ranters and ravers

Pulitzer Prize Winner Stephen Hunter Could Learn a Thing or Two From ‘Mr. Woodcock’

Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen HunterPhoto: Getty Images

With a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 18 percent, Billy Bob Thornton’s gym-coach comedy Mr. Woodcock is unlikely to get Vulture out to a movie theater this weekend. But it “delivers some chuckles” and that was apparently good enough for Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Hunter, who gave the film his meaningless stamp of approval in a review this morning. Amid other nonsensical ramblings, Hunter praises the film’s plot which “seems taken from the young Philip Roth’s notes-to-self on novels he never got around to writing.” That can’t possibly be right, can it?

The most interesting part of Hunter’s critique is the end, in which he praises director Craig Gillespie, who “clearly knows a few things; most important: If you have only 95 minutes of material, make an only 95-minute movie. Amazing how often that’s forgotten.” Yes, truly amazing. Sort of like how Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Hunter consistently manages to fill 250-word assignments with just 30 words worth of cogent observation.

Case in point, Hunter writes this:

“Every school had a Mr. Woodcock: He was the lockjawed, flat-gutted, fearless, tough-as-horseshoes P.E. teacher who missed the Marine Corps and treated his feeble charges with a drill instructor’s contempt. A good part of the laughter comes from watching Mr. Woodcock blissfully ignore all the shibboleths of modern ‘sensitive’ high school education and subject his unformed amoebas to humiliation, pain and contempt.”

…when a simple “Mr. Woodcock is an asshole.” would easily have sufficed.

Mr. Woodcock review [WP]
Mr. Woodcock [Rotten Tomatoes]

Pulitzer Prize Winner Stephen Hunter Could Learn a Thing or Two From ‘Mr. Woodcock’