Thursday, November 17, 2011

Missing Surprises

 I recently read a movie review. It was like many modern film reviews. It was annoying. I’m not talking about whether or not the reviewer liked the movie. I’m talking about this trend to do a long Cliffs Note on a movie, followed by a short, perfunctory explanation about how the movie did or didn’t “impress” the reviewer in the way the reviewer wanted the film to. They can tell you if they liked it. They can tell you what kind of bugged them about the film. But they can't much tell you why.

This is the trend. It's been going on for a while. Out of six paragraphs, four are spent recounting the film, followed by a mindless blurb about whether or not the movie made a good impression. Was it too gory or too silly or too whatever? Theme? What's that? Cinematography? What's that? Subtext? What's that?

And the teasers for the films are the same. Mindless. These advertisements for the movies that reveal the entire, tired, plot in 30 seconds, leaving you no real reason to actually see the movie. Gotta review that movie. Don’t have much to say. Guess I’ll spend a bunch of time spoiling the thing with a pointless description of the plot so I can get this review over with and get to what I really want to do.

The reviewers spend more time talking about the plot of the film than the merits/weaknesses of the film. It happens all the time these days. And they seem to be operating under the assumption that you won’t understand their review unless, what? Unless you’ve already seen the movie? Which you haven’t? So they have to tell you all about the movie so you can understand their shallow review?

And books are the same these days. A lady gave my wife some books she thought I would like. Some paperback “thrillers” which is a genre spearheaded by Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Some people call them “suspense” novels. Military thrillers. Medical suspense.Whatever. So I have this “thriller/suspense” book in my hand, I’m looking it over, and on the back it says this:

“As Tony and Anne begin to peel back the layers of Marissa Fordham’s life, they find a clue fragment here, another there. And just when it seems Marissa has taken her secrets to the grave, they uncover a fact that puts Anne and Haley directly in the sights of a killer: Marissa Fordham never existed.”

Oh. Really. And this element was so non essential to the enjoyment of this “suspense” story and how it played out that we could reveal it on the back of the book? And how long do we have to wait for the people in the story to find out this little tidbit? Well. Even if it's unimportant to the plot, it's dumb to print what even looks like a major plot point on the cover of a book. Especially a “suspense” book. It makes you feel like there’s not going to be any suspense.

It seems to me that the people promoting these movies and books and such either think we’re really stupid and need to be led along on a string, or they are the ones who are really stupid and somehow, unaccountably, don’t realize that they are ruining the experience for a lot of us. But, whichever it is, there is definitely some stupid going on somewhere.

Anyway. Bye now, and...

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011


  1. You found out the secret behind the reason a person is able to go to the movies and totally relax at the theatre. Relax to the point of falling asleep if the opportunity presents itself. You wake up refreshed and since you already knew the plot from the review, you know you didn't miss anything.


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