Get your Franzia ready, hams. Your intrepid porklord has purchased and downloaded the OMG HI RES version of “American Blogger“. Tonight at 6pm Eastern Time I will post details for the Google video hangout in chat for the GOMI viewing party. If you are unable to get in chat, send me your gmail address and I’ll invite you in. (Edit for clarity: this is an invite only viewing party, meaning I will not post the link to it in chat, just that I was going to tell you would need to send me your email address. Sorry for any confusion.)
I’ll also be liveblogging the viewing with selected sceenshots and commentary, and I’ll post selected screenshots in the the comments for open caption fun.
Stay tuned to this post!
Update: I will stop accepting invite requests to the google hangout tonight at 5pm Eastern Time. At that time I will respond with the invite to join. At 6pm I will open the hangout and we can have video and/or voice chat (you do not need a cam or mic to participate as there is also text chat) and give everyone time to join. At 7pm the viewing party will start.
Also, a few people have asked me to put the video somewhere for free download so they can participate tonight. I am not going to do that – no matter how stupid I think it is, I am not going to deny them income from something they created. What I have decided to do is purchase five more logins for five hams who would like to watch along tonight but are unable for some reason to join the google hangout. You can then watch along and comment here in the post or in the forum thread. This will be only for hams who cannot participate in the hangout tonight – I’m not rich so please don’t abuse this just to get a free copy. If you would like try for one of the 5 logins email me between 5pm-6pm EASTERN TIME and at 6pm I will choose 5 random hams, purchase logins, and email them to you.
If you would like to purchase it yourself, you can click here.
See you soon!
Update: Invite requests for the 7pm viewing are now closed, but for the next hour I will be taking requests for one of the five logins I will purchase. At 6 pm I will smash my cat’s paw around in my inbox and select five submissions. Good luck!
5 minutes in: So far it’s home movies of the filmmaker including his proposal to his wife in front her classroom, and a journey through his family that should really be confined to an Ancestry.com page. Not really sure why we need to see pictures of his great-grandparents but ok. Then pimping Casey’s blog.
10 minutes in: And more of Chris talking about Chris, and film of Chris talking about Chris. Then Chris working on his Airstream and talking about Chris working on his Airstream.
15 minutes in: A wild blogger appears! Now it’s a bunch of bloggers giggling and stammering to explain what blogs are. So far we have learned that a blog is an online journal where you can talk about yourself. I can actually feel my world changing.
30 minutes: Blogging is a way for your kids to see what you were wearing every day or something. I guess pictures in an album and private diaries can’t convey that. Then there’s endless footage of moms playing with their kids and some blogger putting on an LP, overlaid with uplifting indie music. Then just women listing all the different blog genres, in case you didn’t know there were different kinds of blogs out there. Also, they are entrepreneurs. So far I have counted 5 casually placed sheepskins, one tweepee, and a gratuitious shot of some non-grocery-store cookware. This rolls into a boring scene of Chris talking to his wife and one of his kids. Which rolls into more of Chris talking about himself over his childhood home videos. Which rolls into Chris talking about his Airstream over video of his Airstream.
45 minutes in: Bloggers celebrate the happy in the world! By…discussing fashion and how they decorate their homes. And all repeating over and over about the magic of having ‘their space’ on the internet. We also learn that bloggers like to blog about stuff they like and are interested in. At this point the ground literally broke beneath my feet, as I had certainly never considered such a thing. We seque into yet more of Chris talking about himself spliced with some emo song over fireworks and Chris video chatting with his family. Dear Baby appears in a pork pie hat and informs us, in a nutshell, that people are nosy and like to read about their neighbors or something and that’s why blogging is popular. Random shot of a mason jar and some blogger saying the way they come up with blog posts is by writing about their life.
A blogger says she freaked out the first time she got a comment because “I was like who’s reading this blog?” – you know, the public blog she put on the internet. At this point I wonder if these women actually understand how the internet works, but since I know that would be like asking a troll how their bridge was built I take another gulp of wine and remember trolls can only explain what the underside of bridges look like, nothing more.
They start blathering about community, which apparently means women WOOOOOOOing and hugging because, gurlfrannnnds.
1 hour in: And back to video of Chris with voiceover by Chris talking about Chris, before cutting to video of scenery and cities under much powerful so feels music. This goes on for 90 snore inducing pointless seconds, but feels much longer. Then bloggers start talking about ermagerd online negativity, and then it’s the usual: negative comments only come from people who are hurting and “haters can hate”, then declare they won’t stop because that would mean negative people are winning. The word “bullies” comes up because of course it does. One blogger actually admits she doesn’t want to hear criticism. Then it goes on and on with other bloggers being self-righteous about “haters” and “negative vibes” and “just unfollow if you don’t like it”. This is cut with video of some blogger children playing, I assume to make us feel like “oh noes they is people, no more criticism, ready the rainbow enema gun”.
Apparently instagram is great for posting pictures. Social media is important to grow your blog. Nothing is said about using social media to actually interact with your audience beyond promoting yourself. At this point a bunch of company reps start talking about how influential bloggers are because they have a “personal connection” with their audience. Because nothing makes an audience feel more connected to a blogger than finding out they basically see them as promotion tools while pretending they are their pal. Good job leaving that part in, dude.
Then we get to see all of Cara Loren’s purses for some reason my non-cinematic groundbreaker self can’t understand. Next up, a toddler with a topknot at the zoo and various bloggers taking pictures of various things.
90 minutes in: Another tweepee sighting, and more footage of bloggers taking pictures for their blogs. It’s both hilarious and confusing watching them pose – I had no idea feet and shoulders could pop in so many random directions, but then I remember my joint fluid is mostly composed of chianti at this point in my life so I obviously wouldn’t understand how that can be accomplished.
We hear again that you should blog about what you want to blog about, because if it’s interesting to you it will be interesting to other people. Meaning, I guess, that if you find yourself fascinating other people will as well.
1 hour 45 minutes in: I should not have made the words “connection” and “sharing” the drinking game triggers. Not only have they been used so many times they have lost all meaning, I have lost my ability to not fall off the floor.
The final ten minutes: Chris, talking about Chris over video of Chris and the American flag. Then Chris talking about how blogging is a way of life, and blogs are so powerful and can be used for good or evil before ruining the phrase “comes great responsibility” forever. Then we get a “from sea to shining sea” speech over random video of various bloggers reminding us that behind every blog is a real person, in case you somehow thought IBM had built a Blogging Watson. It closes with Chris continuing to talk while staring at a sunset and saying our descendents will be glad we didn’t keep our lives to ourselves. The tedium not yet over, Casey then starts talking, evidently reading some blog post written to her kids. Finally some emo song swells as the ‘credits’ roll, which is basically video of the bloggers giggling with their names underneath.
Review: I actually liked Dear Baby’s thoughts about keeping some parts of her life private, and Cara Loren was actually less annoying on camera than on her blog when she wasn’t giggling about her materialism. The video quality itself was actually good; I was expecting iPhone video quality I guess, but it was nice and HD.
It felt like there was a lot of filler, and too much Chris talking about Chris. All the Chris talking about Chris made it confusing – is this about him, or the bloggers? I understand trying to weave a story with his ‘journey’ as the thread, but all the asides about how he came to love film convoluted the attempted plot device.
Overall I think this was an interesting IDEA for a documentary, but the subjects are mostly unlikable and circle-jerky to begin with and the not-quite-Gonzo journalism angle just made for confusion as to what the real point of making this movie actually was. Re-edited to exclude most of Chris talking about Chris and adding more about the business side of blogging would make it more interesting to those not armpits deep in the blogging world. But ultimately to outsiders it doesn’t make bloggers more human; if anything, it makes most of them seem even more navel gazing and self-important than they seemed before this film.