For the curious:
The whole Wanderer routine is inspired by the painting “The Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog”, a portion of which can be seen above. He first saw it used on a copy of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and has loved it ever since.
The whole Minnows and Whales is a bit of whimsy inspired by the painting. Minnows, being small fish, represent the small form of reviews. Whales go along the same line of thinking, their size meant to suggest the long form of reviews. The “in the air” and “in the fog” part is silliness without meaning at all.
Maybe all that didn’t need saying, but hey, you’re here now. How about looking at how the Minnows and Whales are formatted?
Each Minnow starts with a little Note Box on the left, and a first paragraph that gives a spoiler free summery of the movie (or at least the opening act of the movie.) The paragraph runs two to three sentences in length at least and tries to be wit. Whether it fails or not depends on the individual reader.
The remained of the Minnow gives the reader the Wanderer’s thoughts on the film. Nothing of the story is discuss save certain elements that either interested the Wanderer or irritated him. Again, the goal remains to keep the Minnows spoiler free and short.
The Wanderer also gives the movie whatever points it gets, based on the system as shown here. For instance, the sample movie this particular essay is about is dreadful (0 points). The Wanderer loved it more than life itself (2 points). Below are the points totaled up.
The Wanderer tries to keep this to about a paragraph, but look, he likes to talk. A lot.
Placed here is the Talley, giving a score out of a possible 4 points.
As the Whales tend to be several pages long, each one is divided into sections. The first one is the Opening Thoughts, in which the Wanderer introduces the film subject. Sometimes it will deal with the film’s historic place, sometimes it will be personal reminiscence, and sometimes it will be just mindless babble. Well, most of the time it’s mindless babble. Let’s not kid ourselves about whom we’re talking about here. Try not to be too shocked when it’s not.
In the end, the main course of the review begins on the next page. Just one last effort to keep those who wish to avoid being spoiled from being spoiled.
Oh, and if it hasn’t been noticed yet (he chuckles) the Note Box again appears right at the left towards the top of the page.
The Viewing Experience
This section consists of the Wanderer’s reactions to the film while watching the movie. Think of it sort of as a written version of MST3K or RiffTracks. Only less funny. And more desperate.
Not every event enters this section, as the Wanderer doesn’t always think every event matters to the discussion. That and, despite the warning, he doesn’t want to kill all chances of enjoyment.
Or end all suffering.
Depending on the movie, natch.
With few exceptions the Wanderer tries to be as witty as he can be. This he regrets deeply in that withered little thing he calls a heart.
These attempts at wit also includes the screen captures. Try not to let it get you down.
As the review goes the Wanderer might comment on acting, directing, special effects, and the like when it occurs to him. He might not bring it up again later, so don’t miss out by just skipping to the Thoughts After the Film section.
Besides, if you wanted short and sweet you would have stuck with the Minnows.
On the subject of the screen captures, the Wanderer tries to run things as PG/PG 13 as he can. No nudity and, as a rule, no gore. We’re all very disappointed with him about this, but leave us not dwell to long on this.
If a link to a film comes up, the Wanderer has either linked the IMDb or his own review (assuming he have one). Other places might not be as kind spoiler-wise.
Every now and then you might see a hovering number.Like this one here <1.> A click on it will take you to an End Note (or, in a few cases, a footnote). Don’t worry about losing your place; there will be a link back the way you came. Or if there isn’t, there will be shortly.
On the next page, we’ll continue our look at the Whale review format.