Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Writing Just to Write

There is no point to this post.  No larger endgame in mind.  Paragraph structure will be poor and minimal.  Spelling error's will NOT be corrected this time around!  I just need to write.  Write about what exactly?  Nothing in particular.  I am in a strange position where I have the urge to write something yet I have nothing in particular I want to say.  Maybe this is a reverse case of writers block, but the reality is I just can't think of anything in particular to write about.  True writers block would be me starring at a computer screen, with a review or article that needs to be typed out, only to find the words not coming.  Is this the YouTube effect starting to work on me?  It is easier to turn on a camera and just speak my mind.  Awkward moments can be edited out much easier in some cases.  I do admit that part of the reason I am writing to write is to stay awake.

I didn't get much sleep last night.  Feeling a little sick and worried about a friend will do that to you.  I can't sleep from 2:00pm to 10:00pm again because I have things I need to do the following morning.  I have been watching "Bridget Jones's Diary" and have moved onto the sequel "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason." I won't be able to do the third film because that one is still in theaters.  Renée Zellweger is so good in these movies.  See, I'm just typing random nonsense.  Notes for a review really.  If I hadn't already written reviews for all three of these movies, this could have been a weird backdoor look at the thought process that goes into writing a review.  Did I mention these movies are on Hulu?  Why am I watching them on Hulu when I have the first film on BluRay?  Ah the first world problems of a film critic.

I am starting to run out of steam now.  I was very serious when I said I had no purpose behind this.  My fingers just had the urge to type, type, type, and Twitter can be SO annoying!  Now that I have written a substantial amount of words I think it is time for me to wrap this up.  Now that I have iCritic up and running I am not certain if this blog is going to still be it's own thing or a dumping ground for future random ramblings.  Oh, and just like that I've decided on what this blog's next (substantial) post will be about!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Writing for Multiple Publications

The last several days have been spent finding a way to reclaim a few key articles from  I already received an e-mail from AXS that pretty much confirmed they are not going to help me recover any of my old articles.  Thankfully, complete strangers on the internet have given me some good advice on what I could do, and soon I will be sharing those secrets with you.  A thought did race through my mind as I was writing my review for "Star Trek Beyond" though, and that thought was "thank God I write for multiple websites."  So let's discuss writing for multiple publications, because I think it is something that critics need to do more than ever these days.  It used to be that you went to college, got a degree, applied to work for a newspaper, and then wrote exclusively for that newspaper until you either died or moved on to a competing paper.

The times have changed over the years though.  Newspapers are dying.  Journalism degrees are considered the most useless degrees you can get.  The blogosphere has created so much competition that rarely are people aware that there is an actual person writing the articles anymore.  That's why so many articles are click bait titled these days; because the subject is what draws eyeballs to sites these days, not the authors.  What's more, many of these sites close down and people lose their jobs.  The rules have changed.  Unless you get a kushy job that pays very well that requires you to write exclusively for them, you need to be freelancing as much as you can.  You need to have articles appearing on multiple websites, blogs, and (*gasp*) magazines.  You need to do this to get your work out there as much as possible.

You need to do this to insure you have work available.  Most of all, though, you need to be on multiple sites should one of them go bankrupt.  Companies going under is nothing new.  This has been happening for years.  It used to be a lot rarer though.  In the publishing industry, companies going under due to lack of readership is pretty commonplace now.  Long story short, you NEED to have backup places to write!  Even your own personal site can go down for one reason or another.  What happened with Examiner was frustrating because of the lack of backup I had for the site, but I was also relieved that I didn't put all my eggs in one basket.  Sure, it means my reviews I had planned for that site will have to go elsewhere, but at least I have somewhere else to put them.

I wish I had better news for you, but the sad reality is no website, blog, newspaper, or general publication is safe from a public that is becoming increasingly more dumb by the minute.  We have to accept that a Twitter photo of Kim Kardashians ass will get more views in five minutes then your archive might in five years.  There are only two ways to compete with that.  The first thing you can do is dumb yourself (and your content) down to the general publics level.  This means either making Marvel movies or writing top ten lists of conflicts kids today will 'just never understand.'  Or, keep writing the best you can, just make sure you are doing it for multiple avenues.  Since I don't care about the struggles of today's kids as much as others are, I will just continue to try and better my writing.  It just won't be on Examiner anymore.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

So Long (And Seven Years Worth of Work)

It has been said time and time again, but it appears we must all learn this difficult lesson multiple times: Always, always, ALWAYS, back up your work!  One of the sites I used to write for was  I was one of their top Examiners and made more money than most on the site.  I say used to because when I went to the site today, I found, much to my dismay, that the site no longer exists.  Now the website URL redirects you to the main page for AXS, a site that is known for giving people the ability to buy tickets for concerts, sporting events, and... well, pretty much anything that can take place in a stadium.  I wasn't given any warning this was happening.  I received no e-mails from Examiner updating me on the status of the site.  I received no newsletter announcing the closure of one of my sources of income.  I received no warning at all that I might want to save any articles I was especially proud of.

I received no warning what so ever.

Now, the site is gone.  I have no way to recover any of my articles I wrote for them.  I wrote hundreds of articles for that site.  Not all of them were gold, but a few of them were.  I should have been saving them all this time, but after seven years of writing for various publications, it's pretty easy to lose track of where you placed what, and for whom it was written for.  Not that I would have wanted to keep everything of course.  In fact, there was probably around 80% of articles that were just news blurbs or something similar.  Those I could live without ever looking over again.  What about those articles on 2D animated films making more money at the box office than 3D films though?  What of my rant on why a "Frozen 2" was (and continues to be) a very, very bad idea?  Some of the reviews that I hadn't converted over to HTML yet?

All of them... gone...

Look, I know that Examiner owed me nothing in the long run.  They paid me for articles that they ran on their site, and I have been in this business long enough that I should have known how important it was to keep copies of these things.  While it would have been nice to have a heads up, I was ultimately owed nothing.  Yet, as I sit here, thinking about all those years of producing content, I feel sad to know that it is all gone.  With just the push of a button a good chunk of my online legacy is gone.  I have learned this lesson before, and now I have to learn it again.  Don't make the same mistake: Keep a copy of everything you write.  Whether it is for a major publication or a blog.  Never trust anyone to house your materials for you.  They don't have to do this forever, and they are under no obligation to warn you of any major changes.

The responsibility to save your work is yours and yours alone.  Never again will I write something without having a backup copy.  This is about as big a wakeup call as a writer can get.  Once I set up a system I may share that system with you, but for now, if nothing else, just keep backups of your writings in a folder on your Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, AND USB backup drive!  The files usually aren't very big and this way they will be out there in case you ever need to access them again.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Where Are All the Reviews for Adult Movies?

I've been receiving a few direct messages from my Facebook followers asking if I've turned into (what is clever term these days) a "fantic." A fantic, for those who are unaware, is a mixture between a fan boy and critic.  This term is used to describe someone who claims to be a critic, but does nothing but discuss fan boy movies like Marvel and Star Wars films, all while ignoring non-franchise movies that may be geared towards people who want to see real movies (and no, I'm not saying Marvel movies aren't real movies, please refrain from correcting me on that).  I understand where the concern is coming from because it's been months since I've posted a written review for something that hasn't been animated or franchise based.  I want to write this update to ease concerns that I have not given up writing reviews for adult movies (and because - in keeping with the theme of this blog - this is just another part of my daily life in this job).  I actually have written reviews for "Money Monster" and "Neighbors 2" sitting on my OneDrive account.

So where are the reviews online?  Well, even though I have been writing the reviews I haven't been publishing them.  Now, I admit that this is typically counter productive and I don't recommend it, but there is a reason I've been doing this: I hate updating the website.  Like, I really, REALLY hate updating the website!  I designed that site over ten years ago and have been manually posting reviews, typing in code for pictures, dealing with self-made invisible tables (people who know HTML know what I'm talking about).  It got to the point where near the end of last year I dreaded having to post reviews.  In January I finally threw my hands in the air and shouted "ENOUGH!" The website might have been my livelihood and main passion but it was becoming downright tedious to work on.

So it was obvious the website needed to be redesigned.  Despite the fact that I am relatively proud to have one of the few actual websites on the internet that wasn't powered by Blogger, I can't deny that having a blog system would make updating and uploading a lot faster and easier.  So I finally started working on a new design for the website.  Instead of being a website though, it would be a blogger site.  When I decided to go in that direction I actually cried at the loss of tradition at the site.  I cried wondering if this is how newspaper editors felt when they had to admit that the internet was just a more effective way to produce news and switched to the "new format" while leaving old traditions behind.  I calmed down a little bit when I found a way to have the new blog system while maintaining a look for the site that would maintain it's HTML roots.  It does mean it will take a little bit longer to do a proper redesign, but I guess I'm just a sentimentalist at heart (at least updating the dumb thing will be a breeze).

In the meantime though... well, since I am a one man show it's difficult to design the new site while continuing to update the old one.  So while I AM writing reviews for all the movies I've seen these days, you have only been seeing reviews for franchise and animated movies because of my freelance work.  So yes, this might not be the best way to handle the situation.  It does give off the impression that I'm blowing off work.  However, on the plus side I am formatting new reviews for the new site, and since I don't have to manage two sites at once I will have this new one up by fall (winter at the latest) as opposed to early next year when I originally estimated it would be done.  Ultimately I think people will be much more happy when everything is done, but that is why I've given of a fantic feel to my audience.  Oh, and for the record, "Money Monster" IS a good movie and I gave it three stars!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How Should Critics Deal with Woody Allen?


Tonight, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off with a new Woody Allen film. There will be press conferences and a red-carpet walk by my father and his wife (my sister). He'll have his stars at his side — Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg. They can trust that the press won't ask them the tough questions. It's not the time, it's not the place, it's just not done. That kind of silence isn't just wrong. It's dangerous. It sends a message to victims that it's not worth the anguish of coming forward. It sends a message about who we are as a society, what we'll overlook, who we'll ignore, who matters and who doesn't.

                                                   - Ronan Farrow, The Hollywood Reporter

The above quote is from a guest article about Academy Award-winning writer and director Woody Allen written for The Hollywood Reporter by guest columnist Ronan Farrow.  The whole article is a well written plea to the public, Hollywood, and journalists everywhere to not stand by and let sex offenders off the hook when it comes to their professional life.  Now, before you continue reading this blog post, I recommend you follow this link and read the whole article before continuing this post.  In fact, I recommend you read this article, let it sink in a bit, read it again if you must, and THEN continue with this blog!  Because while I am about to write an opinion piece that sounds contradictory to Farrow's piece, his concerns are greatly valid and contain a personal touch that makes this situation all the more complicated.  The only way to understand this controversy is to read all points of view, and understand where the disagreements come in.

Read it?  Alright let's continue.

So, to start we need to acknowledge the elephant in the room: That Farrow is not some mere outside observer in this situation.  He is Allen's biological son.  Soon-Yi Previn is Farrow's sister through adoption.  As he has stated in the past (about his relationship with his father) "He's my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law. That is such a moral transgression."  This is a situation that many of us have observed from the outside, but few can truly understand.  Those of us who have watched Allen's movies for years knows that this isn't a situation the auteur has any problem with.  He is seen having relationships with underage girls in his movies as early as "Manhattan" (incidentally, one of his best films).  The question has always remained whether or not you can watch a Woody Allen film and be comfortable doing so.  Can the art and the artist ever be truly separated (especially when so much of the artist is in the art itself)?

Ronan's article isn't directed at film critics.  Not really.  He takes issues with actors who not only decide to act in Allen's films, but line up for the privilege to do so.  He feels offended that the Cannes Film Festival rolls out a red carpet for a man that is widely known to be a sex offender and pervert (though it should be noted he hasn't admitted to any wrongdoing).  He calls out journalists who don't grill him about the accusations he feels they should (in all fairness to them, Allen rarely gives interviews in the first place).  The thing about Ronan's complaints that we should acknowledge right now is that he has every right to feel this way.  Whether he is correct in feeling this way is irrelevant; in his mind, being willing to work with the man and praise his work is the same as condoning what the man has done.  He feels that being silent about such issues is the same as telling the victims in the crime that they don't matter.  He takes any praise towards his father personally (and who the heck are we to say he shouldn't... that's my quote by the way, not his).  He feels these are tough questions that should be asked.

And you know what?  He's absolutely right.  Now, again, he doesn't actually call out critics in his piece as being part of the problem, but in a way I think it is worth discussing since critics are (at the very least) a lower form of journalism.  When we give a Woody Allen film a positive review are we endorsing his train of thought?  I've written a few positive reviews for Allen's films before.  Does that make me part of the problem? These are serious questions to ponder, and to be honest I've pondered them before with other controversial film makers before (Roman Polanski, Elias Kazan, Bernardo Bertolucci, etc...).  This piece made me look at what I did under a microscope even further though.  It made me evaluate whether positive reviews for Woody Allen films were a true slap in the face to the victims of a man who is obviously sick in the head.  Let's look at this from a few different angle's.

If we are to take the person behind the camera seriously we need to ask a couple of basic questions: Is the director also writing the movie and does he put much of himself into it?  In the case of Woody Allen, the answer to both these questions are obviously yes.  He rarely acts in a movie that isn't his own, to my knowledge he has not written a screenplay for another director since "What's New Pussycat?," and his personal views are very much ingrained in his movies.  This creates a real moral dilemma if you want to separate the artist from the art.  After all, Warren Beatty is also an Academy Award-winning director who writes most of his own movies.  He was also a notorious womanizer, flirt, and cheater in his personal life before he married Annette Benning.  Yet despite his less than model lifestyle, we rarely saw any of his personal views or lifestyle choices in the movies he directed.  It was a clear case that the art did not reflect the man making it.  The same can be said for Roman Polanski, who never tried to justify the rape he did in real life in his movies.

I should also mention that while I find "JFK" to be great entertainment, it is clearly not supposed to be a history lesson.  Yet director Oliver Stone thinks a good portion of this movie is true, so what does that say about the critic when he endorses such a film?  That leads us to our second question: Can you be entertained by a movie you disagree with?  The answer to this is also yes.  I don't completely agree with all the things Spike Lee has to say in his movies, but I can not deny the power of "Do the Right Thing" and "Malcolm X." So, does that mean that you are a hypocrite if you like a movie that you disagree with?  No, it does not.  There are scholars out there who can read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" and completely disagree with the politics of the book yet find a lot of worth behind the way those politics are presented in a story.  Again though, what does that say about the position of the critic if he puts a seal of approval on a piece of art he disagrees with, yet one that is obviously the end result of the artists personal beliefs?

I suppose the next question to ask ourselves is whether or not we like the movie with a contradicting opinion because we feel the artist was able to justify his/her opinion.  I'll admit that this is where I got a little tripped up on, because "Crimes and Misdemeanor's" is one of my favorite Woody Allen films, and that is a movie essentially justifying how someone can do something morally wrong and sleep well at night.  Even though Allen gives the "be a good guy" speech himself at the end of the film, one does get the sense he really does believe that morality is subjective depending on the person, and that maybe - just maybe - some people deserve to get away with what they've done.  This is a point of view I do not agree with.  So how can I love the movie so much?  Probably because in this case, I believe the opposing viewpoint is what makes the film great.  It's almost like a peak into the mind of someone who has no shame for immoral behavior.

I have stated many times on this blog that I mainly watch movies to understand people better, and movies like "Crimes and Misdemeanor's" give me a clear picture of how some bad people honestly think.  That fact that it was written and directed by a man I do consider to be morally corrupt myself just makes this all the more perfect a representation I can think of.  On the other hand, I also disagree profoundly with Allen's "Whatever Works," which is as amoralistisc a movie as Allen has ever made, and fails on two levels.  It neither justifies its positions very well, nor does it provide a decent glimpse into people who think the way these characters do.  It's just too goofy and cliché to get anything other than apathy from.  All this leads to the million dollar question: Taking all of this into consideration, are critics part of the problem when they give a positive review to a Woody Allen film?

While it may come off as a cop out, I believe the answer is a little of both.  Yeah, I know, that's not what anyone really wants to hear, but its true.  The fact of the matter is critics are given the task of judging the art on it's own merit.  If we were to take the personal lives of everyone involved with the film into account, there would probably be nothing to recommend because no one is completely innocent.  True, there are people who do worse things than others, but those personal beliefs rarely affect the movie itself.  On the other hand, I do agree that Woody Allen seems to get a bigger pass than most when he puts some disturbing ideas into his movies.  On the few times he's interviewed he never shows any remorse for what he's done.  The fact that you can't force someone to see what they've done wrong is a frustrating fact of life.  The best you can do is put the person on trial and hope that the justice system prevails.

In a strange way though critics are possibly a problem in this case because when aspects of Woody Allen's opinion show up in his movies we have a tendency to just brush them off as being par the course for his films.  At the end of the day though he is a dirty old man.  He has done some very bad things.  I feel further legal action should have gone against the man.  The reasons for Dylan Farrow not going forward with pressing charges are her own business and I'm certain there were valid reasons for why she didn't.  I can't speak for the actors who want to be in a Woody Allen film (sorry, I can't; it's not my field).  All I can say to Ronan Farrow is that I am personally sorry if my liking a movie by his father is taken as personal.  I don't mean it to be.  I understand where he is coming from, but I can't help it.  The art doesn't excuse the crime, but the crime doesn't diminish the art.  If Farrow ever wants to discuss this with me I will be more than happy to do so.

I do feel victims in these crimes have been given the raw end of the stick at times, but at the end of the day we are just critics reviewing movies.  Liking "JFK" does not mean I believe in the conspiracy.  Loving the characters in "The Godfather" does not mean I feel they are doing good things.  So by that logic, just because I like "Hannah and Her Sisters" does not mean I necessarily condone Woody Allen or his moral guidelines.  All I can do is review movies based on the quality of the films themselves.  Maybe that isn't progress enough, but it's all I know what to do for the time being.  This is certainly a subject that will be revisited many times in the future, and I guess we'll just have to see what I think of it when those times come.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

PewDiePie Reflects on His Career

PewDiePie is one of the biggest examples of a society that is Hell bent on destroying itself and making the people who occupy it as stupid as possible.  While he is not the person who has single handedly destroyed serious video commentary, he has contributed to it's fall more than any other YouTuber I can think of.  I have no love for this talentless hack and believe he is a cancer of the internet.  So why am I embedding one of his videos?  Has he finally said something so stupid that I have no choice but to join in the haters?  No, I am not.  While I do find the man reprehensible, I largely do not hate for hates sake.  He's not hurting me personally and he doesn't appear to be a mean guy or anything like that.

While I am very concerned about how he is affecting the industry I work in, I believe that is another topic for another day (and, again, he's not the sole contributor to the current problem of video criticism).  Yesterday he uploaded a video where he looked back on old videos he uploaded.  He's been doing this for five years (God, has the world been blind to real entertainment that long?), and with anyone that has been doing something for a substantial period of time, he has fans who wish he would be more like his old self.  His videos have apparently changed throughout the years.  I have no idea how true this statement is, but apparently his videos have changed drastically, and people want him to go back to “the good old days.”  So how does the Pewds respond to this?  Why, by watching some of his old videos and commenting on them.  He laments over how young he used to look.  He jokes about how playing certain games helped catapult his career.

Then the video takes an interesting turn as he squirms over old jokes he used to make.  He gets uncomfortable every time he uses the words ‘retarded’ and ‘gay’ in the form of a joke.  He wishes he could go back and edit his videos.  He admits that he had no editing skills and believes it’s a miracle he got famous at all.  The video ends with him thanking people for the support, acknowledging that he understands where the fans are coming from when they want the old stuff back, but he stands firm and says that he has changed, he wants to believe he makes better stuff these days, and he wants to continue to make better videos.  This is not only a self-examination of his career up to this point; it is a bold statement from a man who doesn’t want to rely on his old tricks to make money.  He wants to perfect his craft and grow in this career he’s found himself in.

And you know what?  I 100% agree with him.  Not that his videos are that much better than his old ones (they still aren’t my thing to be honest), but I do agree that just because you find something that works doesn’t mean you have to stand still.  You have to experiment.  You have to grow.  Sometimes you have to look over previous works and groan at the mistakes you’ve made.  I make it a point to re-read old reviews every several months.  I read my old stuff not because I think highly of my writing, but because I want to see if I’m growing as a writer.  I want to go back to my old work, with some distance between myself and the time I wrote it, and see what works and what doesn’t.  Like the Pewds, I laugh at certain things I still like, I cringe at stuff that doesn’t work, and I wish I could do some things differently.

I thankfully don’t have to worry about using words like ‘retard’ and ‘gay’ in the form of jokes because I have always strived to make my sites as family friendly as possible (gets hard when you have to write about “Fifty Shades of Grey”), but there are spelling errors and sentence structures that are just…just embarrassing.  I mean, when I look at some of my older stuff I think “no wonder the Online Film Critics Association hasn’t accepted me as a member yet.”  Looking at the past is painful, but it is nessicary so that you can know where you used to be with your craft and give you ideas of where to go in the future.  So, for once, I think PewDiePie is absolutely right in his commentary.  I also need to mention that this is the first time I’ve watched one of his videos and felt like he was being genuine and sincere.

There was no outrageous commentary to be found, no forced jokes to be heard.  Just a guy looking at his past work frankly and honestly.  Admitting that he understands the appeal but that, ultimately, he has to do the stuff that makes him happy and work to improve on past mistakes.  This is something every critic must do.  Heck, it’s something you must always do regardless what career path you take.  I still don’t like PewDiePie’s videos, but for once I sort of admire the guy, and I’m curious to see where his career goes from here.  If Pewds is reading this blog post (and there’s a good chance he will because one of his fans will probably forward it to him) I want to assure him that I don’t hate him or his fans.  I don’t even hate what he does.  I hate what it has done to a craft and industry I take very seriously, but after this video I know that he is not malicious in his intent, and I look forward to him improving.

That said, I do believe he HAS contributed greatly to devaluation in YouTube commentary, and we’ll discuss why in my next post!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bedridden Critic

Depending on who you speak to, being bedridden is either one of the worst things to happen or one of the best.  Some people don't like that being confined to staying in bed for a day or two because they miss out on work.  Others feel that work (and, by extension, life in general) is so stressful that they welcome any excuse to take a time out and relax.  I am currently in a situation where I can't leave bed.  There is a sharp pain in my right foot (likely caused by extensive driving) and the foot is so tender that it hurts to touch the ground with it (although it isn't swollen surprisingly).  For bathroom breaks and answering the door for the pizza delivery boy I'll just have to limp those few steps, but for the most part there is no walking today.  There may not even be any walking tomorrow.  I am in the very situation that polarizes so many people, but with one twist: Being bedridden doesn't really affect my ability to work.  In fact, if anything, it is a good excuse to watch a couple of classic films and work on some writing.

The Surface RT that I write on is lite and fits comfortably in my lap.  My Xbox One can stream Netflix, Hulu, and Crunchyroll to my hearts content.  After viewing what I need to view I can stream music off Pandora in the background while I work on my writing (much like what I'm doing now).  The only way this job is affected is if I have to attend a screening at the movie theater.  I don't have another theater movie to view for a couple of days, but if I did have one today... eh, maybe it could work.  I mean, all I have to do is sit down and watch a movie.  There's very little walking required.  Sure, I'd have to get a Lyft over to the theater for safety reasons, but otherwise, it would be very doable.  This is an interesting position to be in because as much as people love to dream that this is the greatest job in the world, it's one of the few jobs you really can't escape from.

Outside of having the flu or being in a coma, if you can watch something and comprehend it, you can work.  This is bad if you depend on situations like this to take a much needed break.  On the other hand, it is also kind of liberating because situations like these give you a great opportunity to catch up on work you've put off.  I finally got around to writing my review for "Ex Machina" today and I will continue it by watching that Netflix movie I need to put back in the mail (I'll risk the three steps it takes to put the BluRay in the player).  I've heard people claim that with the advent of smartphones and laptops all jobs require you to be on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  I understand where they're coming from, but this is one of the very few jobs where this isn't just a hypothetical intrusion; it is a cold hard fact.

There's literally no escaping this job unless you are in a state where you are delusional or can't stay awake.  Even if you sprain your hand there are programs out there that will type what you say for you and you can manually edit them later on to make them read more professional.  Course, I guess this also means there's almost no reason to call in sick... but I digress.  I suppose whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your personality.  When I get down to it I'm sort of in the middle.  I do like resting my brain, but when I do find myself stuck in bed it is nice to know that I can do some work with relative ease.  Your mileage will vary, but it's just another one of the unique aspects of being a film critic.