Late Reviewer: The First Six Months

Today marks the six-month anniversary of Late Reviewer, and I wanted to take a few minutes just to look back at what’s happened over the last half-year.

First, a little background – I started Late Reviewer as a way to work through the forgotten discs on my shelves, and as a way to channel my negativity during the pandemic into something creative. I never had any real aims or targets, it was just a way to distract myself from the bad stuff. You can read my very first post, introducing Late Reviewer, here, and a little more at the About Late Reviewer page.

I dithered and hesitated about actually hitting ‘Publish’ for the first time, because I was convinced the last thing anyone needed was another movie blog. I was also worried the films I would be watching and writing about would be either too mainstream or too niche, but in the end just figured it was worth a shot.

For more than a decade, I’ve written for a living, but prior to March, I hadn’t written anything in my own free time for about nine years. This week, after publishing the twentieth Late Review, I’m almost 90,000 words in – that wordcount includes the 34 Quick Reads and 19 By The Decade pieces too, of course.

Looking back now, the earliest reviews are written in a style that – if I’m honest – read like me trying to ape some of my favourite film podcasts. Igby Goes Down, in particular, is more or less a running commentary with a few sarcastic gags and comments thrown in, likewise Man With The Screaming Brain.

It’s nice to see they’ve been fairly popular on the site though, and even nicer that the legend that is Bruce Campbell appears to have read a Late Review!

However, I think they’re basically recapping the plot and crowbarring in gags rather than looking at the film itself, and I think I’ve done better since. I’m particularly fond of The Life Aquatic, The Station Agent and Ghost Dog pieces, if I’m honest, but compare them to the earlier pieces and you’ll definitely see the difference.

That being said, I’m very much learning as I go here, so if you’d like to offer some feedback and criticism (so long as it’s constructive!), you’re very welcome to do so – seriously, let me know what you’ve enjoyed, what you think didn’t work, and how I can improve Late Reviewer.

What I’ve been most pleased about is the positivity shown by the social media community, and the support you’ve all offered. I’ve tried to make a point of not being too negative about any of the films I’m mentioning and finding something positive even if I’ve not been massively into them, and the vast majority of engagement with readers has followed that lead pretty well.

The engagement has been best on Twitter, and is best shown by the incredible response to the By The Decade posts. They basically started on a whim following a Quick Read on films you’d encourage non-fans of a genre to try, but have regularly been among the most popular on the site.

As an aside – I know some of you reading this will run your own blogs, websites and podcasts, and if any of you have tips on how to squeeze in time to watch and write about films between work, family life and sleeping, I’d be really grateful to hear them – also, any advice on how to distract yourself from obsessively monitoring the stat counter would be most welcome!

Going forward, I’m going to try to work through more Late Reviews, and will continue to run Quick Reads, but I’m really looking forward to sharing the new Special Features section with you all.

As I mentioned in the By The Decade wrap-up, it’s essentially a way for you to read pieces about films you might know, films you might not, and topics you may not have considered, which have been written by readers. I can’t wait to share these new pieces (not to mention hearing from you with any ideas you might have for a feature), and think you’ll really enjoy hearing some voices other than my own!

Basically, I want to thank everyone who has read or shared an article, or who has engaged with Late Reviewer on social media, for making it a great six months.

You’re all ace, and I’m really grateful.

Here’s to the next six months.

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