Hollywood movie assignment

Your Hollywood assignment – due March 30 – is to watch a movie that is aimed at a young audience (ages 14 to 21) and write a review about it.
If the idea of writing a movie review  is a scary thought, just think of Ryan the Movie Critic, a teen-ager who has written more than 200 movie reviews since June 2007.
Jackson Murphy, better known as Lights Camera Jackson, is another kid reviewer. In 2010, he reviewed the upcoming Oscar nominees while on Fox & Friends and predicted the winners in the major categories. His website states:

Jackson began his career as a movie critic in January 2006, at the age of 7 1/2, on Radio Disney station WDDY, Albany (NY). Currently his reviews are seen each week in over a million homes on Time Warner’s YNN Network of 24-hour news stations throughout Upstate NY. He also writes a weekend reviews column for The Record (Troy, NY) newspaper.

Guidelines for the movie review:

  • Please write at least 400 words.
  • Give your opinion on why a viewer should see or not see the movie.
  • Examine the movie as if it were a cultural artifact, as done in the “Hollywood Goes to High School” textbook. What does the movie say about American society? (see notes on Hollywood book here).
  • Go beyond the surface in your review. Be original. Don’t just rehash what others have said without adding anything to the conversation.
  • Back up your opinions with supporting arguments. If you say a movie had a terrible plot, explain why. Be specific.
  • Include essential details about the movie: names of key actors, running time, rating, year movie was released.
  • Also note anything that is special about the movie. Did it have a huge budget? Was it controversial in any way? Did it break new ground in technology?

If you review an older movie – a movie released in 2009 or before – please include a reason why the movie is relevant now.

Before you write your review, read these how-to columns – here and here – to get some tips on how they are done.

Grading of movie reviews

Keep in mind that I’ll deduct points for the following:

  • Improper grammar and punctuation, spelling
  • Vague ideas and opinions that aren’t supported by thoughtful reasons and arguments.
  • Failing to meet the 400-word requirement


  • There will be an automatic 3-point deduction for students who misspell the name of the movie title, movie studio, a character, actor, producer or director.
  • Papers containing material lifted verbatim from other reviews will receive a failing grade.
  • No late assignments accepted without an excused absence.

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