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Before becoming a professional critic, Mondello spent more than a decade in entertainment advertising, as public relations director for Roth Theaters, a mid-Atlantic chain of movie theaters, where he learned the ins and outs of the film industry, and also for an independent repertory theater in D.C., acquiring a working background in film history.
Mondello has worked for National Public Radio since 1984 as the arts critic / film and theater commentator for All Things Considered. He has also been theater critic for Washington City Paper since 1987. Each year, Mondello sees well in excess of 200 films and 100 plays, commenting on them on radio, in print, and in speaking engagements at film clubs and public radio presentations around the country. He has also written for such publications as The Washington Post, USA Today, and Preservation Magazine.
In addition to his weekly reviews, Mondello produces frequent commentaries and reported pieces on the arts, among them "American Stages" (2005) an eight-part NPR series exploring the history, reach and accomplishments of the regional theater movement, numerous pieces on silent films and cultural features he has produced from Argentina.
Mondello originated the "Mondello Rule for Quickly Judging Films." The rule states that the fewer words you need to summarize a film, the worse it is. The example that he gave in an NPR review was "Schwarzenegger and DeVito are twins: five words."
- "Bob Mondello". NPR.
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