No matter how it ended for you, no matter where things left off, and no matter how you felt about what transpired, 2016 was a trying year. It tried our patience. It tried our sanity. It tried our humanity. The average among us – and that is damn near all of us – tried our best, I like to think. We weathered the storms, savored the highs, and survived the lows. If you are here with me now, we made it through, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.
Last Cinema Standing took a backseat in 2016 to events both personal and universal. I did not write as much as I would have liked or hoped – nor as it turned out, as much as I needed. If this site is nothing else, it is a place for me to share with the world that which is close to my heart and to be a small part of that world. As always, I thank those of you who join me on this journey for your indulgence, your support, and your participation. Such things are not lost on me.
I began a new professional job in January 2016 as a copy editor and web writer for the sports department of the New York Post. While adjusting to my new circumstances – which included a shift to working evenings and late nights – I continued my tradition of breaking down the Oscars category by category. I wrote more on the Academy Awards race in 2016 than I did the previous year, and I wrote too much that year. This is a long way of saying I burned myself out early and what felt like irretrievably.
It is a rewarding job in many ways, and it does not escape me that to watch, write, and read sports as a profession is to live a dream most people would hardly dare imagine. I love it, but it has become increasingly clear it cannot be my whole life. Film is my first love, and I put it on the backburner this year, whether for reasons of fatigue, lack of focus, or divided energies.
I do not make New Year’s resolutions because life is a continuum without regard for the calendar, and we are all works in progress. However, when reflecting for this series on the past 12 months – particularly the past 10 – it is clear I have moved away from that which has made be happy and that in which I have previously found solace. Such will not be the case, I promise to myself, this year.
At the end of November, I proposed to my longtime girlfriend as we stood in the cold in front of the New York Metropolitan Opera House. We had celebratory drinks steps away at the Lincoln Ristorante, a flight of stairs above the Elin Bunin Munroe Film Center, the best place in New York City to see a film. You see, no matter the occasion, cinema is never far from my heart.
When you spend much of your life in the dark of a theater, it helps to have a partner there to share the experience. It is also helpful if that partner will drag you out into the light, which it is sometimes easy to forget exists. In these twin endeavors, I could not wish for a better partner in life and cinema than my fiancée. As supportive as one can be, she is that and more, and on my best days, my hope is I am able to return the favor.
This site began in earnest in July 2007 as a way to promote active engagement in the films we watch. Film is the only medium capable of showing us who we are as a people, of taking us outside of ourselves, and of demonstrating what the world is like for so many people we will never meet or know. Now, more than any time in the site’s history, these qualities of film are crucial to processing the world as it unfolds around us.
The mission of this site has never changed. For anyone who wants to understand this world a little better, Last Cinema Standing will be there with you in the dark of the theater, looking for a light that shows us what any of this means.