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Office Christmas Party

Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Definitely read me second

On Oct. 16 I published a review of "Tru Loved" in which, at the end, I noted that I stopped watching after eight minutes. I also published a blog entry, "Don't read me first!" discussing that decision and reporting that it horrified my editor, who wondered if my action was immoral. The entry has so far drawn almost 500 comments. I have read them all. I have arrived at some conclusions.

How it happened in the first place. I began viewing the movie on a DVD and taking notes. At what turned out to be the eight-minute mark, I paused the disc, looked at my notes so far, and thought, "There's my review right there." The movie had left me not wanting to see more.

Why I waited until the end of the review to reveal I had stopped after eight minutes. The review reproduced my thought process while arriving at my decision. My editor, Laura Emerick, thought I should have come clean at the beginning. I thought that would have made the review anticlimactic. There is a top-down structure to a lot of shorter prose that correctly places the payoff at the end. I always try to close my reviews with some kind of punchline, sometimes very serious, instead of letting them dribble off into the ether.

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