Critics are the losers this year: I used to look forward to the best of music year-end edition with as much anticipation as any other edition of the year ("Pretty Vacant," January 3). This year, I feel entirely let down. In years past, the critics seemed as versed in rap, rock, new age, etc., as any you would find in any publication. This year, it seems as if you just picked a couple of people at random to select CDs from a box. Who let in the person who mentioned 'N SYNC? If I wanted that sort of recommendation, I would go to the TRL message board's best of 2001.
Well done with Spoon, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, My Morning Jacket, and the Shins. But to say that it's been a disappointing year when Cannibal Ox, Aesop Rock, Fugazi, Weezer, Clinic, Stereolab, the Circulatory System, the Microphones, Tim Easton, Jay Farrar, Gillian Welch, Unwound, Mass Romantics, Prefuse 73, Mia Doi Todd, Noriko Tujiko, For Stars, Pinback, the Pernice Brothers, Love Tractor, Creeper Lagoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Pulp, Edith Frost, the Avalanches, Mercury Rev, Paula Frazer, Low, Mojave 3, Super Furry Animals, Stereo Total, Kings of Convenience (and on and on and on) all put out very good albums (most better than those you mentioned, which were very obvious Rolling Stone choices) seems rather musically uneducated and presumptuous.
Check out these albums and write the article again. I mean, David Gray? That wasn't even a 2001 release (Sigur Rós can slide, given it's a 2001 release domestically, but this album was mentioned in New Times' 1999 best of the year edition -- short memory spans), let alone a top album of the year. And how many of you mentioned Jimmy Eat World? Trying to get local band friends? That was not a Top 10 album. It wasn't terrible, but Top 10? Where is it that you find out about new music?
Name withheld by request
Mistaken identity crisis: In regard to Jimmy Magahern's "Distilled Gin" (December 27): Well, okay, it's a decent (though skimpy) interview. But anyone who has lived in Arizona for a healthy chunk of the '80s and '90s should know that Rich Hopkins (Doug's Not-brother) and the Sidewinders were playing jangly "desert pop" years before the Gin Blossoms surfaced. And doing so in Tucson, which is a far cry from the Tempe scene. And who knows where they stole it from.
Artful dodger: Both my husband and I want to compliment Robert Wilonsky on his extremely skillful critique of the movie A Beautiful Mind ("Visions of Grandeur," December 27). We saw the movie recently and loved it. Wilonsky's article did not pop our bubble when he explained the movie took many liberties in telling John Forbes Nash Jr.'s story; rather, his background information gave the story even more depth for us. We were totally absorbed in the movie, and four others with us felt the same way, eliciting much discussion afterward.
Our compliments to Wilonsky on his artful way of dodging any disclosure of what actually happens in the movie yet explaining it very well! That would be hard to do, and we thank you!
Nash rambler: Last week I read the book A Beautiful Mind, and found the real story of Dr. Nash fascinating. (I even read the "notes" at the back of the book.)
I liked the movie, but wish more of the real story would have been told. (His sons, his son's illness, etc.) I turned down pages of the book that warranted discussion with someone who read it, but I don't know anyone who would read it unless he was a mathematician. I even researched "Reimann's Hypothesis" on the Internet (and I can just balance a checkbook). The movie was a crowd-pleaser, however, because the theater was completely packed, people were crying, and there was applause at the end. I couldn't understand the using of code-breaking in the film, but perhaps it was a way to show Nash's delusion.
Thank you for giving me a place to write to someone about this film/book.
Don't Bogart Those Facts
Sub par: The local actor who considers himself an authority on Humphrey Bogart better sign up for a refresher course ("Bogey Man," Robrt L. Pela, December 20). Bogart's first film was not, as this "expert" maintains, Bad Sister in 1931, but a short subject, Broadway's Like That, released in 1930. This was followed by three feature-length films -- A Devil With Women, Up the River and Body and Soul -- before the release of Bad Sister.
These facts can easily be found in several biographies and reference books, which makes the carelessness and gullibility of your reporter all the more astonishing.
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Agency aid: The story of Jamie by Amy Silverman ("For the Love of Jamie," December 6) was heartwarming and heart-wrenching. However, I do not understand why Cheryl Moore is suing Dillon Southwest. If she is truly the caring person that she appears to be, why put the agency that obviously helps so many helpless babies out of business?