Monday, November 19, 2007

Double Takes

In the November 19th issue. Lauren Collins (twice), Richard Brody, Larry Doyle and, of course, David Denby (twice).

Best line in the whole magazine, in "Why We Strike" - "Management is currently offering us adjusted bubkes of what they are making off Internet sell-through, streaming, ringtones, Webisodes, cellisodes, iPodisodes, celebrity-narrated colonoscosodes, or the psychotic episodes they've been beaming into your brain, brought to you by Clozaril." (51)

My emphasis. When I regained my breath, I realized that that's how you spell bubkes.

I liked Lauren Collins on the restaurant Taim. Not gushing and a little ironic, "You get the feeling she spends a lot of time at the Container Store," but positive. And she nicely manages the contrast between the attempt to "make gourmet food 'street'" and the yummier ambition, to "take street food, and make it gourmet." She sets it up and doesn't belabor it. And maybe it helps that I'd actually like to eat the food she's describing. (19) Or maybe that's the intended effect of a good review.

Apparently Ethan Hawke is playing a "not very bright kid brother" in a Sidney Lumet caper. Excellent. (26) Thank you, David Denby!

Richard Brody says some smart things about Griffith, Murnau and Eisenstein. Except that thing about Eisenstein as the cinema's "first modernist" . . . that's a bit much. (30)

Lauren Collins' "No Seconds" on the famous last meal thing is, fortunately, in extremely bad taste, since it appears while there is a moratorium on executions in the US. And dull into the bargain. And, just for the record, I would never, EVER buy Secret Ingredients, The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink which is advertised, oh-so-conveniently, on the next page.

Skipped Jon Lee Anderson's latest installment in the adventure serial he's working on.

I valiantly read pages and pages of Pierpont's essay on Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier. My favorite part was "Oliver then insures that the film is too unnaturally beautiful ever to be confused with reality."(72) That's Henry V (1944).

John Lahr doesn't love Mel Brooks' Broadway adaptation of "Young Frankenstein" and admits, "These are hard words to write." Really? (88)

But the biggest surprise of the issue has got to be this: Brian De Palma's new film Redacted, set in midst of the violence of the Iraq war, is actually about film critic David Denby's media habits. Check it out.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Hey, did you see in the NYT there's a story about House of Mirth (it's everywhere!)? It's not really all that exciting. Basically they found a letter by Wharton that ostensibly confirms that Lily committed suicide. (And then other people in the story still argue about it. Yes she did! No she wouldn't! Yawn.) I did like this quote about a couple of Wharton's friends: "They were the least American gentlemen I’ve ever met...That’s why in her late novels you get dialogue like 'By Jove, I’ve had a beastly, fagging sort of day.'"

That Denby has such, er, sophisticated (by which I mean modern) media habits (he likes blogs??) is surprising b/c he's such an old curmudgeon! His last few not reviews but long essays for The New Yorker have all been about how things were so much better in the good old days and they suck now (not entirely off the mark, but the way he makes his arguments just make him sound so stuffy). The one about how crazy, drug-addicted, media-whore celebs were so much better back in the Golden Age of Cinema was particularly frustrating (in Oct. 22 issue); I couldn't get through it. Though he's probably just adapting that tone to cause a stir and get attention and I'm just playing into his hands by getting mad at him. Grrrrr! (I did like that Ethan Hawke tidbit though -- brilliant!)

12:55 PM  
Blogger zoe p. said...

Hmmm. David Denbyness as schtick. I like that theory.

And when I taught HOM, my students were frustrated by the fact that NONE of Lily's choices seemed like deliberate decisions . . .

9:10 AM  
Blogger Petroc said...

Since I'm from the South I would actually have no reason to believe that Yiddish loans are actually quite common and numerous, with scope of usage not restricted to a few small communities, were I not having to look up all these weird words I encounter in The New Yorker.

3:05 PM  
Blogger zoe p. said...


9:58 AM  
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