1. Here in NYC, the marketing for Where The Wild Things Are has reached that awkward tipping point where one feels tired of the film before having seen it. Which is a remarkable feat, given how amazing it looks. I for one am excited to absorb something more than the trailer (or the posters, or the banner ads, etc), and plan to do so tonight. Not surprisingly, the film has inspired some very interesting reviews so far. From the NY Times:

The world is cruel, children too, lessons that Max absorbs through a smear of tears and hurt. The wound doesn’t heal. Max clomps and then stomps and then erupts: he roars at his mother. She roars back. And, then, like his storybook counterpart — like everyone else — he sails into the world, adrift and alone.

During its quietest moments, as when Max sets sail, and you intuit his pluck and will from the close-ups of him staring into the unknown. He looms large here, as we do inside our heads. But when the view abruptly shifts to an overhead shot, you see that the boat is simply a speck amid an overwhelming vastness. This is the human condition, in two eloquent images.

The A/V Club writes, “Spike Jonze has recently said in interviews that his chief goal… was to try to capture the feeling of being 9. By that measure—by just about any measure, really—he succeeded wildly.”

But there’s also “Where The Wild Things Are, Dismay Also Lurks” on npr.org and Slate’s “Where The Mildly Depressed Things Are” (ht Stampdawg), which bemoans the film’s (and children’s movies in general these days) apparent need to assign psychological backstories to every character, rather than just tell the story itself, drains the story of magic.

For further reading, be sure to check out the roundtable interview that the A/V Club did with the principle players. And once you’ve seen it, we’d love to hear what you think!

2. A fascinating piece from NPR entitled, “Saudis Question ‘Soft’ Strategy Toward Militants” (ht. Jeff Dean). Evidently in dealing with convicted terrorists the Saudis have adopted, for lack of a better word, a gracious approach:

“There is [an] attitude that everybody gets a second chance: ‘We as the state understand how you would have made mistakes. That said, we want to help you come back to the right way, to return you to the fold.'”

3. Another volley in the discussion of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, from the Wall Street Journal editorial by Bret Stephens, “A Perfect Nobel Pick”, this time with some bite (ht Charles Gaston). He writes:

“Most of the prize winners draw from the obscure ranks of the sorts of people the late Oriana Fallaci liked to call ‘the Goodists.’

Who are the Goodists? They are the people who believe all conflict stems from avoidable misunderstanding. Who think that the world’s evils spring from technologies, systems, complexes (as in “military-industrial”) and everything else except from the hearts of men, where love abides. Who mistake wishes for possibilities. Who put a higher premium on their own moral intentions than on the efficacy of their actions. Who champion education as the solution, whatever the problem. Above all, the Goodists are the people who like to be seen to be good.

4. Two fantastic entries over at mardecortesbaja from you-know-who: “Hello, Mr Chips” reflecting on the classic film (the Peter O’Toole version), and “Tombs Of The Blind Dead” about the (haunted) Museum of Religion in St Petersberg.

5. For those interested in the intersection of rock n roll and Christianity (and good taste), I highly recommend The Bored Again Christian podcast. They even feature our own Trevor Giuliani in their most recent podcast.

6. Finally, an article by Malcolm Gladwell in this week’s New Yorker that asks the question “How Different Are Football And Dogfighting? Lots of anthropological insight – you just have to read it (ht TB).