January 5, 2005


Yet More of One Face in Season 4 of 'Alias' (VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN, 1/05/05, NY Times)

What you think of "Alias" depends a lot on what you think of Jennifer Garner. If the actress's great beauty suggests to you infinite variety, then the show's claim to profundity, which it makes with ponderous attention to Ms. Garner's face, will ring true. But if Ms. Garner's winning modes - smiling and dimply, or precociously solemn, jaw set like an Eagle Scout - seem merely like two tricks she's being forced to repeat in place of acting, then the series is a bore.

In the second view, "Alias," whose fourth season has its two-hour premiere on ABC tonight, is nothing more than a pretentious comic strip: static, allegorical, a pleasure only to addicts, but also headache-inducingly difficult to criticize in these times when American comics have become, through male nostalgia and the canonization of the graphic novel, sacrosanct.

Let's be honest. Many of us don't like comic books and have feigned interest in their jumpy bif-bam fighting scenes and the way they redeem loser guys, only to impress and minister to those loser guys.

While Ms Garner is the weakest link in the series, it seems to be almost a holy mission on the part of Timesmen these days to demonstrate their incomprehension of America. Ms Heffernan's honesty suggests how out of touch she is with the tastes of the many, as demonstrated by this list of all-time top grossing films, nearly every one of which features regular guys taking on evil:

1 Titanic
2 Star Wars
3 Shrek 2
4 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
5 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
6 Spider-Man
7 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
8 Spider-Man 2
9 The Passion of the Christ
10 Jurassic Park
11 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
12 Finding Nemo
13 Forrest Gump
14 The Lion King
15 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
16 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
17 Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
18 Return of the Jedi
19 Independence Day
20 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
21 The Sixth Sense
22 The Empire Strikes Back
23 Home Alone
24 The Matrix Reloaded
25 Shrek
26 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
27 How the Grinch Stole Christmas
28 Jaws
29 Monsters, Inc.
30 The Incredibles
31 Batman
32 Men in Black
33 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
34 Toy Story 2
35 Bruce Almighty
36 Raiders of the Lost Ark

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 5, 2005 9:31 AM
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