An American Carol
You know what poor, beleaguered right-wing demagogues needed this fall? A petty, liberal-bashing, slapstick parody of A Christmas Carol from the guy who made Airplane! With a cameo by Bill O'Reilly!
The top 10 films of 2008
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Every year—from Dr. Zhivago to The English Patient—there’s got to be a “Top 10” space for some epic, sweeping, visually seductive romance. That slot falls, this year, to David Fincher’s lush, effects-filled take on a F. Scott Fitzgerald short story. Take it apart, and it seems like too much about too little. Aging backwards is nothing new. Technically, Robin Williams did that on “Mork & Mindy”--the show just didn’t go on long enough to show us the tragic end of that particular romance. But look at the cumulative effect of this film’s slowly rising tide of detail: Brad Pitt’s soulful performance, the carefully burnished cinematography, the deathly symbolism, the matter-of-fact fantasy, the inevitable melancholic outcome. Surrender to the sad beauty of it all and you get a dramatic, eloquent, highly artistic rumination on the uncertainty of life and the inevitability of death.
Best and worst TV of 2008
The seemingly endless Writers Guild of America strike finally came to a halt in February, causing near-irreparable damage to this year’s television schedule. Most series ended up with truncated seasons (“Lost,” “Desperate Housewives”) or a complete delay until 2009 (“24,” “Battlestar Galactica”). Many of the shows that did manage to make it back on the air in the fall returned to double-digit drops in viewership courtesy of their nine-month hiatus.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.