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Bad Writing 2007

NR
3.8 out of 5 stars (14) IMDb 7.9/10

Margaret Atwood, Nick Flynn, David Sedaris, Lynn Emanuel and other noted authors explain what makes director Vernon Lott's admittedly bad writing so awful; they also share insights into the opposite: what makes good writing good.

Starring:
Vernon Lott
Runtime:
1 hour, 29 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary, Comedy
Director Vernon Lott
Starring Vernon Lott
Studio Distribber
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video
One of the most consistent pieces of advice to come from the great writers interviewed in this documentary is to realize that you need to get outside of your own head and write for an audience, rather than trying to please only yourself. Unfortunately, the filmmaker completely ignored this advice when cobbling together his script.

Don't get me wrong: The interview subjects are for the most part very articulate and interesting to watch. The constant B-roll shots, however, kill the pacing and make the documentary tedious and unpleasant to sit through. Approximately half of the documentary consists of Vernon walking around, Vernon drinking, Vernon driving a car, Vernon failing to understand basic communications devices such as intercoms, Vernon sticking his foot in his mouth when he's unprepared for interviews, and Vernon generally being a self-absorbed numpty. While this is fantastic for showing us exactly why Vernon is such a bad writer, it certainly doesn't make for a very enjoyable viewer experience.

Five stars for the interview subjects, and -2 for the foolish and self-absorbed filmmaker.
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I wish this were available on DVD but I went ahead and took a chance and bought the streaming version instead of renting it and I'm glad I did. This is a really interesting documentary about the craft of writing. You probably would get as much perspective as a writer as you would if you took a creative writing class at a community college but here you get it all in one setting.
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Format: Amazon Video
I watched the dvd version, I see that amazon is not yet selling the dvd, they only have this movie available for streaming- I purchased the dvd directly from the movie's website.
This is a fascinating documentary, about a topic which we almost never see explored in movies- This movie is only partially about bad writing, if it were limited solely to exploring bad writing nobody would want to pay to see it, in fact people would probably pay to avoid seeing it-
There are a number of very interesting themes which are explored within this movie- We see that no writers ever start off as Pulitzer quality writers, they all took a number of years experimenting with different voices and different literary style before arriving at a style that they are comfortable with, and we see this explained to us by some very famous writers from very diverse genres of fiction, including a few who are among the most famous writers in the U.S., if not the world- We see the creative process at work, and how writers need to think "outside of the box," and this is reflected not only in their writing, it is also reflected in how they chose to live their lives.
And yes, as the title implies, we also see how the creative process can malfunction, we see how someone comes to terms with the fact that he may simply lack the skill and talent necessary for him to become successful in the art that he had dreamed for years of succeeding in- And while Vernon Lott may lack skill as a neo-beatnik style poet, he is clearly EXTREMELY skilled as a film maker.
And yes, we also see one of the authors briefly talking about her opinions as to why "trash novels" or "romance novels" continue to sell so well, because they are intentionally oversimplified as escapist fantasy for a market which craves simplistic escapist fantasy, although that's not the primary emphasis of "Bad Writing," that's a smaller part of the movie ...
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I loved the concept of this documentary, but it was very awkwardly put together, in my opinion. Skipping back and forth between interviews, drawn out awkward moments where no one was saying anything important, and randomly featured bad poetry left my brain reeling to take everything in and make sense of it. I also wish it didn't focus solely on literary fiction and poetry, but rather expanded out to the fantasy, sci-fi, young adult, and romance genres that ultimately rule the publishing world right now. Maybe things were different when this was made? Anyway, I found it kind of...snobby, really. Like anyone who didn't write poetry or literary fiction were bad writers. I can't say that I didn't gain ANYTHING from watching this, but I didn't gain much, that's for sure.
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By Lexi on February 2, 2013
Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
While I commend this guy for having courage to put himself out there, there were parts of this that were just too painful to watch. Yes, his writing was bad. But a lot of things in the film seemed irrelevant to his message, like some of the scenes in the clubs. It seemed a bit overkill to point out endlessly that all of us have been mortified at childhood writing that was bad. It wasn't horrible, but certainly not something to write home about. Pun intended.
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Loved this documentary. Vernon's struggle to find the right words, even when speaking to the people he was interviewing was endearing. I think every writer can relate to the question, "What is bad writing?" I will highly recommend this film to friends!
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By Paul on February 26, 2013
Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Great watch for those just starting to believe they can do it. Words of wisdom are given by some very knowledgable people. Overall, I learned a lot and was inspired.
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