Casey St. Charnez has been video editor for Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide since 1986 and buyer for Lisa Harris' Video Library since 1981. He likes Lisa, cats, crosswords, and the Metropolitan Opera, probably in that order.
Topic: Media Rare
"Let's Start at the Very Beginning, A Very Good Place to Start"
I was always into the arts. Never sports. Meh.
My family sat front-row center at the symphony. Operas, too. I saw Madama Butterfly at age six.
They knew the local rag's entertainment editor. He'd take us to art openings, plays, and concerts. One time we went backstage to meet Arthur Fiedler.
They were friends with Sopranos' Mary Costa and Miliza Korjus. Henry Mancini phoned whenever he came through town on tour.
My father's law office represented rockers Gene Vincent and Eddie Fontaine. He sued a local dentist on Buddy Holly's behalf ("a snaggle-toothed country bumpkin," according to my dismissive mother).
Then I earned a B.A. with a double major in fine arts and English lit, also serving as arts editor for the campus daily.
I could go on...and I did. To NYU (which is a whole bunch of stories, like "Hair"'s last night on Broadway, hanging with Fosse, almost getting run over by Elliott Gould).
Over the years--verily, decades--I've reported on the arts for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Web. Also wrote a book on Steve McQueen. Gee, I've done all kinds of stuff. Even I am impressed.
Still, this is my first blog. What can be done here that I haven't done before? The goals remain identical: To inform, reflect, and amuse, probably not in that order.
When Scott Hutton approached me about writing for his reimagined SantaFe.com, he suggested movie reviews or doing something else.
This is the something else.
Though being a film critic seems enviable (free movies, wow!!), the truth is somewhat other, as I've learned from writing for everything from my mimeographed elementary school paper forward.
Editors, for instance, do not permit picking and choosing. You're as likely to be assigned Battle: Los Angeles as Jane Eyre. Fine, that comes with the territory, but so do wrenching experiences like Antichrist and Biutiful, which I could have gone my whole life without seeing. Jeez!
Even Leonard Maltin puts me to task, commissioning writeups for Little Fockers and Nutcracker in 3-D. I don't know which was worse.
Further, unlike the other arts, taking a good/bad stance on a flick can lead to being accosted at, say, a grocery store:
"Why did you give The Beaver only one star? That is the most emotional, touching movie I have ever seen. What is wrong with you?"
To which I might reply, "The fault, dear Crudus, lies not in ourselves but in our stars, directors, and writers." Then I'd pay and leave, if I was still upright.
So I'm hauling my carcass over to a new arena. This one. Where the chance to reach a new and different audience in a fresh way is irresistible.
Being overeducated and piquantly opinionated, I must say this seems like a perfect forum from which to praise, point out, and celebrate, or to bitch my face off, as the occasion warrants.
And so it begins.
Next time: "When the Movie Stopped"
July 26, 2011 at 2:04 PM
"...just exactly why do critics feel it necessary to add a thumbs-up, **1/2, or B+ rating to their reviews?.."
July 15, 2011 at 6:59 PM
"...if Kong is the greatest monster, then Godzilla is the greatest monster brand..."
June 10, 2011 at 1:46 PM
...a true encyclopedia of the motion picture, available free and only on line.