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"Your assignment will be Spy magazine's greatest achievement: Tracy Lord. Big game hunting in Africa, fox hunting in Pennsylvania. Married on impulse. Divorced in a rage. And always unapproachable by the press. The unapproachable Miss Lord... The Philadelphia Story!"
I was so certain that recording an episode of The Canon with my friend Amy Nicholson, pitting one Problematic 1940 Divorced Cary Grant movie against another, would require me to perform an impression of Henry Daniell as Spy publisher Sidney Kidd that I might've ripped the audio of the scene into my iPhone and rehearsed it during my drive to Earwolf HQ in Hollywood a few weeks ago. In the end, I forgot to break out the imitation I'd practiced to carefully, because Amy is just as brilliant in conversation as she is in prose. So the fact that she spared you all my, um, acting is not the best reason to be grateful for her insight and eloquence, but it's a reason.
You can listen to our debate right here!
Yulemixed Messages: Presenting (the first half of) My 12th Annual Christmas Mixtape, Noel Means Noel
I started making these goofy holiday-themed mixtapes in 2006, inspired by the yule-mixologist Andy Cirzan's annual appearances on the great WBEZ radio show and podcast Sound Opinions. I was honored to interview Andy for a Washington Post piece about my mixtape several years later, and to appear with him on a Minnesota Public Radio segment that I'm glad to tell you did not involve Garrison Keillor in any way.Read More
Twelfth Night is my favorite Shakespeare play. The Shakespeare Theatre Company's Ethan McSweeny-directed production is cleverly staged on a set made to resemble an airport, but it left me cold. In my Washington City Paper review, I try to unpack why.
Early in Justice League, while director Zack Snyder abuses yet another Leonard Cohen song, we see a glimpse of a Metropolis Post front page with a headline about vanished heroes that puts Kal-El in the middle of a triptych with Prince and David Bowie. It feels like a joke from Men in Black (another comic book-derived movie) 20 years ago. Anyway, it's good to see that Metropolis is still a two-paper town.
Here's my review of Justice League, where I did not really have room to complain that J.K. Simmons, the J. Jonah Jameson of Sam Raimi's no-longer-canonical Spider-Man trilogy, is now Commissioner Gordon, which feels like double-dipping, or that Gordon has once again been demoted to empty trenchcoat after being a vibrant, fully-developed character in Christopher Nolan's no-longer-canonical Dark Knight trilogy. These movies, man.
My Washington City Paper review of Jon Robin Baitz's already-anachronistic Trump satire Vicuña, which is getting a lavish second production at Mosaic Theatre after premiering in Los Angeles last year, is here.
Up until now, Martin McDonagh's best plays and movies have all been set in rural Ireland, or in an unnamed fictional totalitarian state, or In Bruges. That changes with the superb Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, his first U.S.-set story that doesn't feel like the work of a tourist. Here's my NPR review.