My 2013 Year in Review, part 1
Tomorrow I am going to post my Top 20 films of the year, and my LAFCA voting ballot. First, here is a breakdown of how I spent my 2013. I started doing this to jog my own memory, and then decided I might as well post it, as context on my choices, which are probably quite different than they would have been had I spent the year as a full-time newspaper movie critic. And it’s also a handy reference to all of the work I published this year.
—Researching/writing the Meryl Streep book
—Profiled Charlie Sheen and Roman Coppola for LA Weekly
—Finished first draft of Streep book.
—At some point I was commissioned to write the text for a proposal for a book compiling contact sheets from still photos taken on the sets of classic movies. The proposal was due pretty much simultaneously with the Streep draft, and then nothing happened for awhile.
—Flew to Albuquerque, where my boyfriend was working on an episode of Breaking Bad. Hung out for a few days, then road tripped by myself to Phoenix, where I stayed for a few days to watch Spring Training games, then drove back. This was my “I just wrote a book in three months” vacation.
—Researched and wrote about the Super Mario Brothers movie for Grantland
—Edited/responded to initial queries on Meryl Streep book.
—Wrote about Al Pacino as Phil Spector for Slate
—Temporarily relocated to Paris, where my boyfriend was writing a screenplay.
—Made a couple of trips to London and various non-Paris parts of France.
—Did press for my book on Al Pacino, which was released in late May.
—Did more Meryl Streep edits.
—Went to Cannes, where I did some interviews for Grantland.
—Wrote an essay for the UK DVD release of Simon Killer.
—Spent most of the rest of this time trying to learn French, riding bikes, going to matinees of old American movies, reading/researching Hollywood fiction and starting to take notes for a writing project which I’m still working on, but which is not really enough of a thing yet to talk about.
—Came back to Los Angeles.
—The contact sheet book was approved to go forward, so I started writing/researching that in earnest as soon as I returned, and that’s been something to do for most of the fall.
—Post-season baseball. Ugh.
—Moved into a new house, the first actual house house I’ve ever lived in other than my dad’s house. Went into a brief nesting/domestic daze, culminating with cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 25 people.
—Wrote about Joe Swanberg, Harvey Weinstein and Oprah Winfrey for Grantland.
—Reviewed James Franco’s new novel Actor’s Anonymous for Slate
—Served on a jury at the AFI Film Festival
—Wrote an essay for a new Masters of Cinema DVD of Serpico.
—Tried to learn how to screen print T-shirts; failed. Successfully learned how to make iron-on T-shirts.
—Tried to get caught up on everything I missed by not being a working film critic in order to vote with the LA Film Critics Association; failed, but voted anyway (see my ballot tomorrow).
All of which is to say that I sat out most of the critical spats of the year, and also missed a lot of movies, partially out of logistics, and partially out of lack of interest; my head was stuck in the past. Still, I found a lot of films I felt passionate about, enough that I couldn’t contain my list to ten. More tomorrow.
How to get a free, limited edition Meryl Streep poster or T-shirt
Around this time last year, I quit my job as film critic at the LA Weekly and Village Voice, in part because I was writing a book about Meryl Streep. The book is now finished, and it would make a great holiday gift. It’s a fully-illustrated, coffee table style book, but it’s also a fairly serious, extensively researched, long form (+/- 50,000 words) work of film criticism. It’s perfect for the Meryl Streep super fan in your life — a friend or relative who has followed Streep since the ‘70s, or a younger devotee drawn in by Streep’s late-career surge — but it’s also potentially of interest to anyone who cares about acting, celebrity, feminism, the relationship between pop culture and social history and the evolution of female power in Hollywood. It’s both nostalgic, and current. It has something for everyone.
The only problem with giving my book as a gift is that it’s not actually coming out until January 15, which is, from what I hear, not exactly the most fertile time for gift-giving. It is, apparently, exactly 3 weeks after the year’s most fertile time for gift-giving.
But I refuse to be — or to allow you, the potential book reader/buyer, to be — beholden to this inconvenient timing. So here’s what I’m proposing:
If you pre-order the book — from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or elsewhere — between now and 6pm EST on December 16, email me evidence of this pre-order and I will send you a handcrafted free gift, which you can wrap and pass along to the person to whom you would otherwise give my book, as a placeholder until the book arrives.
For your gift, you can choose one of the following:
—Limited edition Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor poster, with art by Zachary Johnson.
You may know Zach’s work from the alternate posters he’s drawn and painted for the movies made by his cousin, Rian Johnson (see below). Zach is currently working on an image specifically for a small-batch poster run for my book. I’ll post the final image here when it’s done in a couple of days. Until then, here is Zach’s poster for Rian’s most recent film, Looper:
—Custom made Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor t-shirt.
Here is my friend Noah Segan, wearing the T-shirt I made for him. He likes to wear v-neck shirts, and if you do too, that’s doable, but the default is a plain, crew-neck white T. The back is standard but I can put your choice of movie title on the front. When you email me your book receipt, if you want a shirt just let me know what size you prefer, and I will make it to order.
This is a completely DIY thing; both of these gifts I’m producing on my own time, with my own money. I’m not doing this to make money (I don’t even expect to break even). I’m just really proud of and excited about this book, and I wanted to try something fun to get you guys excited about it, too.
If you have any questions, email me at karina dot longworth at gmail dot com or find me on Twitter. Thanks!
(Disclaimer: I will do everything I can to get these gifts out in enough theoretical time to make it to you by December 24, up to and including door-to-door delivery in the Los Angeles area, but when it comes to shipping I can’t absolutely guarantee anything.)