Billy Soistmann

Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

In Blog on March 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Good news, everyone! I finally got a gig writing about movies. You can now find me covering movie news at, a great movie site based out of Baltimore, MD. I’ll still be writing here, but most of my film news will now be on AP. Features and more personal stuff will remain here. Also, I am keeping a list of every film I review, mainly for my own reference, which will also stay here.

So that’s what you can expect. Look for my first article on AP later today.


My List of Shame

In Blog, Features on February 15, 2010 at 1:37 PM

You know that movie – the one that everyone has seen except you? We all have several of those movies. I’ve even bluffed my way through a conversation to hide the fact that I hadn’t seen the movie up for discussion. It’s really hard, too, when you start to earn the reputation of a movie buff among your friends.

There are two criteria for this list: Either the film must be one where the majority of people have seen it OR the film is regarded as a classic and is well-known in film circles. Anyway, here is my list of shame, in no particular order.

  • Gone with the Wind
  • Billy Madison
  • Happy Gilmore
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Scarface
  • Spaceballs
  • Tron
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Metropolis
  • The Big Sleep
  • 8 1/2
  • Elephant Man
  • Dune
  • American Beauty
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Goodfellas
  • Requiem for a Dream
  • There Will Be Blood
  • Annie Hall
  • Robocop
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • North by Northwest
  • Kill Bill
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Titanic
  • Ben Hur
  • The Untouchables
  • Blade Runner
  • La Dolce Vita
  • The Last Temptation of Christ
  • Nosferatu
  • Alien
  • Dirty Harry
  • The Exorcist
  • Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior
  • Tokyo Story
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Se7en
  • Braveheart
  • Empire of the Sun
  • The Day of the Dead

Whew! That was good to get off my chest. I’ve added these all to my Netflix queue, so hopefully I’ll be able to see them all before the end of the year.

I was inspired to write this list after listening to an episode of my favorite movie podcast, the /Filmcast. I believe “List of Shame” was coined by Dan Trachtenberg of the Totally Rad Show.

So, what are some of the movies from your list of shame?

Figure in the Snow

In Blog on February 6, 2010 at 12:33 AM

Earlier tonight, a large snowstorm hit the Eastern Seaboard. My school cancelled yesterday, in anticipation. (Ironically, the storm didn’t start until several hours after school should have ended.) I was getting ready to call it a night, so I took the dog out and realized that we already had more than a foot of snow! I grabbed my Flip video camera and went back out to get some shots.

In the bitter cold, I got some decent footage, but nothing that great. Then, I walked out into the middle of the street and pointed the camera straight down it. I expected a cool shot, but was quickly disappointed. In any event, I started recording. Suddenly, I realized that there was a figure walking toward me. At first I thought it was my imagination, just a dot on the screen, so I looked up – and there he was: a lone man slowly heading down the street.

So I kept the camera rolling as he got closer and closer. I thought for a minute that I should probably stop video-taping him, but I kept going anyway. Slowly, he approached. When do I stop? Eventually, as he came within talking range, I moved the camera and went back inside.

Here’s the shot I got:

I have no idea who this man was, where he came from, or where he was going, all I have are those images. There’s some kind of magic that, the mystery behind the shot.

Welcome to Billy’s Movie Blog

In Blog on February 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Hello, and welcome to Billy’s Movie Blog!

I’m Billy Soistmann. I’m a high school student and filmmaker living in Newark, DE and welcome to the launch of my movie blog.

I’ve tried to get started really writing my thoughts about film down for a while, and I’ve tried blogging before, but I think I finally have a good solution. I’ve revamped this site and I’m ready to roll. In the past few weeks, I experimented by posting different kinds of content, and I am now ready to set off on this grand adventure.

So, what is this blog about? Movies, of course! The main goal of this blog is for me to review every movie I see, whether it be in a theater or at home. This is an ambitious goal because I watch a lot of movies, but here’s how I’m going to do it.

For some films, I will write full-length, in-depth reviews. Hopefully the number of these will grow, but for now I’m going to start with movies I see on the big screen. For other movies, I have my week in review posts. Every week, I’ll look back at all the films I saw, and either link to my full review, or just give a small blurb expressing my general thoughts on them. You see, this way, if I don’t have time to write a full review, I will still be able develop my film critic skills.

That’s it for my reviews. I have decided to shy away from news, mainly because I don’t have the time to cover the sheer volume of stories the entertainment industry generates, but also because there are plenty of other great movie sites that do a great job of this already. What I will be publishing are my opinions are various news items. So, if I read that so-and-so was cast as Superman or something, I’ll tell you what I think. This blog is about my opinions of movies and film news.

Finally, I want to announce my mission to see all 1,000 Greatest Films of All Time as published by I understand that these films are not a definitive list of THE best movies ever, but I am just going to use it as a guide to expand my film knowledge. I thought about using other Top 100 Movie lists, like AFI’s, but I have decided to go with this one because of its sheer scope (I haven’t seen 1,000 movies in my life!) and considering the fact that it was developed using various other lists. With God as my witness, I now pledge to see all 1,000 of these films before I start college in Fall 2011. (Oh, by the way, I have only seen barely 100 movies on the list, so far. Wish me luck!)

So, that’s what you can expect from this blog. Hopefully, I can stay at a post per day and I can develop into a respected film critic. Look out for my thoughts on the Oscars tomorrow.

Work In Progress

In Blog on January 21, 2010 at 7:20 AM

Please excuse me as I’m continuing to work on getting this site to look the best it can. I created this blog a couple years ago, but never really got serious with it. I’ve been writing here-and-there, but not nearly as much as I would like. Over the past few days, I’ve gotten this blog almost exactly how I want it. I have a new theme, DePo Masthead by Derek Powazek, and it looks great.

Over the next week or so, I’m going to continue to get a handle for what type of content I can actually deliver: I know I’m definitely going to write movie reviews, but I want to figure out what kind of news I put up here too, if any.

For now, this post is going to remain on top, but by February, I should be ready for the “official launch.” At that time, I’ll have an introductory post and really get the ball rolling.

Anyway, thanks for visiting the site and I hope you come back. Of course, any and all feedback is welcome so please comment.

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Come Together, Right Now…

In Blog on January 20, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Everything’s coming together wonderfully now. I now have about 100 categories. That’s a lot (obviously), but I really like the hierarchy that I have them set up in. There’s a directors category (with directors underneath it), a distributors category (same as before), a category for each genre, and some more general ones: reviews, news (with several different kinds, etc.)

I’m still getting the hang of using them, but I should be writing regularly by Monday. Any feedback on the new look or categories? Any suggestions are welcome.

New Look

In Blog, Sundance on January 20, 2010 at 8:44 PM

I’ve been tweaking the theme settings and I’m pretty happy with it. I’m not sure why there are weird “blank” links to the left of  News and Blog above, but anyway. I really like the beautiful simplicity of this theme. The title if huge, though.

Anyway, I’m going to finish up my favorite films of 2009 list soon (it’s a little late, but I don’t care). Also, Sundance is gearing up. I wish I could have made it, but school takes up too much time.

Revamp In Progress

In Blog on January 19, 2010 at 6:44 PM

I am currently spiffing up this site in order to get myself motivated to actually write. I’ve seen so many great movies since August, when I las posted here. I’m getting a feel for what kind of content I want to work on. Also, some of the links might not work right now.

However, if you’ve happened to stop by here – please don’t forget about my little blog. I’ll be up and running hopefully next week (school midterms are this week). If not by then, hopefully I’ll be able to start during the big Oscar push.

Going to District 9

In Blog on August 13, 2009 at 10:05 PM

In about 15 minutes, I’ll be leaving to see the midnight showing of District 9. I’ve been looking forward to this since the first time I heard about it. Alive in Joburg was cool, but this should be even better. The social commentary behind the film should give it that edge that so few mainstream movies have nowadays.

Anyway, I’m pumped to see this movie. Expect a review at around 5 tomorrow morning.

Mario Marathon Now Playing Super Mario 64

In Blog, Geek/Tech, Video Games on July 10, 2009 at 2:27 PM

After speeding through the first four Super Mario Bros., the guys are now playing Super Mario 64. Go to where you can watch, chat, tweet, and, most importantly, donate to Child’s Play. Child’s Play is a charity that provides sick children with toys and games in their hospital. So far, $3,261 has been raised for this good cause.

Mario Marathon Starting NOW!

In Blog, Geek/Tech, Video Games on July 10, 2009 at 7:59 AM

Right now, head over to and watch the second Mario Marathon. For those of you who didn’t watch last year, these three guys are playing all seven major Mario games and raising money for charity. Last year they raised about twelve thousand dollars.

Head over and check it out. They’re gearing up for the first game now.

My Mission: Getting European Fanta to America

In Blog on May 1, 2009 at 8:47 PM

During Spring Break ’09, my family and I went to Italy. Aside from the beautiful sights and amazing artwork, I fell in love with European Fanta – it’s amazing. My mission is to get European Fanta to America.

First of all, why is the European version so much better, anyway? Well, I started researching online and found that the ingredients in Fanta vary significantly from country to country. Furthermore, the percentage of orange juice also varies. In the US, no orange juice is used while in Europe varying percentages from 0-12 are used. I needed to find out why and what I could do to change this.

First, I called 1-800-GET-COKE, Coca-Cola’s main number. Surprisingly, I was greeted by a real person after only two computerized messages. I asked why the ingredients change so much from region to region, specifically with regards to the orange juice. After clearly shocking the poor lady with my question, I was put on hold. When she came back, she informed me that, while the base is manufactured at Coke’s headquarters, the final mix is under the control of the individual bottling companies. After looking up the Philadelphia Bottling Company’s phone number I called them and was informed that their Fanta “contains no juice.” I should have asked why, but didn’t and am considering calling again.

Now I needed to contact a bottling company that uses orange juice, so I looked up the bottler for Great Britain so I could speak to someone in English. Unfortunately, they were closed, so I couldn’t contact them immediately.

Then, I set out to contact as many bottlers as I could.

First, I called the largest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, and never got through.

The next bottler I tried to contact was Swire. On accident, I called an unrelated company owned by Swire who promptly hung up on me. After getting the correct number, I called Coca-Cola Swire and left a message and am awaiting a reply.

Next, I called Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated and, after failing at one phone number, they informed me that they put 3% orange juice in their Fanta Orange. Now how can I get some from their plant? I’m in Delaware and they serve North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia. Since I wanted to find this 3% Orange Juice myself, I decided to contact retailers in Virginia to see if they got their Coke products from CCBCC so I could go and get myself some. I called a Wa-Wa in Upper Marlboro, MD and the kid had no idea so he told me to call the WaWa Corporate Office. They told me to call individual stores, which makes sense because different areas use different bottlers. I called a WaWa in Woodridge, VA and they get their Coke products from Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., the company I couldn’t get through to before, so I called them and left a message. Now, I still needed to find a store that received Coke products from CCBCC. After calling many WaWas, I decided I needed to call CCBCC and get a list of their clients closest to me, but, by that time, they were closed.

Next, I found a store called Trilini Imports in Brooklyn that carries a variety of European products. They must have closed because I didn’t get an answer.

Also, I read an article dated April 17th that says Fanta is going 100% all-natural in the US. Does this mean that they will now use orange juice?

Things to do tomorrow: Get the closest CCBCC-supplied store. Find out what Fantas Trilini Imports has and how much they cost. Find out what this 100% natural deal really means. Call Great Britain Bottling Company and get % orange juice and ask about a shipment to the US. Research importing laws and regulations.

See some videos of the calls on my youtube page.