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Closing credits for reviewer’s column

After 800 reviews, David Bates decides its time for a change

May 30, 2014


(David Bates / DVD reviewer)  If I were more organized, I would have kept better count. But by my rough estimate, I’ve reviewed more than 800 films in the News-Register since May 23, 2000, when we kicked off “Video of the Week” with my thumbs-up review of “The Election.”

The count includes about 740 weekly reviews. It also includes dozens of films I reviewed in special “Top 10” features, plus the occasional theatrical release.

The genesis of the column was a discussion with Features Editor Racheal Winter about calling attention to interesting, generally lesser-known films. I have in mind the kind too often ignored when a trip to the video store means straying no further than the new release shelves, where one can reliably find half a dozen copies of “Titanic” or “The Avengers.”

In this, the pre-Netflix and streaming film services era, the goal was as much about promoting local video stores as it was the films themselves. Each week, we presented a review of a film that was available on home video locally.
But things have changed. In fact, one of the old mainstays, Blockbuster, no longer exists.

At some point in my McMinnville life, the ratio of people complimenting me in the grocery aisle for something they’d seen me do on stage at Gallery Theater flip-flopped with those who said they faithfully read my reviews.

I loved writing them, and I’m grateful to the News-Register for being one of the few remaining community newspapers that provided space for locally reported entertainment journalism. Given the popularity of the reviews, the paper probably would have let me keep at it for another decade or two.
But after 800 reviews, I decided it was time for a change.

Starting July 1, you can find my commentary on film at the coolest, smartest locally owned video store in the Willamette Valley — McMinnville’s own Movietime Video, located in the two-story green house at 801 S. Baker St., across from Linfield College.

I’ll work with owners Dan and Nancy Morrow and their enthusiastic team to reach out to customers by promoting and highlighting films, the artists who make them and unique themed collections. My short essays will be displayed both in the new release section of the store and online at www.macmovietime.com.

It’s a fascinating time for cinema, whether one watches it, makes it or writes about it. I’m glad to have been part of the conversation in our community for so long, and am excited about keeping it going in new digs, so to speak.
Thanks to everyone who stuck with me!
David Bates

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