Movies FB

Revisiting The Dissolve: The Laser Age

I have a confession to make.

I was an avid reader of the AV Club online for several years, but never commented on an article.  The comments sections seemed like a woolly, rowdy bit of insanity that was too rapidly paced and layered in references that left me in the dust.  But I always loved the articles on movies and TV.

I remember devouring the classic Trek write-ups during my down time working on the reference desk of one of the many public libraries I worked at earlier in my career, and pretty much all the movie writing was a whole lot of fun.  And of course, My Year/World of Flops was something that made me laugh at highly inappropriate times during the work day.

But I never commented.

When, in 2013, a large portion of the movie writers struck out on their own to forge a new and exciting presence online for movie criticism with The Dissolve, I followed.  And I joined in on the conversation.  It’s hard to say why I decided to start commenting, but it felt right to get into the fray on the ground floor of something.  I loved the articles, and the community there was very friendly and insightful.

The high-light throughout the two very short years of The Dissolve’s existence, for me, was Keith Phipps series called The Laser Age.  The overall thrust of the essays was to chronicle the development of science fiction cinema from the late sixties into the early eighties, and the writing was accessible and insightful.  Many of the films I had seen, and many of them I had not seen.  I am lucky that my very good real life friend was also an avid reader of The Dissolve, so we set out to watch many of the profiled films and perhaps anticipate a few from the era before Phipps wrote about them.  It was a very useful exercise, and a hell of a great time.

Anyway, I highly recommend this series of articles, which are all collected under this features page:

I have since deleted my Disqus account several times since I posted on The Dissolve (someone had gone back and started trolling some of the articles, and I got some nasty responses to really ancient posts).  None of my brilliant thoughts remain, but I will always treasure the site that pulled me into this vortex of poor productivity and depravity, and showed what a good online community could look like.