Reflections from a geek

By Kevin Romani

I don’t know which cliché to start with.

It’s been an honor to write for the Collegian? I would highly recommend all of you participate in writing for your paper? I will truly miss it?

My opening words may sound condescending, but all of these clichés are true. I simply hate reading and writing about feelings, especially when they are my own. As a film and television enthusiast, it would not be fair of me to dedicate my final column for the Collegian to words of inspiration and advice.

That’s not what I did for this paper, and I’ll happily leave that to more qualified writers.

What I did instead was ramble on and gloat over my passion. And whenever I could, I would sneak in references to “Lost,” “Star Wars” or anything to do with Liam Neeson, even when they had nothing to do with my story whatsoever. But thanks to the Collegian, I had a platform to unleash my geekdom whenever I pleased.

That being said, I will briefly discuss one final film-related item. Considering this is my last opportunity to share my thoughts with the University of Massachusetts community, I would be remiss not to take advantage of it. And it’s truly the only thing I ever want to talk about (I apologize to everyone close to me).

That’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”

I eat, breathe and sleep (whoops, cliché) “The Dark Knight Rises.” Heck, I even created a semi-regular podcast series – with my fellow geek and frequent collaborator Danny Marchant – dedicated solely to the movie. The funny thing? “Rises” doesn’t hit screens until July 20. I won’t have the chance to dissect every aspect of this film next fall, but I can offer one final preview.

Taking my obsession with this film out of the equation as much as possible, I genuinely believe Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy has changed – and is changing – our perceptions of blockbusters and the film industry as a whole. Nolan has added an unprecedented level of sophistication to the superhero genre.

The problem with a majority of movie franchises is the rush to make the next dollar. Series like “Transformers” don’t take their time in developing a quality script and assembling the proper cast and crew. Instead a new film comes out every two years like clockwork, each feeling like even more of a letdown than its predecessor.

This is where Nolan separates himself from the rest of the pack. He takes his time in carefully crafting a story that is worthy of a sequel. He was at first unsure if he even wanted to make a follow-up to the wildly successful “The Dark Knight.” Nolan took a few years off – which included the making of “Inception” – until he found the story he wanted to tell. Now, word from the film’s production is overwhelmingly positive, as contributors point to the epic nature of the story as the film’s biggest draw.

Third films are often a problem – think “The Godfather Part III” and “Spiderman 3” – and for good reason. It’s incredibly difficult to remain fresh and unpredictable while ramping up to a satisfying conclusion. But Nolan is a master of exceeding expectations.

“Rises” may not earn as much money as “Knight,” as Heath Ledger’s untimely passing was a definite player in mainstream audience’s interest in seeing the film. But that shouldn’t suggest it will be a lesser film. I believe “Rises” will be the best third film ever made – excluding indirect sequels like “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” – and will be our generation’s defining trilogy, just as “Star Wars” was for our parents. Nolan’s “Batman” series reflects so much of our world – fear, terror, heroism – and speaks to our needs for both escapism and realism simultaneously. If I could offer one piece of movie-related advice, it would be to not miss out on this film.

And that’s it. For those of you who were both patient and interested enough in my columns, I want to take the time to truly thank you for reading (I’ve given up avoiding clichés at this point).

I will leave with one final thought regarding our paper and its readership.

As I’m sure you all have noticed, we Collegian writers bravely include our email address at the end of our columns. After three semesters of work and over thirty published articles, I never received a single email. This is more than understandable. It takes some guts to open up dialogue with a total stranger and reveal the enjoyment – or hatred – felt towards what the author had to say. I long ago gave up on the idea of hearing back from a reader, and that really didn’t bother me at all.

That was until a few weeks ago, when I was surprised to see a message from someone I had never met before responding to my review of the pilot episode of HBO’s “Girls.” This student went out of her way to inform me how much she enjoyed my article and that it was the final push to convince her to watch the series.

In case I had any doubts as to why I dedicated my time and effort to this paper, they were answered with that email. My purpose in writing was to reach out to our campus and point out what was great and not-so-great in the world of film and television. I now know for certain I accomplished this goal with at least one student, and hopefully many more.

Do what this student did. Let the writers know what a great – or terrible – job they are doing. Remember how much of a privilege it is to have a brand new paper everyday – for free – that helps you to not pay attention in class. With Sudoku! The Collegian Staff writers all give up their time for your benefit. Remind them how thankful you are for it.

And see “The Dark Knight Rises” this summer. Twice.

I began this column saying I would not offer words of inspiration or advice. I apologize for the digression. Kind of.

Kevin Romani was a Staff Writer and the Arts Senior Producer. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinRomani.