Ahh yes, resolutions and goals. Have you made yours yet?
If you have a website, it’s usually considered good form — at least privately — to write down where you want to go with your website and to reflect upon the results at the start of the new year. We are going to try and do this every year we’re here. In January at some point anyway. This is year #2.
We did this last year on January 1st (see: 2020 New Year Resolutions and Goals) but this year feels so much like an extension of 2020 that time has carried over. It just doesn’t feel like a new year … yet. Not even three weeks plus later.
I recorded a 20 minute video on this earlier in the month and you can queue that up below which goes through where we’ve been and where we want to go in 2021.
2020 was weird, no doubt, and we actually watched less movies in theaters in 2020 (44 movies) than we did from August to December 2019 (68 movies).
Classic Twilight Zone TV show 156 episode detailed reviews will continue. Maybe only 1 will appear in 2021, but the goal is to span this over many, many years at this site before all 156 episodes will be reviewed. Speculating 25-30+ years to complete this goal.
Still, no ads! No third party advertising will be added anywhere on the website in 2021, including affiliate links. We might explore a premium area for some behind the scenes on the creation of content and webmaster-specific interest, but none of what we do here now will be charged for.
809 Review Distribution through Jan 23, 2021
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Love it, Must See (22 movies – 3%) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Amazing (41 movies – 5%) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Great (113 movies – 14%)
176 out of 809 recommended (22%)
Everything above is recommended, everything below is not as of 1/1/2021.
⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Good (143 movies – 18%) ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Entertaining (169 movies – 21%) ⭐️⭐️½ – OK (114 movies – 14%) ⭐️⭐️ – Mediocre (100 movies – 12%) ⭐️½ – Bad (59 movies – 7%) ⭐️ – Terrible (35 movies – 4%) ½ – Unwatchable (10 movies – 1%)
633 of 809 not recommended.
In 2021, we’ll get over 1,000 reviews. We continue the streak of at least 1 movie review every day. How long this streak will last is anybody’s guess, but we haven’t stopped yet. Also approaching 500 days in a row with at least one post every day on this site. That’s another streak that doesn’t look like it will fall anytime soon.
Thank you for reading and may you all be safe in 2021 and beyond! Happy movie watching to you.
This post can safely be skipped for it’s meta nature, unless you’re interested in our blog milestones, facts and figures. It’s only being made for historical reference, we’ll get back to regular programming with the very next post (soon). Thank you for reading!
The next blog post milestone will be at least 2,500, at the current rate of posting this will occur between late 2021 and early 2022. We also track milestones for subscribers and total reviews shared. The next movie review milestone is 1,000 reviews which at the current rate will occur in 2021.
There is no greater compliment for a writer than to have his/her work read. Liking something one has written is an added bonus, but writers want readers to feel something from their work. It doesn’t have to always be “I liked that!” but, yes, it does feel good. If you’ve enjoyed reading something here over the last year or so, I’m greatly appreciative for the time. I don’t just go through the motions with this site and never will. When and if I think there’s nothing left for me to offer, I’ll be done. The beauty of the what this site is about — movies, TV, creativity and art — well, I don’t think that ever has an ending.
It’s like we’re driving to somewhere we see in the distance but around every corner, there is another side road that leads somewhere unknown. That thrill of seeing something you’ve not seen before is unmatched. Together, health willing, we’ll continue this journey.
One can debate (with success, most likely) that an entertainment site like this doesn’t constitute “work” but reading and writing are something I’ve done longer than my memory of watching and enjoying movies. I’ve written some posts that I’m proud of here and others that, given the time and circumstance, I’d have fleshed out more or maybe even not posted at all. Having the time to write is a luxury my current day job affords me and for that I’m grateful, but if nobody was reading it wouldn’t be as enjoyable.
Thank you for reading and if you like what’s going on here, please share with a friend or three, and feel free to leave any comments, suggestions or recommendations. Have a great day!
Our power went down locally on Monday at 8pm, due to some extreme wind, fires, downed trees and power lines. It just came back up this afternoon, so we’re trying to get back on track with what’s happening in the movie world.
We missed our own birthday celebration yesterday, so cutting the cake a day late.
For those who don’t care about website birthdays, that’s what the rest of this post deals with, so you can safely skip from here out.
If, however, you’ve been thinking about starting your own movie review site, we have some data for you that might serve as a benchmark or goal comparison sheet so you can see how much better your site can perform than ours 😉
As of yesterday these are the stats:
666 movies reviewed through 9/8, although 2 haven’t been posted as of this writing, they have been watched and reviewed and will show over at Letterboxed soon. An oddly satanic number, yes, but entirely coincidental. We watch and review at least one movie every day currently
511 subscribers (followers as they’re listed) which is average growth of 42+ subscribers per month (+1200 followers at Letterboxd)
930 posts published, an average of 78 new posts per month. We try to make at least 2 new posts every day. Our biggest post day was 5 posts (a few times), our smallest was 1 (also a few times). We’ve posted every single day at least one new post since this site started.
2148 reading sources subscribed to
1020 reader comments, average of 85 per month (THANK YOU!!!)
Probably our biggest area of improvement needed involves our “Just left the theater” video blog at YouTube. The production values are non-existent, just after leaving the theater recording on a camera phone and uploaded unedited to YouTube. The finished product could definitely be improved, editing the videos and such, but that requires energy and time neither of us have for that project. We both hold regular 40+ hour unrelated jobs.
Watching movies for us is something we enjoy and this is our place to keep notes on pretty much everything we’ve watched. Am not sure many people (few, it seems lol) like or even want to watch our supplemental videos, but we figure it accurately captures our raw, unfiltered feelings after leaving the theater which is something worthwhile to us. Honestly, there is a germ of a cool idea there, but needs more refinement.
In retrospect, overall, it’s been a good, active year and the results have exceeded our expectation and that is in part to readers.
The only major change we’ve made recently that will effect year #2 is that we’re now writing full text non-spoiler reviews of movies watched inside theaters and posting here first. We still post shorter form (no spoiler) reviews to Letterboxd. We have always posted TV Series reviews only here on the site.
We still have no ads on the site except for the required WordPress text ad in the footer. We have no plans at this time in the immediate future anyway to add any paid advertisements, affiliate links, popups, popunders, etc. We could monetize the site in its present form and earn back the hosting and domain costs, but would rather continue to focus on the posted content than defraying costs.
What are those costs? Not too much, fortunately.
The domain costs us $18/year and the hosting costs are $96/year (business account). We’ve used 16% of the allowed image hosting space in the first year, so at this rate in 6-7 years we’ll need to expand this image space hosting or use somewhere else to include hosted images.
As for moviegoer-related expenses? We kept track of those last year, but pretty much stopped (it can be averaged out, see below). We pay $44/month for the Regal Unlimited plan which cuts down our ticket cost, but we to pay extra for “convenience fees” when we use the app to order tickets, also it costs more for formats other than 2D. IMAX costs $6.50 each. So we still pay $13 to see any IMAX movie, even though we have “free” tickets. The concessions usually cost us around $150/month and then there’s the fuel cost to drive to the theater and back. Right now we’re going 30 miles each way to the one an only theater and our car gets like 25 mpg. So it’s costing around $5 in travel expenses for each movie, unless we catch a double or triple-feature. So figure in conservatively $300/month for our moviegoer expenses, or $3,600/year on top of the site hosting.
I think this is the primary reason people don’t go to more movies in the theater: the cost. It might be other reasons right now, but in general, cost has to be at/near the top. In these times especially, people don’t have an extra $300/month+ to watch a bunch of movies. We’re fortunate that we’re nearing our senior years and our children are grown up, our bills are small and we budget responsibly. We could save even more in our retirement, I suppose, instead of going to as many movies, but where’s the fun in that?
That’s enough stats and site-related data for now. Gives us a template for birthday #2, 3 and so on to be able to explore growth from year to year (or a decline, if we aren’t as active).
See you then, good health and interest for all of us willing!
A reader familiar with our compiled reviews recently expressed interest in learning more about how these are created. Someday this will be documented in detail. Since a portion of our readership are other film bloggers this is a worthwhile goal.
In the meantime, it’s important to note that we do not scrape pull quotes with a computer program, app or any other mechanical method. Every source film blog quoted is read and reviewed by a human being. The quotes within the review are essentially hand picked. Every. Single. One.
The only thing we need a machine for is filtering the 2,100+ sources. This source list grows weekly and it would be impossible for any one person to sift through all these sources looking for a review for a specific movie. So, we do use a filtering process to find reviews published by these sources and put them into one handy reading tool. In non-programming terms, think of it like a Google relevant search on these sources to a query like: “show us all Tenet reviews.” Only that query is ran exclusively against the sources we follow. At the end of nearly all of these compiled reviews, we encourage film bloggers to share their blog with us so we can review and follow and their sites become part of this source list.
A year ago (9/8/2019), when this blog was founded, we had *0* sources, so that should quantify the speed at which new sources are being added.
When theaters are fully reopened and movies are hitting the theaters regularly, this process could take anywhere from 3-5+ hours of work creating these weekly posts. We offer these compiled review posts here for several reasons. I’ve covered some in the post linked below, but there is another reason that isn’t listed in that post: we enjoy reading honest, legitimate reviews from real moviegoers.
As far as we’re concerned, these posts are time well spent for this blog. We can measure our reviews against what we consider to be hand-picked sources and reviewers. Do we agree with all of them? Do all of them agree with ours? That’s a “no” to both.
Fake reviews can be difficult to spot. Amazon is far and away not the only large website with this problem.
From Facebook groups where bad actors solicit paid positive reviews to bots and click farms that upvote negative reviews to take out the competition, fake reviews are getting harder to spot. In July, UCLA and USC released a study that found more than 20 fake review related Facebook groups with an average of 16,000 members. In more than 560 postings each day, sellers offered a refund or payment for a positive review, usually around $6.
Generally speaking, someone who writes reviews and puts his/her/their conflicts of interest in plain view is more credible than some random anonymous person leaving a review with some random screenname. There are also varying levels of professional critics, from amateur film critics to whatever we classify ourselves as (semi-amateurs? semi-pros?) to full blown accredited, professional critics. We try to include a cross selection of film blogger pull quotes and repeated sources because the more reviews a critic provides, the more likely the reviewer biases will appear and can be weighed into a moviegoer’s evaluation.
Earlier today I saw an article call into question reviews for Mulan between Rotten Tomatoes approved critics and the audience being more than 20 points different.
Critics and fans don’t seem to agree on the quality of Disney’s live-action Mulan movie. According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, critics are enjoying the new Mulan. The film’s earned a 79% “certified fresh” rating on the site, with a critical consensus that reads, “It could have told its classic story with greater depth, but the live-action Mulan is a visual marvel that serves as a stirring update to its animated predecessor.” But the audience score tells a different story. At 56%, the film’s audience score is more than 20 points lower than the critic score and ranks as rotten.
That’s been happening for some time now (see: Professional Critics vs. Audience Reviews – Rambo: Last Blood vs. Ad Astra). I’d sooner trust a site like Letterboxd where we can go into the history of reviewers, seeing all their reviews and then follow (or unfollow). The review process is so subjective that it might be completely impossible to find a fair cross section of real moviegoer experiences. Also, I think some professional reviews (many?) would not want to refer to themselves as real moviegoers.
Long story short, we are working on compiling reviews for the five movies pictured at the top of this post, all recently seen in theaters and reviewed here on this blog: Unhinged, Words on Bathroom Walls, The New Mutants, The Personal History of David Copperfield and (most recently) Tenet. As a rule, we try to create compiled reviews for most movies we see in the theater.
Those already on our list, we’ll find and link up your reviews if they are published before we publish our posts. Those who aren’t on our list, then consider this a friendly reminder. We like linking and sharing well-written reviews, but now that we’re over 2,100 movie/TV site sources missing some great reviews is bound to happen.
The completed review compilation posts with pull quotes will appear soon.
Readers, if you enjoy being surprised by posts then you can safely skip reading this post, as it contains dates of scheduled upcoming posts. There are a few surprises here and there however on certain dates and details that have intentionally been left out. After all, not everything fun and worthwhile can be scheduled.
For those curious to know what to expect in the future that’s new review-related to this blog and wondering what types of posts appear here, the frequency and schedule, this post provides details and specifics.
Of course other non-review posts are made in/around the posts that are actually planned below and there are also some reviews that aren’t listed as well like ongoing The Twilight Zone (1959-) reviews, which are planned to take place over many, many years at this blog, not days, weeks or months.
COMING SOON TO THEATERS – Additions, changes and modifications
The image at the top of this post shows the subsections on the 2020 Coming Soon to Theaters page and now includes the following subsections:
STREAMING PREMIERE – these are higher profile movies that either could, should or are simultaneous theater releases. It’s not intended to be a complete list of all new streaming movies. VOD/PVOD movie releases will also appear on this list. From top to bottom it is date sorted (beginning of the month at top, end of month at bottom)
DELAYED/MOVED – movies intended to be released to theaters but have moved to other months are now listed under this subcategory
Someday all these movie release date changes might have to be put in a database, but for now this seems like the simplest and cleanest way to portray this information. Again, it’s not every single movie being released, it seeks to capture the wide theater releases, some [LIMITED] releases and streaming premieres. Basically, we’re trying to keep our eyes on new films that have broad appeal or wide release, academy attention (including some indie films) and noteworthy streaming premieres. New films can and will slip through the cracks, but this should be a fairly detailed overview of the “biggest” and “best” new movies being released in theaters in the United States.
Unless otherwise noted, all movie release dates are for the United States only. Other country release dates are not being tracked.
New wide release movies planned for review compilation posts. These dates are subject to change based on the movies actually being released and/or our ability to watch the movies the weekend before. In some rare circumstances, reviews by others are compiled without our review, but won’t critique movies that haven’t been watched and reviewed.
All movie review compilations and critiques — these contain spoilers — appear at MovieReviewsByUs.com usually the week following US release, but sometimes delayed longer. Typically, these review compilations will appear Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. There is no schedule for these posts, but you can follow along with the Coming Soon 2020 or Monthly Coming Soon to Theater lists to see which movies will be watched and reviewed.
The goal is to watch and review all wide release movies released in theaters. Not all VOD and streaming release movies are watched and reviewed.
WEDNESDAY – Coming To Theaters This Weekend Posts
Our coming to theaters weekend list will return as soon as theaters reopen. These detail the wide release movies that are being released in theaters the coming weekend.
THURSDAY – What to Watch on Streaming Channels This Weekend
A recap of MovieReviewsByUs selected titles, mostly new titles, but some older movies available across a selection of the various streaming services including, but not limited to: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, Hulu, Shudder, DC Universe, AppleTV+
FRIDAY – FIRST LOOK Fridays
Preview posts of all wide release movies in theaters, some VOD, some movies and TV series on streaming channels.
These posts are not planned in advance, but try to post at least some movies coming to theaters within the next 45-90 days.
Oct 30: The Mandalorian S2:E1: “Chapter 9”
Nov 6: The Mandalorian S2:E2: “Chapter 10”
Nov 13: The Mandalorian S2:E2: “Chapter 11”
Nov 20: The Mandalorian S2:E2: “Chapter 12”
Nov 27: The Mandalorian S2:E2: “Chapter 13”
Dec 4: The Mandalorian S2:E2: “Chapter 14”
Dec 11: The Mandalorian S2:E2: “Chapter 15”
Dec 18: The Mandalorian S2:E2: “Chapter 16” (Season finale!)
SATURDAY Morning Cartoon (Spoiler-Free) Reviews
Currently the following cartoons are have been or being scheduled to have reviews posted on Saturdays:
Scooby-Doo Where Are You (1969) Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973)
Every Saturday morning a new review for a classic cartoon series is scheduled to be reviewed. Here’s the schedule of reviews for what’s already happened and the rest of 2020:
July 18: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E3 – “Hassle In The Castle”
July 25: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E4 – “Mine Your Own Business”
Aug 01: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E5 – “Decoy for a Dognapper”
Aug 08: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E6 – “What The Hex Going On?”
Aug 15: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E7 – “Never Ape an Ape Man”
Aug 22: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E8 – “Foul Play In Funland”
Aug 29: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E9 – “The Backstage Rage”
Sep 05: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E10 – “Bedlam in the Big Top”
Sep 12: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E11 – “A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts”
Sep 19: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E12 – “Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too”
Sep 26: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E13 – “Which Witch is Which?”
Oct 03: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E14 – “Go Away Ghost Ship”
Oct 10: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E15 – “Spooky Space Kook”
Oct 17: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E16 – “A Night of Fright Is No Delight”
Oct 24: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You: S1:E17 – “That Snow Ghost” (season 1 finale episode)
Oct 31 – Happy Halloween – no review
Nov 07 – Star Trek: The Animated Series: S1:E1 – “Beyond The Farthest Star”
Nov 14 – Star Trek: The Animated Series: S1:E2 – “Yesteryear”
Nov 21 – Star Trek: The Animated Series: S1;E3 – “One Of Our Planets Is Failing”
Nov 28 – Star Trek: The Animated Series: S1:E4 – “The Lorelei Signal”
Dec 05 – Star Trek: The Animated Series: S1:E5 – “More Tribbles, More Troubles”
Dec 12 – Star Trek: The Animated Series: S1:E6 – “The Survivor”
Dec 19 – Star Trek: The Animated Series: S1:E7 – “The Infinite Vulcan”
Dec 26 – Star Trek: The Animated Series: S1:E8 – “The Magicks of Megas Tu”
SUNDAY / MONDAY
The following new Stargirl Season 1 TV Show episodes are reviewed (spoiler-free) and posted either Sunday night (PT / GMT-8) or Monday, the date below is Monday, but again some will be posted early on Sunday night, which just depends on whether or not I watch the episode on Sunday or Monday (sometimes I fall asleep before it airs):
Will keep meta posts like this one to a bare minimum, it is here for historical reference, so feel free to pass it by and read something else.
There are at least 100 blogs posts about movies to read here, including our first 10 day countdown to Terminator: Dark Fate (only 3 days left as of this writing).
But for those interested …
This blog was created on September 8, 2019. Started logging reviews on August 12, 2019. Just passed the 100 blog post milestone on 10/28/2019 and has 59 followers (thank you!). Reached 100 reviews logged back on September 28, 2019. As of this writing, have now rated and reviewed 207 movies, including 38 new movies seen in the movie theater, perhaps the most amount of movies I’ve ever seen in the movie theater in a year.
For other bloggers who are curious, you might note from the screenshot that there are 20 posts currently sitting in draft mode. All of those will make their way to published posts in the coming days, weeks and months, perhaps combined in some cases. I use the WordPress “Press This” plugin as I’m out reading to save content of interest for possible future sharing. Having draft helps for those writer’s block moments
Thank you for reading and if you like what’s going on here, please share with a friend or three, and feel free to leave any comments, suggestions or recommendations.. Have a great day!