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 Goes for Youth Audience with 60-Year-Old White Guys

    By kyle | November 4, 2009

    Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to host next year’s Oscars. I like ’em both but — does Steve Martin really need a co-host? Steve is one of the most enduring comedians ever. The guy used to write for the Smothers Brothers and he’s still huge. He’s been in the game 40 years now. Yet Baldwin looks older.

    Topics: Comedy, Movies, Oscars, TV | 2 Comments »

    “Not One But Two Excruciatingly Bad Musical Numbers”

    By kyle | February 23, 2009

    You can go ahead and count Patrick Goldstein among the excruciated. Check out his insightful, horrified Oscar recap. Ratings were up something like four million viewers this year, putting it maybe 3rd from the bottom, all-time.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 4 Comments »

    “The Most Tedious, Even Grating Ceremony in Oscar History”

    By kyle | February 23, 2009

    So sayeth Lee Siegel, who questions the wisdom of putting Beyonce in a Busby Berkeley dance number and asks, “What does ‘The Reader’ have to do with ‘The Graduate’?” The Oscars were a discombobulated mess. It’s hard to believe actual planning went into those clip constructions and the overall theme of How Movies Get Made.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 1 Comment »

    If I Were Running the Post

    By kyle | February 23, 2009

    ….This would be my Page One pic tomorrow. The Oscars are often terrible, but never before have they been so excruciatingly, insufferably, what-else-is-on-Mabel? dull. The highlight of the show came when the end credits rolled. It was the only time all evening I was paying rapt attention. You know why? Because it was the only time all evening I saw something I hadn’t seen before.
    Good night, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 35 Comments »

    Penn Is Mighty

    By kyle | February 23, 2009

    I kind of like the idea of Mickey Rourke better than his actual work. His performance in “The Wrestler” was nice, but nothing terribly special. Sean Penn did something that really was special, and he is a deserving winner.

    As for “Slumdog Millionaire,” one of the Hollywood bloggers said several old-timey voters came up to him at parties and told him, “It’s just not an Oscar picture.” I would have been very surprised if you had told me, back when I saw the film at the Toronto Film Festival, that it would win a massive number of Oscars–eight!–including Best Picture. Only a handful of classics have done better. I would have thought it was just too small and too star-deprived a film to compete with something like “Benjamin Button.” It may be the smallest movie ever to win Best Picture, though you could make a case for “Driving Miss Daisy.”

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 6 Comments »

    Well-Deserved Visual Effects Win

    By kyle | February 22, 2009

    For “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which will walk away with at least three technical awards after pundits speculated it might set a new futility mark by going 0 for 13. The visual effects were great in “The Dark Knight,” of course, but they weren’t of a different type than we’d seen before, whereas “Benajmin Button” really was a movie that harnessed visual effects in amazingly imaginative new ways.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 6 Comments »

    Philippe Petit: Next Oscar Host!

    By kyle | February 22, 2009

    The star of “Man on Wire,” a movie that at last look scored a 100 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, gets his place at the podium for the sublime documentary about tightrope walking between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. I loved this movie and thought about calling it the best of the year but wound up going with “Slumdog Millionaire” for the top slot and “Man on Wire” for runner-up.

    That rubbery little Frenchman’s got more entertainment value in his Oscar-balancin’ nose than Hugh Jackman does in all his sweeping gestures and “Love me, cheap seats!” showbizzery. Hire Petit to host the Oscars! The ratings will be as low as they are this year but at least those of us who have to watch it won’t be as bored as if we were waiting for a bus on a drizzly morning. Actually, that situation would be superior to this one as I could read The New Yorker while awaiting the M104.

    Overall, the best news tonight came on the pregame show, when Ron Howard said he thought the “Arrested Development” movie was going to happen.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 5 Comments »


    By kyle | February 22, 2009

    Whose career has less potential going forward: Heath Ledger’s or Cuba Gooding’s?

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 4 Comments »

    Liveblogging the Academy Awards 2009: Another Big Winner: Javier Bardem

    By kyle | February 22, 2009

    Traditionally one Best Supporting Actor winner presents the next year’s award. Bardem this year is a no-show (to make room for such luminaries as Cuba Gooding Jr.?) and I’m sure he’s glad, after that wince-making musical production number hosting by ha-cha-cha highstepper Hugh Jackman.

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 4 Comments »

    “Suck on That, Anthony Dod Mantle!”

    By kyle | February 22, 2009

    –Janusz Kaminski. Now that’s what I call funny.

    Of course, like the Steve Martin bit, the very funny Judd Apatow short film in the style of “Pineapple Express” was subcontracted out. Why can’t they do that for the whole show? Hire more funny people.

    Seth Rogen cracking up as James Franco tries to pronounce “Spielzugland” (or whatever it was), the short-film winner….that’s classic Oscar. As is the two of them bursting into laughter as they watch “The Reader” in the short film. (The joke was somewhat ruined when they did it again watching “Doubt,” though. When you’ve got a great joke, don’t dilute its effect by repeating it.) Kate Winslet can perfect the hilarity of “The Reader” if she thanks Ricky Gervais as she pockets her statue. (Although I think Oscar voters will come to their senses and give it to Meryl Streep.)

    Topics: Movies, Oscars, TV | 1 Comment »

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