Search View Archive

Lisa Rosman

Houseguestiquette: A Guide

When it comes to houseguestiquette, the etiquette of having and being a houseguest, it is best to do as I say, not as I do. Not only am I a conscientious pull-out couch resister, but, as both a host and houseguest, I’ve always been too punk rock to be Martha Stewart.

Techniquette: “The Kids Are Not All Right”

I am not the natural heir to the etiquette throne, God knows. I come from a family so uncouth that my former shrink once unblinkingly labeled them a "pack of wolves." I grew up in Greater Boston, one of this country’s coldest regions in both weather and temperament, and I emigrated to Brooklyn, not Manhattan, more than 10 years ago not for opera at the Met, dinner at the Four Seasons, and "Talk of the Town," but for rock-the-mike block parties, West Indian take-out, and stoop-snooping.

Exiquette: Your Own Private Ex-Men

Exes are not just deal-breakers in the game of Scrabble, nor consonants that proliferate embarrassingly pleasurable science fiction. Nay, exes are also the term for what most accurately, if unkindly, can be referred to as romantic detritus.

English for Beginners

What’s most intriguing about director Lone Scherfig’s first post-Dogme 95 feature, the admittedly appealing Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, is where and how it falls short.

Dreaming A Little Dream: One from the Heart and 21 Grams

Discovering a Francis Ford Coppola movie you’ve never seen is a little like that New York City dream in which you stumble upon a whole room you’ve never noticed before in your apartment.

Dubious Honors: Movie Awards

Before I present the second annual Dubious Honors movie awards, I’ve decided to come out of the closet. Every year at awards time I launch into long tirades about the hypocrisies of Hollywood and other film institutions, but the truth is that I’m as biased as the next person. It’s time I owned up to my own potential dealbreaker.

What’s So Funny: The Schtick of Bill Murray and Jack Black

There’s a reason comedic actors generally don’t win Oscars— and it’s not just because the Oscars are pure mishegos. A lot of comedic actors are funny at the expense of truly inhabiting a part. And when they do try to "act seriously," they take on a forced quality, a knitted brow—à la Jim Carey or Robin Williams—that signals "I am actor, hear me roar." (Although, sadly, Williams did win an Oscar for his "serious" role as the shrink with the crap Boston accent in Good Will Hunting).

Good Fight, Good Film? John Sayles’s Casa de los Babys

I want to like John Sayles movies. Time was when I couldn’t resist them, though it may have been Sayles’s long muscles clad in jeans fairly bulging with a social conscience that I really couldn’t resist.

Dubious Honors

I don’t have one of those fathers who dispenses pellets of wisdom like Pez, but he does have one choice saying: "There’s no shame in any job, so long as you do it well."

Meta, Meta Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink

Metamovies ruined my party. Recently I hosted a crafts night, as we Brooklyn girls are known for our craftiness. There we were, all knitting, crocheting, baking cookies, when someone brought up Adaptation, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze’s latest, much-publicized collaboration. The movie is about making a movie, or, rather, Kaufman’s struggle to adapt Susan Orlean’s real-life novel The Orchid Thief into a passable Hollywood screenplay. In other words, the movie is, as my friend Jocelyn described it, "meta meta meta meta."

The Shape of Things, Indeed

Pallid affairs aesthetically, LaBute’s triumvirate shares a stiltedness with his two other films, the bracing comedy Nurse Betty (2000) and last year’s Possession, a bloodless adaptation of A.S. Byatt’s terrific novel.

Boredom’s Just Another Vice: Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes

All laurels eventually become resting grounds, and with Coffee and Cigarettes, Jim Jarmusch rides his own coattails, with none of the panache that defined his earlier work.

The Filmmaker’s a Clown

Here’s a dilemma. Say you always complain that filmmakers need to be more socially responsible, that they need to—not to put too fine a point on it—get off their cinematic asses and make films—no, movies that reflect that, aside from Michael Jordan, Mohammed, or Jesus Christ, nobody plays a greater hand in forming how and what people today believe and do than filmmakers.

The Culture Wars of Christ: What the Success of Passion of the Christ Can Tell Us

Mel Gibson suffers from crucifixation, which would be fine if he were just another masochist calling 900 numbers when his wife was out of town.

A Different Kind of Kodak

When Tolstoy wrote that "happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," he didn’t know to add that unhappy families who relentlessly document themselves belong to a category unto itself.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

All Issues