[Marxism] Rotten Tomatoes - Wolf of Wall Street

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jan 12 10:50:37 MST 2014

On 1/12/14 12:29 PM, Shreyas Tallamraju wrote:
> Dear Critic,
> In your Rotten Tomatoes review of the 2013 movie "The Wolf of Wall
> Street", you mention that "The director of this film plagiarized
> "Goodfellas" but did a poor job. Not half as interesting as the original."
> You should be aware, however, that Martin Scorsese directed "Goodfellas"
> /and/ "The Wolf of Wall Street", and therefore both are his own
> directorial creations.
> Therefore, he did not "plagiarize" any work, even though he did take
> elements from "Goodfellas" and put it into "The Wolf of Wall Street".
> Whether or not he did it as well as "Goodfellas" is your job to figure out.
> As a movie critic you have a job, and that job is to depict a movie's
> characteristics, not its directorial shortcomings or false allegations
> of "plagiarism", and I hope that in the future you take your job more
> seriously.
> Please don't make misleading statements that slur others.
> --
> Sincerely,
> Shreyas T.
> Ohio, USA
> http://www.shreyastallamraju.com

Dear Shreyas,

You are the third person who has brought this to my attention. I suppose 
I should have provided one of those emoticons in my review to indicate 
that I was making a joke. I certainly knew that Martin Scorsese directed 
"Goodfellas" so my jibe about plagiarizing himself was intended to be a 
statement more about recycling than actual theft. I should mention, 
however, that in academia there is such a thing as self-plagiarism. If 
you take an article and submit it to multiple journals with thinly 
disguised rewording, juggling around of paragraphs, etc., this is 
considered a form of plagiarism.

I should mention something else, however. I am not a movie critic. I am 
a social critic. My interest in films is not in performance, 
photography, music, etc. Of the hundreds of critics whose reviews appear 
on Rotten Tomatoes, I am one of a group of maybe 5 radicals. Yesterday I 
told a friend that you would have no idea who the author was of most of 
the conventional reviews. I could not tell the difference between A.O. 
Scott and David Denby if my life depended on it. They are basically 
writing for the average person deciding whether to spend $12 on "A Wolf 
on Wall Street" or "American Hustle". I try to avoid such movies as much 
as possible but am forced to address them as a member of NYFCO around 
awards time at year-end.

Basically, I am providing an alternative to the mainstream. My interest 
is in society, not entertainment. When I reviewed "Captain Phillips" and 
"A Hijacking", both about Somali pirates, I wrote about Somalia's recent 
past including the role of radical Islam. I read a 200 page book just to 
provide background in my review.

So, if you want the typical film review, you should avoid reading me. 
There are others, however, who are fed up with American capitalism and 
the role of Hollywood in making the system more palatable through 
escapist fantasies like "Gravity" or fascist propaganda like "Lone 
Survivor". I write for them.

Thanks for taking the trouble to write in any case.


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