Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Dissolve - RIP

Today was a very sad day for film lovers and people like myself who wish to do justice to film criticism and work in the field professionally. Beloved movie site The Dissolve was announced as shutting down effective immediately, just days shy of its two-year anniversary.

The website was a passion project from several Chicago-based film writers, who all decided to leave the lofty spaces of The A.V. Club, where nearly all got their first shot at online fame, in order to be the movie equivalent of Pitchfork, the music-phile giant that was actually helping in the production of this dream. These writers include co-founders Scott Tobias and Keith Phipps, Tasha Robinson, Nathan Rabin, and Genevieve Koski. Later contributors include Matt Singer, Rachel Handler, and Mike D'Angelo. The site was a great way to escape the unending noise of other movie sites, who regurgitate the same production photos of upcoming superhero movies and spun many clickbait articles with next to nothing to really report. It was an area for serious movie discussion and exploration, a place where indie filmmakers could have a better platform and a venue where you could have a very reasonable conversation about animation and women in film and/or working in the film industry.

Alas, most commenters and visitors started to see the writing on the wall when Rabin, who was the most popular writer on the site due to his unique voice and willingness to go into the muck of bad works, was suddenly let go without much explanation. On-lookers predicted wisely that it wasn't a true firing but a dispiriting cost-saving method in order to keep the site running. Yesterday, unfortunately, was the surest sign of the site's demise: An article on an upcoming North-South Korean film called Northern Limit Line was posted at 1:00 PM CST, and nothing followed after it. No The Newsies, nor a Read On came up. Commenters begin to panic but tried to keep the beating of the drum as they always did. Alas, it was to no avail.

While it may seem odd for someone to wax poetically and be on the verge of tearing up about something not made of flesh and blood, the site was a great gathering place for those who wish to read and discuss about movies in great detail and for hours on end in the comments section. I should know as a I was active nearly every day. I also made a name for myself in every edition of their Newflix column, where I posted my weekly updates/reminders of the upcoming streaming titles on Netflix, which I would later bring to this site. I had a lot of fun with the morning ritual of everybody talking about what they watched the previous day in the Cable Pick of the Day column, answering one commenter's movie trivia night questions every Wednesday, and ending every Friday with Random Top Ten, where we shuffle through our iTunes library and jot down the first ten songs that come up and our opinions on them.

I hope for the best for all of the writers and expect to see them again in writing on other sites. Though they now suffer from unemployment, their beautiful wordplay and expert knowledge on the art of film are too great to be squandered. So here's to The Dissolve and to the great group of community that it gave life to and help shelter. You will sorely be missed.

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