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John Powers

A Letter at 3 PM

Film Editor 1985-1989, Editor at Large 1990-1993, Deputy Editor 2001-2004, Editor at Large 2004-2007 In 1985, I drove to Los Angeles from Washington, D.C., to ...

Hillary's Fight for Survival

Back when Bill Clinton was running for president, there was a riveting seven-game playoff between the Chicago Bulls, led by the lavishly gifted Michael Jordan, and the New York Knicks, whose superstar, Patrick Ewing, was never quite as super as people thought he’d be. The Bulls, clearly the better team,......

Hived In

Not to go all Singing Detective on you, but I’ve spent the past fortnight covered with hives brought on by some allergic reaction, perhaps to Jack Nicholson’s tainted-ham performance in The Departed. (Will the real Al Swearengen please stand up, please stand up?) While these itchy red welts have left......

Milking It

LIKE MOST AMERICANS, I SPENT much of the last 10 days avoiding all the crap about 9/11. I know that nearly 3,000 people died that day, and I mourn their loss; I know, too, that many New Yorkers and Washingtonians still feel that day’s trauma every time they board a......

Post Cards From a Paranoid Universe

My Century, My Ass Back in 1990, a few months after the fall of the Wall, I was in Berlin and wanted to interview one of my heroes, Günter Grass. His publisher gave me his secretary’s number, but when I called, the great man himself answered. He said he’d be......

Head Games

IF ANYTHING WAS MORE UNEXPECTED than Zinédine Zidane head-butting an Italian defender during Sunday’s World Cup final, it was the reception the red-carded star received the next day at a dinner honoring the French team for being runners-up. “Dear Zinédine Zidane,” purred President Jacques Chirac. “What I want to express......

Blue Velvet: Last Tango in Lumberton

Call it a dream. It does not change anything. ­—Ludwig Wittgenstein A young man hides in a closet and peers through its slatted door at a woman called “Mommy” and, later on, at a man known as “Daddy.” What he sees in that 10 minutes is unlike anything ever put......
(Photo Universal Focus/Photofest)

Unbuttoning David Lynch

In these publicity-crazed days, more and more filmmakers can talk a great movie but can’t make a decent one. David Lynch is their antithesis: He makes brilliant films (e.g., Eraserhead), but can’t or won’t say much about them — at least consciously. He pleads inarticulateness, takes the Fifth, insists that......

Fantasy Islands

WHEN RONALDO SCORED HIS SECOND GOAL against Japan last week — prompting jubilant yellow-and-green-clad fans to break into an impromptu samba — I remembered the famous putdown by Charles de Gaulle. “Brazil,” he said, “is not a serious country.” But while the general thought he was being crushing, he was......