Each month, the CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members. This month, we’re featuring Paul Parcellin, who writes at Life and Death in L.A.
CMBA: Why do you blog?
Paul Parcellin: Other than blogging’s potential to reach readers instantly and attract a worldwide audience, I blog about films because it’s akin to thinking out loud. In my experience, there are few better ways of discovering how I really feel about any topic, film included. Each time I sit down with the laptop, I challenge myself to sum up my cogitations about the stuff that I’ve watched and try to put it into context.
When I begin, my opinion is not fully formed. It’s only when I’m pounding it out on the keyboard that I’m confronted with my initial reactions and sometimes it’s surprising — do I really feel that way? But there it is on the screen, staring at me, challenging me to flesh out my perceptions and present those ideas in a way that’s coherent and interesting to readers. I ask myself if what I’m saying makes sense. I wonder if it’s an accurate reading of the filmmaker’s intent, or if I’m carrying my own baggage that alters my take on a film. It’s tough to answer some of these nagging questions, but asking them keeps the writing process interesting. For me, there’s an urgency that’s part of film writing. Thoughts are ethereal things that will soon dissipate. It’s important to get them down on paper — or in pixels.
from each other.
CMBA: Besides classic movie blogging, what are some of your other passions?
knockout performances by Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwick and Edward G. Robinson, and
lots of quotable dialogue — “I never knew that murder could smell like honeysuckle.”
Bringing Up Baby (1938). Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Howard Hawks; need I say more?
La Dolce Vita (1960). Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, the Trevi Fountain; wonderful Fellini.
like the steel-gray sky hanging over Newcastle.
Sullivan’s Travels (1941). Whip-smart Preston Sturges. Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake and a cast of Sturges’s regular comedic actors. A great send-up of a film director who takes himself a little too seriously.
CMBA: What is something that most people don't know about you?
artists who made me look like a corpse that had been stitched up. On set, as I lay down on a
stainless-steel autopsy table for some photos the director said to me, “Welcome to the
worst job in Hollywood.” I smiled, but frankly I’d had much worse jobs that paid a lot less
for my trouble, and besides, this one was a pretty cool adventure. Of course, I was bursting
to tell everyone I knew about my impending appearance on a network TV show, but
something told me to hold off on that, and it’s a good thing that I did. When the episode
finally aired, I was disappointed to find that my scenes ended up on the proverbial cutting
room floor, so I never made it onto the show. That happens a lot, I guess. But I still have
photos of me in full makeup as a reminder of what my NCIS debut would have looked like,
and that’s OK. It was certainly not an average day at the office.