‘Booksmart’ can’t decide whether to nudge or destroy high school flick tropes

Most of us have had a friend or known a person in high school like Molly. In Beanie Feldstein’s hands, Molly is spectacularly confident about her talents and focused about her future: she’s going to Yale, clerking for a Supreme Court justice, and will replace or join Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Rarer, though, is the fusionContinue reading “‘Booksmart’ can’t decide whether to nudge or destroy high school flick tropes”

‘He had me with the idea that we are made to be free, and then he lost me’

Cue Adam Serwer: the cruelty is the point. In a story that deserves a Netflix series, the estranged daughter of Thomas B. Hofeller sifted through her dead parent’s USBs and external hard drives and found a curious document: a study concluding that a citizenship question on the 2020 census would make gerrymandered districts ever moreContinue reading “‘He had me with the idea that we are made to be free, and then he lost me’”

Ranking (Ike and) Tina Turner’s American top forty singles

Cheers to the spectacular comeback of my lifetime, not surpassed by Roy Orbison and Cher, both of whom turned out to be one-offs. For a while Tina Turner looked like an anomaly: a woman over forty who could make her Las Vegas-infused projections of lust palatable to the MTV generation. But Americans regarded her asContinue reading “Ranking (Ike and) Tina Turner’s American top forty singles”

Ranking Lionel Richie’s American top 40 singles

The only other person getting away with couplets like “You need to know/I love you so” in the Reagan-Thatcher eighties was Bernard Sumner, and New Order knows the term “diamond-certified” from walking past Mayors Jewelry shop windows on tour. So ample were Lionel Richie’s melodic gifts that I wonder why hip-hop and R&B haven’t sampledContinue reading “Ranking Lionel Richie’s American top 40 singles”

Ranking George Harrison and John Lennon’s American solo singles

His most conservative critics aside, John Lennon didn’t lose his pop sense when he went solo and yielded to contemporary fads. Unlike brother Paul McCartney, he was dullest on the studio rock of Mind Games and Walls and Bridges (by the way: you people who call every track with a syndrum “dated”? How do theseContinue reading “Ranking George Harrison and John Lennon’s American solo singles”

Keanu Reeves is serious this time in ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’

Watching Keanu Reeves in the John Wick movies, it’s impossible to think this man cuts his toenails, let alone has toenails. With his long dirty perfect bangs and Reservoir Dogs suit, he’s a simulacrum of a simulacrum. Other zombified action stars like Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, the Ryan O’Neal of The Driver, and Liam NeesonContinue reading “Keanu Reeves is serious this time in ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’”

Ranking Bee Gees’ top ten singles

Titanic, often insufferable harmonizers whose lyrics crumbled for those who want sense in their sensibilities, the Brothers Gibb assembled a formidable top ten run in Britain and the United States. They scored an okay #1 comeback in the fall of 1987 over there; here, we had to wait until the dense-in-every-sense A/C hit “One” twoContinue reading “Ranking Bee Gees’ top ten singles”

Ranking Rod Stewart’s American top 40 hits

Assembling this list and glancing at the good-to-greats, I thought, “This cant be right; surely, he’s done more.” Indeed he has, but The Rod Stewart Album and Gasoline Alley surrendered no cuts to the American top forty — hell, even “Mandolin Wind” and “Every Picture Tells a Story” didn’t take. The sound, solid entertainments consistContinue reading “Ranking Rod Stewart’s American top 40 hits”