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A Man of Extremes: A Review of a Review

I guess this is my first real post. How exciting! At any rate this is an essay that I was assigned in my Feature Writing class, and actually kind of fell in love with. It’s definitely one of my most entertaining and humorous essays, and I’m incredibly proud of the result. 

A Man of Extremes

Dana Goodyear is an incredibly clever woman. In 2009 she published a piece entitled, “James Cameron: A Man of Extremes,” and wrote it, entertainingly enough, in an extreme way. Topping 10,300 words and with more history than an average WWII poem, her piece is so undoubtedly extreme that it’s difficult to believe that the title wasn’t purposeful. It’s almost poetic. At any rate, however, the profile is a titanic piece that focuses on director James Cameron; his past works, and near failures, as well as his, at the time, present work Avatar, or, more lovingly, Smurfs in Space. The topic is certainly interesting, seeing as the man is a diver-director with a romantic chip on his shoulder, but what is more-so is the way that Goodyear went about writing the piece.

Garison, according to the textbook required by the class, which, in turn, requires this paper, clearly outlines the “correct” way an aspiring author/journalist would go about writing a profile article. Goodyear must have read the book as well before deciding it was incomplete and adding to it with her own flair, for she sticks to the formula quite well. Mostly. Goodyear certainly begins with an lead, follows that up with a news peg and some biography before ending with a conclusion, but the strange part is that she does this more than once.

Goodyear, deciding that one profile isn’t enough, wrote several, at least three, before slapping them together in a way that shouldn’t work but does in a very, very good way. The article begins with an introduction that paints Cameron not as a hero, or a magnificent movie-maker, but a no-nonsense, harsh-talking director, intent on getting things done. Goodyear then moves into a nut graf that clearly defines what Cameron has done, Terminator and Titanic, and mentions information of note and the awards concerning each before moving into some biographical information. From there, Goodyear presents all three of her pieces smashed into one another like a car crash someone decided to weld together and turn into a jazzy stretch limo; clearly made up of smaller things but so pretty you don’t mind. Bits of an article on Cameron and Terminator are scattered throughout the article as a whole, drawing little threads and comparisons between his big three works Goodyear focuses on, and Titanic gets its own section altogether which includes how it was made, the critics’ reaction to it, and then Cameron’s reaction to the critics, as well as his reaction when said critics were proven horribly, horribly wrong. All the while, however, Goodyear never deviates from her true article: Cameron and Avatar. Goodyear covers the creation and production of the film in greater detail than the two other mini-articles, and glories in the opportunity to show her readers what kind of man Cameron is in clear, foul-languaged detail.

Goodyear’s article covers her topic in exquisite detail and clearly gives the reader a glimpse into the entertaining, and more than a little frightening, mind of James Cameron. She does so, however, in her own way, meandering along a path that only she can see, all the while making her readers want to follow slowly behind her, starting at the blue-skinned beauty that is Cameron’s creation all the while.