"I wrote 63 songs this year. They're all about Jeter." Just kidding. The game we love, the players we hate, and more.

Culture and Criticism

From Norman Mailer to Wendy Pepper — everything on film, TV, books, music, and snacks (shut up, raisins), plus the Girls' Bike Club.

Donors Choose and Contests

Helping public schools, winning prizes, sending a crazy lady in a tomato costume out in public.

Stories, True and Otherwise

Monologues, travelogues, fiction, and fart humor. And hens. Don't forget the hens.

The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Culture and Criticism

Odds, Ends, Updates
March 8, 2010 – 9:41 AM | 17 Comments
Odds, Ends, Updates

You may have noticed a shift in the categories and tags on the blog; I'm preparing for another redesign. I know it feels like I just ported everything over from the last redesign, but this …

Oscar Pool Postmortem
March 8, 2010 – 2:10 AM | 33 Comments
Oscar Pool Postmortem

I've done worse — but with 50 of the nominees under my belt, I should have done better.
The scorecard is below.
Best Picture: wrong
I really thought they'd try to split the baby between Avatar and The …

Oscars Death Race: Conclusion and Pool Recs
March 7, 2010 – 5:11 PM | 12 Comments
Oscars Death Race: Conclusion and Pool Recs

Well, friends, I gave it my best, but I couldn't manage to watch them all. The final score is Sarah 50, Death Race 8 (86-ish percent) and 20 out of 24 categories completed (83 percent). …

The Last Station
March 7, 2010 – 4:29 PM | 5 Comments

A handful of nice moments — most of them from McAvoy, who isn't nominated — but one review I read called the movie an acting showcase more than a plot, and I'd have to agree. …

El Secreto de Sus Ojos
March 7, 2010 – 3:04 AM | 2 Comments

This is a great movie. Here's how I could tell: the version I saw had, bar none, the worst subtitling I've ever seen, and I have watched a fair amount of bootleg kung-fu in my …

March 6, 2010 – 9:45 AM | 3 Comments

Everyone looks beautiful, the acting is good (with one semi-exception), and Nine successfully evokes Fellini, but I don't think I see the point of the exercise, here or in the stage original. That the dialogue …

The White Ribbon
March 4, 2010 – 3:41 PM | 5 Comments

This is, I believe, the presumptive favorite for Best Foreign Film, with good reason. I've only seen one of the other nominees, and it's good, but The White Ribbon is in another class entirely; it's …

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
March 4, 2010 – 2:31 PM | 4 Comments
<I>The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers</I>

For my tenth birthday, my mother got me a framed copy of the front page of the New York Times from the day I was born. The big headline is about food costs pushing up …

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
March 4, 2010 – 11:38 AM | 22 Comments

I actually enjoyed it, because I expected to hate it, and while it is definitely bad — buys into its own pompous mythos, takes too long to explain a conflict nobody cares about, thinks it's …

March 2, 2010 – 8:19 AM | No Comment

The best part of the Oscars Death Race project is the nice surprises: the films I expected to have to endure that gripped me instead.
I faced Ajami as one does a hated vegetable, and got …