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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Report Card---"Arbitrage"

"Arbitrage" is a nifty little movie.
Certainly not worthy of any awards, as the various awards givers have indicated.
It stars Richard Gere, and is the equivalent of a pretty good two-part "Law and Order: Criminal Intent", which I was a major fan of.
Except that it's primarily from the villain's point of view, and the cop is more corrupt and not nearly as savvy as the Detectives on L&O, CI.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Sure. Gere is a well turned out Bernie Madoff.
And the story has some nice twists.

Compelling even?


Is it controversial?

Not really.

Is it a story worth telling?

I don't see why not.

Is it good storytelling?

I suppose.

Is it well written?

Pretty well written. As well-written as L&O CI. No better, no worse.

Is it well cast? Well played?, Well shot?

Gere is not at all likeable. Probably neither was Bernie Madoff.
But being likeable was Gere's job. As it was Madoff's.

Is it too long? Too short?

It moves along briskly.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

It is believeable, but I really didn't care about the characters.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

No, and the ending is a bit ambiguous, but it's there to be figured out.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?


Is it funny?


Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

Not to me.

Is it impressive ?

Hard to call it that, although the pacing was very effective.

Overall grade: B.

See it when it's on Pay Cable.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. Mark: I saw this movie when it first came out, and I posted two comments to IMDB. SPOILER ALERT. First, Gere does not play a Madoff character. He has made a bad investment with his clients' money. If you follow the transaction, at the end of the day the total loss falls upon Gere. The investors get their money back. Second, while very dramatic, the Grand Jury sequence simply would never happen. It's much like Law & Order at the end where the DA calls a conference and talks with the defendants. It's dramatic but does not happen. A lawyer who would allow such a confrontation happen ought to be disbarred. In New York, a witness' attorney is not permitted in the Grand Jury room. The movie shows otherwise. And in real life, a grand jury witness, Jimmy Grant in this case, gets immunity in return for testimony. In real life, the prosecutor would never call Jimmy Grant to the Grand Jury. He would simply indict him, and use the indictment as leverage. And within the confines of the story, having retained the smartest lawyer North of 96th Street, that lawyer (Reg Cathey, I think) would never let his client testify or talk to the cops. Jimmy Grant would take the Fifth. And the 100th best lawyer North of 96th Street would know that. What's the plot point of hiring the best lawyer North of 96th Street to have him just sit there as his client is confronted with evidence the client and lawyer have never seen?

  2. He played a somewhat cleaned up Madoff character.
    I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know about the rest.

  3. You could be eligible for a complimentary Apple iPhone 7.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."