Film critic signs off after two-and-a-half-years

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Alex Pelham worked as a senior Life&Arts writer, reviewing films. Previously he reviewed films as an issues staffer.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Despite everything horror movies have taught me about going into dark, scary basements, I’m incredibly lucky I plucked up the courage to visit The Daily Texan’s office.

Nearly two and a half years later, I’ve arrived at the end credits. I can’t believe I’ve risen from an issue writer to head film columnist for one of the most prestigious college newspapers in the country. It’s been a journey that has granted me many privileges and has been one of the defining aspects that has shaped my college career.  

If I had to edit together a montage of my favorite moments at the Texan, Christopher Nolan would think the runtime was excessive. I’ll never forget experiencing my first Fantastic Fest, where I watched the freakiest, grossest and possibly greatest films ever conceived. I’ll always cherish the time I interviewed Tommy Wiseau, famous for creating the best worst movie ever made. I’ll even look back fondly on the first day I covered South by Southwest, where I forgot to eat for 12 hours and practically crawled back to my dorm.

My success at the Texan is due to a cast of magnificent editors who guided me through five insane semesters. Sarah-Grace Sweeney, Hannah Smothers and Lauren L’Amie helped turn me from an unexperienced writer to a responsible journalist. I want to give a special shout-out to Kat Sampson, who was crazy enough to let me cover the film festival at SXSW single-handedly, and Danielle Lopez, who kept me from going insane when editing sessions stretched to two hours. Marisa Charpentier and Cat Cardenas deserve medals for putting up with my annoying tendency to repeat words in the same paragraph. And none of this would have ever happened without Alex Williams, who made me into the critic and film fanatic I am today.

It’s all been a rush, and one I hope to remember as I look back years later. Hopefully, whenever I open a copy of the Texan, I’ll keep seeing strong, insightful film reviews. I’ve had the pleasure of working with other awesome film-lovers. I look forward to reading more of Charles Liu’s pun-filled reviews, and I hope his journey at the Texan will continue to be as fulfilling as mine was. 

After such a heartfelt farewell, it only seems fitting to end with a horrendous cliché by finishing with the last words from a late, great film critic. But I’d like to think that if Roger Ebert had ever seen any of the hard work I’ve put in these past few years, he wouldn’t mind at all. Perhaps he would spare me a thumbs-up or two.

So with that, goodbye. I’ll see you at the movies.

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