Presenting Uncle Cliff's
D.I.Y Review Kit
You too can be a Top Crap reviewer!
Here I dissect my legendary review tactics for you at home to use as a guide.
As an example I shall use the Katie Holmes suspense drama Abandon .
Okay, let's start with a slight bit of back-story about how you came to be watching <INSERT FILM HERE>, it helps to ease the reader into the swing of things. Feel free to make shit up if your life is boring and you have no stories to tell.
I was looking through a box of crap the other day for some old pornos when I instead chanced upon my old Castle Greyskull play-set, and in near-perfect condition too! (The elevator was broken, but since I don't ever remember He-Man catching an elevator up to the top floor for a business appointment with the Sorcerer or Orko I didn't mind too much). After also finding a few old Masters of the Universe figurines I then spent a merry afternoon waging war on He-Man's arch nemesis Skeletor – which was particularly challenging since I couldn't find my Skeletor action figure and didn't have his secret base Snake Mountain to attack, so it was basically He-Man protecting Castle Greyskull from a rusty wrench and my car keys. Then my mum came home and asked what I was doing and I quickly grabbed a video tape from the box of crap and said that it was just what I was looking for. Then to sell the story, I had to watch the tape. The tape was Abandon . True story.
It wasn't, but you couldn't tell, could you? Now, make note of any pre-conceived judgements you had against the film coming into it.
I had heard nothing but bad things about this film. One customer at the video store I used to work for returned it and didn't even try the “It doesn't work on my DVD player” line people usually use when they pick a dud flick. He just straight up said “This film sucked. Can I get another free?” I rewarded his honesty. Another disappointed customer got this confused with The Gift and told me he had watched it all the way through to see Katie Holmes's tits. He didn't get another free because I couldn't swap it over to The Gift for him. It was out on hire – to me – and had been for eight months.
Time to include the token brief synopsis:
In Abandon Katie Holmes plays a chick that spends the film wallowing because her ex-boyfriend left her. Just as the police are investigating his disappearance she starts seeing him again in the shadows. It's all a bit spooky, and also pretty fucking obvious from the twenty minute mark that she is a skitzoid that killed him and her guilt has manifested his apparition to haunt her. Otherwise, why would they even be making this? There's not much to a premise like this if it turns out she just got dumped and is bummed out about it, gets a box of chocolates and watches Sex and the City for days on end.
At the end of the synopsis make your true feelings on the film known. Remember to include a snappy line intended for title page quote:
I thought this film was complete fucking horse shit.
Then, compare it to other films and/or make a slightly amusing/vulgar simile about your viewing experience so that those who haven't seen it can relate:
Abandon is not at like Amadeus , or even like Con Air . It is especially not like any Ken Loach movie. Watching this film is about as entertaining as sticking your dick into a toaster.
Run through the actors and briefly critique their performances in a single paragraph:
Katie Holmes is at her ‘three facial expression' best here. For a second I thought she had added a fourth to her impressive arsenal when she had to play drunk, but it turns out it was just the same expression she uses for confused/coy/aloof/seductive/flirting/sleepy and also puzzled/pensive/relieved/post-coital/dumbfounded.
If strained for positives/looking for more negatives then feel free to comment on little stuff like cinematography and direction:
Still, she is pretty and her prettiness is quite well lit throughout the film.
Would you watch this again?
However I would never, ever, ever, watch this film again. Not even if there was a Special Edition released with boobies in it. I still have The Gift out on hire for that.
End with a somewhat light-hearted quip or profound summation. If unhappy with prior snappy title page quote, feel free to include another here to give the Top Crap webmaster some room to manoeuvre .
In fact, I should have abandon ed this turkey half-way through!
And that my friends, is what we in the review biz call “a zinger”.
Hope it helps and look forward to your reviews.