Gertrude’s Diary #109 – Film Reviewing Made Easy

Judging by the feedback I’ve had from my last entry regarding Top Gear, Gertrude is captious and cruel.  But hey, I was only having fun.  Besides which, they started it.  And anyway, I was just trying not to be ingratiating.  Sheesh.  You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, and the rest of you just like to have a good whinge.

However, in a spirit of reconciliation, I’m offering readers the following information to help prepare them for the rest of the post.

WARNING:  The following paragraphs may contain the material that is:  flippant, critical, tasteless, crude, facetious and deliberately dimwitted.

I’ve been watching a few DVDs recently, and in order to make sense of them I’ve taken to distilling the most important lesson from each movie into a single sentence.  Here’s a few selected at random from the shelves of the local library.

Instinct, with Anthony Hopkins, and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Lesson:  Anthropologists get really f*^king tough when they’ve lived with gorillas for a while.

The Celestine Prophecy, with actors you’ve probably never heard of.
Lesson:  Crap books make even crappier movies.

The Exorcist, with Max von Sydow and Linda Blair
Lesson:  ADHD may be misdiagnosed demonic possession; a pubescent child doing unspeakable things with a crucifix is the dead giveaway.

Donnie Brasco, with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp
I couldn’t decide what the lesson was here, so please choose one for yourself.
Lesson #1:  Human nature is never purely dichotomous, and strict moral judgments about good and bad are not representative of the truth.
Lesson #2:  Audiences never get tired of stories about greedy, violent men.

Emerald City, with Nicole Kidman, John Hargreaves, Robin Nevin, Chris Haywood and Ruth Cracknell
Lesson:  Nicole Kidman used to be even funnier looking than she is now.

Supervolcano, with several actors you’ve seen before but whose names aren’t well known enough to appear on the box.
Lesson:  Pyroclastic clouds are a real bummer.

Mystic River, with Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon
Lesson:  People who are childhood friends sometimes lose touch as they grow up, reconnect as adults when they’re united by tragedy, and then plot to imprison or murder each other.

This movie reviewing is dead easy!  I really don’t know what all the fuss is about.  Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton are going about it all wrong.  All that piffling attention to cinematography and narrative and what the director thinks.  Waste of space.  Brevity.  That’s what people want these days.

Until next week.  And remember, readers are welcome at anytime to suggest a topic for Gertrude’s examination.  Who’ll take the challenge?

3 Responses to “Gertrude’s Diary #109 – Film Reviewing Made Easy”

  1. This may be deliberate dimwittedness, but ” trying to dilute the most important lesson from each movie into a single sentence” would be tricky – at each dilution, you would have less lesson and more sentences.

    Perhaps that’s how books-of-movies are made? Or maybe you meant “distil”?

  2. I think I did mean distil. Thank you QL2.

    Although dilute – in the sense to reduce the brilliance of – is probably also applicable.

  3. Gertrude,
    Given your generous offer to examine questions of interest to your readers, I was wondering if you could help me with this one.
    Assuming that there are unique aspects of human culture that are of intrinsic interest, why is it that when aliens abduct humans they don’t tend to take opera singers from Leipzig or scientists from Zurich. Instead they tend to take potato farmers from Arkansas. They fly across zillions of units of space using god knows what kind of technology and all they want to do is find out about potato farming? Alternatively they take the recluse who lives on the outskirts of town who has never been the same since ‘that’ party in the 60’s. The aliens want to interrogate him to find out what? Grateful Dead lyrics?. Gertrude, if you could help me with this one I would be most grateful (but not dead).

    Vladimir