Tuesday, April 24, 2012

7 x 7 Link Award

I had never heard of the 7 x 7 Link Award until two days ago when one of my Blogger friends recommended me for the honor. Fernando Quintero appears to have read just about every movie review I have ever written and you can see his comments all over this blog. English isn't his first language, but you would never know it by reading his reviews. Check out his blog and follow him on Twitter if you like reading reviews by good writers who really care about film.

There are three rules to be followed in order to accept the award:

1) Tell everyone something that no one else knows about you.

This is a tough one. The first thing I wrote for this blog on April 25, 2011 was a short biography. It includes all the boring facts about me.  

There is one thing which only a few people know and I rarely mention it in case people think I am bragging in some way. I finished third-bottom of my class one year in high school and thought I was quite stupid. To test the theory, I took a written IQ test and mailed it in (before computers were around in every home). To my surprise, I was invited to sit a formal test. After finding out that my IQ was 158, it gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities. I realized that I had performed badly in school because I never actually studied anything and not because I was stupid.

Some websites mention that I should be capable of winning a Nobel Prize, but that's unlikely unless they award one for eating pizza.

There, my secret is out. Please don't think badly of me. I'll never mention it to you again.

2) Link to one of the posts that I personally think best fits the following categories:

a) Most beautiful piece

Define beautiful. Does it mean describing a beautiful film, or that my writing is beautiful? I'm much too close to determine whether anything I write is beautiful. My best guess would be My Neighbor Totoro because I'm almost in tears just thinking about it.

b) Most helpful piece

I'll use amazon.com as a guide for this answer. The review which has attracted the most helpful votes is Kes. I imagine that an obscure British film from the late 60s is something that a lot of Americans haven't seen? Only 20 people have reviewed it on Amazon.

c) Most popular piece

I'll allow Blogger to decide this one. The post with the most page views is an index to the reviews on the site, but the most popular review is The Reader. I was extremely surprised to see how many people were interested in this one, especially as it has such a boring title. I hope a few who checked it out ended up seeing the film because it deserves to be seen.

d) Most controversial piece

This comes down to a choice of Avatar or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Avatar, because I actually like it and think that it's an effective piece of entertainment, while many people hate it. Python because I launched a scathing attack on dumb comedy in the review. If pressed, I'll say that the Python piece is the most controversial.

e) Most surprisingly successful piece

I was asked by director Darshan Patel to review his short film, Grey. It proved to be very popular. It's possible that people were curious because so few reviews existed at the time?

f) Most underrated piece

The Three Colors trilogy is my favorite trilogy from those that I have seen and I made a significant effort to look at some of the themes in Red. It's my favorite entry in the trilogy and wraps everything up in a stunning way in a scene near the end of the film. Unfortunately, I have to accept that most people just aren't interest in that kind of film.

g) Most pride-worthy piece

It's satisfying when I can link events in my real life to those on the screen, so I enjoy writing reviews that are personal in some way. Examples would be Kes or 50/50, in which I reveal things about my upbringing. I'm also proud of the effort and emotion that I put into the Totoro review mentioned in the first part of the segment. But I am most proud of my Moneyball review. I drew on my life experience. That includes sports, marketing learned in college, and 13 years playing Fantasy Football. I even touched on philosophy. I think those experiences enabled me to create something truly original, and I'm proud of where my mind led me.

3) Pass this award on to seven other bloggers.

And so we come to the hardest part of this assignment.

I thought long and hard about which people to nominate. I read a lot of blogs written by people that I follow on Twitter. Some provide information, while others offer reviews and opinions about movies I am interested in. There are some talented writers out there and I have barely scratched the surface. I decided to choose seven people that hadn't won the award before (as far as I can tell). It sometimes feels like we are pouring ourselves into this passion and we don't receive much feedback. I hope that the people I have chosen get something out of this, but don't feel obligated to accept and choose seven people of your own unless you want to. For those who are not included, I hope you don't take it as an insult. I could only name one percent of my followers and it doesn't mean I don't value what you write.

My choices are all good writers and friendly people who will happily chat with you on Twitter. Here are the seven who I think deserve the award (in alphabetical order):

1) Anthony Kuzminski - http://www.TonyKBlog.com 
Follow him on Twitter @thescreendoor 

Tony writes for http://www.antimusic.com/ as well as on his own blog (above). He first came to my attention when my friend @ravenval pointed out a post on The 50 Greatest Music Moments in Cameron Crowe Films. Take a look and you'll appreciate that this was no easy task. Writing well is one thing, but millions of people can do that. Tony writes with emotion and puts something of himself into his work. You can feel it while you are reading. His blog covers music and movies.

2) Brent Allard - http://criminalmovies.blogspot.com 
Follow him on Twitter @criminalmovies 

Brent does a lot of Top 10 features focusing on actors or a particular theme. What really makes this blog different is the reviews. In my own reviews, I usually avoid too many spoilers. Brent often picks older titles and examines them in depth. The first half of the review shows an exhaustive description of the plot. If you have trouble remembering a movie, these details are good reference material. The second part of the review analyzes the movie in question. Take a look at One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to see what I mean. 

3) Dave B. - http://www.dvdinfatuation.com 
Follow him on Twitter @dvdinfatuation 

If you follow Dave on Twitter, you'll know that he's around often and willing to chat and help promote your articles. His site explains that he's on a mission to watch 2,500 movies on DVD and Blu-ray. He promotes the movies on Twitter by using facts about the movies as teasers. Try clicking on a few and read what he has to say. Here's his take on Psycho. 

4) David Neary - http://thefilmcricket.wordpress.com/
Follow him on Twitter @DeusExCinema

David's site has a clean look and includes images, Top 10s, reviews and trailers. He's funny and makes his points clearly. Take a look at his review of Midnight in Paris. Do you agree that Brody should star in a Dali biopic? The site offers a good mix of features, and covers all kinds of movies, both new and old.

5) Marcel Lapointe - http://themovieyearbook.com/
Follow him on Twitter @MovieYearbook

I haven't been following Marcel's writing for long, but I'm very impressed with his content. If you followed my 100 movies series, you might be aware that it took me about 103 days to complete and I was reviewing theatrical releases at the same time. I don't have a job and that was tough for me to manage. Marcel is attempting to review one movie per day for a whole year. Sounds ambitious, doesn't it? There is a strong focus on current releases, so this is a great place to visit if you are on the fence about seeing a movie in theaters. Here's his review of Hugo. 

6) Russell_Oz - http://137exactly.com/
Follow him on Twitter @Russell_Oz

Russell writes simply and clearly and with plenty of humor. One thing that I think is important for reviewers is honesty. There's no point in churning out the same opinion as everybody else if you don't agree with it. I get the feeling that Russell tells it as he sees it. See what you think of his review of The Descendants. The other cool thing about Russell's site is the recent addition of the Let's Talk feature. He picks one film a week and invites people to discuss it. I think I know a lot about the films I love and own, but I learned quite a bit in the recent discussion of Michael Mann's Heat. Take a look and you'll see why. 

7) Shloggs - http://shloggshorrorblog.blogspot.com/ 
Follow him on Twitter @shloggs

I don't even know his name, but I enjoy reading the reviews and features on his blog. Horror is the focus, but it's not the only thing covered. I enjoy reading articles that flow and his certainly do. Again, his writing seems real and honest. He's not trying to impress anyone. A reviewer is supposed to comment on whether a movie is worth seeing for its intended audience, rather than just summarizing the plot and adding nothing in the way of insight. I always feel that I know whether I'm likely to enjoy the movie after reading a review at Shloggs. Check out his John Carter piece for an example.

Well, that's it. I spent two days writing this article instead of reviewing the two or three films that I would usually have managed at this point in the week. Thanks again to Fernando for the nomination.

For the seven I nominated, don't feel obligated to respond with your own list. It would be cool if you have the time, but it is a lengthy process.

I notice that I have failed to list any women. I can assure you that it wasn't by design. Some of the contenders had already won and I just feel that the seven people I chose all deserved it.

If you made it to the end of this article, thanks for your time. I hope that you enjoy my blog and the other seven that I have recommended.

Return to index of every review on the site.


  1. Great post. Thanks for all the kind words. They mean a lot.

  2. What a great write up, Steve! I think that you receiving the 7x7 Link Award just shows how much impact your site has and the influence your reviews have on your readers. I know that I certainly have added more films to my To Watch List after having a discussion with you because you have convinced me on the need to watch more films and listed those I would be interested in.

    As for you sharing your I.Q score....I am speechless, more power to you, sir!

    I am absolutely humbled that you would list me alongside so many other talented writers and film lovers. I am gracious and humbled and to that I say a very big Thank You!

  3. Congrats on your 7X7 award, found my way here via Fernando's post

    Looking forward to checking out all your posts and recomendations.

    1. Thanks for that. I hope that you enjoy reading what I have to say and end up finding a few new favorites from things I recommend.


  4. That's a very interesting fact, Steve. You never actually know what you are capable of unless you try (applies for me as well). Congrats for the award and for your blog anniversary too!

  5. Thanks Andina,

    It's been hard work over the past year, but a lot of fun. I saw that you won the award too when I was searching for my seven nominees, so congratulations on that.