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Nobody's Perfect


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About the Author

Anthony Lane has been a film critic for The New Yorker since 1993. He lives in London.


Those who have long awaited this compilation of Lane's most memorable pieces will not be disappointed. He is intellectual, witty, entertaining, and, without a doubt, one of the finest reviewers of our time. Compared frequently to Edmund Wilson and Kenneth Tynan, Lane exercises his expansive knowledge on a seemingly endless number of topics in this delightful group of commentaries, originally published in his New Yorker column. A decade of his finest work-a total of 141 columns-is neatly presented to the reader in three categories: movies, books, and people. One of the best aspects of Lane's column, and of this anthology, is that it wanders across cultural and intellectual borders. The author discusses everything from Forrest Gump to the art of cookbook writing to the joy of Legos and personages ranging from Julia Roberts to Ernest Shackleton. The main flaw, if a flaw at all, is that nearly half the essays are dedicated to the movies du jour from years gone by. Still, Lane is endlessly entertaining, and his ability to present memorable observations about less-than-memorable movies makes him a joy to read. For critic-at-large wannabes, this collection will serve as a de facto guide for years to come. Recommended for larger public libraries and academic libraries with extensive journalism collections.-Ken Winter, Preston Lib., Lexington, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

The title phrase of Lane's fabulous collection of reviews and profiles is taken from Some Like It Hot, uttered by the unflappable Osgood Fielding III when he finds out his flame isn't a dame. That sense of bittersweet glee is also felt throughout Lane's reviews, as he skewers the likes of Sleepless in Seattle, Poetic Justice and The Scarlet Letter with gusto. Not content to waste precious words on bad movies, he saves his longer pieces for films he likes, such as The Usual Suspects, The English Patient and, most surprisingly, Speed. There are hundreds of movie reviewers in our cinema-obsessed country, but few bring such intelligence and lan to the task as Lane, who weaves together erudition and plain language so artfully that he often trumps whatever snippets of cinematic dialogue he's using to illustrate his point. Of Braveheart, he writes: "The obsequies seem to go on forever: the bodies are buried at a Christian ceremony, after which a little girl comes shyly up to William and gives him a thistle. I thought, I'm out of here." Lane's other pieces, which include book reviews, profiles of authors such as Nabokov and Pynchon, and a few full-length magazine articles, round out the collection nicely, showcasing a writer who can make a sing-along version of The Sound of Music seem like the most compelling night in town. For those who look forward to Lane's pieces, and for the many who should, this weighty tome is as delightful as watching Marilyn Monroe doing the shimmy. (Sept.) Forecast: Extensive advertising in the New Yorker; appearances on NPR, C-SPAN and Charlie Rose; and a nine-city author tour will ignite sales for this classy film review book. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"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

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