James Parker

James Parker is the American Prospect's film critic.

Recent Articles

Wunderkinder: A Royal Shame

A young man named Anthony, inmate of an Arizona mental hospital, says a friendly good-bye to his psychiatrist and then prepares to shin down the wall on a rope of knotted sheets. Anthony's stay at the hospital has been voluntary; but, as he explains to his psychiatrist, he must pretend that he is escaping for the benefit of his friend Dignan, who is waiting--small, blond, and highly charged--in some shrubbery on the edge of the grounds. "He's got this whole escape thing worked out, and he's just so excited about it," says Anthony. "I mean, look how excited he is!" The two men stare out at Dignan, an oxygenated imp bouncing around in his bush; Dignan, wearing black leather gloves, obligingly flashes signals off a little mirror and makes complicated bird-noises. "I gotta do it this way, Doctor Nichols," says Anthony. "I gotta go out the window." The psychiatrist sighs. "Okay," he says. "But could you make it fast? This--this doesn't look good." So begins the 1996 film Bottle Rocket,...

The Mind of the Married Man

It would be interesting, wouldn't it, to watch oneself watching TV, to see the muddy mirror that the face offers the screen, the weird and slavish half-reactions flickering across it, the shadows of infant anxiety and sudden, twitchy brightenings--like a dreamer with his eyes open. I'd like to have had a camera trained on my face, for example, as I sat next to my wife and watched the first episode of HBO's new comedy The Mind of the Married Man. It opens with two guys walking and talking in Chicago. "Donna found porn on your computer?" says one, amused. "Yeah," says the other, dejected. "Pornography?" asks the first. "Yeah!" says the second. "What kind?" We laughed, my wife and I, but it was tight and cerebral laughter, high in the chest. (Did your spouse ever find porn on your computer? Mine did. I believe that most marriages with Internet access have, sooner or later, to make their accommodation with pornography.) So anyway, we laughed, and it was the sound not of mirth or joy but...