The Must List: Week of December 7, 2008 | EW.com

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The Must List: Week of December 7, 2008

David Cook, Sean Penn in ''Milk,'' ''Dexter,'' and 12 others make up the countdown of pop culture gems YOU -- and the EW staff -- are loving this week

David Cook

BOOKS
1. ‘STAR WARS’ ENCYCLOPEDIA
Even a non-geek can see the appeal of this new three-volume set on George Lucas’ opus, bursting with insidery info and Sith secrets. Did we mention the holidays are coming?

MUSIC
2. MURMUR: DELUXE EDITION, R.E.M.
Their debut LP turned 25 this year, so celebrate with this two-disc set, which includes footage from a 1983 concert.

MOVIES
3. SEAN PENN in 'Milk'
Penn slips into Harvey Milk’s three-piece suits and man-of-the-people style to demonstrate just how relatable the rabble-rousing politician was — and still is.

TV
4. TOP CHEF on Bravo
New York is fab, but it hardly matters where Tom, Gail, and Padma park their palates — Chef is always a tasty dish. Now we’re just waiting for the cheftestants to spice things up.

TV
5. JOHN OLIVER on ‘The Daily Show’
True perspective needs distance — like from across the pond. No one tweaks (or gets) Americans like this Brit wit.

BOOKS
6. AMERICAN LION, by Jon Meacham
Presidents don’t come grittier than Jackson, or more vividly chronicled than in Meacham's lively account.

BOOKS
7. THE ESSENTIAL DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR, by Alison Bechdel
The Fun Home graphic novelist’s dishy/deep soap-comic about a group of (mostly) lesbians gets updated with 69 additional strips.

DVD
8. BOTTLE ROCKET Criterion DVD
It’s not just nostalgia. Wes Anderson’s 1996 film about bungling burglars (then-newbies Luke and Owen Wilson) really is as inventive and offbeat as you remember.

TV
9. MATTHEW SETTLE on 'Gossip Girl'
As hipster dad Rufus, Settle took a kid-in-crisis plot and gave a performance worthy of a true grown-up.

READER’S CHOICE*: MUSIC
10. 808S & HEARTBREAK, Kanye West
After a rough year, the rapper pours his sorrows into his latest album…and we’re glad he lets us share in the Heartbreak. —Submitted by Josh

READER’S CHOICE*: TV
11. DEXTER
This season of Dexter is the best show on TV right now. Perfectly acted and written, the show has gone from interesting to addictive in the last few weeks. —Kim

READER’S CHOICE*: TV
12. CHI MCBRIDE on ‘Pushing Daisies’
I know the show recently hit the can, but the cast is just so good and I never tire of seeing Emerson Cod (a man named after a poet and a fish) solve cases the Lil’ Gumshoe way. —Seth F.

READER’S CHOICE*: MUSIC
13. BAR-BA-SOL, David Cook
Catchy, fun, and it has the swagger that can only come from Cook. —Glenn

READER’S CHOICE*: TV
14. MOLLY SHANNON, ‘Kath & Kim’
Who knew Shannon could be so endearing? Great cast with the occasional dance number make this my secret guilty pleasure. —LoveMeSomeSimon

READER’S CHOICE*: MUSIC
15. 24 HOURS, Tom Jones
Now my grandma and I can say we share the same makeout music…creepy. —C.E.

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