Much has been made of Sean Penn’s recently released secret interview with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, mastermind of two daring prison escapes, and the author of immeasurable suffering the world over. That Penn would shake hands with El Chapo isn't too surprising, given his well-documented affection for other human misery factories like Hugo Chavez and Madonna. Also not surprising, the "interview" is as incoherent as it is fawning, yet another example of an actor overextending himself in the pursuit of some misbegotten intellectual ambition.
But let's set aside Penn's obvious stupidity. Let's set aside his near-inability to construct a cogent sentence.Read more
Aziz Ansari, for those of you recently emerged from your post-Obama-reelection survival bunkers, is a very funny comedian, known mainly as Tom Haverford on NBC's now defunct Parks and Recreation, as well as approximately 17,000 stand up specials. His new series Master of None, a half hour "dramedy" (Can we replace this term? How about Dram-Com? No, actually, that's worse) premiered November 6 on Netflix to much acclaim. Taking a page from Louis CK's groundbreaking FX series Louie, Master of None is a sort-of-autobiographical series, about a guy named Dev (Ansari), a sort–of-working actor in New York who's sort-of having a hard time. Much like Louie, it abjures the traditional sitcom format.Read more
Let’s face it, we millennials need all the help we can get. We’ve spent our 20s either engaged in Apatow-ian bromances or trying to figure out if we’re Mirandas or Samanthas. We invented Facebook and insist on using it at all hours of the day, for no earthly reason whatsoever. Heck, we even believed that we were, indeed, the ones we had been waiting for.Read more
And now, the story of an Emmy-winning sitcom that was canceled in 2006 and the one writer who had no choice but to spend seven years figuring out how to get it back on the air. It’s . . . Arrested Development. Or, to be precise, it’s the long-awaited, much-hyped fourth season of Arrested Development, which made its debut on Netflix a few weeks ago.Read more
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that blogging is not the greatest byproduct of the advent of the information age. (That would be Double Rainbow Guy. Easily.) But it’s not the worst, either (acronyms, Rick Astley, Facebook, take your pick).Read more
"It’s called art, dickhead.” So proclaims John D’Agata, a creative writing professor at the University of Iowa, in an email to Jim Fingal, an intern at the Believer magazine assigned to fact-check D’Agata’s article, “What Happens There,” ostensibly a work of nonfiction about a teenager who leaped to his death in Las Vegas in 2002. Their correspondence over the fact-checking of “What Happens There” has now been turned into a book that lays out, sentence by sentence and fact by fact, Fingal’s objections and D’Agata’s often obscene objections to those objections.Read more
I’m not sure you’ve heard, but freedom of the press is on the wane in the United States. Just last week the U.S. dropped 27 places in Reporters Without Borders’ annual Press Freedom Index, in large part due to the “many arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.” Apparently we now rank 47th in the world, just behind such noted champions of liberty as Hungary, Botswana, and South Africa.Read more
With still about a month until its American release, controversy is beginning to swirl around the new Harvey Weinstein produced Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady. That a Hollywood film about the life of one of the 20th Century’s great conservatives might play fast and loose with the facts should certainly come as no surprise.Read more
Democrats and their partisans in the mainstream media have been fully occupied these past few days with demonizing conservatives for their successful stand against tax increases in the debt ceiling compromise. To Thomas Friedman, the Tea Party is the “Hezbollah faction” of the Republican party. Maureen Dowd wrote a “column” about the Tea Party holding people ransom in a horror movie where the president will “need a bigger boat.” Even our normally thoughtful and taciturn vice president joined in, agreeing with Rep. Mike Doyle's assertion that “We have negotiated with terrorists.Read more
Albert Brooks is a comedian and filmmaker. He has now written a novel. The novel is called 2030, and it is about the future of America. This is how the novel is written. Like this. The way this review is written. In this manner of writing.Read more
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