<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Picks 11/15/14


TV Documentary: ‘Secrets of the Vatican’

This PBS Frontline episode that fills in the context of the 2013 resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – the first time anyone ever quit the position – and the ascension of Pope Francis is not quite titled accurately. Yes, it does fill in the burgeoning problems and scandals from sex abuse to Vatican Bank corruption to cronyism and much more that led to the church crisis and Benedict making the rare move of stepping down. And it also points out how the papacy of Francis is a significant sea change for this powerful institution. But the change is so radical that this incisive report only tempts further interest in the still secret machinations within the Vatican power structure that brought all this about. Until the day (if ever) that’s revealed, this report serves as a fine and informative overview.

TV Talk Show: ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’

The granddaddy of late night talk shows has come a long way from the far more cool-edged reigns of hosts Jack Parr and Johnny Carson. Frankly I never much warmed to Jay Leno’s tenure. But since his ascension, Fallon has won me over with an immense warmth and likability as well as a pretty darn sharp cutting wit. It’s a very crowded field these days that will shuffle even more when Letterman exits and Stephen Colbert takes his chair. But my gut feels that Fallon will win in the long run and become the leading late night host.

Movie: ‘Fever Pitch’

As long as I’m talking about Fallon, I quite enjoyed this film in which he plays a dedicated Boston Red Sox fan whose loyalty to the team and love for a woman (played by Drew Barrymore) gets tested. You probably have to know some Red Sox fanatics – a special breed of sports fan only matched by Chicago Cubs devotees – and have an abiding love for baseball to really lock into the plot. But it’s once again Fallon’s high Q Score [a measure of a celebrity’s appeal] that makes this film work.

From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2014


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