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October 1996, Week 2


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Jennifer Senft <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 7 Oct 1996 14:06:14 -0400
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At 12:07 PM 10/6/96 -0400, Simone wrote:
>Time again for one of my open-ended conversation starters. I
>would like to engage the list in a discussion of the role
>of movie reviewers.
Good topic, Simone.
The thing that bothers me most about the convention of movie-reviewing is
the consistent need to give away the plot.  The bulk of reviews is the plot
itself.  I have developed a knack for skimming reviews for the pertinent
words that will clue me in as to whether or not the film in question is one
that I'd want to see.
I do want to know the basic, what type of plot it is, but beyond the first
10 minutes of the film, I do not what to know what is going to happen.  The
Worst is when they tell you the end.  Sometimes my skimming techniques fail
and I accidentally read the-big-giveaway -- who done it; the they break up;
they get back together; he DIES at the end.  Ugh.  How not to fill up a 500
word review!!!   (Oh, and I can't even watch tv, reviews, for it is already
too late once they've said something I didn't want to hear.)
>3)  Reviewers who use the review to show-off their
>knowledge of irrelevant trivia, instead of addressing
>the movie as a whole.
For me, this one is more about the condescending/snyde/sarcastic style that
has become a staple of reviewing.
>4)  Reviewers who deem a movie "not funny" because
>the humor presented doesn't appeal to them personally.
>There are many different types of humor - some people
>can't stand Benny Hill, or Monty Python, but to call
>them "not funny" seems to me most unhelpful to the
>people who do like that kind of humor.
This one I don't see much of.  Any reviewers in particular, Simone?
I do see a general moodiness in certain particular reviewers.  There are
reviewers I don't trust because their taste that week seems to be dependent
on an overriding mood.
But, on the pro-reviewer side, I can generally get the idea I am going for
by looking at a review.  I learn the genre, style, and enough about its
execution to let me know, in most cases, if and when I want to see the film.
There's more, of course, but I'll stop here for now...
Thanks for the topic,
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