1. BILL NIGHY IN ‘LOVE ACTUALLY’
He’s just one in a gem cast, but we luv ‘im as a flash-in-the-pants rocker peddling his ”crap” Christmas jingle.
2. FINDING NEMO
…was easier than finding a copy of this two-DVD set: Pixar’s oceanic odyssey moved a record-breaking 8 million units on its first day of sale. That adds up to a lot of clams.
3. MUSIC ON ‘THE O.C.’
Watch out, MTV. The best tunes on television — from Phantom Planet to Death Cab for Cutie to Solomon Burke — can be heard on Fox’s nighttime soap. So where’s the CD?
4. PAID IN FULL, ERIC B. & RAKIM
An extras-laden, two-CD version of perhaps the finest document of late-’80s rap. Old school is now in session.
5. MR. TIMOTHY, BY LOUIS BAYARD
Set in the dark shadows of Victorian London, this is a crafty thriller with the unlikeliest of protagonists: A Christmas Carol’s ”Tiny Tim” Cratchit as a timid 23-year-old sleuth.
6. THE REAGANS’ SCRIPT
Now downloadable from Salon.com: the script to the just-canceled CBS miniseries. It’s what you’d expect: The first few pages depict both a clueless President who likes Westerns and a brittle First Lady Macbeth.
7. AVERAGE JOE
What we’ve learned from NBC’s reality show: (1) A pretty girl can be nice to dweebs and (2) nerds actually have a pecking order.
8. THE KING OF QUEENS
Is it a trimmed-down Kevin James? Or better scripts? Either way, this CBS sitcom stands up to brutal Wednesday-night competition.
9. IDENTITY CRISIS, SHELBY LYNNE
Free of the overproduced gloss that ruined 2001’s Love, Shelby, Lynne gets back to basics: basic songwriting, basic production, basic country-music magic.