Beacon Quick Picks

by Kathleen Barth

Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, America (The Book): Teacher’s Edition; Available Now

If you missed America (The Book) by Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” staff last time, now’s your chance to catch up. Well-publicized literary scandals have led to questioning of what “plagiarism,” “authenticity,” and “three-year crack binge” mean, so the authors of America decided to hire a professional, Professor Stanley K.,Literature

by Kathleen Barth

Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, America (The Book): Teacher’s Edition; Available Now

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If you missed America (The Book) by Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” staff last time, now’s your chance to catch up. Well-publicized literary scandals have led to questioning of what “plagiarism,” “authenticity,” and “three-year crack binge” mean, so the authors of America decided to hire a professional, Professor Stanley K. Schultz of University of Wisconsin-Madison, to correct the parody textbook’s factual errors. Though many (if not all) of the mistakes of the previous edition were obvious, the red scrawl in the margins of the Teacher’s Edition is pretty uproarious-indeed, Schultz is kind enough to correct the misconception that there once was a “Presidential Fuzzy Troll Pen.”

Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things; Available Now

Neil Gaiman, the ever-talented writer of the Sandman comics, as well as the upcoming Claire Danes film Stardust, is deserving of your attention now more than ever. In Fragile Things, his new collection of short stories, Gaiman proves his skill in immersing readers in even the most bizarre fantasy worlds, all the while sending shivers up their spine. Of note is the haunting “October in the Chair.” The collection also includes a short, often enlightening introduction to each piece. Readers of Gaiman’s previous short story collection, Smoke and Mirrors, will be delighted to see the maturation of his talents, while newcomers are sure to find themselves longing for the rest of his work.

film

by Nick Mccarthy

The Grudge 2; In theatres tomorrow

Creepy, androgynous children reprise their roles as creepy, androgynous ghosts in this soulless sequel. Sarah Michelle Gellar isn’t so lucky, though; she only appears briefly, most likely to keep a contractual obligation. Gellar kicks the bucket in the film and figuratively passes the teen-scream-queen torch to pouty screen sister Amber Tambyln. Instead of listening to the prattle of multiple incarnations of God on the CBS primetime soap Joan of Arcadia, Tamblyn will have to tolerate being stared and meowed at by annoying apparitions. Which is more insufferable: God as a hippie or those pesky little ghouls with beady eyes?

Infamous; Opens at Kendall Square Cinema Tomorrow

If this film is worthy of anything, it is for proving that timing is everything. Infamous is forced to live in the shadow of Capote-which had not yet been released when Infamous began shooting in Feb. 2005. In comparison to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, British thespian Toby Jones gives a more catty, effeminate and dwarfish interpretation of Truman Capote. The trailer makes it seem like a Mel Brooks-style spoof of the 2005 Best Picture nominee. Somewhere within the film, Gwyneth Paltrow pops up as a lounge singer and the new James Bond (Daniel Craig) locks lips with Jones’ physically deformed-looking Capote. The tagline states: “There is more to the story than you know.” If it wasn’t for Capote, that may be true.

music

by Bryan o’toole

TWISTED SISTER, A TWISTED CHRISTMAS; AVAILABLE Oct. 17

Tired of listening to a bunch of hacks like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin croon Christmas carols? Well, if you wanna rock, trade in your old Santa suit for one made of spandex and raise your devil’s horns as you await the release of Twisted Sister’s A Twisted Christmas which, for reasons unknown, drops in the middle of October. The upside is that’ll you’ll have two months to prep for the season by rocking out to glammed-up guitar versions of Yuletide standards like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “White Christmas.” Bonus: Dee Snider and company have reworked the 12 days into “Heavy Metal Christmas” to include such lovely gifts as cans of hairspray and a tattoo of Ozzy.

Pet Shop Boys; at the Opera House tomorrow

Attention, east end boys and west end girls: Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe bring over two decades’ worth of synth-pop perfection to the Opera House tomorrow. The Boys are currently touring behind Fundamental, which finds the duo tackling politics amidst a wash of synthesizers and drum machines; the album’s first single “I’m With Stupid” not-so-subtly re-imagines Bush and Blair as secret lovers. Tickets are $42.50, 52.50 and 72.50, and were still available through Ticketmaster as of press time.

dvd

by Caitlin Weaver

Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil; Available Oct. 17

How this can be called a sequel doesn’t make any sense-it’s not a continuation of the 2001 Owen Wilson film nor does it have any of the original main cast, director or writers. It’s almost as if 20th Century Fox decided this would only be marketable as a straight-to-DVD release if it was considered a sequel-a useless sequel. Why was this movie even made? It’s not like the original Behind Enemy Lines was good enough to warrant a second, unrelated film to carry its title. The plot of Axis of Evil involves Navy SEALs on a covert mission in North Korea-but anything with “Axis of Evil” in the title (unless it’s a legit news broadcast) has got to be sub-par.

American Dreamz; Available Oct. 17

With the tagline “imagine a country where more people vote for a pop idol than their next president,” this film is a clear satire of the United States’ affection for “American Idol” and the incompetency of the Bush regime. Starring Mandy Moore as the pop idol, Hugh Grant as the creator of the “Idol”-like reality show and Dennis Quaid as president, American Dreamz looks like it has a solid cast-and a plot that falls short. The president decides to join in the on the fun of the reality show’s season finale … but there is a show-tunes loving Arabic terrorist that accidently ends up competing on the show. The movie tries to intricately weave together entertainment and politics, but gets convoluted trying to make a statement.