Part 1

Pete: Ah, excellent. Brazil vs. Germany. Who do reckon will win?
Philip: I’m going for Brazil. What about you?
Pete: I’m tipping Germany. They’re the best team in the world at the moment in my opinion.
Philip: Pah, really? That’s crazy talk.
Pete: Never write off the Germans…
Philip: Whatever. Anyway, did you hear that Samantha broke up with her boyfriend?
Pete: Good. That guy was a jerk. She’d be better off with someone who wasn’t a douchebag.
Philip: You know Dave fancies her, right?
Pete: Really? Well, I say he should go for it. She’s one of the nicest girls I know, and I reckon he has a shot.
Philip: They have that class together tonight. Maybe he’ll pluck up the courage and ask her out.
Pete: You think? I doubt it. He always shoots himself in the foot. Guess we’ll wait and see.

Part 2

Mr. Brooks: The next piece of art is Ellsworth Kelly’s ‘Black Square with Blue’. Sam, what do you make of it?
Samantha: It’s not bad, The colours are eye-catching, although the style is a little simplistic and bland, in my opinion. I’m not a fan of modern art, in all honesty. A lot of it is very pretentious. It’s style over substance.
Mr. Brooks: I see. Now compare it to the last piece we looked at, ‘La Gare St. Lazare’ by Claude Monet. Which do you prefer, and why?
Samantha: I prefer the Monet. What’s not to love? The style is more skillful and the scene is more active. I like the contrast between the dark colours in the foreground and the lighter colours in the background.
Mr. Brooks: Do you reckon Monet is a better artist?
Samantha: Honestly, yes. Actually, Monet is one of my favourite artists of all time. I’d put him in my top 3 or 4 painters. Some of his works are masterpieces.
Mr. Brooks: I see. Dave, how about you? What do you make of the Monet?
Dave: I hate it. It’s a piece of crap.

Part 3

Last week my friend sent me a copy of his book. Good grief, it was awful. The characters were totally unbelievable (except for the main one, who was obviously the writer) and the plot was ridiculous. In one scene, for instance, the protagonist met a woman in a restaurant. They made dull small-talk for a few lines, and then the woman asked him to murder her husband for her. Who does that? There was another section in which our hero fights a gang of werewolves and saves the day by killing them with a set of car keys. Worse, however, was the writing style: my friend can’t put two sentences together! Has he never read a book before?
No wonder it was self-published.

Part 4

Positive Film Reviews

Casablanca (1942): This is it. The best movie ever made.
(David Cornelius for DVDTalk.com)

Throne of Blood (1957) : Genius. No, really: Genius. Obviously.
(Gregory Weinkauf for New Times)

Groundhog Day (1993): The film is lovable and sweet.
(Roger Ebert for Chicago Sun-Times)

Jurassic Park (1993): Jurassic Park is a masterpiece!
(Steve Neish for HeyUGuys)

Gravity (2013) : One of the best science fiction movies in years.
(Sherilyn Connelly for SF Weekly)

Negative Film Reviews

Glitter (2001): Hilariously inept showcase.
(Neil Smith for BBC)

Kangaroo Jack (2003): It’s 89 minutes of pure agony without a laugh in sight.
(Rex Reed for New York Observer)

Garfield (2004): Garfield: The Movie: stinks like a dead cat.
(Sean McBride for Sean the Movie Guy)

Transformers (2007): Not a movie, just one gigantic commercial for Hasbro.
(Andrea Gronvall for Chicago Reader)

Epic Movie (2007): Juvenile at best and flat-out lame at worst.
(David Nusair for Reel Film Reviews)