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Overrated/Underrated

March 20, 2011

UNDERRATED

Jimmy Kimmel's tsunami account: Titled "A Dramatic Experience, at the End of Which Nothing Happens," this first-person story of the late-night host's evacuation in Bora Bora after the Japanese quake and tsunami could have been as glib as his show. Instead it's a funny and very human account of fear, the absurdity of luxury in a disaster and heartfelt gratitude for random good fortune. Find it online, then find a way to donate to the relief effort.

'The American' (2010): Stylishly directed by rock photographer Anton Corbijn, this film disappointed audiences last year after an aggressive marketing campaign sold it as something like a George Clooney-led version of "The Bourne Identity." And while the film certainly isn't an action movie, its deliberate pacing works to its advantage as emotions are subtly rendered, the violence comes in jarring bursts and an assassin's life acquires a grim, artful depth.

OVERRATED

The rise of 'Tosh.0': Now drawing a bigger crowd than Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," this Web-based clip show hosted by the ever-smirking Daniel Tosh worked best when it poked fun at the absurdities of Internet culture as much as its hapless viral video stars. With its former subversive streak becoming more predictably "Jackass"-like by the day, the show now just seems like a meaner "America's Funniest Home Videos."

Jennifer Lopez's comeback: Oh, did you think her ongoing turn as an "American Idol" judge was purely motivated by a desire to mold young singers? J.Lo's inevitable new album, "Love?," drops next month, and while one can appreciate the way her first recording in four years introduces itself in the form of a question, the tired rave synths and '90s nostalgia of her club-courting first single, "On the Floor," actually inspires the opposite emotion: indifference.

Chris Barton

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