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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin


Is it okay to review something you didn't finish? Sure, why not? If any of you happened to see my "Pet Peeve" post yesterday, then you saw my own DNF review, of Dinosaur Island: "a bad early 90s T&A monster film." I gave up on that one about halfway through, and I'm frankly surprised I made it that far.

Now, is a DNF review helpful? It certainly can be. I think my Dinosaur Island review probably contains enough information to tell quite a few people that it isn't something they would ever want to watch. And just enough to tell a few others (like maybe my late lamented adolescent self) that it is.

Is it morally justified? Asked and answered: if it is helpful, then it is justified.

In defense of authors who dislike DNF reviews, I will say this much. The reviewer probably ought to at least get the gist of the work before reviewing it. However, while I'd like to say this means reviewers should stick it out at least to the first plot point (the one-third mark), I can't. Sometimes all you need to know is presented to you much earlier than that. What these authors seem to want is a review geared to their intended audience, forgetting that reviewers are writing for their own audience. I can try calamari if I feel like it, and I can also tell my beef-loving buddies what I think of it.

Here's a link to one of the most famous DNF reviews, Janet Maslin's review of Dawn of the Dead for the New York Times. It's the kind of DNF review we should all aspire to: helpful, witty, and a lot of fun.

Maslin's Review