Feature by: Rumsey Taylor
Posted on: 14 May 2014
‘Not Coming to a Theater Near You’ began as a column in my college newspaper. The title was meant to be descriptive: the newspaper ran monthly, so a film column was necessarily established as one of retrospection. This, compounded with the limited cinematic offerings in metropolitan Alabama at the time, contrived the nature of the publication you are now reading.1
Its digital incarnation launched in 2001, at a time when the internet was still something of a wilderness for publishers. Cineastes had a finite array of indispensable options to either read or write about film, two of which – DVD Beaver and CriterionForum.org – remain in spectacularly unaltered form. Initially a makeshift compendium of raw HTML pages, a garish sensibility for visual design, and a burgeoning masthead of three, NotComing.com dutifully asserted itself within this modest collective. It looked like this.
At the start NotComing.com served as a utilitarian archive of my film writing, but the immediacy of web publishing fostered its growth. Within a matter of years, the masthead grew to over a dozen contributors—none of whom, at the time, I had met in person. Its bias towards old films, however, remained unvarying: it was borne of a highly compulsive desire to explore the fringes of cinema and bear witness to its every misbegotten spectacle—a compulsion, I discovered with some incredulity, shared by strangers on the internet from around the world.
In its nascent years NotComing.com was a decided acolyte to the genre writing of Danny Peary (Cult Movies and its two sequels, as well as Guide for the Film Fanatic), Michael Weldon (The Psychotronic Encyclopedia), and Video Watchdog. But there was already good company on the web: Filmref.com, MovieMartyr.com, GreenCine Daily, Outlaw Vern, and Mike D’Angelo’s capsule reviews, to name but a few. Consequently, film writing saw a renaissance, christening an era in which criticism became more available and democratized than it had ever been before. Now it seems anyone with the wherewithal to share the findings of her own cinematic excursions has the ability to do so quickly and accessibly.
This all began over fifteen years ago—long enough for films that have come in our tenure to have merited reconsideration. When we began we intended to shed light on cinema’s perimeters and make aware our readers of its great extent. And now this extent is as accessible as it has ever been. This is a great privilege for exploratory cineastes. But it diminishes the potency of our findings, and it is with this awareness that I announce that we are ceasing publication.
I say this with much relief and some regret, and with ineradicable gratitude for all those who have shared and influenced this exploration over the years. I cannot stress this enough: the greatest pleasure of managing this site has been my correspondence with our readers and especially our contributors, in the privilege of debuting new writers and in the near constant stream of recommendations I have been afforded. I’ve since had the great pleasure of meeting many of them in person, and I hope to find others in the future.
But before we shut the lights off for good, a bit of housecleaning is in order. Although the breadth of what we’ve published is appreciable there remain some egregious omissions, orphaned reviews from stillborn features, as well as films we never had the proper opportunity to extol. We would like to share those now. In the coming weeks, we’ll roll out these leftovers with no formal agenda or order. Afterward, NotComing.com will remain as a static archive of our writing.
Finally, this will likely not be the last you hear of our niche creation. Perhaps some respite from the increasingly competitive and immediate bustle of film writing will resuscitate our enthusiasm, or perhaps there will be some foray into other media. Either way, our Twitter feed is the best way to keep abreast of our future explorations…
Thank you all, sincerely, for reading.