Hello World!

by Todd McCarthy
April 30, 2010 1:58 AM
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Welcome, one and all, old friends and ones not yet met, to my new home.

It's been a few weeks since my unceremonious departure from Variety, and I have spent that time getting rewired; indieWIRED, to be corny and specific, but, more generally, refitted from being an old print guy to one ready to jump into the deep end of all-electronic, all-the-time film commentary on my own site, "Todd McCarthy's Deep Focus."

In the wake of the surprising tempest that broke out when Variety cast me off along with my esteemed critical colleagues and close friends Derek Elley in London and David Rooney in New York, I was amazed and somewhat embarrassed by the attention it all received, but deeply gratified by the support that came from so many quarters.

I really was feeling the love in a way I hadn't in a long time. In some cases, particularly with what my old pal Roger Ebert wrote, I rather felt in the peculiar position of being privileged to read my own obituary, so detailed were the anecdotes and memories being conjured up.

Happily, along with all this came some intriguing proposals to venture out in new professional directions, offers I imagine would never have been advanced had I remained ensconced at Variety. Needless to say, there were no invitations to become a critic at what used to be called major metropolitan newspapers or national magazines; such jobs barely exist anymore and the few critics who have them know how lucky they are but still may find their minds wandering during boring movies to thoughts of alternate future careers.

No, the majority of possibilities lay in the electronic world, a domain I felt no need to embrace early on but which now clearly represents the only expanding arena for the written word. In crossing from the old world to the new, the horizon remained hazy, but I was reassured by longtime friends Anne Thompson and Leonard Maltin, both of whom preceded me in casting their lots here, that indieWIRE would be an ideal fit for me.

I quickly came to the same conclusion. For 30 years I enjoyed the "inside" aspect of the trade paper format at Variety and from the beginning tried in my reviews to merge the required commercial perspective with serious critical evaluation. With this new site, I will continue writing formal reviews of important new pictures, but the blog aspect will permit me to write about so many other things, from Hollywood personalities I encounter as a matter of course to observations about my son's progress as a blossoming film buff. In this welcoming column alone, I'm able to write in the first person as I rarely could at Variety, and the possibility to expand the way I write about films and the film world is enormously energizing.

After this hello, my coverage will start in earnest at the Cannes Film Festival, which begins May 12. Cannes and I go back a long way, to 1970 (when I was a wee kid, of course); I know the waterfront and, no matter the ebb and flow of the quality of the films and the festival itself, it remains the queen of all international film gatherings.

Festival chief Thierry Fremaux (I guess I can't say "fest topper" anymore) has admitted upfront that this is a "difficult" year, even as he simultaneously predicted that 2011 will be a brilliant year based on the directors he knows are already preparing pictures that will be ready 12 months from now. The sudden unavailability of Terrence Malick's much-anticipated "Tree of Life" was a crushing blow for Fremaux and everyone else. All the same, I have seen one major festival entry already and it's fantastic, an exhilarating rush (and not American--but no more hints). I have also reliably heard that two other pictures in the Official Selection are very good at the least, so there is some promise.

I will cover Cannes as I always have, with immediate reviews of as many of the significant titles as possible while allowing four or five hours of sleep a night, but with more, too, based on the encounters I have with people and films. I will attend with equal enthusiasm the new film by Bertrand Tavernier and the restoration of my great old friend Andre de Toth's 1939 Hungarian picture "Two Girls in the Street," which I've never seen and therefore counts as a new film for me.

Embarking on this new enterprise feels like taking off for a distant land I've never visited before, but where I at least speak the language. I'll be back with you from Cannes.

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  • scott s | May 27, 2010 2:21 AMReply

    it would seem obvious that some of us think stinky old Variety did a ridiculous thing. and they did. i remember getting to crash one of your parties and you were absolutely gracious. anyway. welcome. prosper.

  • kimberly Wright | May 16, 2010 10:18 AMReply

    Congrats, Todd!
    Best wishes on your new blog post. I couldn't imagine any Cannes coverage without your insightful reviews. I'll enjoy following your foray into the world of electronic journalism.

  • Paul Wagner | May 14, 2010 12:50 PMReply

    Very pleased to see you online. Always loved the clarity of your work at Variety and relieved to know it will be carried on by Indiewire.

  • Chip Zempel | May 14, 2010 4:24 AMReply

    Hey, Todd!

    Great to see you've found a new forum. (And I'm glad to see that all your time at Variety hasn't stunted your ability to write sentences in Standard American English!)


  • LARRY WOLFE | May 10, 2010 7:15 AMReply


  • Tom Brueggemann | May 10, 2010 5:24 AMReply

    The idea of a Cannes without you covering it was unfathomable. Your being online is great, but in time for coverage from the Croisette is even better.

    And without you having to supervise a crew of critics, you might even be reviewing more movies (and even short notes would be great).

    Bon projection!

  • Allan Mindel | May 8, 2010 1:23 AMReply

    Hi Todd,

    This is fantastic news! I will now be able to get regular fixes from you as well as Anne Thompson.....Can't wait to hear your thoughts from Cannes. Indiewire is the greatest source we have to keep us up to date on everything cinema these days.


    Allan Mindel

  • Stascha Bader | May 4, 2010 7:10 AMReply

    Hi Todd
    I don't know if you read these comments at all (there are already so many!), but I wanted to ask you what I can do as an independent Swiss director to make my theatrical documentary "Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae" seen and reviewed in the USA. No, the film is not showing at Cannes (it has been shown at festivals in Munich, London, at Slamdance, in Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, New Zealand etc.) Yes, we do have world distribution (mk2). I would love to make the film accessible to you. Here is the website: www.rocksteadyrootsofreggae.com. I hope to hear from you.

  • donmauer | May 4, 2010 4:05 AMReply

    Congratulations old friend! ... The cream always rises to the top ... And you, as you have always been, are truly the best of the best ...

  • sydney levine + peter belsito | May 3, 2010 8:00 AMReply

    We are so happy for you and for ourselves as new devopments continue to keep pace with tise exciting time os changes and transitions. See you on the routes of change!

  • Jonathan Holland | May 2, 2010 8:46 AMReply

    Todd: someone above says "the first person suits you", so congratulations on finally finding your voice... I'm so glad I'll be able to continue reading you.

  • chris | May 2, 2010 5:04 AMReply

    a class act
    above all others
    say no more!

  • mitchell block | May 2, 2010 1:13 AMReply

    Congratulations Todd,
    So glad to see you're on line and writing.
    Good luck in this endeavor.
    Look forward to your continued insights and reviews.

  • Susan Glatzer | May 1, 2010 3:14 AMReply

    So happy for you and all the folks at indieWIRE! See you in Cannes.

    Susan Glatzer

  • NHBill | April 30, 2010 12:58 PMReply

    Great to have TMC back.
    Plus I get a bonus!
    I new web site that I was unaware of.
    Smart move indieWIRE/moviefone.

  • Edwin Pagan | April 30, 2010 12:25 PMReply

    Welcome aboard, Todd. I know a ton of your Variety fans, including me, will be following your brand of film-focus here on indieWIRE. Continued success (now in the digital domain)!

  • Diane Kolyer | April 30, 2010 12:22 PMReply

    two thumbs up, me likes this!

  • Judith Brennan | April 30, 2010 11:58 AMReply

    Huge gain for indieWIRE, major loss for Variety. I worked with Todd there many years ago. Not only is he one of the best critics in the biz but one of the finest journalists I have ever worked with ... way to go.

  • kate Moss | April 30, 2010 11:11 AMReply

    Variety out, Iindiewire Deep Focus in. we have missed you greatly. can't wait til May 12th !!!!!! And beyond .

  • Dwayne Johnson-Cochran | April 30, 2010 10:54 AMReply

    Great news, Todd. For you, for us and for film. Look forward to reading your reviews and your point of view.

  • Alex Kustanovich | April 30, 2010 9:26 AMReply

    Congratulations, Todd!
    I'm looking forward to reading your reviews. I'm happy you found a new home for your writing.

    Alex Kustanovich

  • El Mika | April 30, 2010 7:57 AMReply

    good to hear - will definitely spread the news & look forward to eyeopening coverage

  • Roert Gray | April 30, 2010 7:56 AMReply

    Damn! I hoped you'd have to go back to directing!

  • Mark | April 30, 2010 7:52 AMReply

    Best of luck Todd, great to have you 'back'.

  • Keith Uhlich | April 30, 2010 7:51 AMReply

    Many congrats on your new berth, Todd. Eager to see your perspective reflected here and at NYFF, come fall.

  • Catherine Wyler | April 30, 2010 7:41 AMReply

    What a relief to know you'll still be our eyes and ears at Cannes and elsewhere. Congratulations to Eugene and Hooray for Indiewire for grabbing you!

  • Thomas S. | April 30, 2010 7:32 AMReply

    Long time reader of your work form Germany: Good to have you back, sir. A new required read from now on.

  • Mark Andrews | April 30, 2010 7:00 AMReply

    Fantastic news for the world of film and a fitting transition that will no doubt serve you well from both a personal and professional perspective. I look forward to reading your refreshing insights into all things entertainment. Peace, Mark

  • Hannah Fisher | April 30, 2010 6:57 AMReply

    I am very excited about your Deep Focus blogs Todd and look forward to following your eclectic delights in the digital world. I am sure you feel a ton lighter and dozens of years younger - you have embarked on a fascinating new adventure and all of us are the beneficiaries. How could we ever be so lucky!
    Hannah Fisher

  • Jonathan Dana | April 30, 2010 6:49 AMReply

    Another coup for indieWIRE! Congrats to all concerned for this excellent addition..... jd

  • Dedelson | April 30, 2010 5:56 AMReply

    Good to see you're starting a new and most welcome chapter.

  • L Sapadin | April 30, 2010 5:50 AMReply

    This will undoubtedly turn out to be a blessing in disguise. I just home the benefits are as good as at Variety.

  • Yeong | April 30, 2010 5:29 AMReply

    Looking forward to reading your insightful entries! Best of luck!

  • Mickzilla | April 30, 2010 5:20 AMReply

    Great opening! Looking forward to your Cannes coverage.

    In your case, when a big door slammed shut, a wonderfully wide-open window appeared.

    My windows still seem to be jammed shut but tomorrow is another day ...

  • Eugen | April 30, 2010 4:52 AMReply

    Can't wait! Great to see your new home, and great to be able to read your film critiques again, Mr McCarthy. Good news, good news.

  • jim hames | April 30, 2010 4:50 AMReply

    4 stars

  • Stefan V | April 30, 2010 4:47 AMReply

    Welcome back! I have a feeling this will be great! Bookmarked.

  • Jeremy Arnold | April 30, 2010 4:43 AMReply

    Todd, it's great to see you in "print" again! Congrats, and I'm very happy I can get my McCarthy fix once again.


  • wanda bershen | April 30, 2010 4:02 AMReply

    Welcome to cyberspace Todd -- great to have your thoughts readily available! Waiting to hear about Derek's new activitiies -- say hello for me at Cannes.

  • Laremy | April 30, 2010 3:57 AMReply

    Congrats on the new gig, Todd. IndieWire is lucky to have you!

  • Mike Thomas | April 30, 2010 3:56 AMReply

    Hey Todd,
    Great to have you back doing what you are the best at.
    I have a film at Cannes this year, hope to see you there!
    Mike Thomas

  • Larry Jackson | April 30, 2010 3:52 AMReply

    Todd-- This is fantastic news! I remember bumping into you that afternoon in Feb. 1979 outside the Filmex offices, when you told me you had just that day been hired at Variety and how excited you were. You've given us so much since then! I'm thrilled that we'll all still get the benefit of your seasoned insight into international cinema, and not necessarily the ever less interesting studio fluff. There aren't many out there who can bring the level of historical and intellectual perspective you offer. I'm going to be an eager reader of this column, er, blog. Cheers!!!!

  • twhalliii | April 30, 2010 3:49 AMReply

    Welcome! Great to have your voice here.

  • Bob Crowe | April 30, 2010 3:35 AMReply

    Nice move Todd. I'm betting you're going to find the online world a whole lot more welcoming. Come by and see us at the Canadian Pavilion at Cannes.

  • Jonathan Rosenbaum | April 30, 2010 3:32 AMReply

    Bon voyage, Todd, and welcome aboard. As someone who first met you in Cannes in 1970, and who's been reading you ever since, I'm delighted to be able to read you again, especially in these sympathetic quarters.

  • paul rachman | April 30, 2010 3:29 AMReply

    Wonderful to have you a step closer, it already feels more intimate. Welcome to a growing circle of people who care about films


  • J. Sperling Reich | April 30, 2010 3:22 AMReply

    It's great to see that you've landed at indiWIRE. I suspect all of your future posts will be as well written and insightful as this one.

    Your blog will make a welcome entry to my RSS reader, as it should for anyone who subscribes.

    - J. Sperling Reich

  • KaMeek Lucas Taitt | April 30, 2010 3:19 AMReply

    Congratulations! I'm looking forward to your future coverage!

  • Gary North | April 30, 2010 3:14 AMReply

    Oh, thank goodness to find Deep Focus and Todd McCarthy back in the public world. I've been going through Deep Focus withdrawal ever since that fateful day at Variety; great to know your excellent, informed, incisive reviewing and unique writing style will again be available.

  • Movie Phantom | April 30, 2010 3:08 AMReply

    Wow! Just WOW!
    This is the best news I've read in a long time. Todd, I have enjoyed reading your reviews very much over the years and absolutely love your appreciation for classic cinema, especially as a reference point to the movies being made today.
    Look forward to anything you have to write here at indiewire, I'm sure it will be a delight to read.

    Movie Phantom

  • Amy D | April 30, 2010 3:05 AMReply

    Congrats on both the new and the constant, Todd. The first person suits you. I look forward to reading your reports from Cannes and beyond. Hooray for Indie Wire!

  • Mats Holberg | April 30, 2010 2:50 AMReply

    Looking forward to the first-person perspective -- best of luck!

  • Sasha Stone | April 30, 2010 2:47 AMReply

    Welcome to the online world. I look forward to reading your stuff!

  • Roger Frappier | April 30, 2010 2:46 AMReply

    We are all very happy to be able to read you again and share your love and knowledge of cinema. All the best. Roger Frappier

  • erichkohn | April 30, 2010 2:40 AMReply

    Welcome, Todd! This is great news for all of us.

  • David Stratton | April 30, 2010 2:38 AMReply

    Todd McCarthy's Deep Focus blog is very welcome news - I'll look forward to his erudite and informed opinions and comments on IndieWire with eager anticipation.

  • Gary Palmucci | April 30, 2010 2:15 AMReply

    Great to have Todd at Indiewire. He's good....so good, he knows he doesn't even have to prove it...

  • manuel10589 | April 30, 2010 1:58 AMReply

    Great addition to Anne Thompson. You are already added to my Google Reader feeds. Best wishes and looking forward to reading your reviews from the Cannes Film Festival.

  • Leon Cakoff | April 30, 2010 1:39 AMReply

    Dear Todd,

    Hope you will have time now also for more "Visions of Light".
    Leon Cakoff and Renata de Almeida/ São Paulo Int'l Film Festival

  • charles lyons | April 30, 2010 1:16 AMReply

    Great to see--and read--you here!

    You had me at "hello"!


    Charles Lyons

  • Jack Loftus | April 30, 2010 1:06 AMReply

    Good luck and more good writing, Todd.