Last year marked 20 years as a film critic. I went on a self-indulgent bender, thanking all sorts of people, sharing all kinds of reflections, and talking about the best and worst movies I’ve ever seen. All those things would typically fill the last few pieces for a critic mourning the end of a two-decade publication partnership. I did not know the end was near. As has so frequently been the case in my life, Past Ryan royally biffed things up for Future Ryan, and now Present Ryan finds himself cleaning up a mess. Present and Future Ryan really hate Past Ryan. Past Ryan doesn’t care.

Anyway, there are only so many ways I can thank you wonderful readers or show gratitude to local folks who shaped Omaha into a downright decent movie town. I’ve done that a lot recently. Besides, next month I will eulogize the film section and this beloved outlet itself in separate pieces. Also, I’m just a doofus who talked about movies in print, and who wants to read more about my gratitude? Instead, let’s have a bit of fun. Here are my thank-yous and no-thank-yous, which are likely to be of wider interest.

No Thank You: Theater Demons

This isn’t literal because no theaters are possessed after Russell Crowe came in and said, “It’s-a me, I’m-a the exorcist for a pretty famous guy. He’s-a the pope!” “Demons” in this case refers to the theater guests who have lost their absolute and total minds. The other night, a guy took his shoes off and set them, all stanky, on the seat next to us. If he had placed his grotesque feet pouches up and onto a couch in his own home, I’d have thought him insane. Those are floor items.

This is the thing: Everyone boils movie etiquette down to not talking or texting. Those things are bad, but it’s like some people took those sins as a challenge. There is so much weird, awful stuff folks are doing, it’s like they are beings who feed only on public disgust. I couldn’t decide which I hated more: the new wave of silently rude theater dwellers or theaters that have live music performed at a high decibel while movies are screening. The guy with the shoes tipped the scales with his foot funk.

Thank You: Twitter

Oh, not Twitter now. Please! I mean back before the car/rocket/community exploder bought it. I don’t think you understand how incredible it felt for both indie artists and fans to have a chance for healthy, positive, verified exchanges. Brit Marling responded to a Tweet of mine. So did Issa López and Die Hexen. To be able to tell someone you admire that their work on a film touched you can be transformative for both parties.

Of course, that’s just one angle, as artists of all kinds are also subjected to online toxic torment and the obviously evil other “Black Mirror” aspects of the platforms. I am grateful though for those times when it seemed to be doing what it was designed to do, when it let two people who would never otherwise speak share a moment, give a digital high-five, and then get very sad about the reason a different celebrity was trending.

No Thank You: Streaming Services

Think about how bad you have to be at your job to be negatively compared to cable television. “I miss cable TV” is something people have rightfully thought or said recently. Sure, cable had terrible customer service and high prices. Streaming services now have both of those awful things and are purging content, exploiting folks who make movies and TV, and reducing every idea to its grossest marketable form.

Sorry, Criterion Channel. This is like when most of the class didn’t turn homework in, but you did and got an A, but then the teacher yelled at the whole class. Actually, Criterion is a great example of how to leverage this technology properly. It can be done. But it isn’t and won’t be, so no thank you to you, Max.

Thank You: Merchandisers

I ordered an Original Berf shirt before I finished watching the episode of “The Bear” in which it appeared. Y’all do not know how spoiled you are for movie and TV merch. I don’t care if you love or hate Funko Pops, A24 made a limited-edition bear statue from “Midsommar.” You can Google whatever your favorite weird movie is and someone has made a weird, creative furniture piece for it.

You can buy replicas of whatever insane prop you loved from a crappy 1990s sci-fi bomb. I have yet to find a movie you can’t buy a T-shirt from. I just found one for “Aniara.” That is an objectively depressing (but inspiring) film based on a 1956 Swedish science-fiction poem. Look, capitalism is objectively oppressive, so we have to at least enjoy the little things. I have a plush “Alien” face-hugger, an Indiana Jones Mr. Potato Head, and so many framed prints and art. Surround yourself with what makes you happy, as this is a golden time for this stuff.

No Thank You: Timothee Chalamet

If you remember me for anything, remember me for this: I hate you, Timothee Chalamet.

Not as a person. I don’t know you. Maybe you’re nice. I do not care. What I care about is the fact that your acting is violently upsetting to me, and yet people keep putting you in everything. You are Space Paul in “Dune” and Willy Wonka now? You had a scene with Florence Pugh in “Little Women” that made me briefly think, “I don’t know, maybe we shouldn’t talk out loud to each other anymore.”

Again, perhaps you’re awesome in real life. Not everyone likes everything or everyone. You are my movie kryptonite, the cinematic lactose to which I am intolerant. I kinda liked you in “Don’t Look Up,” but I think that’s because I was being invited to dislike you. Which I do. Once more, only as a performer. Maybe if you were, as Cookie Monster says, a sometimes food, I could handle it. But you are everywhere, and I need it to stop. Have you considered trying music instead? I could simply not listen then. Ask Jared Leto about it. You two have at least one thing in common.

No thank you, Timothee Chalamet. Thank you, readers. See you next time for goodbye.

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