To practice your argument-reading skills, this assignment uses a type of argumentative writing you are probably familiar with: movie reviews. Although you may have never thought of them as arguments, movie reviews (and every other type of review) make the same argumentative moves as any other kind of written argument. Most obviously, reviews:
Take a position on an issue (“This movie was amazing!” or “This movie sucked.”)
Support that position with argumentation and evidence (“The acting was pretty terrible, but the special effects make up for that.”)
To get started with this assignment, visit the movie review archive at Roger Ebert’s website
Search the archive for a review of a movie you’ve seen. You can choose a movie you love or one that you hate, but you should select a movie you have seen so that you can compare your opinion with the reviewer’s point of view. Once you find a suitable review, read it carefully, keeping in mind what you have learned so far about written arguments.
Once you’ve read the review closely, create a new Word document. At the top of the page, paste a link to the movie review you read. Then, answer the following questions:
What is the writer’s thesis? In other words, what position does the writer take about the quality of the movie?
Does the review include a clear thesis statement? If so, quote the full sentence. If not, explain whether you think the lack of a thesis statement helps or hurts the writer’s argument.
What specific pieces of evidence does the writer use to support the thesis? Summarize the evidence in a short paragraph.
Does the writer anticipate objections and try to counter opposing arguments (review pages 109-11 in Rules for Writers)? If so, provide an example.