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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Humor: [Actor] is a tour de force in [movie]

An understated masterclass in acting and filmmaking, full of [adjective]

Bonjour, it’s [pretentious film critic], and it’s great to be back with you, my devoted and [patronizing qualifier] readers. I’m back from the [Cannes/Sundance/Telluride/Toronto] Film Festival, where I sipped [expensive sounding name] wine excessively and screened dozens of films that you won’t actually be able to see in theatres for yourselves for [long time period] because I’m a prestigious, award-winning, widely-respected, universally-acclaimed, highly-educated, highly-paid film critic and you aren’t.

Anyway, I’m now back home in [city], and my primary task has been catching up on what’s playing locally. After grabbing a delicately-crafted artisan triple dry cappuccino with [nonfat/soy/almond/cashew] milk from [environmentally-sustainable cafe] Cafe, I meandered next door to the [historic local independent arthouse theatre] Theatre, where I bought a ticket for the new, critically-acclaimed picture from [name of obscure writer/director for the obscure {aesthetic/political/cultural/subcultural/sexual(?)} niche], cleverly-titled [movie].

While I’d heard fantastic things about [movie], I remained apprehensive, given my previous impressions of films in [writer/director]’s oeuvre, many of which have brief flashes of divine inspiration, but as a whole, tepidly teeter on the precipitous precipice of middling mediocrity. Luckily, by the end of [movie], I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had not wasted [opportunity cost of seeing movie]. Rather, I felt compelled to spend an additional few [units of time] in my seat to reflect on the tour de force in [filmmaking and/or acting] that I just had the privilege of experiencing.

I just witnessed a freshly-minted, now-fully-matured auteur at the peak of their powers and in complete command of their craft, deftly dealing with the weighty themes of [social theme], [religious theme] and [political theme] in a highly sophisticated and confident manner, proving that [one to three of: experimental/stylized/avant garde/dynamic/expressionist/surreal] filmmaking is their raison d’etre. In contrast to their previous uninspired works, [auteur] successfully conjured a refreshing, unique, personal story about their time as an [approximate stage of life] living in [third world country].

[Auteur] manages to shed the hollow action sequences of [action movie], the kenspeckle Bardolatry of [their every movie except actual Shakespeare adaptation] and their excessive reliance on the [deus ex machina/red herring/MacGuffin/character shield/Chekhov’s Gun/flash forward/flashback/foreshadowing/in medias res/dream sequence/anagnorisis] plot device that plagued the [exposition/rising action/climax/falling action/denouement] of their last [insert large number] directorial efforts. In this strikingly original screenplay, [auteur] avoids the numerous mind-numbing nugacities that I previously wrote “could only be the inner reflections of a mumpsimus full of blatherskite,” and instead, finally finds their [exciting/daring/youthful/subversive] voice.

Another [qualifier not used in previous sentence] voice in [movie] is that of [actor]. After starring in several [bombs/duds/critical and commercial calamities], [actor] delivers a monumental performance in the semi-autobiographical role as a humble but troubled colporteur who moonlights as a bootless biblioklept on the streets of [capital of third world country], demonstrating great versatility by engaging in logomachy and coprolalia that run the emotional gamut, enhancing the already-apparent Pantagruelian quality of [auteur]’s witty yet [de-bourgeoisified/de-ideologized/dehistoricized/de-Americanized] script by Brobdingnagian proportions.

Despite my preconceived notions about [auteur] and [actor], [movie] provided me with a timely reminder of why it is incumbent upon me and my fellow pretentious film critics, such as my unimpeachable inspiration and role model, [pretentious film critic] at The New Yorker, to resist the tantalizing temptation of engaging in the unhealthy critical practice of floccinaucinihilipilification.

Written by: Benjamin Porter — bbporter@ucdavis.edu

(This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)


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