About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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  • Oscar Given for Best Daytime TV Personality

    By kyle | August 4, 2011

    Patrick Goldstein rips the Academy a new one:

    It’s hard to imagine a more boneheaded move by the motion picture academy than its decision to give an honorary Oscar, in the form of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, to Oprah Winfrey….
    Winfrey has clearly done lots of creditable humanitarian work, but why should she be getting the Hersholt award — perhaps the most prestigious of all honorary Oscars — which in the past has gone to actors, executives and filmmakers with high-profile movie careers? Judging from my email traffic, the prevailing analysis is that the academy was reacting to the loss of face it suffered this year with the total absence of people of color from its Oscar nominations.

    I think it’s pretty obvious Oprah isn’t getting the big award for being in a flop 15 years ago (“Beloved”) or a single hit a decade before that (“The Color Purple”). Randy Quaid’s movie resume is more impressive than Oprah’s. Now that a precedent has been set, though: where are the Oscars for such other stars of daytime as Judge Judy, Barbara Walters and Glenn Beck?

    Topics: Movies, Oscars | 1 Comment »

    “Who Will Win–and Who Should?”

    By kyle | February 24, 2011

    Related question: Who cares? For all the Oscar stuff, I suppose you can check out Entertainment Weekly or something. Nevertheless, I’ll be livetweeting the Oscars Sunday night. I have no idea why. Makes the pain a little more bearable, I guess. As does a nice 2001 Bordeaux. My tweet handle is @rkylesmith.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 3 Comments »


    By kyle | March 8, 2010

    They widen the field of Best Picture nominees in hopes that some movies people will have actually seen will get nominated. Then they give all the Oscars to a movie that grossed $12.7 million. A lot of people watching tonight are thinking, “I won’t be watching this again.” A group that thinks “Precious” is a better script than “An Education,” Sandra Bullock is a better actress than Meryl Streep or Carey Mulligan and “The Hurt Locker” is a better movie than “Inglourious Basterds” doesn’t have much taste. At some point, people are bound to think, “Who cares what the Academy says?” That point has arrived.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars | 22 Comments »

    Five Most Idiotic Oscar Nominations of the Year

    By kyle | February 2, 2010

    5. Best Picture for “The Hurt Locker.” C’mon people: This movie is one great scene (which is essentially repeated three times, just to be sure we caught it) and a shapeless second hour. We get it: War is a drug. Four words do not a story constitute, let alone a great story, let alone a great movie. This movie reminds me of Tom Wolfe’s comment, in “The Painted Word,” that a postmodernist painting like something by Jasper Johns was essentially a rebus leading you to a single, simple message.
    4. Best Screenplay for “District 9.” Ooh, the aliens are kinda like black people in Jo-Burg shantytowns. Deep, man.
    3. Best Picture for “District 9.” Maybe on another planet. Not even a good or original sci-fi movie, much less an Awards Season Contender. “Iron Man” was about three times better.
    2. Woody Harrelson, Best Supporting Actor for “The Messenger.” Being all drunk and crazy (on a mission that would seem to require the opposite of these qualities) is all it is.
    1. Best Screenplay for “The Messenger.” A hummvee of anti-military cliches. Truly one of the worst “serious” pictures of the year, utterly lacking in interest.

    Question: Are the Oscars even worth watching this year? I suppose so, because Baldwin and Martin are pretty funny. And as long as “Inglourious Basterds” has a chance, I’m into it. Also I’m chuffed to see Nick Hornby getting a well-earned nomination for “An Education,” which also richly deserved its Best Picture and Best Actress nominations. Write more movies, please, Nick.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars | 38 Comments »

    SAG Upset! Basterds Rule!

    By kyle | January 24, 2010

    Now that SAG has given its top award to what is obviously the best film of the year, I seem to recall someone saying (at a time when most seemed to think “Basterds” wouldn’t even get nominated): Don’t count it out for the Oscar. It may have even been me. I really, really, really doubt Best Picture is going to “Avatar,” with its cheesy dialogue, its arrogant director, its gung-ho moments, its scary implications for actors (who are by far the largest voting branch of the Academy). Okay, it’s a great looking movie. How many fantasies have won the top Oscar? Only the final Lord of the Rings picture. And it made gobs of money. Not a lot of movies that topped the box office in their year won Best Picture either.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars | 1 Comment »

    Good Call, Tobes

    By kyle | January 13, 2010

    Tobey Maguire Not Anticipating Oscar Nod, for the utterly forgotten, six-week-old Iraq War love triangle soap “Brothers,” Maguire says in a story whose modesty is calculated to win him an Oscar nod he isn’t going to get. In other news, Megan Fox isn’t getting an Oscar nomination either. The interviewer apparently forgot to ask Maguire about being fired from the “Spider-Man” franchise.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars | 2 Comments »

    Don’t Count Out ‘Basterds’

    By kyle | December 17, 2009

    The most mystifying thing to me about the New York Film Critics Circle vote the other day (apart from all the love for the French snoozer “Summer Hours”) was the lack of love for “Inglourious Basterds,” which seemed to wind up about fourth (or worse) in most categories except Best Supporting Actor, which it should have won by acclamation. But every day this movie is picking up more steam. SAG love arrives today, on the heels of the “surprising” (to who?) pack of Golden Globes nominations. The IndieWire survey of critics has it neck and neck with “The Hurt Locker” for the title of the no. 1 film of the year. I’ve got news for “Hurt Locker” fans: It ain’t gonna win Best Picture. “Up in the Air” has to be rated the heavy favorite, but don’t count out Q.T. and his Basterds.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars | 4 Comments »

    2009 Listmania: Ten Oscar Predictions

    By kyle | December 10, 2009

    1. Jeff Bridges will win Best Actor for “Crazy Heart.” Sorry, George. You’re too young to have two Oscars, especially since you’re not much of an actor.
    2. Sandra Bullock will get nominated for Best Actress for “The Blind Side.”
    3. Christoph Waltz will win Best Supporting Actor for “Inglourious Basterds.”
    4. Carey Mulligan will win Best Actress for “An Education.”
    5. “Julie & Julia” will get a Best Picture nomination.
    6. “Invictus” will not. (Though I wouldn’t bet my house on this one. With 10 nominees, the average voter will be hard-pressed to find deserving candidates.)
    7. Paul McCartney will win Best Original Song.
    8. “Inglourious Basterds” will win Best Original Screenplay.
    9. Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie will not entertain questions from the gentlemen of the press.
    10. Ratings will be even worse than last year’s.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars | 3 Comments »

    Can Anything Stop “Up in the Air”?

    By kyle | December 9, 2009

    Four years ago at this time of year, “Brokeback Mountain” was all anyone could talk about; then Oscar voters got sick of hearing about it and started fumbling around for another movie to give the Best Picture Oscar to, eventually settling on “Crash.” Three years ago no one had the slightest idea that “The Departed” would win the top prize as everyone was talking about how “Dreamgirls” would rule awards season. Two years ago, “Atonement” was thought to have an excellent shot at a Best Picture win — until people saw it and decided it was lame, which made voters back up and reconsider “No Country for Old Men.” And last year at this time everyone was really excited about “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” although they were also telling each other that “Slumdog Millionaire” was a cute underdog, even if it was obviously no match for the $150 million Brad Pitt extravaganza.

    My point is that the road to Oscar is long. “Up in the Air” is way, way out in front of the pack now, because those who have seen the pictures we all thought would be the leading contenders — “The Lovely Bones,” “Invictus” and “Nine” — know that none of the three films is a serious candidate for a top Oscar. So “Up in the Air” has to maintain its lead all the rest of this month and through January and February. Voters may decide to start reconsidering other movies they didn’t give much of a chance to initially–like “Precious” and (who knows?) maybe even “The Blind Side” and “Inglourious Basterds.” All three of these movies are $100 million hits (“Precious” will get there eventually). Then there is the wild card: “Up.” Top prize to an animated feature? It’s never happened before. But “Up” is a very special movie.

    I think that in the end, “Up in the Air” will, despite the disadvantage of front-runner status, indeed win this marathon and take home Best Picture, because it’s right for the time, because people love Clooney so much that they’re willing to give him an Oscar for growing a gut in “Syriana” and nominate him for a ludicrous thriller like “Michael Clayton,” and because the rival pictures are just a bit too out of the mainstream (in the case of “Basterds” and “Precious”) or a bit too solidly in the middle of the mainstream (“The Blind Side”). But don’t count out Quentin Tarantino for Best Director.

    Topics: Books, Movies, Oscars | 3 Comments »

    2009 Listmania: Ten Movies That Aren’t Going to Win Best Picture

    By kyle | December 8, 2009

    The Lovely Bones
    A Serious Man
    The Road
    The Last Station
    The Messenger
    The Informant
    Bright Star
    Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

    Topics: Movies, Oscars | 2 Comments »

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