Saturday, August 09, 2008

Just so you know...

Outside the semi-regular Oscar posts, I realize this blog has been a bit bound and gagged lately, and yet the host site has not been stagnating as much as it may appear. As a place-marker and promissory note for future writing (as I finish revising the Julie and Vanessa essay, heading to my editor any day now...), let me just call some quick attention to some of the subtle but important changes that I hope you'll enjoy over at Nick's Flick Picks:

Remember, regular readers, when the site suddenly emerged from its literal Dark Ages of white text on black backgrounds? That happened a little over a year ago on the major pages of the main site, and a few months ago on this blog. Updating the individual review pages and special features is a painstaking process; Universal Replace software helps for the big stuff, but the html for all the awards information and permalinks are different on every page, so there's a lot of file-by-file revision to do. I'm up to about "H" right now as I fix my 2,000+ individual pages, but soon enough, all those reviews that used to look like this will look more like this. (Would that the actual movies made the same quantum leaps.) Please tell me when and where you notice obvious errors.

I've worked out some html kinks and beefed up some of the graphics on the Best Actress site especially, and I've added a new Best Picture interface, in case you haven't visited yet. Again, please let me know if things don't work.

The front page has been revised for the first time in a while, including tour-guide suggestions for new readers. Enjoy!

A major joy of recent years has been my increased access to festivals, imported DVDs, and other opportunities for viewing films outside of their commercial releases. This has wreaked a little havoc, though, on my system of classifying movies by year; last year, for example, I ranked 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days high on my Top 10 list after seeing it at CIFF, even though it hadn't officially premiered Stateside yet. I'm now revising for a more consistent policy of classifying by year of U.S. release from 1995 onward, when my regular theater-going habits really began, and by year of initial production for earlier years, when almost all of my viewing has involved retroactive catch-up. In addition to organizing the site more coherently, this change has led to a page for unreleased films, about which I'll have more to say soon. It also frees me up to finish those "Best of" Features that I got stuck on when I ran into eligibility quandaries. Stay tuned!

This increased attention to years of world premiere vs. years of U.S. release also has an impact on my Top Ten lists, which have recently been a bit indiscriminate on these points. Plus, WHO AMONG US doesn't occasionally wish to revise those lists. So, working backwards, I'm now outfitting each Year page with three Top Tens: one by U.S. release date, one by world premiere (including festival titles and delayed releases, which most of us didn't see until later), and the original list I wrote at the time, so I'm not falsely covering my earliest tracks, even as I've left myself new room to re-rank and re-prioritize in light of new encounters. You can see the changes already for 2003 (which further explains the image at the top of this post) and for every year since. For kicks, I've also furnished the runners-up, which are sometimes more interesting and less consensus-ish than the actual Top 10.

Changes will be even bigger for progressively more distant years, since my tastes have obviously changed in greater proportion, and my sense of exact release dates has been foggiest the further back you go. So again, stay tuned! The bumper years of 2002, 2001, and 1999, where I wondered even at the time how I could squeeze so much quality into a mere ten slots, are due for pretty intense overhauls, even though I still love all my original choices. (But no worries, Nathaniel: I'm no longer allowing myself ties!)

I've been re-watching lots of old movies and catching up with long-deferred pleasures while Nathaniel and Goatdog and I have been doing our Best Picture thing... which means, at long last, Year pages as far back as the Silent Era, currently up through 1933. Even more than on the modern Year pages, viewing lists, grades, and Top Tens on these pages will be subject to constant change—so once more, stay tuned! Disregard any link promising content after 1933, or before 1980. These are placeholders, but I know they're "broken" for the time being.

Are you bored yet? Eventually this blog will more obviously recede behind the main site, so I just like to keep you posted every now and then about what's going on over there during my massive Big Dig reconstruction. What I really can't wait to do after finishing all these nips, tucks, and overhauls, is to WRITE MORE and MORE OFTEN. The dream is still alive, and feeling closer all the time.

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Blogger Hayden said...

That's some exciting stuff. =]

11:12 PM, August 09, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Hayden: Even if you're just humoring me, you're very nice to say so!

1:04 AM, August 10, 2008  
Blogger goatdog said...

God, release dates give me hives. Your 4 Months example is perfect: it played a week-long qualifying run in LA to make it eligible for the 2007 Oscars, so that makes it a 2007 release. I think. Right? But it would take some googling of each film that might be in the same situation to make sure you have it in the right year, because sites like IMDB aren't all that helpful--it doesn't list the 4 Months run.

And then with older movies, what if they opened in the US years after they were released in their country of origin? What's the cutoff between (1) a new movie that's a bit slow in playing here and (2) an old movie? Three years? Five years? Thirty years (Killer of Sheep)? And of course my Oscar obsession has permanently scarred my ability to sort by year, because the year something was nominated will ALWAYS be the year I think of.

All of which means, you're a better man than I for trying to sort this out into a system.

9:38 AM, August 10, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

Oh, I forgot about that qualifying run in LA! So, I guess 4 Months has to move back. Whatever. With my new system, I can be buffeted by the winds of revelation (or of my own forgetfulness) and still just roll with the punches. Hooray!

And yes, it will be hard/ludicrous to ever think of Crash as a 2004 film or Away from Her as a 2006, but it is interesting to force myself to see those films in those contexts.

10:52 AM, August 10, 2008  

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