Top 5 movies to watch when no one’s watching

I’m not a Friends fanatic or anything, but there are a few moments from that show that are so spot-on awesome. One of these is when the pals play a trivia game based on (what else?) themselves. Through their game show-like line of questioning we come to learn that Chandler’s TV Guide arrives addressed to … Continue reading

The top 10 movies I’ll miss most now that the Starz deal has expired

Let us all take a moment of silence for all the unwatched Starz movies that are no longer streaming as of today:   The Pixar Story – Really regretting that I never got around to watching this documentary about the Pixar studio since it’s not even available on DVD now.  Toy Story 3 – You’re … Continue reading

Where the body is buried

SPOILER ALERT: In this review of Faithful Place, I’m going to talk about how the book ends. I usually shy away from that when I talk about books. It’s my hope that people will actually want to read the books I write about, and often knowing the ending can keep people from picking up the … Continue reading

How not to eat at AWP 2012

This week I’m flying to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Chicago (a conference for writers, teachers, and book nerds of all varieties). It’s the first year I don’t have to sit at a table and force flyers into writers’ unwilling hands or present a paper that I’m only 20% sure … Continue reading

February 20-24, 2012

Kevin Mattison continues The Great Oscar Race with The Artist, Moneyball, and Midnight in Paris. Read “Silence is golden. . . maybe,” “Baseball is like church: Many attend, but few understand,” “When good Americans die they go to Paris”

To help deal with her disappointment over the second season of Downton Abbey, Sarah Werner watches its predecessor, 1971’s Upstairs Downstairs. Read “Downstairs at Downton Abbey”

Mike Vincent visits his archive, and rediscovers the Super Furry Animals. Read “SFA-OK”

Gavin Craig weighs in against the panini, and offers a slightly off-the-beaten-track grilled alternative. Read “Up in my grill”

Silence is golden. . . maybe

The Artist is a much cheekier film than I had expected going in, because as much as it strives for (and attains) authenticity it also spends a good deal of time winking at those who don’t like (or at least think they don’t like) silent films. Its story is a sort of mash-up of Singing … Continue reading

Baseball is like church: Many attend, but few understand

“It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball” — Billy Beane Many great things have been said about the game of baseball (and a few silly things, too — Just Google Yogi Berra), but the above quote wraps it all up nicely and puts a bow on top. I would argue that you’d be hard-pressed … Continue reading

When good Americans die they go to Paris

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast — Ernest Hemingway I have been lucky enough to have visited Paris twice in my life (so far) — once on a back-backing … Continue reading

Downstairs at Downton Abbey

Well, that’s it for Downton Abbey. I’m not exactly sorry to see it go; this second season was so much soapier and sillier than the first season. A badly burned veteran shows up on their doorstep, claiming to be the long-assumed-dead former heir to the estate? Everyone gets in tizzy — will Matthew be disinherited? … Continue reading


Let us remember the compilation. It seems that over the past four or five years the compilation has been defined by the always fresh, always relevant Now That’s What I Call Music series. When I stopped selling CDs in 2005, the nineteenth volume in the series was due to be released. At present the series … Continue reading