James Wolcott pens another touching Sydney Pollack obit, concentrating on (what else) Husbands & Wives. Rewatching it on Tuesday, I was reminded once again why it’s in the top two or three of Woody Allen’s filmography.

Sydney Pollack, RIP

Perhaps it’s appropriate that the veteran director/actor dies on Memorial Day. The obits will probably concentrate on his work as a middlebrow director of middling quality — for an Academy Award winner, he helmed some of the worst twaddle ever given the green light (Absence of Malice, Havana, Sabrina, The Interpreter, and Random Hearts, which… More Sydney Pollack, RIP

Sydney Pollack, RIP

Perhaps it’s appropriate that the veteran director/actor dies on Memorial Day. The obits will probably concentrate on his work as a middlebrow director of middling quality — for an Academy Award winner, he helmed some of the worst twaddle ever given the green light (Absence of Malice, Havana, Sabrina, The Interpreter, and Random Hearts, which… More Sydney Pollack, RIP

New Order – "As It Is When It Was"

The first track in the New Order repertoire to prominently feature acoustic guitar, the third song on Brotherhood features a typically incoherent Sumnerian refrain but more than enough nuance in the arrangements to compensate. This 1985 version hits the spot for many reasons, not the least of which is how solidly/stolidly Gillian Gilbert, back to… More New Order – "As It Is When It Was"

You can’t turn on Cuban exile radio without hearing a reference to “Munich” and “1938,” both of which shorthand for surrender, appeasement, and malfeasance in the face of an enemy of unspeakable awfulness. The words have been tossed hither and thither once again, last week by the president. It’s not limited to the right either… More

After years of suspecting the worst, I get proof: the Decemberists, that most politically salient of bands, really are sinister.

Douthat’s second good post today speaks to our presidents’ weakness for the grand gesture, the manipulation of gathering storms for historical canonization. What looks on first reading to be a defense of George W. Bush is actually a subtle condemnation of his yearning for presidential greatness and the weakness of Jon Meacham types forever in… More

Douthat’s second good post today speaks to our presidents’ weakness for the grand gesture, the manipulation of gathering storms for historical canonization. What looks on first reading to be a defense of George W. Bush is actually a subtle condemnation of his yearning for presidential greatness and the weakness of Jon Meacham types forever in… More

I was thinking about how to start a small post on Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian [whew], but Ross Douthat nails what made the film disappointing. It’s difficult for me to be objective about the Narnia books: along with Louise Fitzhugh’ s Harriet The Spy series, they were my favorite books as a boy. I… More

The age demanded

“Passion and enthusiasm, which sometimes can be enough to sway a crowd, aren’t even necessary. You can manufacture faith out of nothing and there are an infinite number of patterns and lines that connect from key to key — all deceptively simple.” –Bob Dylan, Chronicles. From today’s New York Times Magazine interview with McCain: “I’ve… More The age demanded

So this explains why I remain $600 poorer despite filing my taxes weeks before the deadline. Beware of government agencies bearing gifts.