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Comments: Week of December 23, 2013

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1. Our annual “Year in Culture” issue opened with Jonathan Van Meter’s profile of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose 2013 has encompassed not only her star turn as the cynical, fumbling vice-­president on HBO’s Veep but also a much-lauded, more dramatic role in the Nicole Holofcener film Enough Said (“Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the Present Tense,” ­December 16). “It manages to get at all the ways in which Louis-Dreyfus is a compelling person and first-rate comic actress,” wrote Isaac Chotiner at The New Republic, who also noted Van Meter’s apparent fondness for his subject. ­“Although I am no doctor, I would describe his ­feelings toward her as consisting of deep, deep love. Here’s ­hoping the two can find everlasting bliss.” “Who can blame him?” tweeted the Washington Post’s Mark Berman in response. And, on the local-pride front, the Baltimore Sun’s blog Baltimore Insider took issue with Van Meter’s disdain for ­Columbia, Maryland, home to Veep’s set. “The author of the profile seemed to have been profoundly ­disoriented to find himself in an actual suburb,” wrote Julie Scharper. “I’ll admit that Columbia’s faux-quaint street names are a little creepy, but, as suburbs go, it’s not that bad. Imagine if [Van ­Meter] and Louis-Dreyfus were forced to spend time in a truly boring suburb, like, say Timonium.”


2.Her is not just the best film in years, it has the best performance of 2013 by a cosmic margin,” wrote David Edelstein in “The 10 Best Movies of the Year” (December 16), a list readers immediately and aggressively feasted on. “WHERE is Blue Jasmine and Cate Blanchett’s performance??” … “Just saw Nebraska—the screenplay and acting are terrific. No one under 30 will like it, ­understand it or have the patience to sit through the movie without going to their f--king iPhones” … “Have you seen ­Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess? My new favorite of 2013” … “No film I saw this year was as disturbing as The Act of Killing. It’s even difficult to talk about it.” But the greatest source of conflict in the comments came from the omission of both 12 Years a Slave and Gravity from the ­final count. “No Gravity?! That was without doubt the most astounding film of the year!” wrote one shocked commenter. “Where on Earth is 12 Years a Slave?” asked another. “Every time a movie in this country deals with REAL issues we have an issue with it.”Gravity did not have the best dialogue but was certainly one of the most memorable theatergoing experiences,” added a reader. “Thank you for omitting Gravity,” wrote another. “It makes space a very dull place.” Added ­another reader: “Grateful that you elected to omit two interminable hours of ­Sandra Bullock hyperventilating in ­outer space.”

3. “I love how these pop-culture-ranking articles turn all the commenters into Comic Book Guy,” wrote one commenter about the frothing debate surrounding Matt Zoller Seitz’s “The 10 Best TV Shows of the Year” (December 16), especially his inclusion of Girls. “Maybe some day people out there will think it’s a great show instead of a slow, boring, unfunny one,” wrote one commenter. “I’ve always suspected that its main audience consists of TV critics.” “The show is dull,” argued another ­Hannah hater. “In ten years, no one will give a shit about Girls. Disagree? Ask any teenager about Friends and see how many of them even know what it was.” Others leaped to the defense of Lena Dunham’s creation. “Not understanding Girls is not understanding high art or ­intelligent dialogue. Go understand ­Modern Family, genius.” Said another, “I don’t hate Girls. I certainly don’t LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE it, but I also don’t think it’s the worst television ever committed to the small screen.” And Zoller Seitz’s choice of No. 1, Arrested Development, reignited debates among comedy fans over whether the resuscitated series lived up to its original run. “Arrested Development was not only awful, but also unbearably pretentious and not funny,” wrote a reader. Said another, “It was like watching ­Michael Jordan play for the ­Wizards. The magic wasn’t there anymore.”

4. “You do the job until you don’t do it anymore,” outgoing police commissioner Ray Kelly told Robert Kolker (“52 Minutes With Ray Kelly,” December 16). “Despite all the criticisms, you made the NYC police efficient and effective, and NYC safer for all,” praised one reader. ­Another agreed: “Being a cop, even at the upper echelons, can be a thankless job. There are always going to be disputes and complaints along with the praise. Ray Kelly has done a good job with some of it. Stop-and-Frisk IS unconstitutional no matter how effective it is.” But one reader wondered just how much credit Kelly deserved for the plunging crime rate, and how much should go to his predecessor: “Since he appointed Bratton, I have more faith in De Blasio. ­Bratton was the beginning of the crime turnaround.” And another had no patience for Kelly’s swagger: “Guy lost all ­credibility with the ­request for the ten-person ­security ­detail. Get over yourself. You’re not that important.”

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