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O’Hehir, “Pick of the Week” Will Make You Wish for the Apocalypse

In response to Andrew O'Hehir’s 740‑word review of The World's End on Salon.com 

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/22/pick_of_the_week_a_dozen_pints_to_the_apocalypse/

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What can really be said about Andrew O’Hehir’s “Pick of the week: A Dozen Pints to the Apocalypse”?

It’s part genre-validating review and part fact-checking exercise. The appeal here is that it uncritically champions its subject with enthusiasm. Sadly, it doesn’t have a strong enough voice to give unity to these parts. Beyond that, he merges a series of pop culture lists that assume self-referential meaning, including British comedy, movie genres, and pop culture in general. In short, Pick of the week is hard to like.

The key to review success on the internet quite often comes, intrinsically enough, from an author’s refusal to excise his own voice for that of a snarky teen or hyper-critical film student. The core movie-review audience has grown up in a post-Ebert era, where people don’t even remember the genius Siskel or even Roeper.

So, O’Herir voice is invisible and we get the usual plot and character shenanigans, and a deep history of the main players, eclipsed by a slide show of the film that is more interesting than the review itself (always a dangerous addition.) Perhaps there’s something deeply sinister going on beneath the surface here.

Despite O’Hehir’s solid research chops, and a desire to like data-rich reviews, the experience of the review ends without a bang.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation