Saturday, March 1, 2014

Five Years, 540 Films, And Yet So Much More to Do

March 1, 2009. 

That was the date of my very first posting here at Rick's Café Texan.  I began not with the goal of becoming an Icon of Film Reviewers that you see before you.  Rather, I started this site because I love film and wanted to share my enthusiasm for movies.

My film reviewing philosophy has been to judge a film based on what it is trying to do, not whether I think it is great 'art'.  This is why I gave something like The Hangover or I Love You, Man my highest grade of an A in the same way I can give something like Precious or The Spectacular Now an A.  Their intention was to make me laugh, and laugh I did, while the others wanted to make me cry, and while I didn't I did get highly emotional and was moved by great performances and a great story.

Similarly, this is why something like Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters can get a passing grade from me.  I wasn't expecting anything other than a mindless good time with that, and I got what I expected.  That being the case, why would I say I didn't enjoy it (even if I didn't or wouldn't consider it a great film)?     

Today, on this my anniversary, March 1, 2014, I look back in wonder at how far I've come with my writings and musings on film and television.  In these five years I have gone through many different types of films, a few good ones, some that I absolutely detest, and some that have surprised me.  On the whole, all the films I have watched have been a great adventure. 

That is the great thing about whenever one starts a movie: the possibilities are endless.  A film highly praised by my fellow critics I may end up hating (The Tree of Life), which a movie so many trashed I end up crazy about (Citadel).  That has been a pledge of mine from Day One: I will always say what I think, not what I think I should say.  I could have gone along with others and declared The Social Network the greatest film of all time, but while I thought it was a good film I was not overwhelmed with it.  Similarly, I bucked the trend to bash John Carter, and while not blind to its flaws I still think it is enjoyable, if nothing more. 

In short, I will always give people my unvarnished opinion regardless of whether it fits the majority's mood or not, and that pledge I will always maintain.

Some tidbits from my half-decade online:

Oldest Film Reviewed: The Birth of a Nation (1915).

Newest Film Reviewed: The Legend of Hercules (2014).

Overall Number of Films Reviewed (give or take): 540.

Television Programs Reviewed:

The Americans
Bates Motel
Franklin & Bash
Golden Boy

And this is not counting the miniseries or television movies I have covered from time to time, or an odd episode of the original Star Trek or Teen Wolf.

Then there is Doctor Who, a world onto itself, which spun off its own review site: Gallifrey Exile

As I stated, I write with a love for the subject, and while I have taken some film and scriptwriting courses, I claim no deep insight into cinema.  I reject snobbery when it comes to films.  This is why I am not a film critic.  That term suggests I am looking to find fault in something.  I'm not.  I go into every film and every episode hoping to see something great.  If one wants to be good at this gig, one has to be an optimist.

Of course, with all the good I have to recognize the bad.  The lowest point was when I wrote in my X-Men: First Class review about Auschwitz being a "Polish concentration camp".   That got me caught up in a terrible situation.  Polish-Americans came after me, highly upset that I had called Auschwitz a "Polish" camp.  I was completely unaware that Poles and Polish-Americans are extremely sensitive about having the death camps called "Polish" because they are correct: Poland did not exist between the Nazi invasion in 1939 and its liberation in 1945. 

I was rightly taken to task for my wrong choice of words.  I could still defend myself by pointing out that X-Men: First Class on-screen referred to Auschwitz being in 'Poland', but I won't hide from my mistake.  It was an honest mistake, but a terrible one nonetheless, and I take this opportunity again to apologize to the Polish and Polish-American community for my wrong choice of terms.

However, let us focus on the future.  To celebrate my Fifth Anniversary I will revisit my reviews, cataloging the Very Best and Very Worst Films I have reviewed.  I'll be posting a list of all the films that have earned an A and an F, and I also think I will put all the other grades in order too. 

This is part of another goal this year: inviting my readers (all 12 of you) to voice whether I have ranked a movie too high or too low.  Based on the suggestions, I will rewatch the movie in question and give it a Second Look.  I may change my mind, or make a stronger case for my original grade.

For now, I am so happy to be able to share my love of movies and television programs with you.  I am proud to be a member of the Online Film Critics Society (member in good standing since September 2011). 

Finally, I am thankful that Christ has allowed me the privilege and honor to keep writing about something I truly love and share my thoughts with you.  I pray that I may continue to do my very best work and that He continue to bless these sites, my schoolwork, and my life.

As always, I turn to Orson Welles, who upon accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute said what has become my motto...

To the Movies, To GOOD Movies,
To Every Possible Kind!


  1. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging and reviews. 540 movie reviews is quite an achievement! When you are saying that you want the readers to voice our opinion that you may have ranked a movie too high or too low, are you referring for us to say that in future reviews? Or I am missing something?


  2. After the Oscars, I'll start posting a list of all my reviews based on grade (all the As, Bs, Cs, Ds, and Fs) and then invite people to say whether I ranked something either too high or too low. Based on those recommendations, I'll rewatch that particular movie & reevaluate it.

  3. As a Polish American whose family suffered under German occupation, I would like to thank you for acknowledging the error.


Views are always welcome, but I would ask that no vulgarity be used. Any posts that contain foul language or are bigoted in any way will not be posted.
Thank you.