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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  • Palin Documentary “Undefeated” Loses

    By kyle | July 24, 2011

    The Sarah Palin documentary “The Undefeated” plunged 63 percent in its second weekend and I assume it will be expanding to few more markets, if any. It can now be officially labeled a flop.
    I wanted this film to be good. It was not. It goes into the Hall of Ignominy on Rotten Tomatoes, joining the select group of films that have scored zero percent. I warned the makers that it was a dog as loudly as I could. They could have fixed some of the problems they faced. They ignored me and barred me from a critics’ screening of the finished cut in New York City. They paid the price.

    Topics: Sarah Palin | 8 Comments »

    “New York Conservative” Defamed!

    By kyle | June 8, 2011

    My harsh critique of the Sarah Palin documentary “The Undefeated” was picked up by liberal sites like Gawker, Andrew Sullivan’s blog and Dave Weigel of Slate, who strikes me as kinda sorta a liberal or at least not a real conservative. (Weigel is a great guy, by the way, with immense knowledge of DC procedure.) Lefties, in comments, rejoiced, while many conservatives snarled. A bunch accused me of being a “liberal” (not even close), a Palin hater (not true either — I like her) and even a “New York conservative.”

    Well. That’s a low one, if literally true — but the implication that I have a Nelson Rockefeller body pillow is too much to take. I’m a conservative, albeit one who doesn’t get overly excited about God, guns and/or gays, though in effect I more or less line up with the 3G crowd on all of these things for procedural reasons. (I don’t see gay marriage being guaranteed in the due process clause, but then again there’s nothing forbidding gay marriage in the Constitution either, so if state legislatures decide to recognize gay marriage one by one, then we acknowledge that elections have consequences and move on to something more important. And if Anthony Kennedy does rule, as he almost certainly will, that 50-state gay marriage is guaranteed by the due process clause, blame the guy who gave him his seat in the first place.)

    Still, there is a certain red-state mentality that is hostile to northeastern Republicans who put taxing and spending issues foremost. But I think the distinction between what me might call Romney Republicans and Palin Republicans is largely one of style, emphasis, electability. In other words: can’t we all just get along? Palin is usually right on the money in terms of political philosophy (or at least she has been since she became a national figure; she was much more of a centrist in Alaska, as far as I can tell) but let’s get real about her electability: She doesn’t have it. If you want to be a professional nuisance, fine, but don’t be surprised when you wind up annoying a lot of people. Moreover, even Palin lovers should admit that “The Undefeated” is pretty much an unbearable blare. (Maybe it’ll be fixed before it hits theaters, but I doubt it.) I like Jack Nicholson but that doesn’t make “Witches of Eastwick” a great movie.

    A potential president has to be sober, soothing, and very, very careful about gaffes because you get judged by what you say at your worst moments. Minimizing the worst moments is important. For Republicans it’s doubly important because most of the media wants to fry us in a skillet. Palin is almost gleeful in her disdain of such “rules,” and I give her credit for that, but there’s a price to be paid.

    A president Palin would repeal ObamaCare. So would Romney. A president Palin would block tax hikes. So would Romney. A president Palin would try to get discretionary spending and entitlements under control. So would Romney. I believe both would appoint conservative judges, but who knows? Once you give someone a lifetime appointment, anything can happen. If you like Palin, you should support Romney or someone else who could actually win. And Palin can go on doing what she does best — being a personality. She’s having a lot of fun doing so, and making a lot of money. Which is why she won’t run for president anyway.

    Topics: Sarah Palin | 11 Comments »

    Sarah Palin Comeback!

    By kyle | November 13, 2009

    Don’t laugh, says Matthew Continetti: It could happen. I don’t think voters will forgive her for walking away from Alaska. Continetti’s perfectly-timed book on Palin comes out next week. I plan to read Palin’s book and write a review as soon as I can.

    Topics: Books, Sarah Palin | 14 Comments »

    Is Olive Garden Backing Away from Letterman?

    By kyle | June 18, 2009

    Olive Garden kinda sorta denies they’re pulling ads from David Letterman because of the Sarah Palin controversy. But won’t say whether, in fact, we will be seeing Olive Garden spots on Letterman. And the original Politico story looks pretty solid. Question: Will Letterman, that scourge of the mighty, tribune of the truth, use this opportunity to make fun of Olive Garden? Here’s the basic oxymoron of edgy late-night comics: They’re corporate edgy. They can be as “controversial” as they want about safe and approved topics such as the sluttiness or all-out evil of conservatives. But they have to be edgeless enough to attract ads from corporate American behemoths. UPDATE: Gawker says it’s protests from Hillary Clinton fans that are scaring the advertisers! Hey, I thought lefty feminists didn’t mind it when professional women were called slutty and their underage daughters deemed knock-up-able — if those women are conservative. Color me surprised. I really, really hope Gov. Palin does not go on the Letterman show to make nice, show she has a sense of humor, etc. If she does, the story ends. Let Letterman twist in the wind. He can’t back out of this unless Palin lets him. She should go on a rival show and be quietly dismissive of Dave, make a joke and say something like, “Oh dear, I guess I’m threatening to poor Dave in some way. Well, he has the right to make whatever tasteless jokes he likes, but we all have a right to not watch his feeble little show.”

    Topics: Comedy, Politics, Sarah Palin, TV | 5 Comments »

    Sarah Palin as Oprah?

    By kyle | October 24, 2008

    “How to shoot a moose between the antlers–PLUS! cooking with whale blubber! Next ‘Sarah!'” Is Sarah Palin the next media superstar, or will she stay in government? The Hollywood Reporter mulls her options.

    Topics: Politics, Sarah Palin, TV | No Comments »

    “SNL” Wastes Sarah Palin

    By kyle | October 19, 2008

    Sarah Palin, who got big laughs during her RNC speech, wasn’t funny on “Saturday Night Live.” Why? Because they didn’t give her anything funny to do. They made her stand there like a rhododendron while Alec Baldwin squinted at the cue cards. Baldwin is normally funny on the show. And he can, presumably, memorize a couple of minutes of dialogue. But why bother to do well? If he had been funny in a pro-Palin sketch (obviously she’s not going to do a sketch at her expense), people would have watched the clip millions of times. Easier to just do as badly as possible. Following this: a lame “bit” by Josh Brolin that amounted to a free ad for “W.,” complete with Oliver Stone playing an audience member who asks that the name of the film be mentioned. Brolin obliged. This show was weak sauce, either intentionally or because “SNL” writers, like David Letterman’s, can’t think of anything funny to say that has a right-leaning premise.

    Topics: Comedy, Movies, Politics, Sarah Palin, TV | 18 Comments »

    Sarah Palin’s SAT Document and Transcript: Fake

    By kyle | October 10, 2008

    So says an expert about that suspicious-looking transcript floating around the Internets.

    Topics: Politics, Sarah Palin | 1 Comment »

    Sarah Palin Invited to Join Pussycat Dolls

    By kyle | October 10, 2008

    If this whole veep thing doesn’t work out, she’ll be fine. (H/t: Conservative Grapevine.) Elsewhere, a blogger points out that news photographers love to take pictures of Palin rallies from behind the candidate’s legs. Were a liberal woman treated this way, it would of course be denounced as reductionist and sexist to define a candidate by her gams. But of course you couldn’t take a picture that revealed Hillary Clinton’s legs, which to the relief of all Americans are invariably cloaked in yards of pantsuit. UPDATE: Dirty Harry has the scoop: Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, Oct. 25.

    Topics: Comedy, Music, Politics, Sarah Palin | 4 Comments »

    Clint Eastwood Disparages Dirty Harry Fans

    By kyle | October 5, 2008

    Clint Eastwood came into town last week for a press conference to introduce his new Angelina Jolie-starring period drama “Changeling”–during which he described himself as “a libertarian” and said essentially that he was disgusted with both political parties. Interesting. More on that later. Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: John McCain, Magazines, Movies, Politics, Sarah Palin | 6 Comments »

    SP Is for Sexy Puritan, Sarah Palin

    By kyle | October 3, 2008

    I just noticed Bay State novelist Tom Perrotta (“Election,” “Little Children,” and see my review of “The Abstinence Teacher“) has an essay up on today’s sexiest Puritan: Sarah Palin. Love the bit about “Christian nymphos.”

    Topics: Politics, Sarah Palin, Sex | No Comments »

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