Rachel DeWoskin's novel follows a gutsy 16-year-old girl navigating her way at a new performing arts high school. The book is a distinctive addition to the already packed library of coming-of-age stories.
Fans of NBC's Friday Night Lights might want to look into DirecTV; the show, about a small Texas town and its high-school football team, begins its third season exclusively on DirecTV's "The 101," and won't hit broadcast TV until 2009. David Bianculli has a review.
Twitchy undertaker, cubicle fiend, sassy convenience-store clerk — Rainn Wilson has long gravitated toward eccentric characters. But is The Office actor attempting the leap to sex symbol through his titular role in The Rocker? Given the hair-metal coif and the still-goofy humor, probably not.
In the Japanese anime series Death Note, high school student Light Yagami is in possession of a super-powered notebook that allows him to kill anyone, simply by writing down the victim's name. Critic-at-large John Powers offers a commentary.
Comic actress Amy Sedaris offers a prequel to her Comedy Central series in the film version of Strangers with Candy. Amy, sibling of author David Sedaris, co-wrote the script with Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello, friends from her days in the Second City improvisational theater troupe in the late 1980s.
She wrote the screenplay for the new movie Mean Girls. It's based on the book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, by Rosalind Wiseman. Fey also co-stars in the film, along with Lindsay Lohan, Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler and Ana Gasteyer. Fey is co-head writer and writing supervisor for Saturday Night Live. She is the show's first female head writer. She also co-hosts SNL's Weekend Update. She and the writing staff won an Emmy Award for their work in 2002. Before SNL, Fey wrote and performed for the famed Second City in Chicago.
He is the author of the best-selling novels Clockers, about life in the inner-city world of drug dealing, and Freedomland. Price's new book Samaritan is about a man who returns as a teacher to the New Jersey town where he was raised, and the bad consequences of his good intentions. Price also is a screenwriter of such films as Sea of Love, Ransom and The Color of Money.
Paul Feig is the creator of the now-defunct TV comedy series Freaks and Geeks. He's just written a new book Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence (paperback, Three Rivers Press). Feig was an actor before moving on to writing for TV and film.
Actor Paul Giamatti stars in the Todd Solondz film Storytelling. He plays an aspiring filmmaker who sets out to document the empty life of a New Jersey high school senior and his well-to-do parents. Giamatti's film credits include Planet of the Apes, Big Momma's House, Saving Private Ryan, and The Truman Show, among many others. He has also appeared in numerous TV shows.
A new monologue by the NPR commentator, playwright, and housecleaner. "Drama Bug" was featured on This American Life, a nationally broadcast radio program hosted by Ira Glass and produced at WBEZ in Chicago. Sedaris is known nationally for his humor writing; he launched his radio commentator career with his "SantaLand Diaries," broadcast during NPR's "Morning Edition in 1992.
Educator Theodore Sizer. His 1984 book, "Horace's Compromise," was the fictionalized tale of a typical American high school. It was based on Sizer's own experiences as a teacher, and two years of field research. Sizer resurrects Horace in his new book, "Horace's School." It's a look at some possible roads toward educational reform. (It's published by Houghton Mifflin).
Film critic Stephen Schiff has no taste for the high school movies that proliferated in the 1980s. But he likes films that celebrate youthful energy and rebellion against authority, like Pump Up the Volume. The movie, about a teenage radio DJ, features an excellent performance by star Christian Slater.
In anticipation of the new season, networks have been trying to one-up with each other with pilots of new shows. TV critic David Bianculli says NBC's Parenthood is the best of the bunch, while Hull High can't compete.