Movie Review Decoder

We can’t all be Roger Ebert, but in today’s world we can all be film critics. All it takes is an opinion and a mobile phone. But if you want to step your game up a level from those “Hated it!” and “Loved it!” tweets, you’ll need to learn the secret lingo of the professional critic, so you can sound just like the 99% of newspaper reviewers who don’t have enough wit or style to be Richard Von Busack. Perhaps this secret decoder ring, ripped from the severed pinky of Mick LaSalle, may be of some use:

What they say  /  What they mean

Austere  /   Depressing

Homage  /  Rip-off

Whimsy  /  Schmaltz

Feel-good  /  Throw-up

Date movie  /  Leave your testicles at the door

Bergmanesque  /  Boring

Must-see  /  Your idiot friends won’t shut up about it

Kitchen sink  /  Boring

Verite  /  Boring with nauseating camera work

Epic  /  Too long

Saga  /  Too long

Admirable  /  I hated it, but I can’t say so here

Workmanlike  /  See “Admirable”

Summer fare  /  Trailer is better than the film

Well-shot  /  I’m desperate to find something good to say

Well-lit  /  I’m really desperate to find something good to say

Imprimateur  /  Director is a dick

Auteur  /  Director is a dick

Ouvre  /  Director is a dick

Impressive debut (or comeback)  /   Publicist is better than actor

Oscar contender  /  Publicist is better than director

Oscar-worthy  /  If it wins, I’ll give you these magic beans

Nuanced  /  Too subtle for you, moron

Art-house  /  Money-loser

Childlike sense of wonder  /  Mental retardation

Endearing  /  See “Whimsey”

Uber-___   /  I went to college

Mise en scene  /  I went to film school

Delight  /  See “whimsy”

Lowbrow  /  Funnier than I care to admit

Adult  /  Depressing

Charming  /  Cloying

Take the kids  /  Take a Valium

2 Responses to Movie Review Decoder

  1. Ms Stickybeak says:

    Um, I think mentally retarded is un- PC and will result in your being jailed and tortured in Berkeley. You might want to change it to “target audience-cretins”.

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