Today, September 27, represents the 20th anniversary of the release of Extreme Measures, the Hugh Grant/Gene Hackman medical thriller, directed by Michael Apted, from 1996. This anniversary has gone completely un-remarked upon on movie sites and Film Twitter, and for good reason- it’s a totally forgettable movie with a generic title, which took a half-hearted stab at caring about medical ethics but was otherwise a nondescript flop. If it’s remembered at all, it’s as not one of the better films in the career catalog of its director or either of its stars.
I remember Extreme Measures for another reason: It was the first movie I ever reviewed in print.
It was my freshman year of college at Brandeis, and after taking a stab at writing sports articles for the student newspaper, The Justice and realizing that that entailed writing profiles of track and field competitors and game stories about volleyball, I decided to try the arts section instead, and was made aware for the first time of a wonderful thing called “press screenings.” I went into Boston, saw the screening — at the old Copley Place theater, I think — and reviewed it for the Justice that week (the archive of the actual review is lost to multiple server upgrades and thus to history, although I probably have the paper copy somewhere in either my basement or my parents’.)
It’s been 20 years and I never really stopped. I reviewed another movie and then another, and soon I was an arts columnist and later arts editor of the Justice. As years passed, my movie reviews would appear, in addition to The Justice and my own various blogs, at Hot Movie Ticket, American Dreamer Filmworks, The Trend/Trend Leader, Patch, EntertainmentTell/TechnologyTell, Patch again, Fox 29, Broad Street Review and Splice Today.
Reviewing movies has never been my primary job — there aren’t a lot of people left who can say that it is — but I do consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to do it, and quite an accomplishment that I’ve been able to convince multiple for-profit enterprises, including AOL and News Corp., to pay me money to see and write about movies. I’ve thankfully been able to continue doing this into adulthood, and through marriage and fatherhood as well.
So thank you so much to everyone who’s been reading all this time, or even for part of this time. Here’s to 20 more years, and if I ever get to the point where I’m no longer appreciative that I get to do this, then I’ll stop. But not until then. You can read all of my reviews since 2008- all the ones with live links, anyway- at my Rotten Tomatoes page.
Speaking of movie reviews: I reviewed Snowden and Bridget Jones’ Baby, as well as Author: The JT Leroy Story and Eight Days a Week, all for Splice Today. The Leroy story includes some quotes from an interview I did with the director.
Going from film to food, I wrote for Broad Street Review about a pair of new books about Jewish food, and an author talk about them at the Gershman Y.
And at Screenrant:
I eulogize director Curtis Hanson, director of L.A. Confidential.
Another obituary, for Radio Raheem himself, Bill Nunn.
People are going to die on the next Game of Thrones season.
Margot Robbie is hosting the SNL season premiere.
Jared Leto will join the long list of actors playing Andy Warhol in biopics- except this time it’s an actual biopic of Warhol as opposed to one of his associates.
Michael Giacchino is going to score Rogue One.
Preview of the Ice Cube/Charlie Day comedy Fist Fight.
Spike Lee is reviving She’s Gotta Have It for Netflix.
Jack Bauer could return- but only for a movie that will probably never be made.
And at Blasting News:
– No, that “Brock Turner speaking tour” story isn’t true.
– Why Keith Olbermann’s return is welcome- but he’s not going to singlehandedly defeat Trump.
– The West Wing cast isn’t going to either.
As always, follow me on Twitter at @StephenSilver.