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Underrated/Overrated

Underrated: 'The Pitch' on AMC and 'Norwegian Wood.' Overrated: Christina Aguilera on 'The Voice' and today's students on 'Savage U.'

May 20, 2012|By Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times

UNDERRATED

'The Pitch' on AMC: Like a real-life "Mad Men" with far less interesting furnishings, this reality show captures the drama behind today's ad game and transcends the cliches while doing it. Sure, it's a little unsettling to consider the economics behind a show about creating commercials — one of which you actually watch by choice once the "winner" for the week's campaign is picked — but it's strangely worth it after seeing the creativity at work.

'Norwegian Wood' (2010): Though this film by the director of "The Scent of Green Papaya" takes on greater depth if you've read Haruki Murakami's novel of the same name, it still casts a spell of its own. Steeped in the sound of its introverted record store clerk lead, with music by Can and Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, the movie is a moving examination of ill-fated love, with all lush scenery of late-'60s Japan only underscoring the dreamlike atmosphere.

OVERRATED

Christina Aguilera on 'The Voice': Now that NBC's pop shop has wrapped after making serious progress supplanting "American Idol" as America's top singing competition, it should be noted that Aguilera walked a steady, thin line between "quirky" and "massively annoying" all season. Though her coaching and comments still outpaced the inanity of "Idol's" chatter, someone must stop her from rushing the stage every week. And really, put some pants on.

Today's students on 'Savage U': Every generation spends most of its time looking at the next with a rueful shake of the head, but the flashes of ignorance during this MTV show documenting a campus tour by sex advice columnist Dan Savage set a new standard in concern for "kids these days." While Savage is to be commended for providing education for students who still don't understand safe sex, it's ultimately shocking that he still needs to do it.

chris.barton@latimes.com

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