Underrated / Overrated


Alex Turner’s soundtrack for ‘Submarine’: Just about everything about this coming-of-age film from writer-director Richard Ayoade lands on target, from its sweetly absurdist depiction of first love to its big-eyed lead Craig Roberts, whose awkward energy is vaguely reminiscent of Bud Cort. But not to be overlooked are the scene-stealing songs from the Arctic Monkeys’ Turner, which capture classic British pop so divinely it’s remarkable they were recorded this decade.

HBO’s guts with ‘Game of Thrones’: Surprisingly, this isn’t a reference toward the gratuitous throat-rippings and bloodlettings that littered the uneven first season of the network’s pricey adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels. Instead a hat-tip is in order for going through with a pre-finale twist, which shocked everyone who hadn’t already read the books by upending all expectations about the series’ direction. For a brilliant moment, it really wasn’t TV.



‘Cars’ (2006): At the risk of causing the universe to fold in half by speaking ill of Pixar, this may be the only part of the animation giant’s empire that not only failed to live up to the studio’s usual standards, it also didn’t need a sequel. Maybe it’s because anthropomorphizing autos feels too obvious, or maybe it’s just inherently creepy how all the humans have apparently been exterminated out of its world, but this franchise seems better suited to toys than storytelling.

Retro TV: Given that “Mad Men” captured the pop cultural imagination to the point where men’s suiting was affected, maybe it’s no surprise that NBC and ABC are looking to ride on its coattails this fall with ‘60s-set “The Playboy Club” and “Pan Am.” While “Playboy” got a publicity boost last week when a Utah affiliate dropped it based on the magazine’s reputation, a show needs more than stylish time travel to spell success, regardless of which airline is offering it.

— Chris Barton