all of my rambles and top 10 lists, and most of the reviews — otherwise I wouldn’t be writing them. Gets a little hard to pick just one out of 300+. If I had to pick, though, it might be Superman vs. Batman vs. Apathy, in which I write why the plans for the Man of Steel sequel don’t thrill me. What can I say, it’s been a good year for Superman discussions. I’m not even quite done writing about Superman yet, as there’s another post that’s been kicking around in the back of my mind on it.

Favorite Film of 2013: I always feel a little odd picking a favorite of this year’s new films, considering I never get to see as many as I’d like to. I’ve seen eleven feature films that were released in 2013, and a few of those weren’t theatrically released. It’s even more difficult this year because what I did see fell more towards the middle than to the ends of the scale. I have not yet given a 5-star review to any film released in 2013… and of the 4-star films, not all of them are solid 4s. For the favorite, well, it’s Disney taking it once again, with Monsters University, the most solid of the 4-star 2013 films. It might be revisiting familiar ground, but it was a lot of fun.

Least Favorite Film of 2013: Here I feel even sillier, but the tradition is established. Just as I haven’t given out a 5-star review to a 2013 film yet, I also haven’t given out a 1-star review. I am certain there are 1-star 2013 films out there. I just haven’t seen them. So while last year I had a clear winner (or loser, if you prefer) where I felt that it probably was worse than the movies I hadn’t seen, this year I’m pretty sure my least-favorite is not the worst. It’s just the worst of the ones I’ve seen. It’s doubly awkward because again it’s a film that not many others will have seen. In this case, it’s the sleepy independent film Logos, which attempts to recreate the mediocre Pi without the novelty.

Most Regretted Omission of 2013: So many films I wanted to get to but didn’t have the opportunity, whether it was due to time or disposable income. Given that Disney, Pixar, etc., have taken my top spots for the last three years, Frozen looms large as an omission. Thor: The Dark World and Catching Fire both stand out as sequels I wanted to catch, and of course the continuing story of The Hobbit. But I think the biggest regret is going to be Gravity, as that looks like a film that really benefits from the big screen. Perhaps I’ll get lucky and it’ll show up in the second-run theatre so I can catch it there. (Side note: That theatre is currently slated for demolition sometime next year. Not pleased.)

Most Anticipated Film of 2014: 2014 is shaping up to be a stronger year than 2013, at least as far as the genre films I usually check out. Now, when it was originally announced, Robopocalypse was supposed to be out in 2014. Thanks to one thing and another, Spielberg hasn’t even started on it yet. I guess the world needed Jurassic Park IV more. But there’s still quite a lot to look forward to. Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks like a good follow-up to a good film. Guardians of the Galaxy has me intrigued, as it’s just weird enough to be fun, and could open up the superhero genre more. And of course, there’s the third and final Hobbit chapter. But I think what I’m most looking forward to right now is Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. I’ve seen all but two of Nolan’s films, and they’ve all been good, and almost all have been great. Interstellar has a good cast, and the little I’ve seen of the premise sounds entertaining.

Favorite Retro Film: While 2013’s films have rested in the middle, I did give out some 5-star and 1-star reviews to older films. In fact, I gave out nine 5-star ratings this year. Any of them are worthy films, and they range from the relatively recent Rango to the very venerable The General. But for my favorite of the year, it came down to a question of action or comedy. Goldfinger very nearly got the nod, but in the end I think A Fish Called Wanda is just a bit more rewatchable.

Least Favorite Retro Film: There were seven 1-star ratings given out this year, which is honestly less than I had thought. This included a few terrible romantic comedies, most particularly Valentine’s Day, and some cheesy horror movies. I have to note for the record that very little of this surprised me — most of these were Morbid Curiosity Files entries from the beginning. Now, considering one of those films was the legendarily terrible Troll 2, one might consider that an easy pick. But the question isn’t “worst crafted”, it’s “least favorite” — Troll 2 is good for a laugh. For an irredeemably terrible film, the clear decision is Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, a film which fails in pretty much every way imaginable.

Normally at this point I would talk about television and books, but to be honest, I’m not feeling like there was a whole lot that was notable enough to talk about. I kind of like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it hasn’t really caught fire yet. It’s not as dull as Arrow, but it ain’t a huge step up yet either. And I haven’t really caught anything new this year that I can recall. Burn Notice came to an end, more with a whimper than a bang, and most of the rest of television has been a sea of mediocrity. As for books, I’ve enjoyed some that I’ve read, and disliked a few others, but I haven’t done much talking about them here. I’ll try and correct that this coming year.

Speaking of this coming year, I plan to have another “theme month” in February. This might mean I’ll be posting every day during that month, but it may not. I’m going to just see what happens in that regard. It’s likely that the site’s 500th film review will happen during that month, which is nice because it pretty much guarantees that the 500th review will be worth talking about. In fact, just about everything that month should be something that any serious movie fan will want to talk about. But more on that in a month.

For today, all I’ve got left to say is thank you for hanging out with me for another year. The conversations with you are what make this fun. Here’s to 2014.

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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16 Responses to Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

  1. le0pard13 says:

    Impressive work no matter how you cut it, Morgan. Well done and Happy New Year, my friend.

    • Thanks, Leop. You were one of the top commentators, as usual, and you’re certainly the biggest booster of this site — as well as many others. Your retweets and shares have always been appreciated.

  2. Bubbawheat says:

    Dropping daily posts was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my site, I doubt you’ll regret it. Here’s to 2014!

    • I think if you had stuck with daily posts you’d have run out of older superhero movies by now. 😀

      But you’re right, I doubt I’ll regret it. It’s already made this past month a little easier. And it’ll be nice to watch a movie, say “I’ve really got nothing to say about this”, and then not say anything.

      • Bubbawheat says:

        Well, I wasn’t doing 7 movie reviews a week, only 3 at that time (along with 2 blog posts, a superhero shorts interview, and a follow friday blogger interview), and every time I dig into looking for superhero or comic book movies (the latter especially) I always seem to find another dozen or so.

  3. ckckred says:

    Happy New Year! 2014 does look very interesting for movies and television.

  4. Jaina says:

    Happy New Year, Morgan!

    The “pressure” of blogging and having a presence can feel insane at times. Should always be about when you want to blog about things you want to blog about. Good move there, for sure 🙂

  5. I’m 100% with you on scratching the daily posts idea. It’s far too draining, and I feel like overall quality is prone to suffer as well. I like the idea of just writing when there’s something interesting to say.

    Here’s to a great 2014!

    • Thanks, Eric. The quality was definitely a factor in my thinking as well.

      • Oops, I just re-read my comment — I should have clarified that I feel my own quality suffers when I try to have new content every day. Didn’t mean to imply yours does, if it came across that way. But yeah, this year my goal is to not try to force the writing. The last thing I want to do is make it feel like work, which quite honestly it was starting to in the last few months. It sounds we are on the same wavelength with that.

        • Oh, don’t worry; I knew you weren’t taking a shot. But yes, I do agree that forcing it makes it seem like work, and does lead to reviews that feel like I’m just phoning it in. So now if I feel like I’ve got nothing to say, I’m going to consider that a good indication that maybe I shouldn’t say anything. 😀

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