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Liz Garbus V. Illuminating, comprehensive docu about Fischer, whitewashes some aspects, but nicely made. Scott is a director in control of the medium. Simon Pummell V. Hypno-docu, sort of a Family of Man of found film clips to music cf Koyaanisqatsi. Fascinating and a little boring. Good vocal acting. But ultimately mediocre. Lousy year for Academy animated features. Carlos Sorin Like director's Historias Minimas, a fun film without irony about a poor man who is given a show dog.

Pablo Trapero Naive country bumpkin makes good in the big city police department. Shemi Zarhin A superbly observed film about a 16 year old boy whose specialness has been hidden in his disfunctional family. YUNUS , d. Holly Mosher V. Feel good, do-gooder docu: Nobel Peace prize winner for starting Bangla Desh poor women's bank. Hughes Brothers Another dystopian future post-war road pic. Denzell is really fine; but Bible thumping message a little much. Alan Brown V. Younger man Gregory Smith.

Older married woman. Raymond De Felitta V. Mark Illsley V. Larry Charles Cohen is impressive in creating consistent character; funny in a wildly tasteless way. Kevin Knoblock V. Docu looks great, too polemic. Vladimir Moravek An earthy Czech multi-character sex comedy which got better as it went along. Too bread for my tastes. Jamie Johnson V. Doc by millionaire heir about his wealthy contemporaries. Looks good; but terrible on the palate. Terrible script. Tony Gilroy Re-boot better than original.

Paul Greengrass Superior thriller, greatest auto chase scene since Ronin. Some plot holes; but editing pace hides them. Richard Kelly Don't ask me to explain it Mark Herman Emotionally affecting, well acted Farmiga and the two boys especially. Too pat. Dana Perry V. Filmmaking parents make exhaustive study of their depressed, 15 year old suicide son. Scott Hicks Clive Owens is remarkable as a lost father of 2 boys after his wife dies.

Predictable plot, but emotionally powerful. Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady; docu V. Stacy Cochran V. A TiVo loser. Mysterious Winona Ryder ends up in a boys boarding school dorm tempting rebellious Lucas Haas. No chemistry. Billy Ray Well acted esp. Chris Cooper true story of bringing down a spy. Also Ryan Phillippe's best work in ages. Anthony Minghella I loved this film despite flaws, became emotionally involved with characters. Peyton Reed Fairly clever by-the-numbers romantic dramady. No chemistry between leads. Ruedi Gerber V. New Agey docu about octogenarian Marin danseuse Anna Halprin.

Rian Johnson Overly complex, familiar noirish plot; but topflight young cast and zingy script really work. Gurinder Chadha Hollywood meets Bollywood, and I suspect becomes a surprising hit. It works after a fashion. Gabor Csupo Xtian propaganda in a totally wonderful disguise. Moving, grounded fantasy. Beeban Kidron Dreadful film. Horrendous script, no romantic chemistry. Curt M. Kiyoshi Kurosawa A straightforward for this director slacker story about disaffected youths in Japan.

Ross McElwee V. Personal docu about McElwee's family connection to tobacco. Gorgeous period stuff, well played. Rowan Joffe Stylish, noirish remake of '47 flick set in ' Riley is convincingly twitchy, Riseborough a find! Disappointing climax. Peter Kominsky V. Pedro Almodovar Typical Almodovar. Over plotted, gorgeous, a little long. Drama about family riven by grief after father's death. Katie Dellamaggiore V. Uplifting docu NYC middle school's chess team brings excellence to inner city.

Great kids chosen. Superbly made. Blaise, Walker Traditional Disney animation with overly simplistic amerind legend theme. Still, I was move. Good kid film. Yan Yan Mak. Jim Sheridan Superb adaptation to a truthful American war story, changing emphasis of original, maybe for the better. Maguire is great! Jake Rademacher V. Affecting and illuminating documentary by one filmmaker brother embedded in Iraq while 2 other brothers are serving. Rian Johnson Silly, slapsticky, anachronistic fantasy which wastes a good cast.

A strange comedown for the director of Brick. Susanne Bier Shattering drama about a good man who commits an act beyond redemption. Incredible acting and fine direction.

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Funny in a transgressive way, but sort of a mess. Shirley MacLaine V. Limp, soppy comedy - 8 year old spelling genius boy phenom kid actor Alex Linz who needs to compete in a dress. Silly fun. BUCK , d. Only for old folks; but a great travelogue. Touching, fun comedy. Todd Kellstein V. Gregor Jordan Glossy, high-budget, somewhat over-the-top satire about army corruption in German occupation in ' John Dullighan V.

I've never much been into Bukowski; but this compelling docu presents him well. Eloy de la Iglesia Tongue in cheek drama about a straight Bulgarian expat in Madrid taking advantage of a gay Spaniard. BULLY , d. Lee Hirsch V.

Art Gallery of Alex Alien

Important docu following bullied kids and parents of suicided bullied kids. Invisible camera? Reynolds is spectacularly right. Is there an audience? Aguilera is great. Gigandet to die for.

Best of the Millennium, Pros Versus Readers

Cher is mummified. Loved it. Anders Ostergaard V. Astonishing docu footage of government repression of populace. BURN , d. Dispiriting yet hopeful docu of Detroit fire department, most fires, least money, 80, abandoned buildings. Some exciting footage, good characters.

Eric Merola V. Brazilian doc which examines thoroughly the background of a publically televised bus hijacking and relives the tragic events. Gabriele Muccino V. Finally this coming of age masterpiece about youthful exhuberance is out on DVD! BUTA , d. Julian Farino V. Why is this masterpiece not getting released in the U. Historical drama about a beautiful pleasure girl who marries a shady businessman. Darnell Martin Interesting biopic of Chess recording artists. Nice musical numbers, esp.

Uli Edel V. Steve Markle V. Todd Graff V. Guilty pleasure; but very much a pleasure. Jay Roach Funny enough political comedy with a wonderfully prissy perf. Humor too broad; but occasionally trenchant. Bavo Defume V. Joseph Cedar Involving family drama about a woman with 2 daughters coping with social and relational problems. Nicely acted. CAN MR. Frank Popper V. Absorbing docu of empassioned run for Congress. Mark Bamford Harmless S.

African ecuminical romantic comedy, sort of predictable. Michael Moore In your face docu, always interesting even though Moore's opinions often rankle this time around. Bill Moyers V. Great tv journalism. Jean Marc Brandolo Buddy road trip film Good film, but I dozed. Norma Bailey V. Zodiac lite. Hector Babenco A Brazilian prison worse than Oz, from doctor's pov. Involving, occasionally wrenching, well acted, nicely put together.

Dario Argento Ludicrous, but well directed Italian policier about a maniac serial woman killer using the internet to play games with police. Olivier Assayas V. Ramirez also excellent. Very impressive achievement. Delphine Gleize V. Visually stunning film about, well, bull. And how all is connected in the world.

Or something. Roman Polanski Best 4-actor filmed play since V. Maggie Betts V. John Lassiter Inventive animation, got better as it went along, but just not up to its rep. John Sayles Intermittently interesting Mexican baby mill story, unexpectedly flawed by a poorly structured script. Matt Piedmont Spoof on mexi-narco western genre. Purposely shoddy; but still really shoddy and incredibly unfunny. Nicolas Boukhrief Effective, beautifully shot film noir, violent and unpredictable.

Martin Campbell Nice new Bond; nice physical action stunts. But the film is as ridiculous as ever. Woody Allen Hitchcockian film with a little Purple Noon thrown in. Derek Luke fine. Susannah Grant Predictable but well acted chick flick which involved me. Interesting and sad human nature vs. Byambasuren Davaa; Mongolia. Jeffrey Karoff Doc short: Ra Paulette, elderly man who digs enormous embellished caves from sandstone in N. Lisa Cholodenko Sometimes annoying but satisfying drama about woman who ran away with a rock band returning home to Georgia.

Arteta's good with actors, not prod. Loved it! Larry Shaw V. Another great Ethan Embry role. Ken Burns et. Another hard-hitting docu: horrendous miscarriage of justice, the "Wilding" rape, '89 NYC. Important; I've seen better. Chris Gerolmo V. TV movie of a pretty good book; entertaining, comic policing with a little more grit than "Psych" also on USA.

Abbas Kiarostami Enigmatic, talky, strangely involving film about 2 people wandering a Tuscan town who may or may not be married. Talky script not saved by good cast. Clint Eastwood Schocking true story resonates emotionally. Jolie's over-the-top perf. Reynolds and esp. Bateman were good, but the film? Daniele Gaglianone Jagged, cutty, edgy story of 3 teenage northern Italian boys who drop out and get into various kinds of trouble. Tony Giglio V. Too labyrinthine for its own good. Tim Burton V. Amusing with impressive effects.

Where is the Burr Steers of Igby?! Mike Nichols Simplistic demonizing of enemy turned me off. Richard Schickel V. Fascinating, if facile doc about the great film artist. Eric Byler 4 Asian-American characters and their tangled relationships. Haunting, eliptical, subtle, well played. Jeff Orlowski V. But a slight lack of focus mars. Jeff Orlowski Only watched half of this docu in order to make next film, so unrated. Curtis Hanson True life film about young surfer who conquers the big waves as a teenager. Gennaro Nunziante incomplete due to broken digital projector.

Steven Soderbergh Light on exposition, too many characters to keep straight, still interesting as docudrama. Steven Soderbergh Same problesm; but it just works better as futility and defeat is just more interesting than victory. Funny and emotionally satisfying. Chefs Ep. Literate script. Gianni Amelio V. Pretty, but boring. Animation for adults!! Mark Donskoy Classic Russian film from the writer's memoire of his peasant Volga family. Don McKellar Funny, trenchant and occasionally silly satire about a 12 yr. A true achievement Disney nature docu, fabulous footage.

Yung Chang V. Henruk Ruben Genz Wry Danish comedy. Plumber divorced by wife marries younger Chinese woman. CHLOE , d. Atom Egoyan Julianne Moore better than ever in. Lesbionics not my thing; but Max Thieriot is! Keith Gordon V. Christophe Barratier Franch AFF: moving drama of a teacher who tames the boys in a reform school through music. Joe Roth Horrendous, embarrassing, utterly offensive to this Jewish observer , silly, unfunny.

Did I love it? Sebastian Cordero Equador's Acad. Josh Trank Loved it! Michael Apted Often annoying, but better than similar Last Airbender, which is damning with faint praise. Ray McKinnon Southern gothic story of the effects of an auto accident on a couple after 20 years of the husband in prison. Arie Posin Wonderful suburban satire cult-type film in Donnie Darko mode. Jamie Bell: 1 actor of his generation. Yen Tan Touching, arty in a good way American indie gay film Italian man meets friend on net.

Jacques Rozier V. Informative 98 minute docu made for tv in the '60s interviewing people involved with Vigo. Superbly acted re-creation of the behind the scenes of An American Family. Jean-Pierre Melville noir, typical Melville which means lean and taut. CIRCO , d. Aaron Schlock V. Nicely constructed to involve the audience. Raymond De Felitta Family dramedy where everybody lies. Original idea, great script, wonderful acting ensemble. Matt Dillon Pseudo Graham Greene. Stifling atmosphere well done, as were characterizations.

Story falls down. Good try. Paolo Morelli Much better than City of God, imho. Emotionally affecting, driving narrative. Lisa Robinson, Annie J. Adrian Shergold V.

Revisiting Movies That Awoke Your Sexuality

Louis Leterrier Post-prod. Film even worse: repetitive turgid battle scenes, wooden acting. Claude Miller V. Creepy, expressionistic, even Gothic film of troubled young boy on class ski vacation, away from controlling dad. Claude Sautet A terrific classic noir with a star-making Belmondo perf if Breathless hadn't hit first. A family uprooted by political upheaval in ' Olivier Assayas Maggie Chung is superb as a junkie trying to go clean to reclaim her son from her inlaws in this wonderful drama.

Not Sandler's finest. Alex Gibney V. Informative docu about hubris, almost a whitewash; but Spitzer's cooperation telling. Emotional, well-acted drama of 4-tight knit Breton brothers, from pov of yo youngest, whose oldest bro has AIDS. Mike Nichols Four loathsome characters well acted and beautifully photographed cf similar Carnal Knowledge! Andreas Dresan German septuagenarians screw like rabbits in an attack on filmic taboo against showing wizened bods. VERY true to life, though. But production esp. Kim Ki-duk Overwrought drama about the soldiers who guard the Korean coastline from spy incursions.

Way over the top. Paul Mazursky V. Anne Fontaine Tatou has matured into a superb actress. Winterbottom's future imagery is amazing. Ryan McGarry, M. Stewart Wade Amusing comedy about sexual confusions, really well written script. Hilmar Oddsson Iceland's AFF is a dour tragedy about a 40ish man finally facing a tragedy of his youth. Anthony Minghella Fine production, good acting, but the "well made" story was too predictable.

Jude Law is a bonafide star. Xie Dong A somewhat boring film about mutual infidelity in a modern Chinese marriage. Michael Mann L. Mann's best film in a while. Marc Evans V. Richard Wong Strictly amateurville musical, but charming, simple story. Simon Wincer V. Nicely played, if choppy, miniseries. Val Kilmer? Elem Klimov V. Russian WWII intimate epic of orphaned 14 yr. Too histrionic for my tastes.

Morgan Spurlock V. Superbly cast and timely. Robert Altman Little narrative, lots of good dancing. Neve impresses, and James Franco underplays to splendid effect. Mikael Salomon V. Rodrigo Vasquez A doc linking the U. Too unstructured. James Foley Foley has style to burn. Too bad he didn't burn this derivative script. Why I like Ed Burns is the question. Michael Lembeck Silly, if intermittantly funny, script.

John Deery Ernest, polemic drama: celebacy and the Catholic church. Nice production, but too on-point for good drama. Robert Redford Somber history of injustice, great cast, the Civil War still resonates. Francis Lawrence V. Steven Soderbergh Suspenseful, realistic, well acted and directed. Only a too pat, unrealistic resolution mars an excellent effort. Jehane Noujaim Doc. Good footage, though repetitive. Tony Goldwyn Totally predictable even more obviously than Secretariat , earnest bleeding heart flick. Gary Burns V. Modestly involving TV caper film about some losers knocking off N.

Not worth reviewing. Agnieszka Holland Overwrought, overacted. Sublime music though weirdly edited. Henry Selick Incredible 3D animation. Ralph Fiennes Fabulous concept, great acting; but Shakespeare's language doesn't work for me in this context. Phillippe Le Guay Vivid, beautifully realized multi-character story connected by the theme money for love.

Shana Feste Weak script seen it before. Can't blame actors Music a plus. Jon Favreau Liked the Western, hated the Aliens Well cast; but silly plotting ruined any chance of not disappointing. Michael Legge is wonderful. David Gleeson V. I lost interest. Antonia Bird V. Excellent tv film about a killer British cop driven crazy in the "troubles". Simon Curtis V. The final part blew me away. Paul Haggis Superb Short Cuts type multi-character, roundabout drama I need to leave L. CRAWL , d. Breck Eisner Convincing bio-eco-disaster flick with one wonderful perf by Joe Anderson and some effectively directed horror tropes.

Scott Cooper Almost makes me love country music. Bridges is great, iconic. Nicely realized love story plus the music Frederick Wiseman V. Jon Amiel Earnest, boring costumer biofilm Bettany is good as Darwin; but I never believed the film was true to the real characters. Anti-clerical satiric melodrama in small Mexican parish. Gregory Jacobs A faithful remake of Nine Queens, which means a good, if familiar script. A sympathetic cast, still this one doesn't quite jell.

Penelope Spheeris V. CBS film docudrama about fall of Enron. Predictable script, Christian Kane actor to watch. Wayne Kramer Like Crash, only better, this is an involving ensemble drama about distressed immigrants in L. Fatih Aiken V. Music docu, sporadically good music, nice photog. Saul Rubinek Innovative video about a woman secretly recording her life for 2 years on a hidden camera. Relationship drama in pre-war small Slovak town. Mark Meily Three Philippine women hired as cryers for a Chinese funeral.

I was uninvolved; but the film wasn't that bad. Quentin Tarantino V. Juan Gerard Nostalgic, but too pat, reminiscence of an 11 yr. Russell Marleau V. Pleasant, eccentric, slick '06 coming of age American hi-school in Belgium indie. Gay clique vs. Epic, emotional, great film. David Fincher Moving, epic filmmaking which works at all levels. Nearly a masterpiece. Wes Craven V. Nicely designed, but slender premise. Stuart Gillard V. Surprisingly not bad, although predictable. Matt Lanter is good! Paul Michael Glaser V. Sweeney have good chemistry. Ron Howard The con of film. Turgid, overlong Maria Blom Involving family drama about 3 sisters and the small Swedish town that the youngest returns to.

Whit Stillman Smart comedy about college doufuses. Whimsical and slight; but Stillman's style still appeals to me. Peter Hedges Emotionally satisfying, breakthru film for Hedges and for me, Carell. Anne H. Mark Milgard Well acted, somewhat pointless coming of age story of boy who sacrifices much for his dysfunctional family.

Knightley is spectacularly good. Tom Hooper V.

January 2015

Stolidly underplayed by good cast. Zach Gilford has genuine star qualities. Mark Steven Johnson Better stunts than Spiderman; but rather wan story. I enjoyed it, especially Affleck. Chris Cassel V. Standard issue History channel docu. Lots of info well presented. Todd Solondz. Bittersweet satire of man-child's delusional life.

Ironies abound, aided by perfect casting. Christopher Nolan I respect Nolan's vision, even if his plot machinations have me rolling my eyes in disbelief. Zimmer's bombastic score worked. Christopher Nolan Surprisingly dark and dense, some narrative glitches, but Ledger is as good as the hype. Rachel Samuels Rarely has so much stylishness been put in aid of such a lame story. Hubert Sauper; docu V.

Mixed race Viet Nam war child sent to US at 7 meets her mom. The first half, Daniel Radcliffe as young Copperfield, is fine. Then it all turns to treacle and sentiment. Marco Filiberti V. Overwrought story of married man yearning for gay affair with friend's son. Massimo Poggio one to watch. Hong Sang-soo Muddled story of multiple affairs going nowhere. Film does too. Final ep. Bjorn Runge Three cleverly interwoven stories of strange relationship angst in Sweden. I couldn't relate to the stories. Ademir Kenovic Talky, slow paced slice of life story about family coping with consequences of Bosnian war 7 years earlier.

High gloss consumerist satire. Shane Meadows Paddy Considine is the nemesis of group of guys who tortured his brother. Violent and bloody. James Wan V. Stylish horror flick with ridiculous seen-before "dummy" plot. Looks great, less filling.


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Gil Cates, Jr. Harvey Kahn Wall Street shenanigans in the oil patch in the near future. Slickly made, good cast, but probably straight to video. Stephen Frears V. British political true story, Labour deal to share power. Too parochial for U. Shona Aurbach Tender and moving drama of deaf boy's bonding with a surrogate father. Kevin DiNovis Satiric, pointed but understated mockumentary about a famed football player on death row in Texas. Peter Navarro V. Slick docu of China trade disaster for US jobs. Well presented, frightening.

I bought 2 things today, both "Made in China". Boaz Yakin Good cast mostly wasted on incoherent effects-of-Holocaust-on-2nd-generation-family sexually explicit melodrama. Both sets of actors convincing. Andres Waissbluth Strong, multi-POV, sexy drama about 2 naive brothers who become involved with a porn boss and his mistress. Gotham Chopra V. Terence Davies Ponderous, dark adaptation of Rattigan play. I felt no connection to story of obsessive, destructive love.

Parviz Shahbazi Iran's AFF is a road picture about disaffected college students, amazingly secular for an official submission. David Marfield A superior psychological thriller disguised as a gothic noir. Great performance by Lucas Black. Edward Zwick Involving, well directed Doug Shultz V. Another Terezin docu, featuring defiant production of Verdi's Requium by inmates before Auchwitz. Superbly well crafted. Adam Brooks V. Stefen Brogren V.

Bizarrely fun. Tony Scott A superior, timebending thriller which, while totally absurd, amazingly almost holds together! Too long and overamped. Amy Berg V. Gripping docu about Catholic church coverup of pederast priest. Irwin Winkler Massively over-written Cole Porter biopic. Good music and singer cameos; but otherwise bloated and pretentious.

Martin Scorsese Fabulously cast, but script too eliptical Infernal Affaires made more sense. Wildlly uneven, but also a turn-on. Renaud, P. Coffin Hip doesn't always translate to good family oriented animation; but here it plays wonderfully. Pixar watch your back.

Jeff Feuerzeig V. David Frankel Well acted Hathaway finally grows up, Streep perfect , funny. Lifetime movie watched for Tom Everett Scott, who was fine. Predictable, poorly written thriller with no bite at all. Sympathetic serial killer sociopath Hall is simply amazing. Jenny Phillips Hopeful, thoughtful docu of Alabaman prisoners who find peace thru Buddhist meditation. Christophe Ruggia Harrowing story of 2 abandoned children, incredible acting. Hard to do this one justice in a line. Daniel M. Andy Wilson V. Lisa Vreeland V.

Fast moving hagiographic docu of fashion maven with great interviews; interesting but not illuminating. Thor Freudenthal Zach Gordon is fine, if not very wimpy. Amusing enough, good animation, just not very original. David Bowers OK for what it is, 7th grader adventures. I was mildly amused; but I'm not the right audience. Ondi Timoner Extraordinary video documentary about two current retro 60's underground bands. Fabulous footage well edited. Dafna Yachin V. Well made docu of Gene Smith who toiled endlessly to save Tibetan Buddhist tomes. Guy Ferland Pretty much cookie cutter plot, but fun. Diego Luna: Latin lover for the 's.

David Kendall V. Stupid high school caper film. Watched for Milo Ventimiglia, who is worth watching. John Waters Utterly transgressive sex farce which takes Waters' anarchic style to its untoppable culmination. Still, never boring. Daniel Percival V. Dirty bomb terrorist attack on central London. BBC film, a good suspenser and scary as hell, though nothing special filmwise. Best as a theme park ride. Hans-Christian Schmidt Hand held, documentary feel: about refugees trying to get to Germany.

Patrick Alessandrin Boy, does Philippe Torreton class up an action flick? David Nutter V. Mind control '98 horror flick, a teenage Stepford High, good cast, well directed, but way over the top. Julian Schnabel Most expressive eye in film history. Amalric amazing! Guilty pleasure. Giacomo Campiotti V. Rawson M. Thurber Silly, amiable entertainment.

I didn't find it funny; but it sure tries hard enough. Stiller still has "it". Damon Dietz V. Ken Olen V. Sai Yoichi Intelligent comedy about regimented life in a modern Japanese prison. Takeshi Kitano Gorgeously photographed, metaphorically opaque. Three stories of regret that I regret that went over my head.

Goren Rebic Beautiful;y done story of a "ship of fools" and romantics heading down the Danube. Jacques Demy A gentle fairy tale. Demy has style to spare; but other than the costumes I wasn't blown away. It takes a couple of hours to do this, and is one of the highlights of year. I told her the story include a dog kidnapped by a coyote, a dead boyfriend, and eyebrow waxing. Last week, a friend of mine told me he never understood why the government funded PBS in the first place.

Sesame Street is marketable and could be bought out by Disney or Nickelodeon in a second. So why should taxpayers fund PBS? But I really think PBS should be subsidized by the government. PBS is a cheap way to educate. But that should be a point of national pride. In the s, when Michael Eisner came to Disney and started its corporate expansion into resorts, hotels, cruise ships, Broadway shows, TV networks, stores, sports teams, etc. But not the Sesame Street Muppets. Licensing these character was the financial lifeblood of Sesame Street at that point.

When you consider the alternatives, this is an awfully cheap way to educate and unite kids all over the country. Sesame Street was a great social experiment that came out of the liberal 60s. But in many ways, the show was a product of free market capitalism. Jim Henson, a successful businessman, donated his services to the show. For Henson, it was worth doing — for free. They put up the hundreds of thousands necessary to do research, hire education specialists, artists, and so on. CTW was not originally publicly funded. The thing is, you need both sides — public and private — to make Sesame Street.

Sesame Street was the kind of thing no other network would dream of — clearly — and no network would even air. It wants independence. No other station would offer CTW a home without strings attached. PBS offers a home to strange shows that just want to do something positive. CTW could sell itself to Disney any day of the week if it wanted to. It pointedly does not want to.

Shareholders of a global entertainment conglomerate like Disney probably care about a lot of nice things but none more than money. The public television system is above all else an opportunity. For the next Sesame Street. For innovations that will bring us all together as a nation, make us better, stronger, and smarter. We need the potential for informative programming to come into poor neighborhoods. We need the potential for a new big idea that will, perhaps, make our teens decide to major in math and science and stimulate our economy.

Sesame Street was an amazing moment in our national history, aspiring to unite all kids in a shared love of learning and a shared wonder at what America could do. It came about because of a unique partnership between the free market and a governmentally-funded station. We need both to give us another Sesame Street. CTW makes its own money.

Ah, … We laughed along with Chandler and Phoebe, invested our surplus Benjamins with Lehman Brothers, danced a national macarena. Those days seem like the distant past now, and in many ways, the first decade of the 21st Century has been quite different from the giddy future we might have projected. Who knows what will be read 50 years from now?

But, with the end of the decade just a few months away, it seemed to us at The Millions a good time to pause and take stock, to call your attention to books worthy of it, and perhaps to begin a conversation. Each book will be introduced by one of the panelists who voted for it.

This page, updated as we post the list, will become an index. You can use it to navigate the series, or can check back at our home page; we also invite you to consider subscribing to The Millions via RSS feed or Kindle. Jones 1: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. Sam Anderson is the book critic for New York Magazine. Ben Dolnick is the author of Zoology. Ben Ehrenreich is the author of The Suitors. Rivka Galchen is the author of Atmospheric Disturbances. Jeff Hobbs is the author of The Tourists. Michelle Huneven is the author of Blame and other novels.

Sara Ivry is a senior editor of Tablet. Lydia Kiesling is a contributor to The Millions. Dorothea Lasky is the author of Awe and other books. Edan Lepucki is a contributor to The Millions. Fiona Maazel is the author of Last Last Chance. Max Magee is the founding editor of The Millions. Emre Peker is a contributor emeritus to The Millions.

Arthur Phillips is the author of The Song is You and three other novels. Andrew Saikali is a contributor to The Millions. Matthew Sharpe is the author of Jamestown and other works of fiction. Joan Silber is the author of The Size of the World. Lorin Stein is a senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Dan Wickett is executive director and publisher of Dzanc Books. Yoder is a contributor to The Millions. Todd Zuniga is the founding editor of Opium Magazine. Methodology Each panelist could name up to five books available in English with an original-language publication date no earlier than Jan. We then tabulated the votes of our panelists, along with those of our contributors. Books were ranked according to number of votes received. Best of the Millennium, Pros Versus Readers.

I think something to take away from the whole exercise is that it is silly to ascribe merit numerically. Number one, number three, number thirteen—these are basically meaningless distinctions unless, I suppose, you are running a race. The Corrections is only notable for the Oprah huff, other than that its professorial navel-gazing which is why it was at the top. Do people hate professors? But maybe not? Why even bother with the whole exercise? One thing has been made definitely clear though: what most professional writers want, more than anything, is not to be the best writers they can be, but the best that the market wants them to be, to be rich and famous.

So the best example of fiction writing so far this decade is an enormous, encyclopedic novel written by a very tall white guy who wears glasses. The more things change the more they stay the same. I think this comment should end with a cliched statement like that in honor of your cliched, safe, zeitgeist-approved choice. Definitely among my favorites of the millennium. The whole point is to spur debate, right? My personal quibble: no Aleksandar Hemon? I nominate Nowhere Man. Oh, by the way, Hemon is also a tall white man with glasses. Oh well. In order to get the 1 spot, a book had to have the most votes, and it would be difficult for a less well known book to win, simply because the fewer people who have read a book means fewer people voting for it.

But I also know people who hate a book simply because lots of other people like it…. That said, I enjoyed The Corrections very much, I had fun nominating my favorite books, and I loved reading the write-ups for all the ones that made the list. Where oh where is China Mieville? And following its example will not make you a more marketable young writer. Sorry to be so snarky, but, really…. Franzen deserves praise for revitalizing the form. I think both of these lists are full of great novels and story collections. I read it.

I think Junot Diaz deserves that number one. But hey, great list! I enjoyed these lists! But Unaccustomed Earth is great!

Essays on Politics and the Imagination

Some writers, like many professors, can take the soul out of a story. So the questions should be why does he write like this and, secondly, is he successful? In all, Franzen has an incredible talent for family drama, and the book is incredibly well-written and challenging— two traits any great novel should have. Franzen tends to catch the same lazy criticism as Pynchon and Wallace and Delillo. Most writers, to counter W. The people who make it are intellectuals and the people who consume it want to look smart.

No, great art is ambitious, challenging, and requires a finer taste. I have to agree with PJ about Aleksandar Hemon. The book is structurally dazzling, and the way Hemon reinvigorates the English language puts native speakers on notice that their mother tongue has grown tired of being taken for granted and has found herself a new lover.


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  3. Dermatopathologie (German Edition).
  4. More top stories;
  5. Most writers long to live in penury and anonymity. Especially writers like Franzen, which would explain his habitual need to tell other people why whatever it is he is working on at any given moment is exactly what the publishing world, and the reading public, needs. I think the problem with your argument is your example. Franzen is a middlebrow novelist working with traditional material to make what amounts to more of the same.

    The Corrections is just another in a long line of novels that flatters its audience into thinking that their lives have some kind of universal truth to them, as if a Chef, a Writer and a Businessman are avatars for all of humanity. The Corrections, to me, said nothing new about anything and did it in a way that was neither innovative nor exciting. I too think Oscar Wao deserves the top slot and agree about Hemon and would have loved to see Colum McCann somewhere but as some have observed the rankings are pretty subjective anyway.

    Three cheers to the Millions for sparking such lively conversation! Seems like a rather prominent omission. If we did this same thing for the 90s, I might have picked American Pastoral 1 overall. There were actually quite a few authors whose best work seemed to happen in the late 90s, and as such, just missed the cut.

    Alas, the suggestion that something is trying to be intelligent does leave the impression of elitism. I think Franzen does this well. I love Oscar Wao and Jhumpa Lahiri! I just lost interest in the plot around page , and did not feel like slogging through to the end. I actually read Middlesex last week and loved it. I read Cloud Atlas earlier this year and enjoyed it qute a bit except the longest story in the middle.

    The Road I was forced to read by my book club and thought it was okay. It seems unfair to exclude The Savage Detectives considering its English translation came later and its impact was most certainly felt in this millennium as opposed to the last. Not bad. Out Stealing Horses is a personal favourite.

    I was pleased and surprised to see it in the Pro list as it seldom gets a mention. The Corrections is one of those. I was underwhelmed. Franzen can write a sentence, but the book lacked depth. As one example of a flaw, the scene with the talking poo is derivative of Mr. Hanky of South Park fame. Hanky has been around since , so South Park gets credit. And, I guess, my biggest problem with the book was that Franzen seemed primarily interested in zaniness like the fish down the pants which seemed for all the world like a Seinfeld Kramer bit. And, no, his one-dimensional shots at big pharma, the cruise industry, etc.

    I like the idea of bounded sets or intersecting circled sets of favorites instead of lists. With a list, where do I start…at the top? But what a great load of fun. Max, would that be a possibility? Hi Leah, Thanks for taking part. How can these idiots omit it? Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Year in Reading at The Millions. It was great fun.

    The Millions will be dark for a week or so while the holidays are celebrated. Hopefully, upon its return in early January, the blog will have a new and improved look. This series was first conceived in as a way to get a fledgling website about books through a busy holiday season. And so now, as we kick off another Year in Reading, please enjoy these riches from some of our favorite writers and thinkers.

    For our esteemed guests, the charge was to name, from all the books they read this year, the one s that meant the most to them, regardless of publication date. Grouped together, these ruminations, cheers, squibs, and essays will be a chronicle of reading and good books from every era. You can bookmark this post and follow the series from here, or load up the main page for more new Year in Reading posts appearing at the top every day, or you can subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook or Twitter and read the series that way.

    Haley Mlotek ,editor of The Hairpin. Jess Walter , author of We Live in Water. Emily Gould , co-owner of Emily Books, author of Friendship. Blake Butler , author of ,, Janet Fitch , author of White Oleander. Leslie Jamison , author of The Empathy Exams. Eula Biss , author of On Immunity. Hamilton Leithauser , frontman for The Walkmen.

    Janet Potter , staff writer for The Millions. Lydia Kiesling , staff writer for The Millions. Michael Bourne , staff writer for The Millions. Ben Lerner , author of Jane Smiley , author of A Thousand Acres. Phil Klay , author of Redeployment. Emily St. Tana French , author of Broken Harbor. Edan Lepucki , staff writer for The Millions , author of California. Jayne Anne Phillips , author of Lark and Termite. Caitlin Moran , author of How to Be a Woman.

    Rabih Alameddine , author of An Unnecessary Woman. Walter Kirn , author of Blood Will Out. Michael Schaub , staff writer for The Millions. Nick Moran , social media editor for The Millions. Hannah Gersen , staff writer for The Millions. Kaulie Lewis , intern for The Millions. Gina Frangello , author of A Life in Men.

    Hannah Pittard , author of Reunion. Carolyn Kellogg writes about books and publishing for the Los Angeles Times. Emma Straub , author of The Vacationers. Ron Rash , author of Serena. Darcey Steinke , author of Sister Golden Hair. Molly Antopol , author of The UnAmericans. Julia Fierro , author of Cutting Teeth. Bill Morris , author of Motor City Burning. William Giraldi , author of Busy Monsters.

    Tess Malone , associate editor for The Millions. Thomas Beckwith , writer and project assistant for The Millions. Matt Seidel , staff writer for The Millions. Elizabeth Minkel , staff writer for The Millions. Michael Robbins , author of The Second Sex. Charles Finch , author of The Last Enchantments. A Year in Reading: Wrap-Up. Like what you see?