Sunshine, With a Chance of Rain

One more from the Feature Writing class! That’s right, loyal and non-loyal readers, there are TWO things due today that I’m sharing! “Oh glorious day, Mr. Chickens,” some of you shout with glee, “You’re work is what gives me life!” Cockiness aside, this is the second thing I have to turn in today, and is, once again, a review of a review. Do a lot of these, don’t I? For added fun, read the entirety of the piece from the point of view of an angry walrus.

Sunshine, With a Chance of Rain

Let me begin by saying that, as a rule, I rarely, if ever, pay any attention to and/or even acknowledge the existence of critics and reviewers unless I will be buying something shortly, usually some video game. That is because I enjoy reading or watching something for myself, since it’s impossible to gauge my reaction from someone else’s viewpoint. That being said Joe Morgenstern wrote a decent review and now I kind of want to see the movie.

According to Professor Todd Hunt, hereby known as Professor Hunt due to grammar rules and because his name is magnificent, there are eight roles of reviewers and critics that ensure that they aren’t seen as people shouting their opinions to anyone who will listen and even more to people who won’t. Something was, apparently, lost in translation. At any rate, Morgenstern at least tries to abide by the rules Professor Hunt laid down, probably next to the boar that he killed with his bare hands.

Firstly, Morgenstern covered not only the piece that he originally set out to cover, but seemingly every other even marginally similar work that the stars playing the leads have done before. It makes for a round piece, and gives a good point of comparison for both old and new viewers. The references are woven through the article like a red thread through an orange shirt: noticeable, but not necessarily distracting. However when you include too much string, suddenly you can’t tell if the shirt started as red or orange. Morgenstern references the actor’s other works often enough so as to muddle the writing a bit. One finds himself questioning whether Morgenstern is writing about “Sunshine” or “Being John Malkovich” in certain passages (as an example), and the result is loss of attention. In this instance, then, perhaps Morenstern simply does Professor Hunt’s first point too well. On to point two.

Professor Hunt informs readers, likely between punching tigers and polishing his rifle, that critics set a sort of standard for entertainers, thus raising the overall quality of entertainment. If one were liberal in their opinion, such as Morgnestern seems to be, they would say that all work is good to somebody and we have no right reviewing it poorly. At first I believed that “Sunshine” really was “that good”, i.e. there are so few, tiny flaws with the movie that they’re not worth mentioning.  That was until I read the additional recommended piece, “Drive”, which took me a few minutes to figure out was actually a collection of reviews published under one convenient title (or at least I hope it is, as mentioned before Morgenstern’s writing can be a tad blurry). After reading through all the reviews, I can not recall a single negative comment on any of them. Maybe it’s that I simply can’t remember, but the fact is that if I can’t remember one then it was so small that it doesn’t quite matter. Morgenstern seems to either appreciate everything or not write about anything that doesn’t interest him, and therein lies the problem of not being able to raise any standards at all, due to everything appearing “just fine”. When I read a review, I want both the good and the bad, otherwise I have no opinion coming out of it.

Morgenstern’s reviews, as a whole, try to live up to Professor Hunt’s expectations, but fall depressingly short due to Morgernstern not having the hard edge necessary to cut anything apart. They’re entertaining, however, so he can be forgiven.

-586 words-


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About lessthanthreechickens

A man of poultry descent who loves to read as much as write, and write as much as read. Also has an interest in speaking about either, as well as video games and other typical college-student things.

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