1. THE SIMPLE LIFE
On Fox’s not-quite-reality series, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are city kitties who land in a strange foreign place called Middle America.
2. 21 GRAMS
Sean Penn stars, with Naomi Watts, in a searing meditation on life and death, with multiple non-linear story lines. (Admit it, you thought it was about cocaine.)
3. THE GAY TALESE READER: PORTRAITS AND ENCOUNTERS
Collected in book form, Talese’s brilliant magazine pieces form a glittering mosaic of late-20th-century America.
4. THE REAGANS
Was CBS’ canceled miniseries a fair portrayal — or a case of giving Hell to the Chief? Watch Showtime on Nov. 30 and decide for yourself.
5. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
Soon in theaters: a 208-minute cut of the One Film that ruled us all — and in the darkness spellbound us.
6. OLD SCHOOL, BY TOBIAS WOLFF
The protagonist of Wolff’s novel looks back on his days at a New England prep school in the early ’60s and recounts — without any sentimental varnish — the creative impulses at work in a young heart.
7. HERE I AM, RONALD ISLEY AND BURT BACHARACH
An R&B master and a genius in command of pop songcraft — ooh! — master and commander, get it?
8. ”99 PROBLEMS” JAY-Z
With guest producer Rick Rubin supplying the down-and-dirty rock beats, it’s the best cut on what may be Hova’s final album.
9. KEVIN KLINE IN ‘HENRY IV’
The jewel of a stellar cast (in Jack O’Brien’s transcendent production at NYC’s Lincoln Center), he packs a big paunch as corpulent corrupter Falstaff.
10. THE CAT IN THE HAT, BY DR. SEUSS
That the feline in the movie version actually wears a hat is the only thing the producers got right — missing entirely are the book’s frantic, antic charms.