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Scott, Jay.

Toronto, Oxford University Press, c1985. 266pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-19-540504-8. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Caroline E. Young

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

At first glance, Midnight Matinees appears to be an armchair review of movies of the 80s. Part two contains reviews, reviews published in The Globe and Mail between 1978 and 1985, "picked to document the spectrum-the good, the bad, the abominable." But, Midnight Matinees offers much more. Jay Scott provides the true believer with critiques of these joyful movie experiences that replicate for a moment what movies used to be, the most significant communal entertainments on earth and the most fun to be had short of being had." Scott, the only Canadian journalist to win the National Newspaper Award for criticism three times, was appointed film critic of The Globe and Mail in 1978.

Part one is a series of fascinating essays and behind-the-scenes articles to enlighten and intrigue both the ardent film fan and the neophyte. Scott delves into the history of the movie boom in Canada in 'The Burnout Factory." Other articles range in content from Dolly Parton on the meaning of life and makeup, to Fassbinder on the relationship between movies and masochism, to Coppola on the politics of puberty. Scott returns to his notes and his memories to fill in the gaps resulting from the abridgment mandatory in newspaper reporting, and to encompass personal anecdotes that both entertain and educate the reader. For example, he allows Maureen Stapleton to discuss her love of Trivial Pursuit, a technique that results in the actress divulging more about herself and her profession than would have happened with a more direct approach to the interview. Scott takes the time and space to allow "an interview subject to construct an impression by indirection." Midnight Matinees is a perceptive work of high merit. Students and teachers of film art and media literacy should not be without this volume to provide a cultural framework for research and media education.

Caroline E. Young, Vancouver, B.C.
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