The only reviews I wish I could truly erase from existence are the pans of movies that I wound up loving down the line. Thankfully, there aren't many of them, partly because I feel, as I've written before, that life is too short to sit through crap movies twice. But the following five titles are all works that I was initially leaning on the fence about and chose to diss, those first opinions – having had at most two days, at the time of their composition, to mull over the experiences – not being opinions I currently hold in the slightest.

The following five, all boasting film scripts by the plays' original authors, are previously unreviewed titles that combine my adoration for cinema and theatre so effectively that they give me the charge of both artistic mediums for the price of one. I restricted my options to movies released in the last 36 years, and if that seems like an odd numeric point from which to jump, it did at least give me the chance to finally talk about …

It takes a truly special work of comedic art to keep me cackling more than two decades after the initial surprise of their jokes. Here are five home-viewing options that, through their promise of always delivering sustained vocal pleasure, have routinely kept me from, ya know, reading War & Peace or something … .

If you're a documentary hound, you're no doubt aware – and are most likely a fan – of the IFC comedy series Documentary Now! Created by a team of wildly funny, intensely knowledgeable talents including Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Seth Myers, the show's premise finds each stand-alone episode simultaneously honoring and making glorious comic mincemeat out of a celebrated documentary in the visual style of that documentary … and in a mere 30 minutes (minus commercial breaks), to boot.

During these uncertain, unsettling times of social distancing and self-quarantining, we know what we should be doing when we need breaks from the news: Reading books. Listening to music. Exercising. Initiating and/or completing home projects. Loving each other. (Not too close!) But sometimes all we really want to do is curl up with as many episodes of binge-able TV as we can handle.


Well well well well well.

Lookie what the Oscars did.

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards telecast is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. CST on Sunday, February 9, and before getting into the nitty-gritty of what I think might win, I'll tell you right away why 1917 is destined to receive a whole bunch of Oscars including Best Picture: If it doesn't get at least six, the Best Picture champ from 2010-2019 that amassed the most trophies is going to be The Artist. Remember The Artist? That silent, black-and-white, French comedy from 2011 that you kept meaning to see and never did? That's gonna be immortalized the decade's biggest winner. Liberal bona fides or not, Academy members would never let that happen.

We all had a hunch it would do well, right? Picture, probably; actor, for sure; maybe writing and maybe directing and probably a handful of craft nominations. But if you told most Oscar watchers that, with the announcement of nominees for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, this morning's big winner would be the super-villain origin story Joker, they'd likely reply with one of Joaquin Phoenix's most memorable lines from that film: “Hahahahahahaha!!!

My favorites of 2019, you ask? Oh, gosh, I have so many: the second season of Amazon Prime's Fleabag, with the divine Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the imploding of the fourth wall and Andrew Scott shaking things up as the definitive Hot Priest; HBO's Chernobyl, with its docudrama delivered as the most enraging of fright films; Netflix's John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch, with its insanely catchy songs and simultaneous salute to and parody of cherished children's programs … .

Oh, wait – we're talking movie favorites? Cool. 'Cause I can talk about those, too.

What are the criteria for movies that you consider your all-time favorites? Themes that continue to engage and affect you, sometimes in profoundly different ways, every time you return to them? Scenarios and jokes that still make you laugh after dozens of viewings? Über-familiarity, allowing you to vacuum your living room while a film is playing and not miss a thing because you have the dialogue committed to memory?