Gratuitous Coen Brothers Argument Starter
September 17, 2008

In honor of the Brothers C's first-ever number-one opening at the box office I thought I'd offer my own idiosyncratic list of their oeuvre, from best to worst: 1. No Country for Old Men 2. Miller's Crossing 3. Raising Arizona 4. Fargo 5. The Big Lebowski 6. Burn After Reading 7. Blood Simple 8. Barton Fink 9. O Brother, Where Art Thou? 10. The Man Who Wasn't There 11. Intolerable Cruelty 12. The Hudsucker Proxy 13. The Ladykillers A few quick notes: I've still only seen Burn After Reading once, and it was unexpected enough that I need to see it again.

Stern Rebuke
July 31, 2008

Many, many years ago, I was kicked in the head (gently, and justifiably) by Joey Ramone at a Ramones concert, one of several reasons that I've always had a soft spot for Rock 'n' Roll High School, the Roger-Corman-produced story of a school, a band, and several exploding white mice. So when I saw the news that Joey Ramone doppleganger Howard Stern was planning to produce a remake of the film, I was prepared to write a bitter lament.

Hayden Christensen, Ditch Digger
February 19, 2008

In the L.A. Times, actor Hayden Christensen explains that he was terrible in the Star Wars prequels because that's what George Lucas wanted him to be: George came up to me on the set one day during my first 'Star Wars' and said something that I never fully understood until after we were done filming. He said, 'As an actor, you have to think of yourself as a ditch digger.' . . . What he was implying was that on his movie, I needed to think of myself as a ditch digger, because it wasn't the proper arena for actual creative expression. This was his thing.

Today's Tnr Review Of Columnists
June 15, 2007

Reihan notes that Paul Krugman and David Brooks have both, eerily, written columns on the topic of height today. I'd add that, if this was an accident, it's something they should do more often. It's like a writing exercise where two writers get the same topic and do it any way they can. Both columnists are at their best. Krugman gives a very smart, logical, and detailed analysis of an issue I knew nothing about before. Brooks offers up some very funny and endearing comic-sociological observations.

Days Of Glory
February 22, 2007

Last night I went to see what I thought was Clint Eastwood's American pendant to his at once nuanced and stirring movie, Letters from Iwo Jima (which I hope wins the Academy Award for Best Picture.) The film I thought I was going to see was Flags of Our Fathers. But what I actually saw was Days of Glory. No, not that other Days of Glory with Gregory Peck and made in 1944. Yet there are some similarities. Both are about soldiers fighting the Nazis. The Peck drama centered on Russian partisans resisting the German occupation of the Motherland.

Village Idiocies
January 11, 2005

In 1999 it looked as though American filmmaking might be on the cusp of an exciting period not unlike the Coppola-Scorsese-Allen 1970s, with several original young directors coming into their own at once. That year, fortyish David O.