Looking back over 2011, I would say that overall it was a very good year for me. It was the first year in a while where I had no major life changes or difficult challenges to overcome, and I am very grateful for that. It was also my first full year of blogging and although I’m proud of all I accomplished here on my blog, I didn’t quite achieve all that I had set out to do in terms of frequency or quality of posts and number of movies watched.
As I’m trying to do in other areas of my life, I think it’s good to take a step back and get some perspective by looking at everything you have accomplished and thinking of ways to improve upon them in the future. So if you don’t mind walking down memory lane with me, I will attempt to recap of a few of the topics I covered over the course of last year before I discuss a few of my plans for the new year.
Saturday State Posts
One of the first posts I did last year was the start of my only series, which I eventually started calling “Saturday State Posts.” My idea for that post came when I started noticing that a lot of old movie stars were born in my home state of Wisconsin, and I decided to highlight some of those actors by listing some biographical information and interesting facts about them. While writing that post I realized that it would be fun to cover all the other states as well.
At the time, there were 50 weeks left in the year and 49 states left to cover, so I got the brilliant idea to do one a week and finish the series at the end of the year. Ummm, that didn’t work out so well. The posts turned out to be a bit more time consuming than I thought, and I sort of fell off my pace, waaayyy off my pace. I only ended up covering ten states overall; Wisconsin, Texas, Indiana, Massachusetts, Colorado, Georgia, Connecticut, Nebraska, Utah, and Montana. So it will continue to be on ongoing series on my blog, and when I finish the 50 states, I plan on highlighting actors from other countries like Sweden, England, and Canada. I certainly can’t leave out greats like Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Vivien Leigh, and Elizabeth Taylor, can I?
Movie and Book Reviews
Although writing movie reviews is not exactly my favorite thing to do (more on that later), I did review a few of the movies that I watched in 2011 including:
- Waterloo Bridge – A beautiful movie starring the beautiful movie stars Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. Both stars listed this movie as their favorite out of all they had starred in.
- White Heat – I took a step outside my comfort zone to watch this, my first ever “gangster movie” starring one of my favorite actors, James Cagney. It is an intense and exciting movie that I highly recommend.
- The Pajama Game – A delightful musical starring Doris Day and John Raitt, father of singer Bonnie Raitt. I enjoyed this movie for the wonderful song and dance numbers choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse and for the costumes of the husband-and-wife design team, William and Jean Eckart.
- Road House – A wonderful example of the film noir genre, I watched and reviewed this movie for the Ida Lupino blogathon held by Jen at her blog devoted to Ida Lupino. I really enjoyed getting to know more about Ida while doing this review.
- The Killer is Loose and The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry – These are both examples of hidden gems, movies that I had never heard of before but very much enjoyed, that I found just by browsing through Netflix Instant.
- No Man of Her Own – Not only did I review the movie, I also explained why I almost never go wrong picking a movie that stars Barbara Stanwyck, one of my very favorite actresses. Looking back I realize it was a bit dorky, but yes, I compared her to comfort food.
- The Adventures of Robin Hood – Earlier in the year, I had done a post about some well loved classic movies that I just could not get myself to watch, and this movie was the only one from that list that I ended up watching. One of my goals for 2012 is to watch the rest of the movies on the list.
- “Harlow in Hollywood: Inside the Life of a Blonde Bombshell” – The lone book that I reviewed, “Harlow in Hollywood” is a beautifully illustrated biography of actress Jean Harlow that was released last year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her birth. I highly recommend this book to all fans of Jean Harlow as well as anyone interested in learning more about the classic Hollywood era. Reading more classic movie related books is also on my list of goals for the new year.
I love learning about the lives of classic movie actors and actresses, and I especially enjoy getting to know those that I didn’t previously know anything about. My favorite place to go to research old movies and their cast and crew is IMDb.com. I used that site and other sources to write posts about actors I already knew fairly well; Shirley Temple, James Cagney, and Doris Day, and actors that I didn’t know quite as much about; Robert Montgomery, Jean Harlow, Richard Widmark, and Lawrence Tierney.
Last year I had the honor of accepting two awards, the Stylish Blogger Award and the Irresistibly Sweet Blogger Award, from two of my fellow classic movie bloggers. As a very new blogger, I was very humbled to receive these awards and would once again like to thank Tom and Audrey for their recognition. It was through these awards that I discovered how tight knit and supportive the classic movie community really is. The main reason I’m mentioning these awards and linking to my posts is not to heap praise on myself but to pass on the message that there are so many other wonderful blogs out there devoted to classic movies, and I would highly encourage you to visit them when you get the chance. Your support is very much appreciated by all of us!
Just For Fun
I also wrote a few posts that don’t really fit into the above categories that were very fun for me to do. These included a pair of posts listing my top 10 favorite Oscar winning songs from the Golden Age of Hollywood (Part I and Part II), which I did the week of the 83rd annual Academy Awards ceremony in February, a pair of posts listing my favorite movies that were set on ocean liners (Part I and Part II), one of my favorite movie settings, and a post about the Ava Gardner Museum, another name I added to my ever growing list of classic movie related places I’d love to visit some day.
Looking Ahead in 2012
In addition to my goal of watching more movies, I also plan to make a few changes and additions to what I cover here on my blog. Except possibly on rare occasions, I will no longer be writing movie reviews for the simple fact that I’m not very good at it nor do I really enjoy doing them. Instead, I would like to focus more on topics such as the history of the time period in which the movies were set, movie locations, movie fashions, and the lives of the actors, directors, costume designers, etc.
I would also like to share more movie related resources with you such as informative articles and podcasts, and also highlight some of the other wonderful bloggers who focus on classic movies. It seems like every other day I’m finding another great new site that deserves attention.
Fun is something that seemed to be lacking on my blog the past year, so I would also like to incorporate some contests, giveaways, and other activities that encourage more interaction with my readers. I’m interested in finding out what you love so much about classic movies and how they have impacted your lives over the years.
If there are any topics you would enjoy seeing covered or if you have any other feedback, I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email through my contact page. Thank you so much for visiting and for your support in the past year!