It's a tough week to write the Beat. If you're very attentive to my publishing schedule (and I forgive you if you aren't), you might have noticed that last week came and went without an installment. The day you normally find me slaving over a computer for your reading pleasure found me instead avoiding snakes, spiders, and other such swampy critters on the set of Jonah Hex. Of course, I can't say anything more about that. But now you can thank the Powers That Be that nothing poisonous bit me (and oh, how it was a possibility -- if you follow my Twitter, you know exactly what I'm talking about) so that you can hear about it someday.
I mention all that not to brag, but because it's connected to the only two things I can really write about this week. For the first time in my short career, I now find myself in the awkward position that lies between fandom and professionalism. When you read my rantings about Star Trek, Wolverine, comic conventions, Marvel movies, and collectibles, they come purely from my heart. (How mushy!) I still pay to get into every movie I write about. I buy my own action figures, posters and comic books. I receive no swag. No perks. Just some beer money from Cinematical and the comments of my readers. But it's difficult to convince people of that. For one, I'm already in a weird and privileged position of being paid for doing what others happily do for free, and that immediately makes the playing ground uneven and awkward. But now I'm moving into a whole new territory of access. I know that it makes me immediately suspect -- I know this because I immediately suspect anyone who has enjoyed free access, perks and junkets. It's a painful thing to realize that people might stop believing or trusting in me because I'm given a nebulous access.
I also wonder how one seperates personal fandom from professional neutrality. I geek out about, well, everything. If you read enough of my posts here, you can usually figure out who or what I'm currently obsessing over, as I seem to have no filter between the public and the private. So when faced with writing about something I've been given a chance to see or hear about, how the heck do I stop geeking out about it? How do you step away from the fandom and look at it from a critical angle? It's a tricky thing and while it's getting easier, it's a tough thing to balance, particularly since the fun of this job is writing as a fan, and being a representative for a wider community.
But enthusiasm! Let's talk about that now. How do you keep geeking out about stuff? Not only is there a level of marketing saturation that becomes mind-numbing but oh, how the disappointments rack up! Here we are, battered by a blockbuster of May, and I can feel the malaise setting in -- and it's not even June. We've been pretty disappointed, haven't we? How can you keep talking about that? You and I have spent a year writing and reading about these movies, and just like that, it's over ... and even when you live and breathe cinema as you and I do, don't you wish you could just borrow the Terminator time machine and send yourself back to the year when Jurassic Park (or whatever its equivalent was for you) blew your mind? Why do we keep having to settle?
Not only does the lingering disappointment leave me nothing to write about (I mean, really, how many times can I rant about Wolverine?), but when I scan the trades and newswire for inspiration, what do I see? Remakes and reboots. The stuff that made me who I am, and who you are is being reheated and served up to the next generation. While I have this weird hope that it'll act as cloning, and 20 years will see a younger, fresher Elisabeth Rappe writing The Return of the Geek Beat ... what if it doesn't? What if fandom ends with you and I because no one thought, hey, there should be other things to pick from than multiple versions of Flight of the Navigator? Sure, the old stuff will be around, but what do you give a kid after they've watched Star Wars or Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The reboot of said properties? I dug Star Trek like everyone else, but what hath it wrought if everything is going to split into an Ultimates sort of universe?
But listen to me go on like Walt Kowalski. I know, deep down, that this is just a really bad week for fandom and for moviegoers. You can't appreciate good movies unless you have the bad. In a few short days we'll have Up, from a studio that just seems to have a bottomless bag of magic tricks. We'll return to Hogwarts. We'll meet the Basterds. We'll find out just what Avatar is. Sherlock Holmes will solve a Guy Ritchie mystery. We'll meet the Grene Lantern and Captain America. The Avengers will assemble. I know we've got good things coming ...
... I just hope you'll continue to trust me whenever I tell you all about it.