Goddammit Internet, this is why we can't have nice things! The Dissolve, a film site that has supplied me with countless laughs and insights for almost two years, closed its virtual doors on Wednesday. Amidst a sea of click-bait and non-writing passing as journalism, The Dissolve was a bright beacon of hope in the form of thoughtful, intelligent, and passionate film writing. Reading The Dissolve was a ritual. Its news articles were the first things I read when I woke up, the day end news round-up and Essential Film Writings were how I ended my work day, and its latest reviews and features were the last thing I read before bed (causing many a lovely film-related dream). The writers at The Dissolve and the content they produced inspired me as a writer and a cinephile. I honestly believe that there would be no Crushed Celluloid without The Dissolve. To say it had an impact on me would be an understatement. To say it will be missed can't even begin to do it justice.
I'd never seen such an amazing group of writers collaborating with such a strong, singular vision. Each one had their own distinct voice and style, but they all complimented and balanced each other out perfectly. Most of all, they all came from a place of love and respect for film, whether they were praising a masterpiece or slamming the latest trash. I began reading everything on the site religiously, discovering new films, finding new ways to think about old favorites, and growing to trust or at least respect all of their opinions on new fare. Even more surprising was the community of commenters laying claim to the bottom of every post. Usually, commenters on the Internet are nothing more than a wretched hive of scum and villainy, spewing a hateful disgust showing the lowest points of humanity. These people were different though, they all exuded an obvious love of film, with a sharp wit and an inclusive camaraderie that was a breath of fresh air. Though I usually shied away from commenting anywhere, this place made me feel comfortable tossing in anything I felt was worth saying, joking and discussing my biggest passion with total strangers. There was a mutual understanding and shorthand that made it feel like chatting with old friends (though admittedly I didn't post nearly as often as many of the usernames I grew to know and respect).
When Cole and I began to put this site together over a year ago, starting as a podcast (thanks Space Jam!) and eventually transforming into a full site, The Dissolve was the gold standard we strove for. We slowly started finding our groove and the work being done by The Dissolve staff continually pushed and challenged us to be better writers and to tackle films from different angles. I think the dream for both of us was to get one of our pieces labeled “Essential Film Writing” by them. Which brings us to the gigantic loss and brief crisis of faith I had when they shut down. If such a talented group of writers with financial backing and such an involved readership can't make it, then what the fuck are Cole and I doing here? The simplest answer is that our day jobs allow us to do this on the side (though not as much as we'd like) and we'll continue to do this whether we ever make any money or not. Judging by this horrible loss, who knows if we'll ever get to do this full time, but we will continue to do Crushed Celluloid due to our passion for movies and the inspiration sites like The Dissolve gave to us.
So goodbye, dear friend. I'll miss the reviews, the movies of the week, the ongoing series, and the lovely comment threads. I'll miss finding out how the movie industry was treating women from week to week, the progression of Science Fiction in film, the hilarious winners and losers of the day's film news, and the collections of anything such an amazing group deemed “Essential”. I'm sure these writers will land on their feet and I wish them the best, with a sincere thank you for everything they've given us. Though the commenters have banded together on The Solute and in a Facebook group, I'll miss that special feeling of scrolling through a loving and funny discussion after reading a great piece of film writing. The Dissolve was a lovely place where I felt at home, safe to toss in my two cents and even promote this two-bit site, making connections and expanding my love of film with each step. To paraphrase a wise, yet unnamed character from the animated show Mission Hill: “First, we lost Kurt, then 2-Pac, and now we've lost The Dissolve. I was there, man. I saw it all. It was a touchstone for our generation, a fantasy of decadence that will never come our way...again.”
I realize that I closed out this tribute to a film site with a quote from a TV show. Well, shut up. I'm in mourning. Consider this article Dissolved.