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Robin Clifford’s “Nebraska” Takes a Road Trip to Nowhere

In response to Robin Clifford’s 393‑word review of Nebraska on Reeling Reviews

By ,

Robin Clifford really wants you to know that Nebraska is about small town sensibilities, heartland aesthetics, middle America, real townsfolk and midwestern values. It’s also about life in provincial hamlets in the heartland of America. And also living in small towns. In America. Get the idea?

Clifford abuses every cliché in the book in describing Alexander Payne’s new film in his review “Nebraska,” a meandering mess of half thoughts, personal tangents, non-sequiturs and limp metaphors.

Where do you begin critiquing this thing?

First, the writing is so muddled it’s difficult to even suss out Clifford’s meaning at times. Some of this can be attributed to the careless punctuation and frequent typos, but even when logic isn’t being trampled and the laws of grammar flouted, the prose lurches and stumbles like Mary Shelley’s monster.

Clifford can’t properly explain himself, so he revisits the same point several times, even in the span of one sentence, lending the piece all the flow of a brick house.

What little critique exists here gets lost in the confusion and Clifford keeps injecting irrelevant interjections; he grew up in Maine, the middle class is shrinking, the film reminds him of his relationship with his father. These would all be great if they were tied to some criticism of the film, but they just feel like empty one-off statements in a useless review.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation