Once More Unto the Breach

Film Fight returns, dons ruff and British accent

Once More Unto the Breach
Illustration by Tim Carroll

Last month, in the name of spirited intellectual inquiry, high aesthetic disputation, and low character assassination, The Austin Chronicle brought you the inaugural edition of Film Fight, an online debate forum for the Chronicle's Film critics. Taking superhero movies as our topic, Kimberley Jones and I slugged it out over five days in an attempt to determine whether or not stories about emotionally tormented white men in tights make for good movie-watching.

The result was a narrow victory for Kim, who won about 97% of readers' votes, give or take. I've since come to the conclusion that some combination of the following four factors tainted the integrity of the Film Fight voting process, thereby explaining how I could have lost a debate about movies with a woman who thinks James Franco is funny:

Kim paid Chronicle readers to vote for her. Normally I don't have any problem with vote-buying, but the fact that Kim has a full-time job and I'm a freelance writer who can barely afford socks speaks to a disparity of influence that makes a mockery of the democracy my father so bravely considered fighting for before moving to Mexico.

Turns out there were no age requirements, meaning little children and old people were allowed an equal voice in the process. Had I known this, I wouldn't have titled my Wednesday evening entry "Little Children and Old People Can Go to Hell for All I Care."

Votes were cast almost entirely by human beings. I think we can all agree that most people shouldn't be allowed to walk the streets, much less vote on the outcome of something as important as Film Fight.


But, regardless of these flaws in the system, we've decided to go forward with Film Fight II. Starting Monday, Aug. 18, we'll be bringing you a week of full-throated debate on a topic to be named two paragraphs from now. And you're invited to take part, by commenting on our entries and then voting for the winner at the end of each day's battle. Sweetening the deal even further: Participating commenters will be eligible for prizes like movie passes and swag.

Then, be sure to join us Thursday, Aug. 28, at Spider House for a Chronicle-sponsored happy hour, featuring lively discussion, film trivia, the screening of a movie chosen by the debate's winner, and a chance to tell me and Kim where, exactly, we can stick it.

Timed to the release of Sundance satire Hamlet 2 (and in keeping with the aforementioned emotionally tormented-white-men-in-tights theme), we've decided to take as our next topic movies based on the plays of William Shakespeare. So log on to austinchronicle.com/filmfight Aug. 18-22, and join us as we parse the wonders and torments of the Bard on film: from the windblown fields of Olivier's Agincourt to the windblown fields of Branagh's Agincourt, from the sour gloom of Olivier's Denmark to the sour gloom of Branagh's Denmark, from the high treachery of Olivier's England to the high ... oh, to hell with it – you get the idea.

We'll see you Monday.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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More Film Fight
Triumph of the Underdog
Triumph of the Underdog
Film Fight III: Writers in the Movies

Kimberley Jones, Oct. 10, 2008

Film Fight
Film Fight
The Chronicle's critics turn on each other for an online debate

Kimberley Jones, July 4, 2008

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Film Fight, Shakespeare, Hamlet 2

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