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Wesley Morris’s “Now Playing…” Looks Like Charred Remains

In response to Wesley Morris’s 2225‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Grantland

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Wesley Morris’s “Now Playing: Bad Luck, Tragedy, and Travesty—The Coen brothers, Dame Judi Dench, and a mess starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck.” is a chaotic mess of half-baked analogies and confusing rhetoric with no discernible assessment to show for.

It’s a tough read, far more gritty and unintelligible than its source material to be sure. There is simply no cohesion here; no smoothness, no flow. The passages jam together like a car wreck, or some sort of recycle-art project hastily slapped together with old junk. Is there a message here? Maybe. But the reader is not likely inclined to sift through the scrap heap to find it.  

It is imperative in literature of this genre to capture the reader’s attention immediately. There is simply too much competition in the field, and too many other writers who excel at just that to bring anything less than your ‘A’ game. After all, the goal is persuasion. In order to do so, you must present your argument in a form that is easily understood (or at least legible), and maybe even a little entertaining. Morris fails miserably at doing either.  

And even the most diligent reader, dare they press onward, will reap nothing but disappointment for their efforts. The supporting arguments Morris presents barely support anything, much less the subject. And the back and forth between the synopsis and his take is so frequent and so discombobulated, it’s like riding with a student driver who can’t stop braking every three seconds.

Be warned, there is nothing to see here but carnage. No semblance of any redeemable value within these ragged passages. Simply garbage that should be tossed in the fire and destroyed.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation