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I actually like looking at this sometimes…

I actually like looking at this sometimes… published on 4 Comments on I actually like looking at this sometimes…

Slant magazine provides some of the most pretentious, convoluted, obtuse, overwritten, horribly bad movie “reviews” I have ever read. Here’s an example.┬áBasically the author dislikes the movie for being overly sympathetic to all characters and not judgmental enough. But God forbid he come right out and say that. Instead we get Death by Adjectives and phrases like “limning a milieu with extraneous humanism,” which sounds like it just came from the keys of someone who has recently discovered the thesaurus [or maybe the Increase Your Word Power! section of Reader’s Digest].

As you can see [if you can make any headway in the impenetrable thicket of purple prose], the reviewers make it a point to dislike pretty much everything. Then they expound on their dislike with┬áthe grandiloquent bloviation worthy of those self-important people who think that they are too stupendous to crack jokes. To a man [and I think they’re all men], they’re acutely allergic to clarity of expression and direct communication of ideas. They clearly believe that, the more subordinate clauses their “reviews” have, the better they are.

I like to read stuff like this occasionally, just to roll my eyes at its egregiousness. It reminds me what not to do.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a milieu that needs some limning with extraneous humanism. :p

P.S. This also brings up the question — if you hate movies, both generally as a concept and specifically as individual films, which the writers of Slant apparently do, why write about them in the first place?


Well “limning” is a new one on me.

I think “depict” would have served them one better, but then again, I just love extraneous humanism.

Here, I’ll write one for them:
“Of course it’s raking in a mint at the box office, since the slavering philistines that represent the unwashed masses can’t possibly understand all but the most base and uncouth fodder, but I found Miss Midgie’s Purple Penguin Palace was rife with aesthetically unpleasant and frankly dangerous humanistic ideals. I found to my disgust that nobody stoned Miss Midgie to death or even publicly lectured her during the entirety of the ninety-minute programme, despite her lack of Caucasian ancestry and being unforgivably corpulent in stature. That she was the head of the penguin state was also wildly inaccurate, setting a dangerous precedent in the impressionable minds of young girls. I soothed myself afters by standing in the alley downwind of some smoking teens in hopes whatever they were taking furtive drags of was something stronger than cigarettes, and whispering to all those bright pixies skipping past that Santa Claus was dead. Nobody realized how important I was, nor yet offered me any sexual favors. What a waste of ten bucks.”



I used the word “limn” in a story once, but I was 14 and talking about how the sun limned the leaves with brightness or something…which is actually pretty accurate, since the verb technically means “to outline or suffuse with gold.” It’s a beautiful word that has its origins in the various techniques of illuminating manuscripts, but, nowadays, it has unfortunately downgraded to a pointless synonym for people who are too highfalutin’ to use the word “portray” or “draw” or “show.”

I think the world could do with a little more “extraneous humanism” myself.

P.S. The redundancy of “slavering philistines” and “unwashed masses” is just brilliant, since restating what he just said is one of the reviewer’s favorite techniques.

See that I can get behind! It’s a pretty word, I just agree with you that it’s inappropriate for the context the reviewer used it in.

Yeah, I find with people who write like that, you can fix a lot of the run-on sentences if you just take out the phrases that repeat the same idea in a slightly different way. They seem to have a rate of approximately three repeated ideas per sentence. And besides, why use one adjective or adverb where four will surely make you sound more erudite. They’re basically wannabe-academic hipsters– or wannabe-hipster academics, I’m not sure which.

They remind me of the people in the writing classes I used to take. The one with the prof who said the more you torture your characters the better a story is, or the one where I gave up on trying to argue that Wuthering Heights isn’t a love story after she said “I wish someone would love me enough to hate me that much someday.”

Just remember that they hated this cold, shriveled husk of an “every man for himself” dog-eat-dog cutthroat crapsack world (you know, the one they created from having that attitude!) BEFORE it was cool.


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