Mississippi Burning (1988) (mini-review++)


(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

The mini-review:

acting 8

directing 8 

effects 7

editing 7

writing 8


4 out of 5 🐙


I hate watching these kinds of movies. I hate watching movies about the Holocaust, too. I also hate watching movies about slavery. But for a reason, I’m about to state, I hate watching movies about the Jim Crow south the most. I think it’s because there are people still alive who lived through those days. Yes, I realize there are still Holocaust survivors alive. But this abomination in American History just infuriates me. Not only did the wealthy elites get millions of regular southern men (yes, who knew exactly what they were fighting for), they lost the war they started then set about making life miserable for former slaves and their descendants. There are still people alive today in the south who long for the days of segregation and Jim Crow. And it’s not 1 or 2. It’s not the bizarre outlier. It’s not the majority, I think. I hope. But it’s a way more than it should be. I just can’t imagine a human being watching a Jim Crow era based movie and longing for those days. But they exist. Anyway, diatribe aside. The movie is an infuriating true (based on a true story) crime story at its core. It’s really a buddy cop drama with the similar opposite style law enforcement people who must find a way to get along and mesh their strengths to find the crook. It’s a classic story architecture. And it is done very well here. Willem Dafoe (who doesn’t look like a supervillain at this young age) and Gene Hackman (who I think was born 40 years old – seriously I’m looking for the movie where he appears young) carry this movie on their capable backs. The supporting actors are strong and deliver some of the most poignant moments in the film as well. It’s also fascinating to see Frances McDormand so young. This isn’t an easy watch if you’re like me but it’s a worthwhile one.




Review process: (this is always evolving, I’m sad to say. I’m more of a watcher who makes mostly unhelpful observations about things I have absorbed. I am not unlike a pop culture blob.)

Two scores are assigned: (I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me)

(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so.

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant). 

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