Friday, October 4, 2013


So, I am sure that you expect me to rant about the ridiculously, ignorant, narcissistic, egotistical, self-motivated, members of Congress, but I am going to give that a rest for now.  I am ranting about reviewers.  Last week, I was lucky enough to see a screening of the film Gravity.  It is a 90 minute thrill ride.  It is a game changer in filmmaking.  It is a masterpiece.  I've been telling everyone to go this weekend before you hear too much.  Hype can ruin so many things.  

I am someone who doesn't read reviews.  I like reviews that give stars, grades, symbols of any kind.  My experience with reviewers is that they tell too much.  Maybe they shouldn't get a 1000 words.  Minimize their reviews so that they can only discuss the acting, directing, script, filmmaking, etc.  Today Gravity opened nationwide.  Since I have seen it, I read the New York Post and the New York Times reviews.  The Post reviewer, Lou Lumenick, raved but was very careful not to spoil any plot points. The New York Times reviewer, A.O. Scott, always gives away plot points.  I read his review today and it made my blood boil.  He is a terrible reviewer because most of his reviews are spoilers on some level.  

If I were the Times Arts editor, I would re-train all of their reviewers. Even the theatre reviewers tell too much plot.  Really?  Is that all they've got?  It reminds me of being in school and before you are a strong analytical writer, you write reports/essays just re-telling the story to fill space.  That's the Times reviewers for sure. So, take away space from them.  When I haven't seen the movie, I read the first and last paragraph only.  Maybe cut them to 300 words.  Sure, that won't fly.  

Early this past summer, the Times theatre critic reviewed a new play called The Explorer's Club.  It was a fun, amusing romp. A fun trifle, entertainment.  Not going to revolutionize theatre, but the audiences were laughing all the way from beginning to end.  The Times reviewer gave away at least 3 of the big laughs in his review.  Really?  Is that the way to go?  I couldn't believe it.  It's as if you go to see Bill Cosby in the height of his career in concert and gave away the punchlines to his story telling.  It was wrong and poor writing.  Where are these reviewers getting their training?  It is far more difficult to write critically than to tell the story.  Ask any high schooler!

Don't read the Times reviews if you don't like spoilers.  They will do it every time.  How are the reviewers in your papers?   

Sidebars:  Okay, feel out of it because I didn't watch Breaking Bad.  I missed the second "phenomenal" season of Scandal so didn't tune into the much talked about 3rd season opener last night.  The Bridge ended its season this week.  I think it petered out.  Though they ordered a second season, I may not be in.  I am crushed that Chris Matthews show on MSNBC moved to a time that I have yet to see.  I enjoy him and his guests.  I know I can hear the people on the Right groaning, but he can be both engaging and annoying.  Tonight Bill Maher and Shark Tank. In NYC, we had a $13million run-off election for the Public Advocate position.  Waste of time and money.  200,000 people voted.  City election laws need to be changed.  Majority should always rule.  Okay, it's another beautiful, unseasonable day in NYC.  It's Friday.  TGIF.  Enjoy wherever you are.  

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