Posts Tagged ‘definition’

A Beginner’s Guide To Spotting Sucky Movies

April 15, 2011

by Thomas M. Pender

It’s an age-old conundrum: How can I know if a film is worth seeing, without actually seeing the film?  With ticket prices as high as they are today, it makes sense that consumers wish to know – or to at least have a decent amount of probability – that they will enjoy a movie before they see it.  The goal here is to find the great movies, and avoid the godawful flicks.

I can be of some assistance in the latter half of that puzzle.

Assuming the potential ticket buyer either has no access to the film’s trailer, or is not satisfied with the information found there, it’s a good idea to read the reviews.  Still, reviews are opinions, and those of other people, no less.  How can this be helpful?

The key, dear friends, is in how the reviews are written.

First, a lesson in wording and definitions.  The review words “zany,” “wacky” and “madcap,” exclusively used in reviews of comedies, ironically means unfunny.  Not in a dictionarial sense, but in a real-world sense.  These three words come to a reviewer’s mind when a screen writer’s idea of ccmedy involves such tired images as pie throwing, stop-action sped-up chase scenes, and cartoony sound effects whenever someone is hit on the head with a real-life lethal object, such as a sledge hammer.  Unless you are under the age of six, and have time-portalled back to 1972, this is by no means cause for smiling, let alone roaring with laughter.  This is actually cause for peeking at your watch every three minutes and praying for end credits.  For the wiser set, these buzzwords are code for “Do not even think about coming near this film.  Pretty much, ever.”

And second, the excessive use of ellipses.  Ellipses are those three dots you see in movie reviews, placed between one-to-three-word bullet phrases, such as “. . . a must-see . . . brilliant . . .a classic!”  Now, legally, you cannot misrepresent someone’s exact words.  This is called libel.  Therefore, you cannot change someone’s words and keep quote marks around the phrasing, because they did not actually say what you’re writing.

However, there is a loophole.

Let’s say your film gets absolutely trashed by a respected reviewer.  Well, you certainly don’t want to write the awful remarks into your advertisements, but the conspicuous absence of a review by, say, a Roger Ebert might shout “Load of rubbish!” to the money-holding public, as well.  So what do you do?  Well, legally what you can do is quote a person’s words . . . even if you don’t quote all of them!  Take the above made-up review:

“. . . a must-see . . . brilliant . . .a classic!”

Sounds good, right?  But consider that since some words are missing, this could be an accurate partial quote of the sentence “This piece of garbage film will never be A MUST-SEE in my book!  The BRILLIANT thing to do is to avoid this mess of a movie like The Plague.  Only an escaped lunatic would consider this release A CLASSIC!”

Accurately partial-quoted, but somewhat misleading by the marketing squad, wouldn’t you say?  To be safe, don’t trust a review you can’t actually read.

I hope this tiny cinematic lesson has been of some service.  If I save one human being from sitting through one horrid film, I’ll consider my work here justified.

My Words

August 2, 2010

by Thomas M. Pender

My words
Constructed to show you
Pieces of my heart
Will never capture
The secret of you
Or your power
Over me
And though I try
I know I’ll never
Develop a recipe for your love
Or a plan for the magic you do
All I know
And all I can say
Is that you are a dream
That has become real
You define happiness
In my heart
In my mind
And in my soul
All my hopes and prayers
Have diminished
And all I ask for now
Is time
Time to learn you
And to teach you me
And to try to improve
The unimprovable
To grow closer to you
And to wake each morning
More in love with you
Than the day before
Even though each day I know
I could not possibly love you more
And if it takes a lifetime
Which it probably will
I will try to tell you
What happiness is to me
And why I no longer depend on dreams
To bring it to me
I will try to compose love for you
With my words
My beloved
written by t. michael pender  7/3/87
©1987 T. Michael Pender.  All rights reserved.

Return of the Evil Step-Twins

April 20, 2010

by Thomas M. Pender

In December, I posted an article on “soundalike” phrases that are not grammatically correct.  Here are some soundalike pairs that are all correct, but have different definitions: some that sound identical, and some that sound very similar.  The trick is knowing the subtle differences in the spelling of the words to get the meanings you want.

The Identical Step-Twins



In legal documentation, one “e” can mean a lot!  “forego” means to do something before something else, and “forgo” means not to do it at all!  The easy way to remember this is “fore”go means to go be”fore,” and “forgo” is like you “forgo”t to do.



Believe it or not, the shelf above your fireplace is not a “mantle,” but a “mantel.”  I don’t think I’ve ever seen this spelled correctly, except in the dictionary!  A “mantle” is actually a cape or a cloak.

The Similar Step-Twins



These two similar words have similar meanings, but “farther” is a measure of physical distance, and “further” is a measure of degree.  You can run or drive “farther” than your brother, but you will dig “further” into your feelings than your neighbor.  The easy way to remember the difference here is you can drive “far” but not “fur,” so “farther” is for distance that can be measured, and “further” is for degree, which cannot typically be measured.


another thing/think coming

I hear this one quite a bit: “If you think I’m going to put up with this, you’ve got another thing coming.”  Look at the sentence written out, and you’ll see that this makes more sense: “If you think I’m going to put up with this, you’ve got another think coming.”  This is just like telling someone “Think again” when they have the wrong idea.