August 22, 2014
Scene: Office with a window, desk, computer. Papers are scattered around the desk where the EDITOR sits. Hes an older man, in his fifties, with gray hair. He looks at the computer, and gives an exasperated sigh. Theres a knock at the door.
EDITOR: Come in.
WELLS enters. Hes young, in his early twenties. He has black hair that is slicked back.
WELLS: You wanted to see me, sir?
EDITOR: Yes, sit down Wells. I have some questions about your last couple of film reviews. Lets start with the first one. You reviewed Wes Andersons Wineglass Pulpit. (Turning to his monitor.) Okay, heres the start: Anderson, known for his distinctive style, but not, until now, thematically retrograde, has returned to a similar locus as his previous Grand Budapest Motel. Hmmm.
WELLS: Is there a problem, sir?
EDITOR: Well its pretty wordy for a lede, but thats not a big deal. You go on, The characters fall into coaxial orbits, failing to coalesce until their very personalities suffer a molecular dehiscence. Anderson also now seems more cognizant of his own mortality. His tone is mordant, almost morbid, and is a bizarre syncretism of Shevnick and Tati. Who?
EDITOR: Im not an idiot, Wells. Ive seen Mr. Hulots Holiday. Who the hell is Shevnick?
WELLS: Surely youve heard of him. He was the creator of animated samizdat film in occupied Salivia. His films had to be smuggled out a few cels at a time by Czech sympathizers. Theyd roll them up and shove them up their
EDITOR: Thats enough! How many people have really heard of this guy?
WELLS: All of his films are on YouTube.
EDITOR: Sos a video of my mother-in-law breakdancing, but that doesnt mean more than three people have seen it.
WELLS: I also watched his complete oeuvre my first week in film school.
EDITOR: What about those of us who didnt go to film school?
WELLS: Then I guess its a chance to educate yourself. His nine-second compositions peremptorily contrast our crepuscular animus with a propensity toward
EDITOR: You really talk that way, dont you? Forget trying to educate the great unwashed for a minute. What I really want to know, Wells, is whether you liked it.
WELLS: Well I dont think such a Manichean view could apply to an auteur like Anderson whose influences
EDITOR: Enough about influences! I get the point. Lets move on. (Moves computer mouse.) Heres your review of Cars III: The Search For Speed. Heres your opening: Pixars latest returns to the world of sentient vehicles. Unlike the previous Planes, this one harkens to the franchises origins, embracing the world of automobiles and their pithy terrestriality. Terrestriality?
WELLS: I admit its a neologism.
EDITOR: Neologisms tend to elicit apoplecticdammit, Wells, now youve got me doing it. Let me skip ahead to this part where you say, the return of Tow-Mater leads to an apotheosis that emburdens the films climax. Again I want to know if you liked it. Thats even more important for a kids film. People are not going to be interested in emburdened climaxes preceded by an apotheosis. Look, I know you were top of your class in film schoolthats why I hired you. But I wish your reviews were less arcane. Why not include the old rating system with one to five stars so people can tell at a glance what to expect?
WELLS: Isnt that a bit gauche?
EDITOR: Use your right hand then.
EDITOR: Thats a joke, son. Im asking you to lighten up.
WELLS: But look who were competing with. Its not just other newspapers and magazines. There are blogs, social media, TV shows. Theres a guy in South Korea who does nothing but rewrite Anton Egos speech from Ratatouille with a few words changed for every film he reviews. And hes got more Twitter followers than Cher!
EDITOR: I know all that. Its part of my job to think about the competition, and I think youre going to turn off more readers with your molecular dehiscence and adjunct terrestriality. And the competitions not as bad as you think. Nobodys following everything, and your reviews will be the only ones some people ever get. And its not like youre writing about Star Wars or The Wizard Of Ozthings that everybodys seen. Save the mordant fundaments for when the local art house runs a Shevnick retrospective. When youre talking about a Pixar film tell me if I should take my kids. Capisce?
EDITOR: And let me worry about the competition.