Tag Archives: ” blogosphere

Siskel and Ebert and Ian Phillips

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.

Ian Phillips with "Dare" star Emmy Rossum at Sundance.

Ian Phillips with "Dare" star Emmy Rossum at Sundance.

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.

Like the best bloggers, Ian gets out in the field.  He attended Sundance this year, where he met important insiders — and blogged every day.

Ian has a keen idea for subjects.  He has listed the 10 movies of all time, described camping out for tickets, and argued with EW.com over the 5 most important years in film.

Ian Phillips with actor and "Saturday Night Live" cast member Bill Hader in front of the NBC studios in New York.

Ian Phillips with actor and "Saturday Night Live" cast member Bill Hader in front of the NBC studios in New York.

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.


No one eats like a teenager.

So who better to blog about food than 4 teens?

A quartet of recent Staples grads — Jordan Kessler, Sanders McNair, Frankie Rende and Stephen Revelli — have collaborated on FCFoodBytes, a clever name for a clever concept.  They stick mainly to what they know — cheap eats — and they do it in zesty, readable prose.

Best line:

I examined the sandwich I was eating (at Fairfield’s Falafel Inn), and noticed that the inside of the falafel balls was green.  I don’t know if this is normal or not, so I dove right in and enjoyed my first bite.

“We were thinking of places we hadn’t eaten at, and wrote down everywhere we wanted to try for our last summer before college,” Sanders explains.  “Blogging seemed like a cool idea.”

They scoped out the competition, found no one reviewing small restaurants, and voilà — a blog was born.

The FCFoodBytes boys have already reviewed 6 places, including the granddaddy of cheap eats:  Rawley’s Drive-In in Fairfield.  But though the 4 guys are Staples grads, only 1 Westport spot has been reviewed.  It’s The Dressing Room — hardly Exhibit A for budget dining.

That may say a lot about cheap eats in FCFoodBytes’ home town.

Or else the bloggers have taken to heart the old adage about not doing you-know-what where you eat.

An identified dish from Rawley's Drive-In, as shown on FCFoodbytes.com.

An identified dish from Rawley's Drive-In, as shown on FCFoodbytes.com.

Blogging Down The Highway

If John Steinbeck were writing Travels With Charley today — not 50 years ago — he’d have a Honda Acura, not a camper; 2 dogs, not 1. And instead of waiting a couple of years to publish his observations, he’d blog them daily.

The result would be “Fred and Hank Mark America,” an addictive daily chronicle of Jim and Joan Brady’s cross-country journey with their beagles (Fred and Hank). Jim is the former editor of Washingtonpost.com; Joan is a very talented photographer and foster care activist who serves as a perfect complement to her husband.

Joan BradyLocal angle alert:  She is also the former Joan Robins, of Coleytown Junior High and Staples (’82) fame.

The Bradys’ blog is required reading in the media world.  It’s even been mentioned by uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic.

The tip about “Frank and Hank” came from Mark Potts — co-founder of Washingtonpost.com, a talented blogger himself (“Recovering Journalist” tracks the travails of the industry), and a former Westporter.

In the blogosphere — as the rest of life — Westporters are separated by far fewer than 6 degrees.  More like 2.