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The Real Mick LaSalle Has Gone Missing in “Overheated Furnace”

In response to Mick LaSalle’s 603‑word review of Out of the Furnace on San Francisco Chronicle

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Mick LaSalle unleashes razor-sharp arrows of the written word in “Good cast can’t save overheated Furnace,” but unfortunately he also attempts to take the comedic route in place of deep criticism.

A common problem with film criticism today is that critics hold back when they don’t particularly enjoy a film and decide they are comedians. The word count drops, the quality drops and the reader is left with little to contemplate. Mick LaSalle is one of the rare exceptions who can take the comedic route and still effectively get his point across, but Le Pals of the world will surely be disappointed by this effort.

LaSalle pushes the limits with his comedy in Overheated Furnace, and a perfect example is when he notes that Christian Bale’s facial hair announces “that he’s not really looking for a promotion.” Has LaSalle ever been to a mill?

To be clear, Overheated Furnace is a good review, and LaSalle’s ability to engage the reader with spectacular prose is always a treat. However, the review doesn’t have any moments of deep critique and instead peppered with jokes. The critic consistently teases, and ultimately calls it a day without a proper exploration of characters and plot.

Overheated Furnace is worth a read, but readers may wonder if the real Mick LaSalle has gone missing.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation