End of the year stuff

I’ve posted my annual “Best and Worst Movies” article, as well as “Eric’s Media Inventory: What I Watched and Read in 2005.” The articles speak for themselves, I reckon. I wanted to say a few words about the movies, though.

There were 363 movies released in 2005 that I “should” have reviewed — that is, 363 new films that played for at least a week apiece in the markets I lived in.

I did not see all 363 of them. To the best of my knowledge, there is no film critic who reviews EVERY movie that opens in his market, not even when there’s a newspaper paying him to do so. There’s always vacation time, or a scheduling conflict, or something. Roger Ebert is widely praised (and rightly so) for seeing even the crappy stuff that surely a man of his status and influence could avoid, yet even he misses some. He reviewed 284 movies this year. Something like 250 is typical for the average critic at the average metropolitan daily newspaper, though some big-city critics split their duties with another reviewer, which considerably reduces each person’s total.

I reviewed 303 of those 363 movies. That’s 60 that I missed. Of those, nearly all were “arthouse” movies, the kind that play on a few screens at a time, slowly moving from city to city. The only wide releases I missed were “In the Mix” (starring Usher) and “The Gospel” (starring no one; it was about a gospel choir; remember it?).

The markets I lived in were Salt Lake City through June, Portland thereafter. Both cities have thriving arthouse scenes, though Portland’s is a little more extensive. It’s not for the reason you’d think, though. Portland is a more liberal, cosmopolitan city than Salt Lake — but the bigger factor is simply that it has more people. If Salt Lake had the same size population as Portland, I suspect its number of arthouse screens would be about the same, too.