50K+ Views Special: Top 7 Things I’ve Learned as a Critic Since Starting Iridium Eye

This happened way quicker than I anticipated. I have surpassed 50,000 all-time views on Iridium Eye! It was strange because there was a week where I got a ton of views for some bizarre reason and it racked up to 50K. Keep in mind, I surpassed 45K only a few months ago.

It does feel good to review things again after not doing so for months. I’ve been reviewing the best movies and series you’ve never heard of for 5 years now. This was such a great experience finally being able to use my experience and interest in film with this blog. During this journey, I got to re-experience various movies and series I’ve seen in my life including my own adolescence while offering my insights on the things I’ve seen. These Top 7 lists have been cathartic when I do my best to come up with creative lists. Okay, I do have more leeway in mentioning more mainstream examples I would never review sometimes, but it has been good to mix things up while still mentioning things in an atypical way. I was also surprised when people liked my posts and occasionally shared them with others on their social media pages or other sites they use.

I’m not going to say I know everything since I’ve felt like I learned a lot on my own since starting this blog when I exposed myself to films and series I wouldn’t have seen in other circumstances. This won’t be an elaborate picture or video-filled list like most of my other lists, but I hope you appreciate it regardless.

7: International cinema has exposed me to so many cultures.

I pride myself on covering movies from several other countries. I sometimes feel like I’ve earned the right to brag about watching more movies than a majority of other critics whether they are just bloggers or on professional websites. How many people can say they have seen movies from Mauritania, Guadeloupe, Bhutan, and/or Uruguay to name a few? Two of those examples have multiple entries on my blog. With that said, each film I’ve seen from a country I don’t know much about cinema-wise has been an educational experience. They usually involve languages I’ve never heard spoken before, landscapes that look nothing like here in America, or seeing cultural customs that are quite unique. I’m grateful to have grown up in a multiethnic area when I was a kid and appreciate so many other cultures even to this day. It’s something that has transferred to my affinity for films. That subject is something most of my friends didn’t know about except when I talked about anime, but people have underestimated my film knowledge (history and production) for years. I have learned about cinema styles unique to certain geographical areas and the philosophy of the creative processes. There’s more to movies than just Hollywood, and I wish more people would realize that.

6: I got to see more people tell their own stories.

For years, I’ve been sick of only certain people being appointed to tell stories outside of their home countries, let alone their own cultures. You can probably guess what I meant by that. Seeing these stories told directly from the locals of all these nations has been a breath of fresh air more often than not. Some of these examples include people who never had formal film training or have connections to professional actors, yet they can make quality movies that I and others have enjoyed even if they don’t get much attention from mainstream critics. I know there have been cases of people directing movies from outside of their cultures that I reviewed, but they haven’t been common. That insider knowledge is a godsend instead of people pretending to consult other cultures to gain some kind of cred (I’m looking at you, Pocahontas!) and failing. The people from these other nations have a lot more knowledge on principle, so give them a shot to make some films. I didn’t see that as much until my teenage years when I was just getting exposed to international cinema and that was years before I made this blog. I hope I have exposed people to some quality works during this time.

5: I learned about subjects I didn’t even think about at first and eventually became fans of some of them.

Part of my goal is to be open-minded enough to watch something that has been outside my comfort zones. It’s not necessarily about watching things from other countries, but topics I haven’t given much thought to. There have been a few examples with the first big one I can think of being the Beatrice documentary where I learned about wheelchair fencing or how it’s been in the Paralympics for decades when I saw this story of this quadruple-amputee Italian fencer who’s the only one in her sport in the world with no hands (she uses prosthetic hands in her everyday life and attaches her sword to her elbow in competition). I didn’t know about the Ace community until I stumbled upon (A)sexual which really opened my eyes to how they are treated in society. The two most prominent examples from a hobby standpoint involve subjects I legitimately never thought I would be fans of would be Caribbean cricket and indie BritWres after watching Fire in Babylon and Eddie Dennis: A 5 Year Old’s Dream respectively. Yes, I joke that I have geographically-specific interests and my fandom for those things has been sprinkled in some of my reviews and lists. Hahaha! Who knows? Maybe you’ll find some new interests if you watch a documentary, film, or anime involving a topic you aren’t too familiar with.

4: Researching things about different directors and actors has been quite a trip.

The Fun Facts section has been one of the things I find most interesting when I write these reviews. It has been fascinating learning about what other works they were a part of or their other endeavors outside of acting or directing. I’ve also reviewed works with well-known actors such as Samuel L. Jackson, Woody Harrelson, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, John Leguizamo, Idris Elba, and many others even if they’ve been in indie works that I watched. I have learned about random facts such as the aforementioned SLJ being of Gabonese descent through a DNA test, Leguizamo being born in Colombia, or someone such as Harrelson acting in a Star Wars movie which I wasn’t aware of. It has also been fascinating learning about little things about various actors voicing characters I never realized or getting into other subjects such as music, art, or photography for example. People don’t realize that people have multiple interests or have played such a character.

3: I watched things I would’ve never heard of from friends, other bloggers, and unlikely people.

There are films and series that I discovered on accident, but I’d be lying if I said that I’d found out about everything on my own. I really need to work on ways to improve that about certain requests. Anyway, I have been exposed to various works that I eventually reviewed from other people who mention certain works that could be similar or some of my friends who are knowledgable about film sent me some links from various creators. There are examples that have pleasantly surprised me from my friends, bloggers (especially the aniblogging community on WordPress), musicians, and people in the indie BritWres scene giving me recommendations surprisingly enough. This upended my understanding of various movies. Without so many people I would never have heard of Sound! Euphonium (I still need to watch the sequels and movies), the works from The Critics Company, Singh Is Kinng, Who Killed Captain Alex?, Sea Fever, or U-Carmen for example. Iridium Eye isn’t an island. I want to expose people to movies or series they wouldn’t think of watching, but this also applies to me learning about other movies or series during this time.

2: I’ve learned that there are people who actually appreciate my opinions or research.

Sometimes I get scared posting my opinions, especially if they end up being contrary even if I can back them up with evidence. Some of my earlier reviews have been acts of courage for me (one example will be mentioned in my #1 reason) to finally air things out there. After being bullied and shamed into silence for most of my life, it is a godsend that there are people who do care about what I have to say despite being a smaller blogger. There are people who told me that they like something I gave a positive review which does give me some hope that someone actually appreciates my thoughts on something. It’s even surprised when I mention some uncomfortable and people thank me for saying these things without being too confrontational.

1: Reviewing historical works has been more educational for me than all my years of school (kindergarten all the way to university).

This should be no surprise for this reason. I have reviewed several documentaries and period pieces. The biggest examples have been that involving the African diaspora. That major turning point that involved the 2nd review I’ve done where I was nervous about posting was Hate Crimes in the Heartland which was about the Black Wall Street Massacre. I didn’t hold back when I talked about that massive piece of terrorism against the Black community in Tulsa over a century ago that should be taught in history. That’s not even counting international examples like the Namibian Genocide, Congolese Genocide, the Thiaroye Massacre, or learning about Black inventors in Make it Happen. We need to learn about these stories.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.

8 comments

  1. Totally vibe with ya on #1. When I was in 10th grade we had to take a course on Canadian history, and this overlapped with WWI and WWII. Out of boredom I went ahead and checked out the histories of the other countries mentioned in those times, such as Austria-Hungary or the German Empire and learned there was way more to their story than the “oh they were the bad guys” shtick from our textbooks. For example the last emperor of the former country (Bl. Charles of Austria) was actually a nice guy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s cool how you agree. Good on you for checking out the histories that didn’t teach you in school. I wasn’t aware of that with Charles of Austria. Of course, Germany was responsible for the Namibian Genocide which doesn’t get talked about in history books (certainly not in America regardless of the anti-CRT backlash or not), but he wasn’t involved in that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, I’m privy also to the horrible atrocities that happened there. Belgians in the Congo, Italians in Ethiopia (they even started a war there because of some 19th-century salt), as well as some of the repressive rules in the Qing Dynasty era of China. If you thought China was bad today, oh boy… you haven’t seen the half of what they did in the past 200 years. Kooky stuff!

        Horrific stuff aside, I did learn some nice tidbits about European history leading up to WWI. For example, the German states weren’t exactly as unified as it would be today; in fact, the modern German single-state came up only within the last 150 years, and mainly because they teamed up to beat France AND Austria, and they got so cocky they got lit in a Parisian palace and named their emperor there. And that’s how they were on their way to being a world power in the 20th century 😉

        Ah, things like this is why I enjoy learning about history in my spare time. Good old days when I had lots of spare time for that

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s good and I wish more people would study up and care. I didn’t know about Leopold’s reign of the Congo until a few years ago. I didn’t know that aspect of Italy warring with Ethiopia, but I do know they already colonized their next-door neighbors of Eritrea and how they lost against Ethiopia. Yikes, I’ve heard of some of those things back then with China even back then.

        I was aware that Germany wasn’t always unified and you had separate kingdoms and countries such as Bavaria, Prussia, Hesse, etc and it wasn’t until much later they become one country. Even Italy was like that, too. I didn’t know that about them when it came to fighting France and Austria.

        Gotcha and I’ve been doing my best to learn when I can. I’ve learned so much outside of school and it’s so surreal like my life was a lie.

        Liked by 1 person

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