A Conversation with Cyberexboyfriend

This episode features a conversation between site contributor David Blakeslee, host of Criterion Reflections, and Cyberexboyfriend, a social media creator who’s active on TikTok, YouTube and other sites. Their discussion continues a dialogue that began on TikTok in December 2022 as they shared observations about the Criterion Collection and its influence on establishing the concept of a canon in classic and contemporary cinema. After recapping and expanding on the points they made in their original exchange, their talk branches out to address other topics including the plight and perils of engaging with audiences whose interests and attention spans have been shaped by the very apps we use to forge those connections.

How the Conversation Began:

Cyberexboyfriend’s original post:

@cyberexboyfriend Replying to @jepo893 #greenscreen it’s not about my taste but seeing the scope of cinema beyond post-French new wave European male cinema. I’m still thankful but tf this is getting old #movies #filmtok #criterioncollection #films ♬ original sound – cyberexboyfriend

David’s cordial response:

@dee.ell.bee A cordial response to @cyberexboyfriend’s recent comments about the #CriterionCollection ♬ original sound – David Blakeslee

Cyberexboyfriend’s thoughtful rejoinder:

@cyberexboyfriend #greenscreen @David Blakeslee like I hope this clarifies the crux of what I was getting at and my argument, cause we’re arguing a lot of ideas and principles here, a lot of it can feel like pointing at a film and having someone point at something in response. It’s like Valley of the Dolls vs Beyond The Valley and the relationship both have to film culture at large. There are a lot of levels to this because at the end of the day we will never know, why or why not something was included but I know in my heart of hearts this doesn’t just come down to “my taste” or “rights.” Yes I know they are not the only game in town but at the same time it’s about more than that. I know in a perfect world we can’t have everything but I also feel like I get kinda shut down when I bring this up. Idk this isn’t a fun conversation to have and there’s a lot of weight, baggage and abstracts a play here. I hope this articulates what I was alluding to better, this isn’t a hyper black or white thing. #criterion #response #filmtok #stich #blacktiktok ♬ original sound – cyberexboyfriend

David’s considerate reply:

@dee.ell.bee I’m enjoying this exchange with @cyberexboyfriend so I hope you don’t mind if I go on a bit further with it #criterioncollection #filmcanon #inclusion #gatekeeping ♬ original sound – David Blakeslee

…and from there we got on Skype to talk it through some more and made a plan to record this podcast. We hope you enjoy listening in! Please follow, like, share, and subscribe!


David Blakeslee

David hosts the Criterion Reflections podcast, a series that reviews the films of the Criterion Collection in their chronological order of release. The series began in 2009 and those essays (covering the years 1921-1967) can be found via the website link provided below. In March 2016, the blog transferred to this site, and in August 2017, the blog changed over to a podcast format. David also contributes to other reviews and podcasts on this site. He lives near Grand Rapids, Michigan and works in social services. Twitter / Criterion Reflections