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Underrated / Overrated

October 25, 2009

UNDERRATED

Karen O: We came down in the middle on Spike Jonze's visually arresting but uneven adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are," but one thing we are certain of is its appropriately feral soundtrack, led by this singer from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Joined by a children's choir and a host of fellow indie rockers from the likes of Liars and Deerhunter, Karen O's raucous mood music sounds how wild childhood feels.

'Searching for Michael Peterson': We've never been brave enough to surf anything larger than our sofa, but this documentary about the troubled '70s surf icon makes us wish we were. Available from the film's website, the DVD is filled with heartfelt remembrances and remarkable footage of Peterson tearing up the waves at Australia's Bells Beach before mental illness tragically cut his career short. Drop in.

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OVERRATED

Jeff Dunham: We loved this ventriloquist and his uncomfortably stereotype-adjacent puppets -- when we were 12. We're not surprised this middle-of-the-road yet top-grossing "comic" made the leap to Comedy Central, but we're troubled by what his success means. "The Muppet Show" proved that arguing with a stuffed animal can be comedy gold, but everyone knows Dunham is doing all the talking, right?

'The Simpsons': To paraphrase a line from our childhood, this hurts us a lot more than it hurts them. But after years of clunky gags and stories, it's time everyone admits this animation institution is a shadow of its formerly brilliant self. Among the many ills on TV, the decline of "The Simpsons" is far from our biggest worry, but it still hurts us deep inside to recognize how little this show resembles its subversive peak.

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