Tom Carson

Tom Carson won two National Magazine Awards during his stint as Esquire's "Screen" columnist and has been nominated twice more as GQ's movie reviewer. Formerly a staff writer at LA Weekly and The Village Voice, he is the author of Gilligan's Wake (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2003) and Daisy Buchanan's Daughter.

Recent Articles

Not That Exciting

Pedro Almodovar's latest film, I'm So Excited! is less than thrilling but doesn't spell the end of the famed Spanish director. 

AP Images/Paola Ardizzoni/Emilio Pereda

I'm So Excited! might have made a good 15-minute sequence in one of Pedro Almodovar's bubbly movies of the '80s and early '90s, when he was more or less single-handedly putting Spanish cinema on the international map after the country's pivot from Francisco Franco's sclerotic reign to giddy (those were the days) democracy. Stretched out to feature length, the premise wears thin fast, not least because the execution is a tuckered-out facsimile of the director's youthful zest. I don't take any joy in confessing it, but it's the first time I've ever caught myself dozing off at an Almodovar film. Back in the cushy days when I used to catch his latest at Cannes, he was always a great cure for jet lag.

Bastille Day Blues in the Big Easy

A walk through New Orleans the day after the Zimmerman verdict. 

AP Images/Mel Evans

Like, I imagine, a whole lot of people, I spent last Saturday night online, venting about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and taking what solace I could in everybody else’s equally futile vents. But I knew I couldn’t keep at it forever, and not only for my blood pressure’s sake. I wanted to make sure I’d be up in time for Sunday morning’s wreath-laying.

All the News that's Fit to Reprint

Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

The opening scene of The Newsroom’s second season, debuting Sunday on HBO, won’t do a hell of a lot to increase creator Aaron Sorkin’s popularity with women. Marcia Gay Harden guests as a brusque in-house attorney deposing news anchor Will McAvoy about a story the fictitious Atlantic Cable News channel blew badly—erroneously reporting that the Obama administration used nerve gas during a black-ops operation in Pakistan.

“Fuck me,” our lady lawyer finally snaps, exasperated by Will’s arch banter. (She’s not alone in that feeling, believe me.) After a pause, Will—ever the gentleman—turns to the other dudes in the room. “Well, would one of you fuck Ms. Halliday, please?” he asks. You have to feel for Harden when her character is obliged to soften, smile, and concede that the joke’s on her.

All Tomorrow’s Parties

Gay Equality 1, Civil Rights 0 – join us in wondering how to celebrate this Fourth of July. (Hint: not by seeing Johnny Depp’s new movie, that’s for sure.)

AP Photo/The Omaha World-Herald, Brynn Anderson

Call it coincidence, but my bedside reading for the past couple of weeks has been the new two-volume boxed set of the Library of America’s Reporting Civil Rights. Awe-inducing and frequently thrilling, this monumental anthology of on-the-scene coverage of the fight for black equality features contributions by scores of writers, some rightly renowned—James Baldwin, Garry Wills, et. al.—and some unjustly obscure. Part One deals with the years 1941-1963; Part Two tackles the pressure-cooker decade that followed King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Each volume also includes a sheaf of photographs, primarily of the writers themselves at the time. They’re often evocative ones, even if the era’s great photojournalism—no less worthy of commemoration—gets short shrift as a result.

Anyway, I won’t pretend I’ve made much more than a dent in the set’s almost 2,000 pages. But that’s not the point, since Reporting Civil Rights could easily keep my idle hours occupied until Christmas. (Not only was I kidding myself that I could somehow plow through it in time to write a full-fledged review this month, but yes, Monsieur Proust, you’ve lost out—again.) The point is that the Supreme Court sure does know how to cure me of any illusions that I’m reading about settled history.

Burning Down the (White) House

White House Down, when ranked among the other dull offerings of this summer blockbuster season, is worth its weight in kabooms. You will be entertained. 

AP Photo/Sony Columbia Pictures, Reiner Bajo

Here’s a confession likely to guarantee you’ll never trust me again: I had a pretty good time at White House Down, the new movie starring Channing Tatum as a wannabe Secret Service agent who ends up as President Jamie Foxx’s only hope of surviving an attack on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That may or may not surprise you, but it sure as buttercups did me. It’s not even July, and I’m already deathly weary of movieland’s bang-kapow-boom blockbuster season. (On Hollywood’s timetable, of course, “summer” now begins before Memorial Day and is effectively over by August.) WHD’s unlovely director, Roland Emmerich, is the German dolt who peaked with Independence Day 17 years ago before going on to make, among other screen supertankers packed with manure, The Patriot and Godzilla, not exactly good reasons to look forward to his latest.

Pages