On the internet, the New Yorker cartoon goes, no one knows you’re a dog.
Or a Staples High School student writing film reviews that rival the most insightful criticism offered up by career professionals, on a blog you created yourself.
That’s exactly what Ian Phillips is doing. Reel Deal has educated and opened minds of readers — far beyond Westport — since he created it in February 2008, midway through sophomore year.
Ian traces the blog’s genesis back to 6th grade, when he saw “Kill Bill” and realized that movies can be more than entertainment. He researched every film it paid homage to, quickly discovering Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, spaghetti westerns and samurai films — and an enormous new passion.
A summer program at Brown helped him understand cinema. The writing of critics like Roger Ebert, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis spurred him even more.
The Reel Deal has evolved beyond a movie blog, to incorporate other elements of pop culture. Last month Ian honored Walter Cronkite by posting a clip of his work during the Kennedy assassination. When Michael Jackson died, Ian wrote a post assessing his significance.
Ian hopes for a career as a film journalist — “not just a critic.” At Sundance he learned that talking to people who make movies is more fascinating than talking about them. He looks forward to traveling to Comic-Con, the Oscars and — his dream — Cannes.
When he gets there, people will realize how young the Reel Deal blogger is.
Based on his work, no one will care.