Some of the Frequently Used Terms on this site
140 character review: When I started this site that’s all I did – movie reviews that could fit on Twitter. The whole thing was an exercise in brevity for me. In fact, the original 140 character reviews had to include the title and year of the movie, too, so they could stand alone on Twitter. That got very challenging – too challenging. So I took that info out of the review itself, but I was increasingly finding the process unrewarding; watching a 2 hour movie and finding images and setting up a post, only to be able to say 2 sentences about the film was not a great use of my time.
So in 2014 I started writing full reviews. Up until that point I’d cranked out one a day of the shorter reviews, and I still published one a day until summer 2014, but I’m now focusing on trying to put together longer pieces in addition to articles and reviews about music and books, so I’m not worrying about the daily grind as much.
Simplified and stylistically incorrect haiku written on the train, using the 5-7-5 format. Generally petty and snide…
Obvious Web Insights Explained Sarcastically. Just my little bit of opinionated observations that really should be apparent to everyone already.
Watching With My Daughter: In an effort to not be such a pompous film snob, I started recognizing that there were certain films that I was going to be watching with my child and that weren’t really aimed at me, so I should adjust my expectations and criticism appropriately. It’s more important to evaluate if a film does what it sets out to do than if it satisfies your inner auteur…
The Bechdel Test
You can read more about it all over the web (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test), but basically it’s a great first step in determining if a film displays a gender bias – most do. This was the first test I started applying to films I reviewed in 2014. Not complete, of course, but it’s not meant to be – just a great conversation starter.
The Representation Test
The next test applied to films I review. The Representation Project (http://therepresentationproject.org/), responsible for the brilliant film Miss Representation, developed the test right before the 2014 Academy Awards and I began using it the very next day. Again, not complete, but it moves the conversation further and I’m proud to do my little bit to keep it going. http://therepresentationproject.org/grading-hollywood-the-representation-test/
The Louis Tully Rule
So named for the character played by Rick Moranis in the Ghostbusters films, it’s shorthand for a sequel trend found in many films but nowhere so much as in the 1980’s: what I’m going to call character creep. You have a bit part in a movie, it’s funny, people like it. (Judge Reinhold in Beverly Hills Cop, Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters, Dick Miller as Murray Futterman in Gremlins) They make a sequel and think “Everyone loved that character. Let’s bring them back but now they’re one of the stars! Everyone wants more of them!” No, we don’t. Not at all. It worked because it was an aside, a little extra color to the film. No one wants more sprinkles on their ice cream – a little bit is enough.
I’ve come up with a term for movies made post Lord of the Rings (LOTR) that needlessly and without good reason inject large-scale battle sequences with tons of CG combatants; such films are trying to win the LOTRy. I know, terrible joke – but I needed something to describe this rampant phenomenon. It’s really out of hand – movies are adding massive battles that are supposed to impress with their scope, when in actuality they just numb you with unreal looking scenes of seemingly endless armies of CG characters, which require you to care about none of them. It just ends up being an expensive and time consuming sequence with no actual importance to the picture. Worse yet, these scenes are usually supposed to be the climax of the film.
The Rule of Unexpected Triplets
Found in film trilogies that weren’t necessarily expected to be trilogies (except maybe by the hopeful creators) but the phenomenal success of the first picture quickly dictated two more installments. Often but not always occurs with simultaneously filmed sequels: The Matrix / Pirates of the Caribbean / Back to the Future. Stately simply, the rule of unexpected triplets is that the second installment in an unplanned trilogy will be so long, over-busy & clunky that the third film will seem OK by comparison.