For years, I wrote the most-viewed part of the Variety website, Kaiju Shakedown, a gossip and entertainment blog devoted to Asian cinema. It got me in trouble with lots of people, from angry publicists, to thin-skinned producers, to Jackie Chan's manager who threatened to sue me because I made fun of his new haircut. Eventually, Variety decided they didn't like getting page views so they pulled the plug and dumped the years worth of archives. Fortunately, Film Comment let me continue the madness, which I did for several years, turning out some pieces I'm really proud of like an analysis of Sammo Hung's action choreography, a deep look at Suzuki Seijun's revolutionary women's golf movie, and a complete guide to hopping vampire flicks. I watched a lot of movies to write these columns and you can find the full archive here.
Under the Dome Recaps
For several years I sacrificed my brain cells to recap the insane-o-vision Stephen King series, Under the Dome, so that you didn't have to. Read these recaps and see my mind shatter under the stress as they become more and more unhinged. Are these the funniest things I've ever written? Or the saddest? Or both? View the complete archives...if you dare.
Choose Your Own Adventure
I wrote an article for Slate about the Choose Your Own Adventure books, their links with early videogaming, their literary influences, the falling out between series founders Edward Packard and R. A. Montgomery, and a whole lot more. The interviews I did were huge, long, in-depth conversations with the people behind the series, and I'm slowly getting them up online. Here's the one I did with R.A. Montgomery, who passed away in November, 2014. And here's one I did with co-founder Edward Packard, which goes into way more detail about his falling out with Montgomery and the gendering of the covers, which he hated.
The New York Sun
The New York Sun Review Archive - as the lowest-paid, most disposable film reviewer at the New York Sun I spent years of my life reviewing movies that the rest of the critics would not have touched with a ten-foot pole: kiddie flix, black (aka "urban") movies, romantic comedies, documentaries that played for a week and then vanished into obscurity, Asian films, b-list action pictures. Now you can read these reviews for yourself and decide if it's true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, or if it just makes you irritating.
Years ago, Michael Agger wrote a piece for the New Yorker about me. It starts, "Grady Hendrix does not look like the kind of person who enjoys watching a man masturbate inside a burlap bag while chewing on his own arm...but he is!" This made me very popular with the parents of small children, and I made a lot of money babysitting after this. But I think Michael may have felt remorse over exposing my private pleasures in print, and so when he became an editor at Slate he started hiring me to write lots of articles for them. The money I earned from these has paid for dozens, if not hundreds, of burlap bags and even, sometimes, people to put in them. So thank you, Michael!
- Leave Giant Squid Alone! - the second piece I ever wrote for Slate, begging for science to stop antagonizing giant squid. I still believe deeply in this cause.
- The State of the Ninja - in which I make the case that ninjas are a metaphor for Israel. Even better: read it in French!
- Happy Birthday, Jean Claude Van Damme - October 18 is JCVD's birthday and it is a testament to the uselessness of the United Nations that they cannot convince the entire world to celebrate it. Stupid UN. Also, a review of a Jean Claude Van Damme movie that made me cry like a little girl. Twice.
- Super Special Features - my favorite piece for Slate, in which I examine the special features on the DUKES OF HAZZARD DVD. The article is a meta-article that includes commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette on itself. I think I must have written it back when I still cared.
- How To End the World on a Budget - a review of the Left Behind movie series. Yes, I watched all of them. Yes, my brain still hurts.
- The Danger of DVD Box Sets - this piece about the tyranny of DVD boxed sets made a lot of people angry. Really angry. But then again, what else is the internet for but to amplify irritation over minor annoyances into full-blown, life-consuming rage?
- Vampires Suck - you know that lazy tendency right now for people to run down sparkly vampires and go on and on about how Twilight is stupid? First!
- Comic Books - I really like comic books, but you couldn't tell it from these three pieces for Slate. The first is a takedown of the most tiresome comic book character ever created: Wolverine. What's really sad is that when I was 11 years old, Wolverine (drunk, hairy, Canadian) was my template for masculinity. Then I wrote a piece about how Alan Moore's critically-acclaimed and revolutionary Watchmen was an artistic failure - that was popular! The third piece is an obituary for Steve Gerber, creator of Howard the Duck and the man who not only created a supervillain named Dr. Bong but who also wrote a comic book called Giant Size Man-Thing. If my legacy could be so grand I would die almost immediately.
- Why The Saw Movies Are Perfect for Middle Managers - I watched all the Saw movies, and then I realized that they are basically inspirational corporate training videos.
- The Truth Behind Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Books - I did interviews with all the people involved in this series of books everyone remembers from their childhoods, and I found out that two of the founders really didn't like each other very much.
I write a lot about movies. When I was a kid my parents had a subscription to TIME magazine and they applied the same principle to TIME that they did to National Geographic. Namely, they never threw out an issue. Because I was a shut-in, I enjoyed nothing more than going through years and years of TIME back issues and reading and re-reading the movie reviews, then convincing myself I had actually seen the movies in question. This prepared me for many, many different careers, but for some reason I wound up spending a lot of my life writing about movies.
- Vengeance is Theirs - Sight & Sound asked me to write an article about violence in Korean cinema. In the second paragraph I accidentally misattributed a racist quote from Rex Reed to Andrew Sarris. They never asked me to write for them again.
- Hong Kong Horror: the 90's and Beyond - never have I researched so much, and written so exhaustively on a subject that so few people care about.
- Zombies Invade Pakistan - the Variety piece that helped launch the inimitable Zibahkhana into the world, a movie that features the first Muslim midget zombies and Pakistan's first modern day gore film.
- Film Festival Programming - as one of the founders and programmers of the New York Asian Film Festival people are always asking about the glamorous life of people like me who bring film festivals to a world that doesn't actually need them. Twitch interviewed me about it, and I managed to work in a masturbation mention and use a lot of cuss words. Rock n'roll! I also wrote a piece for Slate years ago about the dark side of film festival work. Don't read it while you're eating.
- Anita Mui Obituary - according to the Village Voice I wrote this piece for them on New Year's Eve in 1969. I hope that if I mastered time travel I would have something better to do on New Year's Eve than to file copy. But I doubt it.
- MAD Movie parodies - this is a massive article I wrote for Film Comment about MAD movie parodies. Lots of interviews, lots of ridiculous trivia, lots of insight and history for a subject not many people actually care about. To write this, I had to read almost all 500 issues of MAD magazine. Do not fear me. Pity me.
- Why Projectionists are Dying - digital film projection is a big deal, especially for the the thousands of union projectionists who are losing their livelihoods. If you ever wondered why movies sometimes look so bad at your local multiplex, here's why.
- Son of the Tiger Tornado - Superstar Rajinikanth is the second-biggest movie star in Asia, right after Jackie Chan. He is a berserk genius. This is what you need to know. Bonus round: the editor of TIME India plagiarized this article, got caught, and pretended that someone tricked him.