1. ON THE BEACH, NEIL YOUNG
Three decades later, his 1974 masterpiece (finally out on CD) still invigorates, its caustic lyricism as bracing as a cold ocean wind.
2. MONTY PY-THON’S THE MEANING OF LIFE (SPECIAL EDITION)
Two DVDs’ worth of commentary and machines that go ping.
3. THE HUMAN STAIN, BY PHILIP ROTH
In his 2000 novel (hitting the big screen on Sept. 26), Roth paints the late-life spiral of a college professor — and like any good stain, it’s indelible.
4. VIDEO FOR BEYONCE’S ”BABY BOY”
A frolicking Beyonce is the perfect antidote for post — Labor Day blues. Oooh, child, indeed.
5. FRESHMAN DIARIES
A big-university campus is the stage of Showtime’s reality series tracking some new students. And, yes, this will be on the final exam.
6. SAUL AND PATSY, BY CHARLES BAXTER
In this moving and well-observed novel about an acutely self-aware high school teacher, small wonders abound — not the least of which is Baxter’s luminous writing.
7. RAISING VICTOR VARGAS
This coming-of-age flick, now on DVD, proves you don’t need a big budget when you have a good script and winning performances.
This is what the Internet is all about: watching office clowns giddily do the hustle behind the backs of unsuspecting colleagues.
9. EXTREME MAKEOVER
T&A meets B&A (before and after) in the second season of ABC’s freakishly compelling celebration of human vanity, stunt programming, and modern plastic surgery.
10. MADDEN NFL 2004
”Dude, whippin’ your booty is my sacred duty! So don’t be hatin’ on me when I bring it on and turn — come back, Mom, I’m kidding!”