The Must List

The Must List: Week of August 10, 2008

James Franco, Alanis Morissette, ''Madden 09,'' and 12 others on the countdown of pop-culture gems that YOU — and the EW staff — are loving this week

Pineapple Express, James Franco | JAMES FRANCO
Image credit: ILLUSTRATION BY GLUEKIT
JAMES FRANCO

The Must List: Week of August 17, 2008

MOVIE
1. JAMES FRANCO in ''Pineapple Express''
To be blunt, we had no idea he knew from funny. As sweet, perversely hyperliterate Saul, Franco puffs fresh energy into a stoner trope that had grown as stale as bong water. (Review)

TV
2. GREEK on ABC Family
A new season airs Aug. 26, so if you were to, say, go online and rewatch the skinny-dipping scene that would be research. (Review)

Music
3. CRYSTAL STILTS
CD? Wuzzat? Click your way to myspace.com/crystalstilts to check out a Brooklyn band whose sound is two parts '60s garage-rock psychedelia, one part Joy Division, and 100 percent excellent.

DVD
4. THE WIRE, SEASON 5 on DVD
A series whose final season is as defiantly unflinching as its first, The Wire is the exception rather than the rule. But then, this bit of Baltimore blues always was exceptional.

VIDEOGAME
5. MADDEN NFL 09
What isn't new? Gridiron grunts can join online leagues, consult the Virtual Trainer, and revel in graphics so tight, even the AstroTurf looks real.

BOOK
6. PLACE SPACE, by Todd Oldham
The design guru's book series on quirky locales is artfully crafted, from the cool concept to the origami dust jackets.

BOOK
7. THE LITTLE BOOK, by Selden Edwards
Edwards' debut novel was 30 years in the making — eons to come up with this yarn about a time traveler who somehow runs into Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, and his own dad. (Review)

Movie
8. ELEGY
Ben Kingsley, Penélope Cruz, Dennis Hopper, and Patricia Clarkson take us to school in this adaptation of an angsty Philip Roth tale about a prof who can't stop chasing students and can't figure out why.

MUSIC
9. COLD FACT, Rodriguez
The 1970 vinyl is genius (flaws and all) to those in the know. Now a tidier CD reissue finally makes its way Stateside.

READER'S CHOICE*: MOVIE
10. THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2
Those pants hold up remarkably well, as the ladies, now in college, face far bigger issues than the cut of their jeans. —Tebbi Burley

READER'S CHOICE*: DVD
11. THE HILLS (SEASON 3) on DVD
LC, Audrina, and Lo living together was the perfect drama to end the third season! Now will Audrina and LC stay friends or is this another Heidigate? —Mikey

READER'S CHOICE*: TV
12. THE MIDDLEMAN on ABC Family
I never thought I'd see the day where I willfully watch an ABC Family original series, but I'm hooked. More people need to watch so it doesn't get canceled! It's fun, smart, and quirky with tongue-in-cheek humor poking fun at comics. I mean, come on, people, there's a fashion design house run by a succubus as a halfway house for ''reformed'' succubi and incubi; various pop culture references hidden in the names and places (there was one episode with all Indiana Jones references, another with Dune and another with Back to the Future ones); zombie fish; and alien boy bands. What's not to love? —Laura L.

READER'S CHOICE*: MUSIC
13. TORCH by Alanis Morisette
A perfectly heartbreaking window into the end of a relationship and all those things you miss. —Melissa

READER'S CHOICE*: TV
14. MICHAEL IAN BLACK as the host of ''Reality Bites Back''
The show uses comics to spoof the stupid things that stupid people will do for 15 minutes of fame, and Black has the perfect dry, sarcastic wit to host such a show (making fun of the comics who are making fun of other people). —Torin

READER'S CHOICE*: TV
15. BETTY on ''Mad Men''
Props to January Jones and the writers for taking this character from boring and whiny to woman on the verge. —Rose Tyler

Originally posted Aug 15, 2008 Published in issue #1007-1008 Aug 22, 2008 Order article reprints
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