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    contains spoilers (sort of)

    I'm talking to my students this week about summary, and the related skills of selection and compression. As an in-class exercise, we watched the first ten minutes of Raising Arizona today (everything up to the opening credits) and I asked them to summarize those ten minutes as a series of 8-10 plot points. Afterwards, I asked them to condense those plot points to four sentences or less.

    One student, mishearing, said "four words or less?"

    I corrected him, but then thought about it for a second and said "couple decides to kidnap?"

    After class, on the phone, CJO and I realized that many films can be aptly summarized in four words. For instance (spoilers follow):

    Star Wars Episode Three: "Anakin becomes Darth Vader"

    The Village: "Luddite myth-management prevails"

    Babe: "Laudable pig herds sheep"

    The Usual Suspects: "Criminal outwits cop, partners" (CJO's suggestion: "Playing dumb pays off")

    Feel free to post your own four-word summaries in the comments area...


    Tuesday, January 17, 2006
    1:44 PM


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