The 58-Year Mission: “Nobody Does It Better,” reviewed for The Washington Post

DR NO briefing

I was a big fan of Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross’s two-volume Star Trek oral history The Fifty-Year Mission, so I fairly leapt at the chance to review Nobody Does It Better, their new oral history of the James Bond movies, for the Paper of Record. It’s not as illuminating or contradictory as their Trek books, though I was delighted to find some comments from my pal Matt Gourley within its (seven! hundred!) pages.

Love, American Style: Folger's "The Merry Wives of Windsor," reviewed.

The cast of Aaron Posner’s ERA-era Merry Wives dances the night away. (Cameron Whitman)

The new bellbottoms-era Merry Wives is your last chance to see Aaron Posner direct some of his (and my) favorite actors—and some welcome new faces—at the scheduled-for-renovation Folger Theater for two years. Would’ve been even groovier sans intermission, but it’s fun. Here’s my Washington City Paper review.

Toff Guys: "The Gentlemen," reviewed.

Colin Farrell and Charlie Hunnam are no gentlemen. (Christopher Raphael)

An hour after my review of Guy Ritchie’s last crime comedy posted, someone from Rotten Tomatoes wrote me to ask if I deemed the movie, in my professional opinion as a botanist, Fresh or Rotten. They couldn’t tell! And it was good of them to follow-up. They don’t have an option for Fresh With Reservations, which is where I’m at on this one, as I am compelled to explain in the last paragraphs of my NPR review.

Trenchant Warfare: "1917," reviewed.

Here’s my review of Sam Mendes’ 1917. I guess it doesn’t mean much to say it’s the best war movie since Dunkirk (whose Oscar-winning editor, Lee Smith, cut 1917 too) but it is, and it’s first film Mendes has made that I’ve found fully satisfying.

Talking Christmas Songwriting on All Things Considered

With Rhett Miller at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, Dec. 2018

Christmas music has been an interest of mine for long time, obviously. My yulemix project is in its unfathomable 14th year, I wrote a Slate piece six years ago asking where the follow-ups to “All I Want For Christmas Is You” were (several complicated answers), and now that that last of the breakthrough secular holiday hits is 25 years old, I have at last gotten to bring this passion of mine to its natural habitat: The radio!

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The Ballad of "Richard Jewell"

Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser are good actors in a bad-faith movie. (Warner Bros.)

Billy Ray, the screenwriter of Richard Jewell—director Clint Eastwood’s disingenuous dramatization of the 1996 case of a security guard falsely accused of a horrific crime—spoke to my screenwriting class at UCLA in 2002 or 2003. I hope that if he’s still doing this some student will ask him how can justify defaming deceased Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs in his new movie while giving the (also deceased) FBI agent he has depicted as tipping her off in exchange for sex the dignity of a pseudonym. That malicious act undermines everything in the movie that’s any good. My NPR review is here.

Yulemixed Messages: And now, Side B of my 2019 yulemix, still entitled "Let's Talk About Christmas!"

Comprising fifty (50) more minutes of buoyant-if-occasionally-baffling yuletunes to obfuscate and illuminate your holiday season. It’s all so fresh, and I have so many other deadlines that’ve languished unmet while I’ve been making this, that I can’t think of one doggone thing to say about it. Just press Play.

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