Decuple Word Reviews

Here are a series of reviews I started as a bit of a challenge. The idea was to write the entire review in ten (hence, “decuple”) words or less. I considered the movie title to count as only one word. Oh, and sometimes I had to get clever with hyphenated words to keep the word count down as well. Much harder that it seems.

The idea is somewhat like Ebert’s 1-minute movie reviews, though I wouldn’t dare compare myself to Roger!

Since starting this project back in 2003, I’ve recently found a site that is very similar (only differing in word count). The Four Word Film Review (“FWFR”, they call themselves) has the same aim. It’s also something of a social networking site — join and start submitting your own witty abbreviated reviews, and read others’. Pretty nifty idea. If only I had thought of turning my idea into an online collaborative project. Oh well, on with my Decuple Word Reviews (“DWRs”, if you like)…

  1. Lord of War vs. The Constant Gardener: pharmaceutical companies and arms dealers converge on Africa.
  2. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: The Rocketeer, The Shadow, The Phantom — all reminiscent of nostalgic film era.
  3. Garfield: Kangaroo Jack & Scooby-Doo channeling bad Phantom Menace CGI characters.
  4. Cinderella Man: human version of Seabiscuit meets Rocky in the ring.
  5. Shark Tale & Finding Nemo: impossibly cute fish stories, in computer-graphics sea.
  6. What antiquity epics Gladiator, Troy, and Alexander lack: Lord of the Rings story.
  7. A Civil Action & Erin Brockovich: magnanimous lawyers fight for public health.
  8. End of Days & Stigmata: Biblical apocalypse makes for great popcorn entertainment.
  9. Braveheart, Messenger, & The Patriot: Scotts, Francs, Yanks versus evil Brits.
  10. The dead of Ghost Ship & Below were wronged like naval Sixth Sense.
  11. Space Cowboys & The Crew: Grumpy Old Men in space or in the mob.
  12. House on Haunted Hill & The Haunting & Thir13en Ghosts: bad remakes of campy fright movies.
  13. The Rules of Engagement: Samuel Jackson’s a good badguy like Jack Nicholson’s A Few Good Men.
  14. Godsend & Bless the Child: demon kids heed The Omen.
  15. The Mummy & Tale of the Mummy: Army of Darkness camp horror with some Indiana Jones archeology.
  16. What do K-19: The Widowmaker, U-571, Crimson Tide, and The Hunt for Red October have in common? Das Boot.
  17. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra revel in the nostalgic kitschy “B-movie” era.
  18. Dawn of the Dead is to Resident Evil what 28 Days Later… is to House of the Dead: good.
  19. Man on Fire & Spartan: Failed bodyguards exact comic-book revenge like The Punisher.
  20. Bowling for Columbine: Proves Zero Day is like an Elephant in the living room.
  21. I, Robot: Wannabe racial allegory (think Artificial Intelligence), but derivative creature-centric (think Aliens).
  22. Hellboy: Part Men in Black, part Ghost Busters chase down Nazi ghouls Indiana Jones style.
  23. Owning Mahowny & The Cooler: One part Leaving Las Vegas, two parts Hard Eight, mixed in a Casino.
  24. Seabiscuit & Hidalgo: The Black Stallion meets the Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa.
  25. Wrong Turn & The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Bad modern-day knock-offs of the classic Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes.
  26. The Bourne Identity: Cat-and-mouse spy vs. Spy Game with international intrigue akin to Ronin.
  27. Inferior remake Psycho (1998) was to classic Hitchcock Psycho (1960), like The Perfect Murder was to Dial M for Murder.
  28. Jakob the Liar: Schmaltzy Holocaust fable in the vein of Train of Life or Life is Beautiful.
  29. FearDotCom: Watch-and-die premise stolen from Japanese Ring and American Halloween: Season of the Witch.
  30. Battle Royale: Lord of the Flies school children play survival of the fittest Running Man-style.
  31. K-Pax: Mishmash of American Beauty ethos, Phenomenon supernaturalism, and One Flew Over the Kuckoo’s Nest institution jailbreak.
  32. A.I.: E.T.-like Pinnochio fable with Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange edge but Mission to Mars‘ finale.
  33. Swordfish: Bullet-time scene via The Matrix couldn’t save this impersonator of The French Connection.
  34. Evolution: Ghostbusters hunt down Aliens whileMen in Black keep it under wraps.
  35. Pearl Harbor: The next Saving Private Ryan World War II epic of Titanic proportions.
  36. 15 Minutes: Stylized homicidal duo tapes their crimes like Man Bites Dog or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
  37. Galaxy Quest: Tongue-in-cheek spoofing Spaceballs with a Roddenberry Star Trek.
  38. AntiTrust: Neo-Hackers wage WarGames on Bill Gates wannabe (quasi Apple commercial?).
  39. The Art of War: bullet-time photography from The Matrix mixed in with improbable Mission: Impossible espionage.
  40. The Cell: Twisted S&M Se7en-ish serial killer hunted in surrealism of Dreamscape.
  41. Frequency: Sci-fi wonderment of Contact asks “what if” like It’s a Wonderful Life.
  42. Gladiator: Ben-Hur Coliseum action combined with the warfare/slavery triumph of Braveheart.
  43. X-Men: Action heroes ala Superman with the hi-tech look of The Matrix.
  44. Rules of Engagement: Ambiguous military baddies in A Few Good Men‘s courtroom having Courage Under Fire flashbacks.
  45. Mission to Mars: Somewhere between Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey pretentiousness and The Right Stuff‘s space heroism.
  46. The Beach: 90s kids of The Blue Lagoon find inescapable cultish jungle society in Lord of the Flies.
  47. Instinct: Environmentalist lives with the Gorillas in the Mist and becomes institutionalized like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
  48. The Green Mile: Dead Man Walking‘s anti-capital punishment sentiment meets King’s 1940s prison drama Shawshank Redemption.
  49. Wag the Dog, Dave, The American President, Absolute Power, The Contender, Primary Colors: Hail to the Chief!
  50. Six String Samurai: The Buddy Holly Story meets road warrior Mad Max with a Jackie Chan “kick.”
  51. Fight Club: Devious, disgruntled employees from Office Space suffer Falling Down symptoms of fascism.
  52. The Astronaut’s Wife: Deep space opera of 2001: A Space Odyssey meets Rosemary’s Baby.
  53. Stigmata: Rosemary’s Baby is possessed by the demons in The Exorcist.
  54. Deep Blue Sea: Jaws‘ natural horror meets Jurassic Park‘s high tech bio-thriller.
  55. American Pie: Porky’s 80s teen sex comedy rewritten with There’s Something About Mary‘s irreverence.
  56. South Park: Wannabe Simpsons satire replacing wit with Beavis and Butt-head tact.
  57. Wild Wild West: Campy TV resurrection ala The Avengers meets uproarious Men in Black.
  58. October Sky: Coming-of-age Stand by Me crossed with documentary drama of The Right Stuff.






6 responses to “Decuple Word Reviews”

  1. Lynda Avatar

    😕 I think it is Lord of War, not Lord on War. So what are your comments about these movies??

  2. Rob Avatar

    Oops, corrected Lynda. Thanks.

    Well, my comments are another post, for another day. 😉

  3. Carl V. Avatar

    I’d like to see Constant Gardener but I’m not really interested in Lord of War.

    1. Stolie Avatar

      I’ve seen both films and the similarities are undeniable. Both explore how Good and Evil play out in international law / lawlessness, in part, on the continent of Africa.

      In Constant Gardiner, Rachel Weisz’s character fights on the side of what could be called Good. She’s stands defiantly and unwaveringly commitment to her cause and seeks to expose those who do what could be called Evil.

      In Lord of War, Nicolas Cage’s character fights on the side of what could be called Evil. He’s equally commitment to his cause (his job as a gun-runner) and he covers up, bends the rules and otherwise deceives those who call what he does for a living Evil.


      1. Rob Avatar

        Nice comparison, Stolie! You hit the nail on the head nicely. A couple of big-hearted movies, these two.

  4. James Avatar

    Ebert and Roeper both liked Lord of War quite a bit. I think they liked Nick as much as anything. You have to admit, he really does play just about any roll so well.

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