We’ve never done this before, but then again, there’s never been another writer on this site who has written for five consecutive years, and I think it’s worth it to mark the occasion. Dan Carlson began writing for Pajiba five years ago this month, before the site had even reached its own first birthday. I found Dan like I find a lot of the people who write for Pajiba: He was a reader. But this was a year or two before we even had a comments section; we had a few referrals from his blog and, at the time, it was probably the only referrals we had. I traced those back and saw that Dan, who had just graduated college and moved to Los Angeles, was an aspiring movie critic. So, I asked if he’d like to write for us, though only God knows why he would’ve said yes at the time: We were a hideous orange and blue site published sporadically with Microsoft FrontPage.
But Dan agreed. To the best of my recollection, his first review was for a documentary about Krumping called Rize and — as a lesson to anyone who has ever had a misstep — his second review was unpublishable. He bounced back with a phenomenal third review, and since then, he’s never written anything less than fantastic. Dan’s the guy who gives this place a class and dignity. He’s a goddamn pro. We’ve all got our niches here, and Dan’s is that of the critic who takes on those reviews that require a lot of intelligence and thought, which is why you often see him most around here during awards season (that’s not to say he won’t be taking on a few crap movies this summer — he shreds a movie as well as anyone, too).
Only Dan knows why he’s slumming it for us, but over the last five years, Dan has made considerable advancement in his real life, starting with a small publishing company before moving on to The Hollywood Reporter before moving back to Texas last year, where he writes regularly for The Houston Press and still does some freelance work for THR. And yet, he’s still been around for us, taking on the most challenging reviews and providing the best “Lost” coverage on the Internet. (Note, also, that he began the trend here of using song lyrics in review headlines).
I’ll stop now. I don’t want to embarrass the guy. But to mark the occasion, I would like to point y’all to ten of my favorite Carlson contributions over the years: