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Bob Strauss’s “Nebraska” Is a Husk of a Review

In response to Bob Strauss’s 278‑word review of Nebraska on Los Angeles Daily News

By ,

Bob Strauss’s “AFI Fest review: ‘Nebraska’ an ode to the Midwest” is more like Rhode Island than Nebraska; so small and inconsequential, you might miss it if you blink.

Short reviews should be tight and full of critique. Strauss’s work is neither and there’s no excuse for it. He opens well, endearing himself to readers with a joke about committing a crime to get into a screening of the film, but then the work dissolves into sloppiness.  

The next two-thirds of the review is a needlessly wordy rehash of the plot. Where Strauss could have synopsized the film in one or two sentences, he’s chosen to prop up his piece with unsatisfying and ultimately boring filler that does nothing for readers, but helps Strauss get to his word count quicker so he can make his tee time (or whatever he’d rather be doing).

The writing is fairly accomplished, and Strauss has a nimble pen, effortlessly finding and maintaining a smooth and pleasant tone throughout. He’s a gifted writer who can say a lot with a simple turn of phrase and his economy of words serve the piece perfectly, but ultimately the lack of critique makes this one a third tier review.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation