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Wesley Morris Steps Back From Deep Critique in “Nebraska”

In response to Wesley Morris’s 352‑word review of Nebraska on Grantland

By ,

What has Grantland done to Wesley Morris? Nebraska is one of four films being reviewed on the webpage, and loyals fans of the critic will surely be distressed by the four cookie-cutter paragraphs of “Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne.”

Wesley Morris can bring the goods when it comes to the written word. Everybody knows that. Why is critique suddenly being tossed aside after so many epics at The Boston Globe?

Directed By is little more than four paragraphs of stylized prose that offers the essentials for the audience. To be fair, it’s a perfectly acceptable review, but Morris is clearly capable of producing a better product. The work is a compilation of teasers: intro/director nod/key features/conclusion.

The absence of deep analysis on plot, characters or performances in Directed By is troubling. Morris appears to have a lot to say about Bruce Dern, but ultimately declares that he does nothing “Dern-like.” Will Forte is acknowledged as being “a surprise.” Grantland apparently has more pressing matters than film criticism.

Directed By features the always enjoyable prose of Morris, and a mildly poetic final statement on Payne’s achievements. Braingasms will not be had by review connoisseurs, but fans of the critic will most likely praise the webpage of four reviews.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation