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Nobody's Perfect: The Reviews of Anthony Lane Esquire Paperback – 2 Jul 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (2 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330491830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330491839
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 515,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Lane is the most entertaining writer in the New Yorker . . . the ant's pants, the bee's knees, the king of the hill. Some people can just do it; the rest of us only wish we could' Observer 'Nobody's Perfect, a cornucopia of the fruits of Anthony Lane's nigh-on decade as film critic with the New Yorker magazine, is a superb collection' Guardian 'Frequently prowling miles away from film - into Legoland for instance - he consistently surprises and delights with a heady blend of erudition and effervescence' Books of 2002, Independent on Sunday 'A glory: Throughout, Lane upholds the sterling virtue of good writing combined with wit and emotional engagement . . . Nobody's Perfect is a gorgeous plum pudding of a book' Spectator 'Dapper prose, erudite allusions and blithe spirit' Time Out 'An outstanding collection of jourmalism' Daily Telegraph 'A treat . . .Throughout, [Lane] reveals his integrity, culture, and unremitting wit' Herald

Book Description

Nobody's Perfect, the much anticipated collection from the New Yorker critic, brings together a generous selection of Lane's film criticisms, profiles, book reviews, and essays on art and culture. In the manner of Edmund Wilson and Kenneth Tynan, Lane embraces high and low with equal gusto, clearly having a marvelous time. Whether he's writing about T. S. Eliot or Judith Krantz, Alfred Hitchcock or Andre Gide, to read him-or better yet, to reread him-is to be carried along on a current of passionate declamation and urgent inquiry, wry reflection and penetrating wit. Taken together, these pieces reflect some of the most brilliant writing and thinking to have graced the pages of the New Yorker, and they impart a cultural and artistic literacy of the highest order.This, Lane's first book, is an exhilarating volume for fans old and new. 'Frequently prowling miles away from film - into Legoland for instance - he consistently surprises and delights with a heady blend of erudition and effervescence' Independent on Sunday 'Lane is the most entertaining writer in the New Yorker . . . the ant's pants, the bee's knees, the king of the hill. Some people can just do it; the rest of us only wish we could' Observer 'Nobody's Perfect, a cornucopia of the fruits of Anthony Lane's nigh-on decade as film critic with the New Yorker magazine, is a superb collection' Guardian 'A glory. Throughout, Lane upholds the sterling virtue of good writing combined with wit and emotional engagement . . . Nobody's Perfect is a gorgeous plum pudding of a book' Spectator 'An outstanding collection of journalism' Daily Telegraph 'Dapper prose, erudite allusions and blithe spirit' Time Out 'Readers will realise with delight that here is a critic quite prepared to snack happily on the lower slopes of Parnassus as on its heights, urbane enough to trust his own judgement on when art house cinema needs a good kicking, and knowledgeable enough without making his readers feel that they are in the presence of a show-off' Scotsman

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Machin on 7 July 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Film crit, profiles and journalism from the New Yorker over the last ten years - what the UK has been missing since Tina Browne snaffled Anthony Lane from the Independent. Highly commended for its wit and erudition, (and for propping open doors - it's 800 pages) but be warned that it's a kind of depressing read. I've been wasting my time on all this stuff all my life, but I now realise that I actually know nothing and have not a solitary idea worth the name in my empty head. The guy's just too smart, not just on the cultstuds stuff but on Eliot, Waugh, Shakespeare - the big guys - and maddeningly witty and charming with it. Had this one next to the loo for a couple of days thinking I would spin it out over a year or so - after all how many reviews do you want to read at a stretch ? - but it was soon out and by my bedside, and soon after that seemed to be following me round the house. I finally finished it off over a couple of days solid reading. And laughing. Haven't had this experience since Pauline Kael's mighty 'For Keeps', next to which it now sits, a worthy companion.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Machiavelli on 16 July 2003
Format: Hardcover
I bought this yesterday - I picked it off the shelf because I vaguely remember seeing it (very positively) reviewed late last year. In the shop I read his review of "The Saint" (with which I agreed) and of "Stealing Beauty" (with which I disagreed largely, I admit, out of lazy sentimentality), but both made me laugh out loud such that other customers started edging away with sidelong looks. So I bought it and spent the evening with my wife, both of us howling with laughter at "Best-Sellers I" which is like a literary tour written by Bill Bryson (in one of his earlier books) - and I mean that as a compliment to both Messrs Lane and Bryson. His re-writing of Robert Frost in the style of Clive Cussler is simply brilliant, as is his Judith Krantz haiku. For any intelligent film- or book-lover, this is a must-buy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Craig HALL OF FAME on 14 Dec. 2002
Format: Hardcover
...To some, a collection of old reviews may seem as unappetising as warmed-up porridge, and if so, they'd miss what has been the treat of the Xmas season. Here is a critic to rival, no surpass, Ken Tynan and Cyril Connolly; someone you want to read for sheer pleasure at the jokes even if you haven't seen the movie. Even where you disagree, the descriptions are irresistible: Jim Carrey in The Truman Show "admirable but painful: he looks like a drunk who is not only making do with Pellegrino but pretending he likes the stuff", the New York Film Festival showing of Rushmore, where "tough-=skinned viewers in black polo shirts were severely discomfited to find they were having a good time", and more. Equally superb are the literary essays on Eliot, on Bloom and Shakespeare, on Nabokov, and most particularly the Obituaries column of the Daily Telegraph. He never shows off or uses complicated words. He loves good populist movies quite as much as art-house ones, and what is more will explain just why they're worth watching. In short, he does what almost no other critic does, which is to write with the gut feeling of a member of the audience, but with the erudition and elegance of a scholar.
Would that Lane had stayed in Britain instead of floating off to the New Yorker, fame and fortune. The literary world is the poorer for having lost this star who never confuses malice with wit, arrogance with intelligence, affectation with elegance. I wish all would-be critics and journalists would read this book, and learn from it - and all movie-makers too.
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By Denny on 10 Mar. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I now will have to seek and purchase everything available by Anthony Lane - in book form, since sadly I can't afford to subscribe to 'The New Yorker' from England. What a fantastic book this is! It is intelligent, incredibly erudite and so, so funny, something will make you howl with laughter on every single page. Lane's reviews are pure genius, plus they are very gratifying - I felt vindicated by many of them, films AND books, because Lane has the uncanny knack of saying everything we, too, think, but can't quite articulate in such marvellous form. Here are 2 of my favourites:

1. The film Gladiator: 'Maximus escapes death, goes home, finds his family slain, faints, wakes up on a slave train, and ends up being sold to Oliver Reed. What a life. (...) on the other hand, he does rather enjoy himself out there [Rome], wearing a spiffy helmet, engaging hungry tigers in hand-to-paw combat, and making the charioteers wish they had fitted the optional airbag.'

2. Some trashy bestselling novel: the heroine is 'whiffing up the complicated infusion, the utterly satisfactory soup of masculinity that was particular to [her lover]'. That quote in itself is a howler enough, but then Lane adds: 'I hate to think what she did with his croutons.'

Hands down, this is the best book I have ever bought. 750 pages of pure entertainment and intellectual delight. What more can anybody want?
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