Anthony Lane on Con Air—
“Advance word on Con Air said that it was all about an airplane with an unusually dangerous and potentially lethal load. Big deal. You should try the lunches they serve out of Newark. Compared with the chicken napalm I ate on my last flight, the men in Con Air are about as dangerous as balloons.”
Anthony Lane on The Bridges of Madison County—
“I got my copy at the airport, behind a guy who was buying Playboy’s Book of Lingerie, and I think he had the better deal. He certainly looked happy with his purchase, whereas I had to ask for a paper bag.”
Anthony Lane on Martha Stewart—
“Super-skilled, free of fear, the last word in human efficiency, Martha Stewart is the woman who convinced a million Americans that they have the time, the means, the right, and—damn it—the duty to pipe a little squirt of soft cheese into the middle of a snow pea, and to continue piping until there are ‘fifty to sixty’ stuffed peas raring to go.”
For ten years, Anthony Lane has delighted New Yorker readers with his film reviews, book reviews, and profiles that range from Buster Keaton to Vladimir Nabokov to Ernest Shackleton. Nobody’s Perfect is an unforgettable collection of Lane’s trademark wit, satire, and insight that will satisfy both the long addicted and the not so familiar.
The title phrase of Lane's fabulous collection of reviews and profiles is taken from Some Like It Hot, uttered by the unflappable Osgood Fielding III when he finds out his flame isn't a dame. That sense of bittersweet glee is also felt throughout Lane's reviews, as he skewers the likes of Sleepless in Seattle, Poetic Justice and The Scarlet Letter with gusto. Not content to waste precious words on bad movies, he saves his longer pieces for films he likes, such as The Usual Suspects, The English Patient and, most surprisingly, Speed. There are hundreds of movie reviewers in our cinema-obsessed country, but few bring such intelligence and lan to the task as Lane, who weaves together erudition and plain language so artfully that he often trumps whatever snippets of cinematic dialogue he's using to illustrate his point. Of Braveheart, he writes: "The obsequies seem to go on forever: the bodies are buried at a Christian ceremony, after which a little girl comes shyly up to William and gives him a thistle. I thought, I'm out of here." Lane's other pieces, which include book reviews, profiles of authors such as Nabokov and Pynchon, and a few full-length magazine articles, round out the collection nicely, showcasing a writer who can make a sing-along version of The Sound of Music seem like the most compelling night in town. For those who look forward to Lane's pieces, and for the many who should, this weighty tome is as delightful as watching Marilyn Monroe doing the shimmy.