2018: A Writer’s Reflection

One of my goals, for most of my career as a professional writer, has been to get a place where if I have an idea for something to write, no matter the subject matter, I can always get it published somewhere, and get paid for it.

Here are the end of 2018, after a few twists and turns, I’m just about there.

I’m writing film reviews for Splice Today, Broad Street Review, and Philadelphia Weekly, in addition to essays on film and other subjects for those sites, Living Life Fearless, and Philly Voice, on top of the Film Scribes podcast and all of the other stuff I do with the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.

I’ve been covering culture stuff with a local angle for Philly Voice, Philadelphia magazine and BSR, and writing other cultural stuff, with a Jewish angle, for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which puts my stuff in Jewish newspapers throughout the U.S. and Israel. For the first part of the year, until the site closed, I was the Pennsylvania correspondent for the political site 50 States of Blue.

Of late I’ve been contributing news pieces for Inquisitr, on a wide variety of topics, and I spent a good part of the year on staff with AppleInsider, and I still contribute there, both the Apple crime blotter column and other features. I also wrote sports-related pieces for both NBC Sports Philadelphia and Philly Front Office, and my work appeared this year at Backstage Magazine, JMore Baltimore, Bullz-eye, Shareblue, and the Brandeis University alumni magazine.

If you know anything about media, you know that the environment is more difficult than ever, including on one topic (film) that’s my big specialty. So I owe a big thank you to my editors, and to everyone who’s gone out of their way to read my stuff this year. Your support is very much appreciated.

What’s to come in 2019? I hope to continue what I’ve been doing, add more of it, and maybe finally get going on one of my various book ideas.

I normally share my “Big List,” of all of the movies I saw this year, on December 31, but in lieu of that this year I share my Letterboxd list of all of the 2018 movies I saw in 2018. There were 324, a new personal record. My top and bottom ten list article are here at Splice Today, and you can read all of my movie reviews at my Rotten Tomatoes page.

And finally, here are my 20 favorite things I wrote this year:

1. #1 on the list, there’s zero doubt: After the Eagles won the Super Bowl, I talked to Joseph Wylen, my then-93-year-old grandfather-in-law, about his lifelong Eagles love for PhillyVoice; he passed away less than three months late.

2. Just last week, JTA published my piece filling in the backstory of that Frank Sinatra-owned yarmulke that was auctioned off by Sotheby’s in early December- it dates back to a Jewish day school fundraiser in Margate in 1981.

3. I wrote an investigative piece, for AppleInsider, about Paul Manafort and his iCloud account.

4. For Broad Street Review, in October, I looked at whether or not Philadelphia is still a movie town.

5. I wrote for Living Life Fearless about why Twin Peaks fandom is the best fandom.

6. For Splice Today, I looked at why Trump isn’t really inspired by the Mafia, but rather the fictitious versions of the mafia.

7. Also for JTA- I visited a pickle festival, and looked into whether pickles should still be considered a Jewish food.

8. My favorite of many pieces I enjoyed doing for 50 States of Blue- looking back at the time, in 2001, when new Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow wrote that adulterers have no place in public life.

9. Another 50 States one, looking at the political aspects of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl victory:

10. I interviewed the Chapo Trap House crew for Philly Voice.

11. Also at Philly Voice: Looking back at Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Philadelphia, following his death

12. My favorite negative movie review of the year was of Gotti, for Broad Street Review.

13. I wrote for Philadelphia magazine about the unfortunate Philly election subplot on This is Us.

14. I wrote for the Brandeis alumni magazine about the 50th anniversary of the Transitional Year Program, and got to talk to my old professor Jerry Cohen.

15. For Philadelphia Weekly, I wrote about the Gosnell movie, which was the only review I wrote this year that resulted in the film’s director yelling at me on Twitter.

16. For PhillyVoice, I covered John Waters’ speech at Penn.

17. For Inquisitr, I looked at that Jerry Falwell pool boy story that we all wish was true but probably wasn’t:

18. For LLF, looking at the complexities of the Dan Schneider story.

19. For Philly Front Office, I covered a Baseball Prospectus event at the Phillies’ stadium.

20. And for AppleInsider, I looked at the Apple implications of John Carreyrou’s great Theranos book.

Happy new year everyone, and thanks for reading!

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