Friday, June 02, 2006

Branching Out

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - I have a new outlet for my film writing!

Every Friday, the Home News Tribune publishes a special entertainment section called "Pulse." When I was living in Rockoff this past year, I noticed that, throughout each week, this entertainment weekly would be available for free on the street separate from the Home News Tribune newspaper. This intrigued me: I looked at "Pulse" as New Brunswick's (obviously vastly inferior) equivalent of the Village Voice or the New York Press---and it was all about entertainment. Just my kind of thing.

I had meant to try to get published in "Pulse" earlier in this past spring semester, but I was so busy with class assignments and with trying to do some ambitious stuff for "Inside Beat." In addition, the head editor of "Pulse" was, predictably, a little wary about taking on an unproven writer like myself to write about movies; they already had a film critic.

It was only until the semester ended that I decided to give it another shot, this time with what I thought was a pretty good idea: writing about older films in context of something newer. I had done something like this in a Targum article I'd written in which I panned the recent Lucky Number Slevin by praising Jean-Luc Godard's great 1964 film Band of Outsiders; that, I think, formed the basis for the idea. (I had also received some inspiration from seeing old articles published by the online magazine Salon written by professional critic Charles Taylor for an occasional column entitled "Home Movies.")

I sent this article to the "Pulse" editor to give her an idea about what I was envisioning. She seemed enthusiastic, but at the same time she told me right off the bat that, if I was to do something like this, I'd have to keep it current. "I can't exactly allow you to write about any old movie you want," she told me. "'Pulse' is supposed to be about things going on right now. That's what I'm supposed to deliver."

Obviously, this threw me for a loop initially; I guess I shouldn't have expected that this lowly entertainment section for the Home News Tribune wouldbut I was determined to get something published in the section. So this is what I came up with. It's an article about a film series currently going on at the Film Forum in which a whole lotta B-movie film noir features are being shown. I was initially going to include more extensive thoughts on Joseph H. Lewis' 1949 film Gun Crazy, one of the films that was shown recently in the series, as well as one of the few in the series that is actually available on DVD---but, as I was just about finished writing the article, I just felt that throwing in a mini-review of Gun Crazy at the end might have seemed like an awkward fit. (It's actually a terrific movie, a classic film noir that actually dares to explore---without preaching---the anguished morality of the central couple that starts out wanting to live a carefree life and ends up paying for it.)

I'm not sure if I'm actually going to go into the city to see one of the upcoming selections in the B Noir series. I'm just happy that I got something into "Pulse" at this point, and I'm hoping that I can sustain this for at least every other week, even during school.

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