by Gabriel Valdez
I’ve had trouble discussing the blog lately. I never know whether to say “I” or “we.” My plan here’s always been to expand the role this blog plays, and to one day move to a full-service film site. That requires gathering a family of writers who look at criticism not just as a way to judge movies, but as a way to connect with readers on the same emotional, analytical, and socially conscious levels that films often use to tell their stories.
Two weeks back, Vanessa Tottle wrote one of the best articles I’ve hosted on the site, a scathing rebuke of sexism in Hollywood that resulted in several people coming forward to inform the both of us that sexism doesn’t exist anymore. Good to know; that was fast.
Several weeks ago, she wrote on her favorite film of 2013 in three beautiful paragraphs that brought tears to my eyes.
We’ve also co-written on the art direction in Curse of the Golden Flower and on the site’s music video series, No Miley Here. Though we’re very good friends, our joint editing process is best described as a cross between Sherman’s march to Atlanta and that scene in Poltergeist when Carol Anne gets sucked into an alternate dimension by the evil spirits in her closet. But it seems to work.
Vanessa will be focusing on film analysis and fiery editorials: pretty much what she does already, but now with a fancy title. A Texan by birth and a Canadian by necessity, she is getting her PhD in vertebrate paleontology with a special focus on geochemistry. She told me to sneak in the phrase “sadistic cladistics” if I could, but you try doing that and still sounding like a reasonable human being afterwards.
Vanessa’s specialty is in horror movies, 80s fantasy, and East Asian film. She also keeps threatening to write about Japanese role-playing games, so you may hear about that soon, too.
Her favorite movies include Jurassic Park, Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, and In the Mood for Love.
Please join me in welcoming the very tenacious Vanessa Tottle as our first official staff editorialist, and in celebrating as this site achieves the first of many goals: beginning the transformation from “I” to “we.”
And she tells me that’s a cheesy ending, so I’m keeping it.