Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading: Will star power — and/or that great shot of him running on the treadmill — help the film cut through the glut? Focus Features
The fall TV season is finally getting underway, and while it may not bring greatness, it will bring an end to the worst of the summer fare. (Fare thee well, Greatest American Dog!) We're climbing out of the August blues at the movies, too. So it's as good a time as any to pause for a roundup of interesting happenings:
• The Wall Street Journal posits today that the real problem at the movies is that too much is being produced, leaving no room for anything to succeed. Isn't the market for film destined to splinter just like the market for television, once distribution channels catch up? Is this a glut, or is the market just getting more niche-oriented? Isn't this partly a result of the insistence on packing everything potentially award-winning into the late part of the year, packing everything blockbuster-ish into the summer, and leaving the rest of the calendar to rot?
More culture bites, including Stevie Wonder, David Letterman, and challenging All Songs Considered to a duel, after the jump ...
• The Library Of Congress is giving Stevie Wonder its Gershwin Prize For Popular Song. Incidentally, you can hear about the crimes Stevie Wonder perpetrated against music in the '80s as part of the raucous discussion of that decade's music that recently took place over at All Songs Considered. (But What of "Pac-Man Fever," All Songs Considered? Blog war! Blog war!)
• Your DVR may help your relationship. No, really. Science says so! I suspect the ability to pause is the main reason. "Can you listen to me for one second?" no longer requires missing a precious moment of football announcers explaining how Brett Favre plays like a kid out there.
• I strongly recommend the Rolling Stone comedy issue, featuring an interview with David Letterman. (Read an excerpt here.) What's making headlines is Letterman's bafflement at NBC's decision to ditch Jay Leno — but what distinguishes the interview is that unlike a lot of comedy personalities, Letterman can easily put away his persona and not be "on." He can candidly discuss how much he likes his life, how much he respects his staff, and how grateful he is, without turning everything into a more-distant-than-thou display of cynicism.
• The trailer for Gus Van Sant's Milk, the biography of San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk, who was assassinated in 1978, has arrived:
The 1984 documentary The Times Of Harvey Milk won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. My guess is that you can look for plenty of awards here, too.