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Modest Delights

Los Angeles magazine, March 2009In my callow youth, having watched the Grammy Awards through the years, I realized many of my favorite records—Astral Weeks, Fun House, Another Green World,...

The Next Frontier

This past summer the only thing that made me forget the mortgage and November’s election was Battlestar Galactica. If this sounds unlikely, I understand. Aside from an aberrant burst...

Lord of the Ring

Two weeks after Paul Newman died, The Wrestler had its U.S. premiere on the final night of the New York Film Festival. A quarter of a century ago, The...

Mind Games

Charlie Kaufman’s career is a thing of wonder. You don’t have to love every moment of Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to admire...

Being There(2)

Los Angeles magazine, July 2008Long before the Democratic presidential race reached an abrupt denouement on May 6, the night of the Indiana and North Carolina primaries—in the same way...

Carnal Knowledge

The last time Roman Polanski saw her alive, his beautiful and pregnant young wife, Sharon Tate, gave him a copy of Thomas Hardy’s 19th-century novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles,...

Best in Show

Illustration by Anita KunzTen years ago in Tokyo on business, I was taken by my hosts, including a prominent young Japanese novelist, to one of the city’s karaoke emporiums,...

Way Down in the Hole

Illustration by Jody Hewgill For most of this decade, The Wire has been both the most overrated and underrated show on television, a neat trick that usually means the more...

Father Time

Francis Ford Coppola’s first movie in nearly a decade, Youth Without Youth, is about a man nearing the end of his life who has a chance to return to...