Trumbo vs. Spotlight

Maybe I should pretend to write this blog post as a compare/contrast paper as I've requested that my students do. One of the habits they have that I fight to break is the sentence that stretches on and on until you understand that they are trying meet the word count so that they can call it quits.

Title: Two movies based on factual occurrences that happened.

First off, both oaf these movies, Trumbo and Spotlight, have one word titles which are Trumbo and Spotlight. Both are about topics in society today that we care about. Both feature actors and are set in a specific time period not in the one of today. Trumbo, for example, is set in a time period known as The Cold War, or McCarthyism or Reaganomics. The second movie, Spotlight, is not about what it sounds like it should be about. For example, it is not about Mariah Carey or someone else on the stage where bright lights can be found. It too is set in a time period that is not the one we are in currently at this time, the twenty first century. In this second film, Spotlight, a bunch of reporters are trying to prove that Catholic priests have molested children every which way. This is done through characters investigating and going door to door to figure out what exactly happened when this occurred. In contrast, Trumbo centers around a guy who also writes, but his thing is screenplays for actors in the movies who are making films to be projected onto the screen, which at this time, was often in black and white when this was taking place, though we now have movies in Technicolor and have for decades. When summarizing the two films, the main points of each are different. For example, Trumbo tells the story of a man (Trumbo) who used to be in Breaking Bad who writes in the bathtub and has declared himself to be a  Communist, which others find to be un-American, causing him to be thrown into jail where he works for a black man typing and filing papers. Eventually, he gets out and gets a job writing for John Goodman who threatens this other guy with a baseball bat, which was my favorite part of the movie, and really  the only time anything exciting happened.  Louis C.K. starred as his side kick, and he had lung cancer from smoking because this was in a time period before the Surgeon General became popular.  Furthermore, in Spotlight, the story had reporters who

And then the paper just ends. It might be useful to do this exercise in class in real time to illustrate how easy and obvious it is to just write a bunch of words that lead nowhere.

Here is a review from The New Yorker about the two films. For the record, I liked Spotlight more. My boyfriend, Mark Ruffalo, is in it. I love him, even when he has a bad haircut.


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