When we first came up with the idea of Live from the ManCave, I wrote a “Critic’s Manifesto” of my vision for our project. CraigMakk and Chewie gave the concepts a thumbs-up, after relentlessly making fun of me for being nerdy enough to come up with what looks like a legal document for what was supposed to be a fun project (Chewie even named his fantasy football team “Critic’s Manifesto” in our league that year). Over 2 years later, I’m proud to say that I think we’ve managed to hold to these principles. See for yourself:
For an overwhelming portion of America, film is the most affordable vacation one can take! For the price of a theater ticket, a blue-ray rental, or an on-demand order, you can be whisked away to another city, country, galaxy, or even time! For two hours, you can forget the constraints of your everyday life, escape your reality, or even use the film experience to explore emotions you may not have thought anyone else understood.
However, just as with a real life trip, cash is not the only cost that can prevent your vacation; time is money, and in many cases, more valuable than cash itself. So, while movies allow you to take a chance and travel somewhere you may not be absolutely sure about without wasting a days or weeks, for most Americans, two hours is a lot of time to give up, as well. Nobody likes to walk away from anything thinking they just wasted two hours. This is where movie critics/reviewers/evaluators come in. A good critic will help you hedge your bets; his (as in, his or her) advice will ensure that the precious little leisure time that most of us are limited to is used wisely, and is least likely to be squandered on a vacation from hell. Just as you wouldn’t entrust your investments to just any financial advisor, shouldn’t you guard your valuable leisure time, as well?
We formed this site out of necessity. Anybody with access to the internet can post their opinion for all to see, but we haven’t found any critics we trust. Take a hard look at many of these people who claim to be “reputable” movie critics. What do you actually know about them? From what you do know about them, would you hang out with them, or even waste any time speaking to them? Are they likely to laugh at the things that you would, or appreciate the same kind of events you would? Are they actually giving opinions based on logic that you can follow, or are they just using their keyboard as a sounding board to say things about people that they would never have the courage to say in person (there are way too many email warriors nowadays)? On what experience (not just professional, but even life) are they basing their opinions. For us, we didn’t find satisfying answers to these questions. We found that, the majority of the time, we only trusted our friends and/or people we respect with our precious few hours for entertainment.
So, we decided to create this site, first, for each other and our friends, and next, for any and all like-minded people that might benefit from and trust our advice. Our aim is not to be the most all-inclusive site, or the site with the most breaking industry news. Instead, our goal is only to be that site that, if you’re bored on a Friday night, and you’re about to go to the theater or order a movie on demand with your significant other, you quickly check for ideas, or as a second opinion to make sure that you’re not going to walk out of the theater or shut off your TV in disgust.
Why should you trust our advice? Ultimately, you may not want to. As we said, there is no “right answer” to what a good film is. There are only opinions. Some of you may not have the same tastes as us…we probably won’t agree with each other on many films, for that matter. We can’t promise that you will like every recommendation. But here are the tenets that we will do our best to stick to:
1. We will display short biographies of ourselves (although not our real names), so that you know who it is you are taking advice from. We are not sheltered weirdos. We are everyday people, who bring our own experiences to the table, and whose opinions may be closer to yours than someone whose only accomplishment is to tear up some unsuspecting actor on a blog.
2. Along the same lines, we have lives. We will update our film reviews as often as we can, but again, the goal is not to be all-inclusive; just to provide a few good suggestions and opinions, and maybe be a little entertaining ourselves in the process.
3. We will try our best to supplement our ratings with enough logic for you to see how we got there. We will not just bash films or movie staff without stating what we dislike and why. Again, however, we have lives, and sometimes all we may be able to do is provide an overall rating.
4. We will provide a grading system that is practical, easy-to-follow, and forces us to take a definitive stance, rather than “playing it safe.” This system will not be based on solely the artistic value of a film, or its blockbuster power; instead, it will be based completely on what level of our time and/or money we felt it was worth seeing (for example, a film may actually be well scripted, acted, and produced, but we still walked out bored, resulting in a bad rating). You’ll notice that there are no “halfway” grades (i.e., “2 1/2 mugs”); we will force ourselves to make the hard recommendation of whether something is or is not worth your time, although, on some occasions, we may note in our explanation that it is a borderline recommendation.
5. We will produce a podcast, which will include entertaining general film industry discussion, interesting guests, and some movie reviews at the end (with adequate spoiler alerts).
6. We will review fan submissions, and do our best to address comments or questions without regard as to whether they cast a favorable light on our site.
7. We will do our best to provide you with guest critics, who will abide by the foregoing tenets, in order to expand the depth of the site, without sacrificing quality of reviews.