- The Washington Times - Monday, December 4, 2000

Hollywood moll

"Clawed by Al Pacino, slapped by Joaquin Phoenix and impregnated by Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron looks no worse for her on-screen wear and tear… .

"She drinks. She smokes. She can swear like a stevedore… . It's no wonder then, that she is becoming the moll for a murderer's row of up-and-coming leading men.

"Indeed, since her first substantial role … Theron has added Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon to her list of co-stars. 'She's funny and loud and loves to laugh. She's not the girl sitting in the corner worried that no one's talking to her,' says Damon of his on-screen love interest in … 'The Legend of Bagger Vance.' 'I think she'd much rather have a beer and shoot pool than sit around and talk about [German filmmaker Rainer Werner] Fassbinder.' "

John Brodie, writing on "Charlize Is Hungry," in the December issue of GQ

'Pure, chaotic bliss'

"There was a time, shortly after John Lennon's death, when 'A Hard Day's Night' was almost unbearable to watch. It was bad enough that we all knew how the band's story ended, with lawyers and negotiations and daggers of mistrust shooting four ways and then, the worst thing imaginable, silence. But in the early '80s the story took a sadder and more jagged turn. If it was hard to think of the 1980 John as dead, leaving behind some great and some mediocre solo records and a grieving widow nobody ever liked much anyway, it was incomprehensible that the 1964 John that one we'd loved first was gone too… .

"Of course, you get over these things. In rock 'n' roll, not to mention life, people you care about die, and before long 'A Hard Day's Night' had returned to what it had been for me since the first time I saw it on television as a kid in the mid-'60s: an hour and a half of pure, chaotic bliss as if school had just let out forever. It feels good and right that as we near the 20th anniversary of Lennon's death, 'A Hard Day's Night,' with a restored picture and soundtrack, is beginning to make its way to theaters around the country."

Stephanie Zacharek, writing on "A Hard Day's Night," Friday in Salon at www.salon.com

Divided America

"If you take a look at that remarkable post-election map, in which all of George W. Bush's states are red, and all of Al Gore's states are blue, you would be forgiven for thinking that we live in essentially two nations. A friend recalled the map of pre-independence India: a vast, red Hindu subcontinent adorned with a Muslim necklace in the regions that would shortly become Pakistan and Bangladesh. Look at post-election America, and you see a similarly clear geographic divide: the liberal, urban coasts with a couple of Midwestern blobs nervously framing a homogeneous, conservative heartland …

"The columnist Mike Barnicle described this divide as 'Wal-Mart versus Martha Stewart' or 'Family values versus a sense of entitlement' … The divide can be described in a million ways: ethnic minorities versus white traditionalists; rootless cosmopolitans versus redneck bigots; Salon.com versus the Drudge Report; iMac users versus tow-truck drivers; Starbucks versus Cracker Barrel; NPR versus Rush… . We live in a prosperously complex time, and the election proved it… . To add to this, many supported their candidates with severe reservations. Plenty of liberal Democrats would rather listen to a modem than to Al Gore, and plenty of conservatives think W. mangled their arguments. Fundamentalist Christians, blacks and Jews voted as blocks, but they are the exceptions. A third of Latinos voted for Bush; Catholics and Asian-Americans were roughly split. A full quarter of even the gay vote went to Bush even more to Republican congressional candidates."

Andrew Sullivan in "Healing? Maybe so" on his Web site, www.andrewsullivan.com, posted Nov. 28

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