Short Is In

Four word film reviews. A whole site dedicated to four word reviews of movies. Offers hundreds of different 4-word reviews for one film, although most are lame. Samples:

Magical book, muggle movie. [For first Harry Potter movie]

Giant robots need glasses. [Transformers]

Post-nuclear Nativity story. [The Terminator]

More Five Word Movie Reviews. Not as many, but better.

Five Word Reviews of London Musicals and Plays. Sample:

Amusing tale for sci-fi geeks. [They Came from Working]

Five Word Reviews of video games beginning with Z.

Six word reviews of 763 songs recorded by mostly indie bands appearing at SXSW 2008. Written by Paul Ford, these reviews are witty, pretty good, and convey probably all you need to know.

Rhyming’s a tool, not a weapon.

Theme for a grunge-era sitcom.

Thin white men, tight black pants?

Remarkably many boring influences at once.

Crisp little synths; New Order chords.

That’s how to rob Pink Floyd.

Six-word memoirs can be found in “Not Quite What I Was Planning”, a book of, well, six-word memoirs. Samples:

Nobody cared, then they did. Why? — journalist Chuck Klosterman

We still don’t hear a single. — pop singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger

I was a Michael Jackson impersonator. — comic strip artist Keith Knight

Cursed with cancer. Blessed by friends. — 9 year old Hannah Davies

I still make coffee for two. — Zak Nelson

Most successful accomplishments based on spite. — Scott Birch

Seven words of wisdom collected by Tara Parker-Pope on the New York Times Health blog. She was inspired by Michael Pollan’s haiku-like message in his book “In Defense of Food.” His seven-word nutrition and diet advice is in brief: “East food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Retaining the 2-3-2 word sequence, the Times accumulated 1,000 seven word edicts. Samples:

Get exercise. Frequent and regular. With sweat.

Accept him. Or dump him. Relationship fixed.

Call Mom. Let her talk. Don’t argue.

How about seven-word wine reviews! From Andrew Barrow at Spittoon.

Earthy, melon, medium-bodied; needs sharp cheese

Musky flowers perfume this bright, cherry wine

Ten Word Reviews. Includes movies, TV shows,  muisc, websites. Crowdsourced, quality variable. Sample:

Rotoscoping gives Keanu a soul. Shame he opens his mouth. [A Scanner Darkly]

Big monster, super shaky camera and idiots dying. Pretty good. [Cloverfield movie]

20-word (or less) music reviews can be found at AddReview, which has been compiling these for  4 or 5 years.  Also 20-word movie reviews at AddMovie.  Samples:

Songs about NASA, robots, and girls that transcend their subjects. Rock for nerds that’s not nerdy. My favorite new band. [Built By Snow, Noise]

They dial back the pop but remain typically upbeat and jangly on this album inspired by their nighttime dreams. [The Kennedys, Better Dreams]

One sentence true stories. Nicely presented at One Sentence.

I stared into the eyes of a psychopath moments before he killed a girl, shot a dozen people, then took his own life.

My mother didn’t realize that teaching me to fight, shoot, and play pool made it hard to find a boyfriend without tattoos.

The flashing red and blue lights told me definitively I was no longer a college student.

One line reviews of great computer games. Samples:

Drop numbered tiles to form chains. [Chain Factor]

Strangely compelling cat-tossing game. [Cat on a Dolphin]

Clever puzzle of stairs and recordings of past moves. [Cursor*10]

Fifty word mini-sagas. Written by Narcotic Anonymous members. Sample:

He was a very bad man. He said that he’d killed over thirty men in cold blood. “Pinning Juan to the door.” was how he put it. When he got clean, he had a lot for which to atone, so he helped addicts escape Hell. I’ll never forget the bastard.

Movie-A-Minute collects 4- or 5-line synopsis of movies in script form. Samples:

The Sixth Sense

Haley Joel Osment : I see dead people.

Bruce Willis: Try talking to them.

Haley Joel Osment : It worked.

Pretty Woman

Julia Roberts: I’m a hooker, but I don’t kiss on the lips.

Richard Gere: I have a lot of money.

Julia Roberts: (smooch)

And companion site Book-A-Minute.

Six sentences blog posts, from Six Sentences. Sample:

My grandfather wasn’t afraid to dirty his hands in the dirtiest ways. His fingers always gripped some weapon: rifles and machetes during his WWII tour, knives and cleavers at his store, and a stick at home. Even his hand was a weapon. His voice chopped, mashed, and dissected the people he loved. If he delivered praise, one loving word would slice through the scars of preceding ones. My mother endured past pain but clings to current acclaim as an addict clutches a crack pipe.

Napkin fiction. Esquire mailed out napkins to 250 notable authors asking them to scribble a story on it. Turns out that you can get a lot of words on a napkin if you use both sides.


I am sure there are many other examples of the short form. Send them and I’ll add here.

UPDATE: I’ve added entries and will add more in rough size sequence as they come in.


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