We were as stunned as everybody else to find out that Matt Zoller Seitz's wife has passed away this weekend at the absurdly young age of 35. The shock to the movie blogosphere has been palpable...just check out the amount of responses and condolences over at Matt's wonderful blog, THe House Next Door. Just as sad times make one realize the number of friends they have, the inspiring response shown by the online film world makes one notice what a community this is; locked together in endeavor and passion but also in emotional solidarity.
Some who read Reverseblog may know that we have lobbed one or two glass-house shattering stones Matt's way over the past year. However, you might not know that in doing so, thanks to Matt's good will, we have fostered a friendship with him. We wouldn't engage with or criticize acontemporary that we didn't truly respect; and Matt is a critical force to be reckoned with, one of the more truth-seeking film critics working today. Just this week, Seitz has again moved away from the flock, publishing directly prior to his own tragedy, a no-bullshit account of Paul Greengrass's flavor-of-the-month :
"United 93 is dismaying precisely because it is so outwardly safe and neutral in its politics and so discreetly circumscribed in its timeline (about two hours of real time). It is the Oscar-baiting blockbuster as blunt instrument, as cleanly designed as a claw hammer. Its emotional force is a blow to the skull that temporarily makes you forget any present-tense opinion you might harbor about the political and moral state of America and the post-9/11 world."
It's writing like this that keeps Matt as one of the most vital voices in film criticism today, which has been proven time and again by his eloquent defenses of The New World and Spielberg. Even when we disagree, Matt makes us see things from a completely different perspective. Elegantly straight-forward. Intimidatingly no-nonsense. And a hell of a nice guy. We hope that Seitz's voice--in the New York Press as well as the Star Ledger, and his hugely successful journey into the blog world-- is here to stay. He has our admiration as much as, this sad day, he has our sympathy.
But for now, all we can do is say that at Reverse Shot, our prayers and thoughts are with him.