WARNING: The above heading does not denote an espionage themed month on the way ("September Spies" anyone?) but the end of an era-- the ten years and five days that this humble film blog has been online. For after this posting, the movie theatre cash register that is Cashiers De Cinema is due to be counted out and closed for good. Or, at least, a very long time.
I'd planned to do this final post on September 6th, 2015, the exact 10 year anniversary, but as so often happens these days regular life got in the way. And then Labor Day. That was the plan all along (or for this past year), to turn my attentions away from this blog to other more important labors on Labor Day (I do love a good holiday theme). There are two nearly finished novels screaming for my undivided attention and closure by the end of 2015. Also, actual labor (no, I'm not pregnant). I'm on the hunt for a more rewarding jobby-job. By "rewarding" I mean creatively restorative and financially remunerative, unlike what Cashiers de Cinema has become...a time and energy suck, an occasionally therapeutic enterprise for myself and a mild diversion for a tiny handful of stalwart readers (hey, some dude in Germany f'ing loves me!). In short, I need to stop watching so many goddamn movies for absolutely goddamned free.
Some background for those new to the site (and who don't click away before they get to this part), a Cashiers Highlights Reel, if you will, before I go. This blog began as a dare, an impossible mission to watch a stockpile of films I had gathering dust on VHS while learning this new self-publishing technology they called BLOG. I gave myself the task of watching 120 of them between Labor Day 2005 and the end of that year. I came close, made it to 100 (that life thing getting in the way again). At the time, it wasn't called Cashiers De Cinema but simply linked to my name and my Yahoo! email address (now defunct). The entries/reviews were basically all text. The Cashiers concept came later in 2010 along with more visuals, monthly themes and employees, a slightly better banner head, even occasional GIFs. If you take a look at the right hand side under "Archive," you can see this blog's whole sketchy history in the parentheticals, the number of posts per year. It starts out strong in 2005, the year I made the dare, then goes humorously dormant for the next three before picking up steam again in 2009-10. What was I doing for those years of non-blogging? In the midst of moving from L.A. to D.C. and then to NYC. "Having a life," maybe. Also, one of those jobby-job things I mentioned. They do kinda tend to get in the way sometimes.
But, no matter how few the entries, each year I always managed to pony up a Year's Best/Worst List. Take a look at the right side Menu if you want to browse a few. And, no matter the year, it seemed I kept ADDING to my list of movies to see instead of knocking it down. What started out as a muddy-pictured VHS experiment eventually morphed into one of better resolution and proper aspect ratios on recordable DVDs. Then, in the last few years, to pristine digital copies consigned to USB. It turns out I'm an obsessive collector, an addict of sorts (sidebar: does this have something to do August's Abel theme?). By last count, I have in the neighborhood of 2,000 DVD movies at home in flipbooks, roughly 500 or so I still have yet to watch. So, as you can see, at the rate my addiction is going, this blog could easily continue forever. But that's simply not going to happen. I'm putting my foot down. My "hobby" has gotten out of control. I gotta get the Movie Monkey off my back. Or at least switch to binge-blogging TV. If you can believe it, I still have yet to see a single episode of The Sopranos.
So then what comes next for Cashiers? For starters, I'm going to leave this site up at least for the rest of the year until I decide what to do with it. I may eventually fold many of the reviews into another site to come or just leave it as is for interwebs posterity. It's possible I may come back to it sometime in the future with the occasional mini-marathons stretched out over longer periods of time. There are still TONS of directors I haven't gotten to (Ken Russell, Alex Cox, Bertrand Blier to name a few) and a bunch on the right hand side Directors menu that I would like to further investigate (Fulci, Deodato, Boetticher, etc.). Also, a lot of unexplored themes..."Cons and Capers," "Space Camp," "Dirty South/Slavery," "Holiday Horrors," and even the "September Spies" month I joked about before. One of the problems of operating a (free) blog with a different theme every month is there's just not enough viewing time to finish out filmographies before the month turns over. That, and the fact that I have to scrounge up a new photo of a movie character near a cash register every month. There aren't as many out there as you think. Look around. Seriously.
In addition to the monthly turnover, the particular format I've chosen, added to my dwindling enthusiasms about blogging over the last decade, has mostly prevented me from doing what I'd call more "deep dive" reviews. What started out with slightly more serious cineaste intentions has, because of the time constraints, devolved into something closer to quick thumbs up-thumbs down style capsule reviews, the type which I don't really enjoy reading myself. Less New York Times and more New York Post in other words, and I do apologize for that. "Too much snark and not enough smarts makes Jack a dull boy." It's true this blog's title is a playful stab at Cahiers du Cinema, the influential French magazine started by the likes of Godard, Bresson, Chabrol and Truffaut. It was never meant to take itself too seriously. But I would actually like to indulge in some more serious film criticism at some point, or least a more lengthy, personalized examination of certain favored directors mentioned so many times on this blog (Peckinpah, The Coens, Cronenberg, Kubrick, Lynch, Mann, DePalma, Tarantino). Beware, Dear Cashiers Readers: Someone out there may be working on a book-length "movies memoir."
And what about that end of year Best-Worst List anyway? I've already done ten of the suckers. Isn't that enough? Would you like my firstborn too? It's very possible one will pop up around December 31st, 2015, who knows. Though I'm cutting down my movie diet for the remainder of the year, I'm sure I'll catch a few more before year's end, films that I can't help but champion or excoriate in written form. And where else would they go but here? There's a few must-see's on my hit-list already...Sicario, Black Mass, Bridge of Spies, Spectre, Trumbo, Carol, Snowden. And then there's Hateful Eight, of course. And, OK, I'll admit it, I'm kind of excited for the new J.J. Abrams Star Wars, though I'm ten times more excited for the one following it in 2017 directed by Rian Johnson and starring Benicio. I'm banking on that one being the Empire Strikes Back of the new bunch. Or at least better than Phantom Menace.
But then who am I to criticize? If this site proves anything, it's that I see them all, the good and the bad movies. And I've been involved in the makings or almost-makings or complete non-makings of some good and bad ones myself. This blog was born out of heartache. A literal heartache (a Los Angeles relationship gone bad that I've mentioned repeatedly) but also the spoils of several disheartening years in Tinsel Town. Cashiers has been an attempt to keep one of those loves alive. I'm talking about my love of film, of course, not the aforementioned L.A. lady. "Lady Cinema," if you will. If you've clicked on this site purposely or accidentally sometime in the last decade, I hope this little goof of a blog has in some small way helped you keep your heart embers stoked for her, too.
Matt Burch, "Head Cashier"