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Underrated / Overrated

January 31, 2008

BURBANK AIRPORT'S READ AND RETURN

Buy a book in the airport's gift shop before your departure and return it on the return trip. As long as you keep the book in good shape and bring the original receipt, you're good to go. It's not a scam. It's actually part of the airport's book buyback program. Makes up for some of the downsides of this overrated airport.

KATE MANTILINI BLOODY MARY

We think the Bev Hills resto (9101 Wilshire Blvd.) has the best in town, but we're open to challenges.

ONTARIO MILLS MALL

In winter, we crave old-school malls, as in covered. And OMM is crammed not only with the typical (Quiksilver, Hot Topic) but also oddities like a Sanrio store and something called World of Flags -- not to mention the distinctive urban thrills of playing a few rounds of skee-ball at Dave & Buster's. Embrace the tacky--it's part of who we are.

THE FIRST 95 MINUTES

OF 'THE ORPHANAGE'

Until the completely tone-deaf Hollywood HappyEnding™, this Spanish thriller is splendidly creepy. Leave when the woman alone in the house starts screaming -- that's no spoiler, just good advice.

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THE DOWNTOWN DASH

The city's ambitiously named downtown-centric bus system is a navigation nightmare. It costs just 25 cents, but who cares when routes and stops move around as much as the buses themselves? As for DASH-ing to Echo Park or anywhere else, you'd have an easier time flagging a cab. And while we're on the subject: how about dealing with the buses' noxious fumes, City of Los Angeles?

NIC HARCOURT

His "Morning Becomes Eclectic" has evolved into the most pompous and least-rocking show on the FM airwaves. (With all those mewling singer-songwriters, "Morning Becomes Pathetic" is more apt.) A British accent and claims of championing Alanis Morissette only take you so far.

"JUNO"

The snarky, rapid-fire quips that pass for "razor sharp wit" amount to little more than an emotionally superficial take on teen pregnancy. That "Juno" received Oscar nods for best picture and original screenplay -- it's "Little Miss Sunshine" all over again: another sweet movie overhyped. "Juno" could have been the female "Superbad"--trenchantly funny and thus too edgy to be seriously considered.

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