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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Report Card---"The Master"

Boy, you really wouldn't think a movie about a totally charlatan quasi-hypnotist
in 1950 could be as unredeemingly boring as this one is.
But it is.
The only thing that holds your attention at all are the great-looking old cars of
that era.
It even has Philip Seymour Hoffman giving his usual extremely textured performance.
And he was justifiedly nominated for an Oscar for it.
But in the wrong category.
It is clearly a star part.
And he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Everything about "The Master" is out-of-whack.
Laura Dern is in it.
But for the first two thirds of the movie, you have to keep guessing whether or not it is, in fact, Laura Dern.
She is continually shot from an extreme distance, or from the back of her head.
You don't know for sure until she has one little scene with Philip Seymour Hoffman
where you are absolutely certain that it is, in fact, Laura Dern.
And the scene didn't amount to much.
And she got third billing.
It makes you wonder why a fairly major star like her would accept such a part.
Maybe there's a lot of her on the cutting room floor.
If so, it couldn't be any less interesting than what was left in the film.
This whole thing about major actors doing teenie-weenie little parts in movies is worth
a post of its own, and I will get around to it one day.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

You think it's going to be, and it is at the beginning, then it sags, then it goes into freefall.

Compelling even?


Is it controversial?

No. And you'd think it should be.

Is it a story worth telling?

It really isn't.

Is it good storytelling?

Dreadful storytelling.

Is it well written?

It's arch and tedious.

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

Only Philip Seymour Hoffman. Joaquin Phoenix, the nominal star, was a cipher.

Is it too long? Too short?

It is endless.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Not at all, and not at all.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

No, and no.

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 any bucks.

Is it impressive ?


Overall grade: D-.

They should make guitar picks out of the celluloid.


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.



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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."