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J. R. Jones Makes a Lot With a Little in “Nebraska”

In response to J. R. Jones’s 148‑word review of Nebraska on Chicago Reader

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J. R. Jones’s “Nebraska” is infinitesimally tiny. At 148 words, it’s undoubtedly the shortest review around for the new Alexander Payne dramedy. Don’t blame the critic, though. This is almost certainly a function of his website’s (Chicago Reader) word count restrictions, which are stricter than a TSA screener with a bad home life.

While it’s mathematically impossible to fully examine a film in a work this short, Jones does a noble job, employing every word, nay, every letter in the service of criticism. This is as concise as concise gets.

Like a passenger in a train’s impossibly small sleeper room, Jones maximizes his space and unpacks his critiques with great care; the story “doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it’s ideal material” for Alexander Payne’s “deft comic touch.” The actors’ performances are given the most attention, with Forte’s David giving “the most impressive performance.”

As far as can be told for a review that lasts a few sentences, the writing is nimble enough to entertain and deft enough to be able to carry complex ideas to fruition.

If this little morsel is any indication, Jones is a critic of prodigious talent, so it’s a real tragedy to see him reined in so strictly.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation