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December 28, 2010

FMWL 2010 - The Year That Was (Part One)

As the new year is beating down our doors, it is of course time to look back at what 2010 was.  I've got a couple of awesome year end lists I'll be rolling out in the next few days, but I wanted to start off my look back at 2010 by remembering some of the things that have meant the most to me.

The Midnight Movie of the Week

From Midnight, With Love was born as a New Year's resolution at the beginning of 2009, because I knew I spent enough time thinking about movies that I had to do something productive with it.  It didn't go perfectly, and March-September of that year consisted of the site sitting alone, dead and forgotten.  Though I got back on track in October of '09 thanks to finding the horror blogosphere, I ended 2009 feeling like I wasn't having as much fun with FMWL as I wanted to. 

Enter 2010's New Year's Resolution, the Midnight Movie of the Week, which began with a brief post on my favorite Hammer film, The Devil Rides Out.  Its purpose in my mind was twofold: it would help me have fun by writing about movies I already love, and it would keep me on schedule to remember the site exists.  I really didn't expect I would make it through a full year - I've never been the most consistent person I know - but I wanted to BADLY.  And, if I don't screw up at the end of this week, I will have made it through 2010 without missing a beat.  I'm very proud of that.

Other Fun Features

Once I got into a bit of a rhythm in keeping the site afloat, I realized I had to come up with some other features to fill the page if I wanted to stay interesting.  There were plenty of failed features, but three have become favorites of mine.  The Midnight Top Five has become a simple way for me to wing it without much thought, and has allowed me to have fun with a variety of topics that range from dickholes to Hammer Films' alumni.  I've also had a lot of fun with the Random Horror Throwdown, which has brought much debate to the site and got me a couple of spots writing for Flickchart: The Blog!  Last, and used least, has been the Supremely Cheesy Cinema section which I've only used twice, discussing Werewolf of Washington and Maximum Overdrive.  I hope to feature that one more often in the new year.

The Midnight Warriors

I said it on Christmas, but I wouldn't still be here if it weren't for all the great people who have shared their knowledge of genre cinema with me and have inspired me often.  I've opened the doors to all who want to share with FMWL on several occasions, and those who have stepped forward have willingly taken on the label of Midnight Warriors.  I'm most proud of the collaborations with them all on FMWL's '70s Cult Project, but all the Midnight Warrior parties have been worth attending.  


We've only jsut begun, but I've got a feeling that 2010 is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between FMWL and Bleedfest, the monthly L.A. based film festival featuring female genre filmmakers.  I've been honored to promote Bleedfest - from the minds of the fabulous sisters Elisabeth and Brenda Fies - over the past month, and reviewing the short films from December's fest is one of my favorite FMWL moments of 2010.  More on the indie horror scene later in this post, but for now I just must say kudos to the Fies ladies and all the women filmmakers of Bleedfest.

The One That Got Away

I have to bring up my biggest failure of 2010.  My good friend Trav, who is both a real-life friend since we were knee-high and a reviewer of restaurants over at The Epicure Eclipse, challenged me to review a madcap comedy that he loves, The Road to JUNE.  I knew the film didn't exactly fit FMWL's purpose, but it was certainly odd and it was certainly unique and well....I just never found the words for it.  And then for months he would bring it up and I'd be like "Oh yeah....I watched that...." and not have anything to say about it.  And thus, the review never happened, and I'm admitting my failure now.

The One That Should Never Have Happened

I'm not going to name names, because the film in question deserves less than nothing based on both its quality and the methods those behind the film have used when dealing with the online media.  I'm just going to say that there is only one film that I saw this year which I truly, deeply, totally REGRET watching.  I accepted a screener, I watched it, and I regret it entirely.  You might be able to find the review here, it's the one in which I call out the filmmakers for telling me to bash their film.  You've got your wish Mr. Director, but I'm not mentioning the film's name again.

(Note from The Mike: Doesn't that kitten look a little bit like the brain bug from Starship Troopers? I say yes.)

My Favorite Posts of 2010

I've already mentioned a couple of favorites, but here's a quick rundown of some of the things I've written this year that I actually like.  I'm incredibly hard on myself as a writer, but these are the few things I've put up here that I truly love.
FMWL's Post of the Year

After sitting in my head for YEARS, I finally took to the keyboard and wrote about one of the most important genre films to me - John Carpenter's They Live.  As Midnight Movie of the Week #31 (The Mike's lucky number), I shared my experiences with They Live through Monstervision, Film History courses, and my own viewings of the sci-fi/horror epic with the never-ending battle over sunglasses.  I can count the number of times this year that I truly felt something I wrote made sense AND meant something to me on one hand, and this post is that hand's big thumbs up.

FMWL 2010's Favorite Thing: The Indie Horror Experience

I spent a couple of years working in the closest thing central Iowa has to an "Art House" movie theater and have always searched for unknown films, so I've always thought that I knew something about independent film.  But as I've come across some truly talented individuals and their films in 2010, I've been enlightened to the fact that there is so much more in the world of genre cinema than I ever knew existed.

By taking a chance on some independent fare that I would have previously ignored, I've had some incredibly fulfilling viewing experiences that I never would have expected at the beginning of 2010.  And, with the support of some fine writers whose love for indie horror runs deep, I can not wait to see what 2011 has in store for FMWL in the independent department.  Though FMWL's primary focus has been and will always be to share some of my biggest genre loves from Hollywood's past and present, I have a hunch that there are a lot of people out there making the kind of films that I love...and I can't wait to meet them. 

In The End....

As 2010 ends, FMWL has more than nine times as many followers as it did at the beginning of the year, and December has already brought more than six times as many visitors than January did.  Though we're by no means a big deal at this little blog, I'm incredibly proud of the progress made at FMWL in 2010, and am thankful for every visitor who's ever taken a moment to check out this page.  I'll do my best to keep bringing you things you want to read in 2011.

Now that the self-love is out of the way (I try not to do it often, forgive me if I'm a bore), get ready for what comes next.  As FMWL 2010 - The Year That Was moves forward tomorrow, we'll take a look at The Mike's top 11 favorite genre films of 2010.  I swear to you, it WILL be a list of awesomeness.


deadlydolls said...

Congrats on a super first year of blogging! And yes, I can totally see some brainbug in that kitten.

Christine Hadden said...

My congrats as well The Mike! Your blog is one of my few go-to/can't miss a post reads, and I can't wait to see what's next :)

And I love these run-down/re-cap posts (just in case I miss something). Now if I could only get my own version of one finished...

Jose Cruz said...

Congrats to you indeed, Mike. You're an amazingly talented blogger, and I'm psyched to have had the pleasure to read your posts over the last year. You're the horror loving brother I never had and one cool dude. Keep up the awesomeness!

And Happy New Year!

R.D. Penning said...

Great year Mike! You are the reason I got into writing horror movie reviews and you will continue to inspire me, and you just might make a top 10 list of mine or two. :-)

Andre said...

Woohoo! So much stuff to read as I sit here bored at work, I thank you sir.

As my Twitter husband and also my blogging buddy, I am very proud of you and the progress of From Midnight, With Love.

Except for that one time you deleted the comma from the title. That made me very upset.

Anywho keep up the good work and creativity, we should do a super cool collabo one time. Like maybe I'll make a list of the top 5 worst needle traumas, and you can do the top 5 worst shark scenes. Yeah!

Liam Underwood said...

Your blog is one of the few that I make it a top priorty to read. It's always intelligent and, just as importantly, entertaining. I look forward to seeing what 2011 brings!

Travis Blubaugh said...

Awesome work Mike! I am hoping still to see that review, but I agree, it really does not fit the FMWL format... but hey it could be worse, it could be raining!

The Mike said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you to you all. You're each all that and a bag of chips.

Kidsis said...

Yaaaaaay!!!! Congrats and thank yoU!

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Congrats, man! It was fun doing that 70s Cult Project for you. I hope to share more of my Warrior-dom with you in the future, sir. Your blog is one of my favorites and I look forward to each one of your posts. May 2011 bring you nothing but fantastic luck, sir!

Enbrethiliel said...


I wish my New Year's Resolutions were half as good as yours--and just as well kept. This my favourite Horror blog, bar none, The Mike! I'm not the best Midnight Warrior around, but I'm proud to be counted among you.

The Mike said...

Lis - You're very welcome, I'm truly happy to have helped promote Bleedfest. Looking forward to a great 2011!

Fred - Thanks much! Can't wait for more Midnight Warrior challenges and some new lists this year!

E - Thanks so much for the kind words! All Midnight Warriors are created equal, I say, so fear not!