Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Swimmer as a Geographical Temporal Narrative

On writing a film review…
Student: I’d like to review The Swimmer. Good movie. It got a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tutor: How many reviewers?

Student: Twenty.

Tutor: Can’t use Rotten Tomatoes as a reference. Everybody does, it’s ubiquitous, but a global ballpark percentage isn’t de rigueur, academically.

Student: So how do you justify a movie as good?

Tutor: Cite the view of respected critic: Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert, Joe Morgenstern.

The Swimmer (1968) traces Ned Merrill's swim home through the pools of a suburb in Connecticut. It is a backward journey through space and time, through neighborhoods he knew, and his past. Although it is a structured succession of satirical scenes, it is as much a geographical and temporal narrative as a picaresque portrayal.

Other movies to score 100% on Rotten Tomatoes include The Godfather (1972), Citizen Kane (1941), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007), Toy Story (1995), Rear Window (1954)… There are quite a few listed here.

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