I'm a Better Dad Than Him. . .

I've Got Some Homework To Do: The Impending Return of Movie Reviews


When I became a professional writer in 2010, most of my paid work was either ad copy or reporting news in Southern Ontario and Brantford. In 2012, I landed the positions of pop culture columnist/film critic for Collective Publishing and TV reviewer for BuddyTV. I had written many reviews for fun and on my site before 2012, but The Avengers was my first ever paid movie review. 

I've always been a huge movie buff and have a decent knowledge of film history. After that first paid review, I started diving deeper into writing about the entertainment industry for various sites and magazines in 2012. I delved into film history and watched more new releases to build my skills in movie criticism and analysis. At the end of 2012, Scott and I started the movie review podcast, The Movie Breakdown.

Even though I love movies and Roger Ebert is a major influence on my writing, I didn't start my writing career to be a film critic or to extensively write about the art form. I wanted to do a variety of different types of writing like reporting, columnist, ad copywriter, and ghostwriter but my goal was always to use this type of writing to pay the bills while I crafted a novel. My true dream was to be a successful novelist, even if I knew that was slightly more achievable than filling our entire house with Skittles that rained from the sky.

While I never exclusively wrote and reviewed movies, it became a bigger part of my focus with goals like joining the Online Film Critic's Society and becoming a certified Rotten Tomatoes critic. I also rebranded this site to become Beyond the Balcony with the plan to have a greater focus on movie news and reviews. Film criticism and writing had now become a significant part of my career and goals.

2023 is currently in the running to be the year I've seen the least new releases since I started professionally reviewing movies in 2012. Covid was a fiery flying karate kick to the eyeball when it comes to my career. I lost a lot of work, which then gave Hulk-like fury and strength to my depression and self-doubt. I confess I didn't pivot well when the pandemic caused many of my clients to either go out of business or cut their freelancing budget, but the first half of 2023 turned out to be a wasteland when it came to finding new work. I am sure you can guess what that did to my confidence and energy levels.

My obsessions with pitches, proposals, and job applications meant a lot of things were thrown into the cobwebbed corner, and writing for this site was one of them. The scramble meant I was not devoting any time to the site, and going out to the movies far less meant I wasn't reviewing anything.

I have seen a decent amount of movies released in 2023, but not enough to make a credible Best of Year so far list. I have missed out on some major movies, including Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Beau is Afraid, and John Wick: Chapter 4. 

There are movies worth championing that I've seen this year. Air is a terrific 'based on true events' movie that not only serves to remind me why Ben Affleck was one of my favourite directors a few years ago but feels like the big event adult-skewing movie that was far more common 30 years ago. It has a magical mix of humour, drama, character moments, and high stakes. It has a huge array of colourful and memorable characters played by powerhouse stars like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Tucker, Jason Bateman, and Viola Davis.

Another actor proved to be a great director with Michael B. Jordan making a great character study mixed with big sports action in Creed 3. It is much more about Adonis Creed battling with his past and trying to figure out his future, but it also expertly builds to the big climatic boxing match. I was engrossed with this picture, and while I admit I missed some big contenders so far, it is alongside Air as one of the best of the past six months.

My writing career hasn't rocked the first half of 2023 but landing work gives me confidence the next six months will be breakdancing unicorns and Gummi Bear oceans, I can begin focusing on various writing goals other than panicking over the lack of work, and I can now play catch-up on the major movies I've missed reviewing and dish out far more reviews of new releases for the rest of 2023.

Except I must confess that this is a rather odd time to make this vow and declaration. Due to various circumstances, the review train likely won't be chugging along at a powerful rate until the second week of August, and that will also be the soonest that I can promise high-quality daily posting on this site. Consider this all a teaser for a better time, but I will be attempting to review a few missed and new movies in the coming week or so before I'll be forced on a likely hiatus.

Before that time, I have the goal to review Dungeon & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Infinity Pool, Alice Darling, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse. If the movie and writing gods smile upon me then maybe a few others as well.

I still consider myself a film critic. I still plan to have some analysis and thoughts on the major current releases and the major movie news But I also have many more writing aspirations that I hope to showcase on this site and devote my energy towards through 2023. I have much more confidence and energy now that my client list is slowly growing again.

Also, with all this talk of my failure at reviewing movies in 2023, I did write a few reviews that you can check out in the form of M3Gan, Knock at the Cabin, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.