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UNDERRATED / OVERRATED

September 21, 2008

Richard Jenkins: You may have missed him under the klieg-light star wattage of Mssrs. Pitt and Clooney, but we're thrilled to see one of our favorite character actors as a heartsick gym manager in "Burn After Reading." Jenkins may be branching into more lead roles after his turn in the indie favorite "The Visitor," but we're just happy his knack for scene-stealing shown in "Six Feet Under" and David O. Russell's equally underrated "Flirting With Disaster" is still intact.

David Foster Wallace: We complained about his footnotes and maybe gave up too early on his sprawling "Infinite Jest," but with the news of his death last weekend, we're having a hard time accepting that his writing has become, if you'll pardon the reference to his work, another "supposedly fun thing" the essayist-novelist "will never do again." Thanks for everything, DFW. For all the words you gave us, we wish there were more to come.

AC/DC: It may be heresy to say so, but as furiously as our metal heart beats for schoolboy guitarists, cannonball riffs and dirty deeds done dirt cheap, there's something not hitting us quite right with the band's exclusive deal with Wal-Mart for its latest album. We get that it's a "long way to the top if you want to rock 'n' roll" these days, but did anyone ever expect Angus Young and the gang would follow the Eagles' lead in anything? Hell's bells, indeed.

Physically demeaning game shows: First came "Fear Factor," and we remained silent. Then came "Hurl," and we just rolled our eyes. Now we've reached our breaking point with the completely brain-seizing "Hole in the Wall," a show where contestants must contort themselves through, yes, holes in an oncoming wall or fall into a pool. We'd like to go back to the intellectually demanding days of eating beetles for money, please.

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