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Drew McWeeny’s “Great Small-Scale Work” Is an Actor’s Review

In response to Drew McWeeny’s 1128‑word review of Nebraska on HitFix

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Part of writing a good movie review is writing a well-rounded movie review, and not overly focusing on just one aspect of the movie. The major flaw in Drew McWeeny’s “Review: Will Forte and Bruce Dern do great small-scale work in Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’” is that it focuses too much on the actors to the detriment to other aspects of the film.

With so much focus on the film’s performances, a lot is left out of the mix: plot, pacing, cinematography. McWeeny does, toward the very end of the review, discuss the quality of the directing, but by then he’s spent so much time discussing individual actors and their work not only in the movie but outside of it that many readers might not have stuck around to see if he ever gets to another topic.

McWeeny makes extensive use of the first-person in great small-scale work. It’s a lot of “I” this and “I” that. The result is that McWeeny makes himself seem less and less authoritative each time he dilutes his opinion with an “I think” or “I feel” or even, most damningly, “I’m not sure.”

Between the narrow focus on actors, the long tangents about those actor’s past careers, and the lack of conviction that pervades small-scale work, it just doesn’t… well…  work. It’s a mess of a review, and easily worth avoiding.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation