Essay 1 Movie Review Prompt/Instructions

Objective: Write a full two-page essay complete with proper MLA style, formatting and citation (to include a third Works Cited page).

Per the course syllabus: Because the state curriculum board mandates that all 1301 courses write a certain amount of words, you are required to submit developed work. In other words, if you want your essay to be evaluated, you must submit an essay that is two full pages. Essays that are substantially shorter than the requirement will be considered incomplete and ineligible to earn a grade. If your essay does not meet minimum MLA standards with regard to basic formatting, your essay will be considered incomplete and ineligible for evaluation. You will be required to draft a complete essay and resubmit the work in a timely manner if you want it to be graded.

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Essay 1 Movie Review Prompt/Instructions
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Pick a movie that you’re already very familiar with and know well. You’ve seen it many times and could probably recite it from memory. Because you know it so well, you have the necessary foundation to analyze it, to break it apart, to dissect it strategically and criticize it (“criticize” does not always mean “hate on,” as most things have weaknesses even if they’re minor compared to the strengths). You’ve already read the textbook so you should be able to see how this particular essay is not a “rave” or a “rant” but a blend of the two.

I. In order to be aware of the movie’s specific strengths, go back to page 97. As a pre-writing strategy, you need to do some “exploratory writing.” You need to do some preliminary research into the movie and write out a list of features from the movie’s genre. You, as the author/scholar/expert ought to be able to know a lot about the genre and how the movie you chose “fits” as a good example of the genre or not. Usually, the more a movie fits into the rules of the genre, the “better” it will be received by the audience.

II. After pre-writing, read through some internet reviews by credible sources (at this point, you ought to know what that means). Anything that is credible should have someone’s name attached to it or a professional organization/entity sponsoring it. There should be an established reputation. Anyone can have an opinion on anything but that doesn’t mean it should automatically be authoritative. Your job here, in this essay is to not only express your thoughts and ideas about the movie but know why they they should matter to your audience. If you do your job well, you’ll come across as an authority too and not just some “rando” spewing untethered ideas. You are going to have a clear angle. You will be able to justify that angle with support from the movie. You will be able to prove that you understand your academic purpose.

Essay Template/Synthesis:

Now, it’s time to put your ideas together for your audience. You’ve chosen an audience (hint: even though I’m evaluating your essay, you’re not just writing to me or for me since you can’t actually “profile” me and my values, expectations, and feelings). You’ve got to take what you know about genre and angle and create an argumentative thesis by answering the research question, “Why should anyone who enjoys [insert genre here] see [insert the movie title here]?”

I. Go to page 94 in the textbook. There are two diagrams. Using the simpler one to the left, write an introduction to your audience, providing brief, general information for context about the genre and or movie that ends with an argumentative thesis that answers your research question.

II. Create a brief summary of the movie (approximately five complete sentences long). A “summary” is meant to only discuss the “main points” that will be developed in subsequent body paragraphs so do not “give it all away” in the summary or you can’t prove to me that you understand this type of essay or the definition of “summary.”

III. Create body paragraphs with proper topic sentences coming from the reason(s) in your thesis that pinpoint specific strengths from the movie.

IV. Create body paragraphs with proper topic sentences that pinpoint specific weaknesses from the movie.

V. Create one body paragraph that has the purpose of comparing and contrasting strengths and weaknesses.

For example, I may discuss five great things about the movie and only one weakness so my paragraph concerning that weakness is going to be shorter than the previous ones on strengths. Then, my compare/contrast paragraph, weighing the two against each other, will say something like, “Even though/although x, the strengths make this movie a perfect example of a romantic comedy.” Further, I may only have a couple strengths and the section on weaknesses is longer. It just may happen that I don’t personally like the casting but I know that members of my audience will. Therefore, because I can acknowledge not just my own feelings and desires but those of the readers, I can use the paragraph weighing pros and cons to acknowledge that I didn’t really like the movie but that, for certain specific reasons, my audience should.

III. Create a conclusion that summarizes and paraphrases your body paragraphs and restates your argumentative thesis.

IV. Create a Works Cited page that properly provides the full bibliographic citation for the movie that you mentioned in your text.

Evaluation: Please refer to the general essay rubric in our course materials module. In terms of general composition, format, and structure, I will be looking at how well you’ve followed the template given to you in the textbook.

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