Hello, dear reader. If you are, in fact, a regular reader of Sonic Cinema, you’ve no doubt noticed a dramatic change to the website over the past couple of months. It was a necessary update that will, hopefully, be a more engaging experience for author and audience alike. The comments sections of reviews will be open for readers to contribute to, and the new hosting allows for easier ability to filter them. In addition, images can be added to the reviews, as well as links to trailers (or the entire film, in the case of short films), meaning a more aesthetically compelling look and feel to the site. I hope you enjoy it. Of course, if you’re a regular reader of Sonic Cinema, you’ll also notice a significant slowdown of review postings for current theatrical releases. For that, I want to share a bit about what life has had in store for me.
In October 2012, I caught dinner and the horror film, “Sinister,” with a friend of mine. We had started at the movie theater at the same time in 2001, and had become close friends over the years. In February of 2012, she left the theater to work at a different movie chain that was much closer to where she was living with her parents. We hadn’t seen each other much in the next 10 months, and wanted to catch up. That evening became weekly meetups for dinner and a movie, or something along those lines, until finally, on January 4, 2013, after we parted ways after watching “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” together, we were texting and she admitted that she had feelings for me. Her admission was not surprising to me, but I wasn’t quite at the same place she was yet. Nonetheless, there was enough there on my part to want to see where things headed, and so we started “officially” dating. This was the first, real romantic relationship I’d ever been in (although I had gone on dates before), and it was not long until I did caught up with my own feelings, and we were off from there. We took trips, did day-long dates together, and saw movies together, while I adjusted to a new normal. In October 2013, however, this “new normal” was upset when my father passed away after his heart finally gave out on him after 18 months of issues after a blockage nearly took his life. Although I had experienced death before, I wasn’t prepared for how dramatic a change this was going to cause in my own life, and not just because, the same weekend my dad died, our refrigerator in my parent’s house (which I was still living at) died as well, flooding the kitchen. This “new normal” was significantly harder to adapt to, and there’s a part of me that still hasn’t adjusted completely to it, and never will.
Three years after that dinner and “Sinister” evening of catching up, that friend and I are about to be married in a couple of weeks, and in the past two weeks, we have moved into an apartment together in preparation for a life lived together. This “new normal” arguably has as many pitfalls and challenges as the two previous ones- when my future bride and I began dating, and when my father died- but the past few years have helped prepare me for that in ways that, emotionally, I would not have been ready for otherwise. In fact, Meredith (the future Mrs. Skutle) has been an integral part of that, because without the emotional support she has provided, I probably would have been closed off and cowering in a corner alternately crying and shaking over the stress of being an only child, having to help make sure my mother was doing alright, and all the financial responsibilities with her house were taken care, as well as having to clean and organize the contents of our house in a way that it hasn’t seen in many years, since probably when we first moved in during the spring of 1988. The loss of a parent is never easy for a child, but when you have so many balls in the air yourself, and you have a profound life change of your own occurring, the pressure to step up can be insurmountable. I don’t know that I could have gotten through it without someone like Meredith in my life that I could talk to and confide in, and lean on emotionally- even considering all of the work I’ve done on myself from an mental standpoint when I had to do a “hard reset” in Winter/Spring 2008, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it.
Given how important movies are to me, and have been over the years, you would think I would double my efforts and get to as many as I could. And I have. Unfortunately, that number is considerably fewer than I normally prefer. Between a relationship and having so much stuff to work on at home, as well as a full-time job that is my only, real source of income, seeing movies in theatres has had to take a back seat, for the most part, and it’s been crushing, at times. Don’t get me wrong- I still have made a point to see the movies I really have wanted to see, but the times of seeing 100-plus movies in theaters year-in and year-out are over for me, and sometimes, that means difficult choices for what to skip in theaters. That has made the screening requests I’ve been getting regularly all the more important for Sonic Cinema, and I thank those of you who have kept them coming, and ask for patience as I get through them, because the next several weeks will be very, very busy for me, what with a wedding to get through, a domestic routine with my wife to develop, a busy holiday season at work, and some health issues I’m going to have to help my mom through. That just means that “do or die” theatrical experiences for films such as “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2” and “Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens,” and other movies, will be more important than ever to maintain my sanity.
I was inspired to write this after rewatching “Life Itself”, Steve James’s documentary on Roger Ebert. Ebert lost his physical voice back in 2006, but he never lost his philosophical voice, his critical voice, and his website and blog were an important part of his later years. The way he opened up about himself in those blogs were a revelation to myself and others who read his work, and it drew us closer to him as a person. James’s film captures that beautifully, and it reminded me that my own voice is aided immeasurably when I present it on here, and it’s accentuated when I share of myself in discussing not only my life, but movies. A movie like “Life Itself” isn’t just informative or entertaining to me but profoundly emotional, revisiting a place in my mind that is personal and intense. Such movies have been a big part of my moviewatching thus far as I’ve been in my new home; they’ve included “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, “Interstellar”, and “50/50”, as well as scores for films like “Cloud Atlas”, which I have written this blog post to, and will probably be what I watch tomorrow night. Such movies are ones I will probably find myself discussing quite a bit, hopefully, when I begin work on a podcast in the near future. Over the past few months, the ubiquitous audio blog format has felt like the next logical step in my journey as a voice for cinema moving forward, and now that things are coming together at my new home (we just got internet hooked up today), I’m ready to see what I can bring to that not only as a critic, but as an creative individual with a lot left to say. I hope that you will join me, and be patient as I see where this, and all of the other paths of my life, take me.
Thanks for listening, and Viva La Resistance!