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Old 01-17-2012, 01:36 PM
fess up movie reviewers- why do you incessantly synopsize every @#!ing movie

I have hit the wall and I have to ask what the fuck. Nearly every reviewer! Why is this habit lodged into everybody's heads like some kind of lodge in everybody's heads! Oh my gosh. Roger ebert, when bored, can spend entire reviews walking you through what happens in the movie while making remarks about its plausibility or entertainment value, as if demonstrating his viewer comprehension to us. Even schmoe reviewers often preface their critiques by walking us through the movie's synopsis or basic history, as if any reader on the green polluted face of mother gaia doesn't know The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is an adaption of Larsson's trilogy of books concerning Libseth Salander and Blomkvist, and there was a Swedish film by the same name, and it's about yadda yadda yadda and it's directed by David Fincher who is best known for Se7en and Zodiac, on and on into pseudo professionalism infinity. And all the while the critic is seemingly oblivious to any notion that their wasted space and our wasted attention spans might find these incessant preliminaries

this annoying

This persisting format is a reflex for movie reviewers who are leaned back into an outdated time when readers couldn't easily access a wikipedia or imdb page. The age when the movie reviewers had to introduce movies to the audience is over. It's just a ghost now. They could make paranormal activity 4 about format-devoted critics scaring little children with movie origin stories like a comic book aficionado with tourettes explaining batman. We already know about the movie. Every film is saturated. We don't need reviewers to waste their time getting us caught up on the generic introductions. Yes it was the professional format a long time ago, but it's still the professional format for some goddamn reason, summoned up from the realms of unpronounceable gothic sea sludge for every wannabe and finally-be reviewer to repeat and recite ad nauseam! Argh it's so mindless. Latin phrase exclamation point!

I'm sure there are rare occasions when the reviewer needs to introduce a certain context just to frame their critique
But those are the rarest exceptions with writers of the rarest form. I don't want to read ten reviews of Carnage where ten reviewers reintroduce the preliminaries just because they are stuck in the matrix. Open your eyes. You don't have to do that. You're free. If you want to critique the need for Fincher's remake with the original Swedish version you can spend a sentence reminding us there was a previous version of the storyline and then plow into your review without further dawdling over the finer details you googled before writing your review with this posture of cinema omniscience.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:58 PM
Very interesting. I think a lot of wanna-be, and professional film critics alike forget one important thing about writing film critiques. And that is, writing a critique is still creative writing. Being a styleless film reviewer certainly won't help boost your career.
An artist looks for a medium to convey their voice. If they choose the medium of writing, they need to be able to distinguish their voice from other artists in the medium.

If everyone uses the same format, it's no longer art. It's repetition.
Like you said, no reader wants to read the synopsis of every movie review. They just want to know the opinion of the reviewer and why.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:55 PM
Shini, I really enjoyed your rant and agree with it 100%. It was creatively written, borderline pretentious but not so much so that it annoyed me. I liked your descriptive, uncommon phrasing for things as well. Well done overall.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:17 PM
Yep completely agree, I'd rather read a three line review critiquing the film, then a page one which details the whole film and gives three lines of critique. So many reviews seem to be like this, these days.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:18 PM
I pretty much agree. I used to do this, but one day realized that it was pointless. I went from writing overlong pieces of crap with a ton of unnecessary plot recap, to one or two paragraph mini-reviews that get to the point. Anyone on this site that is bothering to read your review probably knows what the movie is about or has already seen the movie. If you're going to incorporate the plot into your review, make sure that it is part of your criticism. I can sort of understand it for professional reviews, but even then it is often used excessively. A brief plot outline that is independent of the actual review (could be listed along with rating, director, actors, etc.) would be perfectly fine.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:43 PM
You know what? I have to admit that I don't know what The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is about.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:28 AM
Originally Posted by DaveyJoeG View Post
You know what? I have to admit that I don't know what The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is about.
It's about this one girl who has a tattoo that's an image of a dragon.

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Old 01-18-2012, 09:49 AM
Originally Posted by MightyCelestial View Post
It's about this one girl who has a tattoo that's an image of a dragon.

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Old 01-17-2012, 04:46 PM
I stopped doing it in my previous reviews back in the day, but it has come back like a bad habit. I mostly do it now in case the people who do read it (I post reviews on my Facebook and copy/paste them here) have no idea on what I'm reviewing and get a brief idea of what it's about. Unfortunately, my brief synopsis has evolved into one paragraph.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:29 AM
I try to avoid giving a synopsis or giving descriptions of the movie as much as possible - mostly because I'm thinking there might be people who haven't seen the movie and don't want anything spoiled for them. My reviews tend to be rather short nowadays (could also be because I'm a lazy SOB, but that's for another day). Reviewers' tendencies to give major plot points and storylines are the main reason I avoid reviews - I'll sometimes read the last paragraph to try to get an overall sense of what they thought, or just read the grade they gave the movie.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:50 PM
It's important for people to know this problem is causing the world to end by December 2012, so. It's pretty urgent.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:01 PM
I don't completely agree with this rant because I think you're taking your critique to an extreme here. While i think that reviewers can get a tad carried away with there synopses, I also think that there's no harm in including a one to two paragraph overview of the basic plot of the film in a review. Not everyone is going to know exactly what each film is about and I don't think we reviewers should be content with sending them to wikipedia or google just to get a synopsis. Who says a synopsis has to be boring anyway? A reviewer can put his/her own spin on anything they write in the review, making it unique and enjoyable. I don't think the synopsis should be a real prominent element in the review, but I think it has its place in a review. Afterall, how many professional essays have you read that don't include an intro paragraph?
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Old 01-19-2012, 10:51 AM
Introducing elements of the movie as a framing device for the critique is different. And I doubt reviewers putting their own spin on synopses means anything other than creative writing indulgences reworking the standard generic synopsis with 'fun' alternatives, slipped in with asides about how the reviewer likes or dislikes one of the actors involved, or worse, punctuated by lame nonsensical jokes showing off their verbosity (ex: they could make paranormal activity 4 about format-devoted critics scaring little children with movie origin stories like a comic book aficionado with tourettes explaining batman). I think most of the time the formatting is mindless. It's an adherence to some unsaid rule that a professional review should set the stage of a movie incessantly, recapping not only the synopsis, but often the generic histories of the leading actor, or director, or past entries or adaptations. Like I said, I understand why this format came into play decades ago when movie reviewers had more access to the film industry than the rest of us, and played the intermediary role; their job was to review the film but also introduce the film to unsuspecting audiences, cataloging the cast and director and any relevant history. But the industry saturation is almost total whole grain cereal now. Movie reviewers have no more or less access to the going-on of movies as anybody else. They are no longer in a position of the insider or the cataloger. Click on a Current Movie thread, scroll below the opening post's synopsis, cast list, and crew list, then bump into a reviewer who opens by explaining what the movie was about, who starred in it, and who directed it. What.
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:11 AM
One thing this thread has taught me is that Shini should use more paragraph breaks.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:18 AM
Hahaha, real talk, but I think at least some synopsis is necessary, what if your on a reviewers website n you just saw something posted up about a film you haven't heard of before?
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:08 PM
I totally agree with this when the review is almost completely a walk through of the film. It's unnecessary, seeing as how I'm probably about to sit through it, and I really don't need your play-by-play.

However, it doesn't bother me when they throw in a quick synopsis. Often times, there are movie titles I hear of, but have no idea what they're about. When I go to check up on them, and read a review with a quick run through of the film, it gives me a good idea if I want to look further.
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