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Nobody's Perfect: Writings from The New Yorker Paperback – September 9, 2003
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“Lane writes the way Fred Astaire danced; his sentences and paragraphs are a sublime, rhythmic concoction of glide and snap, lightness and sting.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Anthony Lane has energy, wit, taste, learning, and (most signally) elegance of mind.” —Martin Amis
“A pure pleasure to read.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
From the Inside Flap
Anthony Lane on "Con Air--
"Advance word on "Con Air said that it was all about an airplane with an unusually dangerous and potentially lethal load. Big deal. You should try the lunches they serve out of Newark. Compared with the chicken napalm I ate on my last flight, the men in "Con Air are about as dangerous as balloons."
Anthony Lane on The Bridges of Madison County--
"I got my copy at the airport, behind a guy who was buying "Playboy's Book of Lingerie, and I think he had the better deal. He certainly looked happy with his purchase, whereas I had to ask for a paper bag."
Anthony Lane on Martha Stewart--
"Super-skilled, free of fear, the last word in human efficiency, Martha Stewart is the woman who convinced a million Americans that they have the time, the means, the right, and--damn it--the "duty to pipe a little squirt of soft cheese into the middle of a snow pea, and to continue piping until there are 'fifty to sixty' stuffed peas raring to go."
For ten years, Anthony Lane has delighted "New Yorker readers with his film reviews, book reviews, and profiles that range from Buster Keaton to Vladimir Nabokov to Ernest Shackleton. Nobody's Perfect is an unforgettable collection of Lane's trademark wit, satire, and insight that will satisfy both the long addicted and the not so familiar.
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1. Regarding Roland Joffe's claim that his film THE SCARLETT LETTER is "freely adapted from the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne," Lane opines in the same way that methane is freely adapted from cows.
2. Balasko's FRENCH TWIST, "No film that starts with a disco remix of A WHITER SHADE OF PALE is heading for the higher ground."
3. Brad Pitt's MEET JOE BLACK, "I had heard vile rumors that MEET JOE BLACK ran for almost three hours. The rumors were true, but let's be fair: what matters is not how long a film is but how long it seems, and MEET JOE BLACK doesn't seem like a three-hour film at all. It seems like a ten-hour film."
4. "Who is responsible for CHARLIE'S ANGELS? According to the credits, it was 'directed by McG," thus raising the intriguing prospect of the world's first motion picture to be made by a hamburger."
5. "The last Michael Bay film, ARMAGGEDON, was a handy guild to what you should do when an asteroid bumps into your planet. At the time, most critics scorned the picture as deafening and dumb; in retrospect, it feels like a mature, even witty, exercise in self-reference, considering that the effect of watching a Michael Bay film is indistinguishable from having a large, pointy lump of rock drop on your head. His new picture, PEARL HARBOR, maintains the mood."
The best piece in the book, however, and the one that Lane obviously enjoyed himself the most is his loving look at THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF OBITUARIES. Recognizing genius at an unparalleled level, Lane at points is content to let certain obits speak for themselves, such as Sir Atholl Oakeley: "He started wrestling seriously after being beaten up by a gang of louts and built up his body by drinking eleven pints of milk a day for three years. The regimen had been recommended by the giant wrestler Hackenschmidt, who later told Oakeley that the quanity of milk prescribed had been a misprint."
Be warned, though, that reading Lane is like eating blueberry cheesecake. A little bit is just right given how rich his prose is.
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The author not only reviews films for The New Yorker, but his reviews of persons, and books...Read more