American Madness

Intelligent Criticism in the Service of a Better Nation

Wrap a Nap: Ten Word Review

Ten Word Review
Shockingly utilitarian. Anoints wearer with the superpower of sleeping anywhere.
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Full Review
This product needs to come with an illustrated instruction manual, better yet, the person who delivers it should show you how to put it on. Not because it’s complicated— but because it’s hilarious. When I was first presented [...]

Finding comfort food in Brooklyn

So, I don’t usually write restaurant reviews, but every once in a while one comes along that strikes a resonant chord.  The Grand Canyon Restaurant, 141 Montague Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201, was such a place for me.  Why?  Well, it’s about hamburgers!  You know what they are generally like: hard, compressed and tasteless.  This [...]

Bouncing along the plot potholes of Revolutionary Road

Emotional abuse and marital discord have not been this explicitly depicted on screen since Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton devastated each other and another young couple in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The barbs slung in that older film were exchanged between a husband and wife, long-married and bitter. Edward Albee’s play on which it [...]

Van Sant milks history for understated biopic

Director Gus Van Sant has taken a break from his often inaccessible forays into (almost) experimental film to make Milk, a very typical Hollywood biopic about Harvey Milk, the nation’s first openly gay man to win major elected office and then assassinated shortly thereafter. I don’t use ‘typical’ pejoratively, rather as an observation of how [...]

Seven Pounds and 118 minutes of incoherence

Scene: Ben Thomas (played with unending weepiness by Will Smith), despondent, in close-up makes a 911 call to report his own impending suicide.
Cut to: Ben swimming in the blue Pacific. His voiceover, in pressing sadness, informs us, “In seven days God created the world. And in seven seconds I shattered mine.” Yet I recall God [...]

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