Reviewing the Reviewers

Critic AnimatedFor this assignment, you must have three different reviews of your selected film. Remember to check the sign-up list, so that you will not make the fatal mistake of selecting a film someone else has already taken. Make photocopies or print out each review. You must have hard copies to do this assignment.

For each review, complete the following three parts.

Part One: An absolutely perfect bibliography entry. For help with citations.

Last, First. " Title of the Review. " Title of the Magazine
00 Month 19??: 0-0.

Kroll, Jack. " Ick-Shtick: The Diceman Cometh. " Newsweek
16 July 1990, 61.

Part Two: A paragraph clearly stating the critic's opinion of the film. Begin with a topic sentence which includes the critic's name and the film title. Your topic sentence may focus on a specific aspect of the criticism IF appropriate to the original source. Note the following possible topic sentences:

Not only does Jack Kroll dislike The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Kroll also dislikes Andrew Dice Clay himself and the "male sexual infantilism" that Dice represents.

Because she was especially critical of the camera work in Death Song, Pauline Kael does not recommend the film.

David Ansen, unlike almost everyone else in America, did not like Ghost .

Then, of course, you would complete the paragraph by citing evidence, especially partial quotes from the review, to support your topic sentence -- is this beginning to sound familiar? Make sure you include at least three partial quotes, integrated with your own sentences. Highlight the quoted words on the original review when you turn in each critique.

Part Three: A paragraph stating your opinion of the critic's opinion! Aha! Do you agree, or disagree? Why? Do you learn anything about the film itself from the review? Is the review witty? Even if you disagree, are there specific points that are well made. You may write informally (as in the use of "I"), but you still need to support your opinions, as always.


Sample Answer with Partial Quotes in Red

Kroll, Jack. "Ick-Shtik: The Diceman Cometh." Newsweek 16 July 1990, 61.

Not only does Jack Kroll dislike The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Kroll apparently also dislikes Andrew Dice Clay himself and the "male sexual infantilism" Clay represents. When Kroll says that "the fear and awe of women have driven men into extremes of eloquence and indecency," Kroll clearly places Clay at the "lowest cultural levels" of indecency, not eloquence. Recognition that the Diceman is a "parody of the insecure male" does not excuse the film for its "pretzel of a plot" or its stereotypical characters. Kroll blames Clay for the film's weaknesses since "this picture is a Dice-roll pure and simple." Clay's "gags about genitals ... autoeroticism ... and obscene references" are likened to verbal vomit. Ooh yech, really "icky."

While it may appear on the surface that this reviewer takes the politically correct feminist view of Clay's verbal violence, deep down inside between the lines Kroll is having too much fun strutting his own literary stuff. There's something perverse about coupling T. S. Eliot to the Diceman. Pop psychology, cute ethnic slang, alliterative wordplay, and witty allusions to "The Wasteland" aside, Kroll's review is less about the film and more about the prevalence of misogyny. Kroll is perhaps too kind to Clay in this regard. Clay's popularity reminds me of the racist jokes early Nazis told, while even the Jews in the audiences of Munich and Berlin laughed. At first. Yes, my gender influences how I see Andrew Dice Clay, but my sex does not keep me from seeing the film in spite of the comedian. Ford Fairlane can flop on its own without any additional damage from the Diceman.

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