Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Most Overrated and Underrated Movies

Joe Carter has a post where he lists the 100 most overrated and underrated movies of all time, by arbitrary category. They’re listed by category, with the most overrated movie listed first, then the most underrated movie listed next. As would be expected, I agree with some of them and not with others. For instance:

Movie about fraternities: Animal House | PCU (I hesitate to include these two together simply because the criminally overhyped John Belushi shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as comic genius Jeremy Piven.)

I haven’t seen PCU, so I can’t comment on that one, but I do tend to agree with him about Animal House. It doesn’t hold up well, and while it contains many classic scenes (the one where Belushi smashes Steven Bishop’s guitar against the wall still kills me) and classic lines (“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son”), the movie itself just doesn’t hang together and includes a lot of pointless filler that you just want to fast forward through to get to the good stuff.

Movie about a rock band: Gimme Shelter | Some Kind of Monster (I’m not a fan of either the Rolling Stones or Metallica. But Gimme Shelter shows that deep down the Stones are uninteresting dullards while Monster reveals the members of Metallica to be fascinatingly neurotic.)

I agree on both counts. But perhaps the most underrated movie of this genre is Bring on the Night, which is about the formation of Sting’s first solo band after leaving The Police. You get Sting in all of his megalomaniacal and self-important glory, but you also get a really interesting look behind the scenes at the formation of the band (which included some stellar musicians) and how they interacted with one another. And you get a really great concert at the end that showcases why Sting is, in my view, the greatest songwriter of his generation.

Cold war movie : Dr. Strangelove | Crimson Tide

Crimson Tide was excellent. Denzel Washington was being Denzel and Gene Hackman was being Gene Hackman, and the chemistry was great. But I can’t even begin to call Dr. Strangelove overrated. This movie is easily in the top 10 movies of all time, regardless of genre. Kubrick’s greatest movie.

“Best Picture” Oscar Winners (1960-2005): American Beauty (1999)| The Apartment (1960)

Again, i haven’t seen the movie he says is underrated, but I stronly disagree with the notion that American Beauty is overrated. This movie was nearly perfect, in my opinion. Absolutely brilliant in all respects. Spacey’s best work, and that’s saying a lot; he is, in my view, the finest actor on the planet. For me, the most overrated Best Picture winner from that time period is a no-brainer – Titanic in 1997. Just a brutally bad movie. I would also list Braveheart, Forrest Gump and Dances With Wolves among the most overrated Oscar winning movies.

Incoherent movie about a hippie: Easy Rider | The Big Lebowski

Completely agree here. But it’s part of a larger point about movies, which is this: you can never go wrong with a Coen brothers movie. Which brings us to:

Comedy: Caddyshack | Raising Arizona (The nearly plotless Caddyshack hasn’t aged well and is not as funny as you remembered. Raising Arizona, on the other hand, remains as fresh and hilarious as ever.)

I have to agree. Caddyshack is virtually plotless, but still worth watching just because there are so many great lines and performances in it. It’s Bill Murray’s funniest performance. It’s one of Chevy Chase’s few funny performances (Fletch being about the only other one I can think of at the moment). And Ted Knight’s smarminess is at its most comically brilliant. Even Rodney Dangerfield is funny in it, and he’s never funny in movies. As for Raising Arizona, absolutely agree that it’s underrated. Another great Coen brothers film, this one definitely stands up over the years.

Cult classic: The Rocky Horror Picture Show | Heathers

Agree on both counts. Rocky Horror was never funny (sorry, high school drama club kids, but it sucked) and Heathers was hilarious all the way around. But there are a few other movies that I consider cult classics, or think should be cult classics, that I rarely hear mentioned. The three that come to mind are Better Off Dead (very funny early John Cusack movie), Clerks (Kevin Smith’s first movie – contains some of the funniest dialogue ever written) and Orgasmo (made by the South Park creators – infinitely funnier than BASEketball). If you haven’t seen any of those three, get your behind to a video store.

Denzel Washington movie: Mississippi Masala | The Mighty Quinn

Agree on both. The former was decent, but overrated; the latter was underrated and is hardly ever spoken of. But the really unjustly ignored Denzel Washington movie is Cry Freedom, in which he plays Steven Biko, the South African activist. The chemistry he has with Kevin Kline, one of our most underrated actors, is tremendous. Very moving, powerful movie and Denzel plays Biko as a man of enormous personal strength and dignity.

Movie about amoral businessmen: Wall Street | Boiler Room

Partial agreement. I liked Wall Street a lot, but I agree that Boiler Room is vastly underrated. Ben Affleck’s speech to the new recruits was better than the Gordon Gecko “greed is good “speech, far better. And it’s one of the few movies where Vin Diesel shows his intelligence and not his biceps.

Kevin Costner sports movie: Field of Dreams | Tin Cup

Totally agree on both. Field of Dreams may be the most overrated movie of all time, period. Hated it, hated it, hated it. Tin Cup, on the other hand, is very funny from start to finish. It’s the kind of character that Costner is really good at playing. At his worst, he’s incredibly annoying. At his best, he’s charming and quirky and very likeable.

Other movies that are among my favorites:

Broadcast News: Just a great movie in every respect. Brilliant dialogue, hall of fame performances from Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks, even a Nicholson cameo or two.

Say Anything: this movie was on last night and I watched it again. Light years better than anything John Hughes could even dream of doing about high school angst. And whatever happened to Ione Skye? I thought she was the next big female star after this movie and The Rachel Papers (also a vastly underrated movie), but she ended up doing a “chicks in prisons” movie and fading into the sunset. What a shame.

Office Space: one of the funniest movies of the last decade, hands down.

Van Wilder: ditto. And Ryan Reynolds is either going to become a huge star, or a complete nobody. There’s no in between for this guy, it’s one or the other. And there’s no telling how his marriage to Alanis Morissette will push him in either potential direction.

A Few Good Men: a movie so well written and directed that I watch it every time it’s on despite my distaste for both Tom Cruise and Demi Moore. And call me a sentimental softy, but the scene at the end where Cruise tells Dawson that you don’t need a patch on your arm to have honor, and Dawson salutes him, still gets to me every time I see it.

Eurotrip: I know, it’s a stupid National Lampoon teen sex comedy (like Van Wilder, above), but there are some seriously funny scenes in this movie. The whole thing worked for me, from Matt Damon singing “Scotty Doesn’t Know” to the English soccer hooligans singing “My baby takes the morning train” to the creepy guy on the bullet train. And if you thought the scene in Sideways (a vastly overrated movie) where the fat guy ran down the street naked was disturbing, wait till you see the nude beach scene in Eurotrip with hundreds of naked old European guys running after the girl, penii flapping in the breeze. And yes, they really are the worst twins ever.

Comments

  1. #1 jcw
    November 25, 2005

    I looked but did not see a disaster film category. I think the most overrated disaster film ever was ‘Titanic’. It was so predictable it I could barely watch. The only part of the movie that was even remotely entertaining was the end when Leonardo slips into the water for good.

  2. #2 Jeff Hebert
    November 25, 2005

    I consider “A Few Good Men” one of the best directed movies I have ever seen. Every scene shines and glitters with attention to detail. Even the small moments are crystal-sharp, like when Nicholson bends over and picks up his hat after losing it in the courtroom. The sound of the rim scraping off the hard floor of the courtroom and the tight angle — man, I love that shot.

    I disagree on Office Space. I think it’s like Animal House or Caddyshack (both of which I think are funnier), in that it won’t age well. Ten years from now you’ll watch it again and think “This isn’t as funny as I remember.” There are classic scenes in it, but overall the pacing is really slow and uneven. I felt like it also kind of lost its way towards the end, when he more or less recovers from his hypnosis and realizes he’s in deep hookah. I still laugh my butt off at “that’s my stapler” and “Damn it feels good to be a gangster” while they trash the Xerox, though.

    Agreed on “Field of Dreams”. Hated that movie with a passion.

    One of the most over-rated films of all time to me was “Out of Africa”. I got out of my chair literally six times thinking (hoping, praying) that movie was over. And yet it continued on, relentlessly. I wanted to choke Meryl Streep with a dingo by the time it was done.

    My last two I wanted to bring up were “Airplane” (still funny 25 viewings and 20 years later) and “Amadeus”. I don’t usually like period pieces, but something about the way that movie is told really gets to me. I think by focusing on Solieri instead of Mozart, and showing how tortured he was by the ability to SEE genius but doomed to eternally fall short of it, I was able to relate to it. I mean, few of us can be Mozarts, and most of us have felt we fall short in some area where we desperately long to excel.

    Anyway, good topic.

  3. #3 Jim Ramsey
    November 25, 2005

    I’d like to add “A Fish Called Wanda” to the mix.

    The first time I saw it, I missed several parts because I was bent over laughing and couldn’t see the screen.

  4. #4 Ed Brayton
    November 25, 2005

    Jeff Hebert wrote:

    I consider “A Few Good Men” one of the best directed movies I have ever seen. Every scene shines and glitters with attention to detail. Even the small moments are crystal-sharp, like when Nicholson bends over and picks up his hat after losing it in the courtroom. The sound of the rim scraping off the hard floor of the courtroom and the tight angle — man, I love that shot.

    You know what line does it for me? At the beginning of Nicholson’s monologue on the witness stand, he says, “We live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it, you? You, Lt. Weinberg?” and his lips curl up with disdain as he says the name “Weinberg”. I doubt most people even notice that part, or know why it’s in there, but the first time I saw the movie it jumped out at me. It’s exactly what someone like Jessup would say. Jessup is an old-time anti-communist John Birch Society type of cold warrior. That strain of the American right has been around a long time and there is a very deep seated anti-semitism common among them. It’s completely real to life. Just a great example of subtle dialogue.

  5. #5 chrisberez
    November 25, 2005

    I also agree that Eurotrip is a funny movie. Road Trip always leaves me in stiches as well. I’ll have to check out Van Wilder.

    Also, if you like Orgazmo (I do too) check out the first movie that Trey and Matt did while at the University of Colorado together- Cannibal the Musical”. It’s released under Troma’s lable. As expected for a first future there’s stuff that could have been tightened up, but on the whole I personally find it very funny.

    Oh and PCU is indeed worth checking out. There are some very good jokes in that one.

  6. #6 Ed Brayton
    November 25, 2005

    And I totally agree with Jim Ramsey on A Fish Called Wanda. A great movie from beginning to end.

  7. #7 Maldoror
    November 25, 2005

    Dr Strange Love overrated? pfffff

  8. #8 spyder
    November 25, 2005

    wistfully wondering how a Gen X evangelical comes up with the criterial base for concocting such slanted and biased selections. Ignoring seventy of the hundred years of filmmaking seems to be useful in this regard; as does disdaining anything that is sloshing around just off the radar of “cult classics/favorites” at your local DVD-Video rental shack.

    These sorts of exercises in futility have their mirthful delights, albeit at the expense of actually engaging in more serious discussions of what criteria determined the assignations of “over” and “under” rated??? Joe’s initial statement: “Because film buffs like me say this type” is certainly a loaded proposition, considering his own descriptions of his upbringing and personal/ philosophical principles.

    I am just feeling really pissy today, and i am sure that is why i can’t get into this. Sorry about that, but i think there needs to be some critique of process.

  9. #9 spyder
    November 25, 2005

    I was hoping that Ed was going to post his review of the live Poker game from Monaco last night. FSN put up four hours of telecast, that highlighted something rarely seen in most tournament poker broadcasts; the need by every player at the table to pay attention to every detail of every hand. Not that this is not obvious, but to see some of the very best managing their chip stacks, controlling blinds and position, considering every hand, protecting themselves, staying as consistent as they could and so forth, was fascinating. Probably didn’t make for great TV though, not like the edited versions where you see more action in contested hands and not the pre-flop maneuvers that are more common and determine so much.

  10. #10 Ed Brayton
    November 25, 2005

    spyder wrote:

    I was hoping that Ed was going to post his review of the live Poker game from Monaco last night. FSN put up four hours of telecast, that highlighted something rarely seen in most tournament poker broadcasts; the need by every player at the table to pay attention to every detail of every hand. Not that this is not obvious, but to see some of the very best managing their chip stacks, controlling blinds and position, considering every hand, protecting themselves, staying as consistent as they could and so forth, was fascinating. Probably didn’t make for great TV though, not like the edited versions where you see more action in contested hands and not the pre-flop maneuvers that are more common and determine so much.

    I did watch this tournament, actually. The fact that it was live meant that most of it was fairly boring for the audience, I imagine. On most poker shows, they cut out all of those uncalled raise hands that don’t show a flop, which is why sometimes someone suddenly has $300,000 more in chips than they had when they went to commercial a few minutes ago. But the commentary was supurb, as would be expected from Howard Lederer, who is the best analyst in the business (God save us from Norman Chad and his stupid ex-wife jokes). He really gave the viewers a feel on each hand of what every player was thinking as they decided what to do, and gave great insight into the differences between them, their strengths and weaknesses. He was dead on in predicting that Devilfish would need to change his play as the blinds went up, and how he failed to do so and got his stack chopped down by preflop reraises.

    And how much more can be said about Phil Ivey? I know a lot of the pros think this guy is at the top of the game right now, and it’s hard to argue. He also seems to be showing just a bit more personality at the table lately, which will be good for TV. No one will ever dominate poker the way another sport can be dominated, there’s just too much luck. But he’s beginning to come as close as one could reasonably expect to living up to the Tiger Woods comparisons. I’ve been told by people who should know that he’s won over $20 million playing in the cash games alone in the last couple years. And that’s playing in the “big game” at the Bellagio against the best cash game players in the world – Doyle, Chip, Jennifer Harmon, Chau Giang and that crowd (as well as playing in big money side games at tournaments).

  11. #11 ruidh
    November 25, 2005

    Either watch PCU or blow me where the Pampers is.

    Some of my favorite underrated movies: The Freshman — Brando does the best parody of himself ever done; Leap of Faith — Steve Martin as a phony tent revival preacher/con man; Bubba Ho-Tep — Bruce Campbell is Elvis and Ossie Davis is JFK in an East Texas nursing home, enough said.

  12. #12 raj
    November 26, 2005

    I saw Out of Africa in Munich (it was dubbed in German). Brandauer kept saying I’m going, I’m going, and one of the viewers next to us said “geh schon” (go already). It wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t a particularly good movie.

    I haven’t seen most of the movies in Carter’s list, but I do believe that he’s being a bit short-sighted. For example, his belief that Breakfast At Tiffany’s is over-rated probably ignores the fact that the 1961 movie was made in a time and a place. Actually, it was a very good movie for the time and the place in which it was made, and was a reasonable adaptation of Capote’s book. Given the time, it is unlikely that the movie makers would have been able to explicitly show that the two leading characters were prostitutes (played by Hepburn and George Peopard), so they had to imply it. That was not unusual in the 1950s and early 1960s. For example, in the movie adaptation of Tennessee William’s play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958), the homosexuality of the Paul Newman character could not have been overtly described.

    Also, I don’t understand Carter’s selections for “Incoherent movie about a hippie” I found both of them to be quite coherent. I agree that Easy Rider was over-rated (I believed that even when I saw it shortly after it was released). I also saw The Big Lebowski and thought that it was funny as heck. It is a Coen brothers movie and I don’t know how widely their films get distributed outside of the art house crowd (thank goodness for DVDs). BTW, I have never been let down by a John Goodman movie. He is a great comedic actor. I recognized that with his movie Matinee (1993).

    I also do not understand Carter’s selection of Star Wars Episode IV (by which, I assume, he means the first Star Wars movie) as being over-rated. It was a ground-breaking achievement for its time. It should be recognized that there was no computer graphics animation at the time, and much of the movie had to be shot using miniatures. We just rented the DVD of Episode III and found it quite good (yes, better than Episode IV, but that was from a different era). My favorite is Episode V, even though it’s a downer–it has a very rich texture.

    Finally Carter’s selection of Rebel Without A Cause as being an over-rated movie about teen angst makes no sense whatsoever.

  13. #13 raj
    November 26, 2005

    Going upthread a bit, Rocky Horror Picture Show was a mess, but its success was a triumph of marketing over the quality of the film as a work of art, or even a work of entertainment. Basically, the distributor put it into the midnight movies for college kids and organized (and hired) college kids to perform on stage between reels, got the college kids in some mid rows to throw popcorn at appropriate time, and so forth. They figured out how to market what was an otherwise lousy movie. They did it by moving the attention of the audience away from the movie to the antics in the audience. Smart move.

    The movie was bad, but it spurred the career of Tim Curry.

    The movie was only recently released on DVD. I wonder how well it is doing among the non-nostalgic crowd. The communal feeling among the midnight movie crowd is what made the movie successful, and it is difficult to see how private viewing on DVD would recapture that.

  14. #14 Grumpy
    November 26, 2005

    First rule of “overrated”: it’s possible to be the best and still be overrated.

    Second rule: if something has been declared overrated long enough, it can become underrated. For example, [i]2001: A Space Odyssey[/i].

    Third rule: if something isn’t rated at all, it can’t be over- or underrated. Which brings me to…

    [quote]Denzel Washington movie: Mississippi Masala | The Mighty Quinn[/quote]

    Sure, I’ve [i]heard[/i] of Mississippi Masala, but its reputation hasn’t outgrown it. Even in this narrow category, there are films with reputations larger than the pictures themselves: Training Day, Remember the Titans, even Courage Under frickin’ Fire. Possibly even Glory.

    So let’s say Training Day | Cry Freedom.

    If you want a substitute frat movie, Revenge of the Nerds is underrated enough.

  15. #15 Ed Brayton
    November 26, 2005

    raj-

    I think the interesting thing about the Coen brothers is how their movies have moved far beyond the art houses and into the mainstream. None of their films could be considered blockbusters by any means, but they’ve found a solid audience and their films probably all gross in the $50 million range at the box office. But I bet they make a ton of money on video and DVD sales and rentals because their movies really hold up on multiple viewings.

    I agree with you about Rocky Horror, and it’s interesting that such a bad movie spawned the careers of both Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, both of whom are always interesting on screen. Just not in that movie.

  16. #16 Ed Brayton
    November 26, 2005

    Grumpy-

    Totally agree about Training Day being overrated. When I saw it, which was on video months after he had won Best Actor for it, I could only think, “Of all of his movies, this is the one they give him an Oscar for?” It’s not a bad movie, it’s a pretty good movie. But it’s not great. And Denzel’s performance was pretty much what you’d expect. It’s just that he was playing against type and therefore showing “range”.

    Frankly, they should have given him the Oscar for Malcolm X. That was a truly brilliant performance in a truly brilliant movie. But Al Pacino won that year for Scent of a Woman because he’d never won an Academy Award and they wanted to give him one. And that was a good movie and a good performance, but not even close to Denzel that year. I think the award for Training Day was a makeup award for not giving him the award for Malcolm X, just as the award for Pacino that year was a makeup call for not giving him the award for The Godfather.

  17. #17 raj
    November 26, 2005

    Ed, the interesting thing about the Coen brothers’ movies is that they are so quirky. The Lebowsky movie was an example of it. We have rented it several times (probably should have bought a copy of it) and every time we have watched it we have literally rolled on the floor laughing. The last scene is particularly precious: the John Goodman character is about to dispense the ashes of the Buschemi character into the Pacific Ocean, when the off-shore breezes blow the ashes back into his and Jeff Bridges’s faces. The ultimate humiliation.

    I really do believe that John Goodman is a great comedic actor, and, quite frankly, Jeff Bridges is a decent one, as well. Steve Buschemi is a good creepy actor, but I can’t characterize him. He was good in this movie and also in Fargo.

    Regarding Rocky Horror, it was a stupid movie, but its stupidity and the marketing made it funny. I had heard that it started as a stage play at a gay club (Studio 1) in Lost Angeles, but apparently it actually started in London. It was a mess, but it was entertaining. What more should one expect?

    Going upthread a bit, jcw has a point: nothing from the disaster film category. But Irwin Allen owned that category, and they were all largely of a theme: a bunch of rather elderly actors past their prime gathered together to make a rather incoherent movie. Those movies weren’t bad, they basically have their descendents in the movies on the SciFi channel. Or in the recent remake of War of the Girls, in which Tom Snooze plays second fiddle to the screeching Dakota Fanning. It was awesomely awful. Apparently, Tom Snooze did not follow WC Fields’s advice not to play second fiddle to a child or a dog. The movie was funny–only because Snooze carried the screeching Fanning around in his arms for about half the movie. What was that all about? There was no indication that she couldn’t walk on her own.

    As far as I’m concerned, the best disaster film was the Zucker et al movie Airplane from 1980. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080339/ We saw it on the big screen and also on DVD. It is (intentionally) as funny as heck.

    Another thing, I did not notice a “horror” category. The creepiest horror movie I have ever seen is the original Night of the Living Dead. That was released circa 1968, and was the subject of a warning article in Reader’s Digest.

    Another point (I really don’t like rating movies according to categories) one of my favorite SciFi/horror movies was (and still is) the original Alien. Not because I liked it (which I did). But, because we watched it in a huge theater here in Boston. About half an hour into the movie, I looked around the huge packed theater, and I listened to the audience. You could literally hear a pin drop. As far as I could tell, that is one sign of an effective horror movie.

  18. #18 Pieter B
    November 27, 2005

    For me, the most overrated Best Picture winner from that time period is a no-brainer – Titanic in 1997. Just a brutally bad movie. I would also list Braveheart, Forrest Gump and Dances With Wolves among the most overrated Oscar winning movies.

    One word: Gladiator. Makes Titanic look like a jewel by comparison.

    My most-underrated film of all time, Ridley Scott’s The Duellists (1977) His first feature, an absolute gem, made for only $900,000, and every penny of that is on the screen. It is the most exquisitely photographed movie ever made, in my opinion, and I made my living with a camera for nearly 30 years. It’s a rattling good story as well, and the ending is deeply satisfying. The attention to detail that Jeff Herbert notes in AFGM is dwarfed by this one. If you don’t like it, I’ll refund your rental/purchase fee.

    Airplane has to be seen on a big screen to be appreciated; there are dozens of throwaway jokes in the background that you just can’t see on the small screen. Example, in the airport convenience store, the sign over the stacks of Playboys and Penthousen reads “Stroke Books”; didn’t catch that until the fifth or sixth time I saw it.

  19. #19 CPT_Doom
    November 27, 2005

    If we’re talking about underrated Coen brothers’ movies, put me down for O Brother, Where Art Thou – absolutely brilliant, with an amazing performance by George Clooney, not to mention John Turturo and (again) John Goodman and Holly Hunter.

    And I totally agree with Ed about Say Anything. If you have not seen this movie, you must go out and rent it at once. Not only is the romance between John Cusak and Ione Skye unlike any other teen romance ever put on film, but the sub-plot of the destruction of Ione Skye’s father (John Mahony) is amazingly compelling as man you really should hate – the scene of him huddling in the tub after realizing how his world has completely crumbled is heart-breaking to watch. It also features one of Lili Taylor’s first and funniest roles.

  20. #20 Monkey RobbL
    November 27, 2005

    Actually, you CAN go wrong with the Coen Brothers. “Intolerable Cruelty” was, in my opinion, true to its title. Simply awful.

    I also heard that “The Ladykillers” was pretty bad, but haven’t seen it yet. Prior to those two, though, they were truly batting 1.000.

  21. #21 Ginger Yellow
    November 28, 2005

    I don’t see how you can call Lebowski underrated. Pretty much everyone I know who’s seen it thinks it’s the funniest film of all time. It’s also perfectly coherent, if you just accept it on its own terms.

    My nomination for most underrated film: Scorsese’s After Hours

    Most overrated: Forrest Gump

  22. #22 Vasha
    November 29, 2005

    Pedantic moment: the correct latin plural of penis is penes. But “penii” is funnier.

  23. #23 Ed Brayton
    November 29, 2005

    Vasha wrote:

    Pedantic moment: the correct latin plural of penis is penes. But “penii” is funnier.

    Which is exactly why I use it even though I know it’s wrong. I’ve just always wondered what one would call a whole bunch of them together – a gaggle? a flock? Wait, I know. A law firm.

  24. #24 Pieter B
    November 29, 2005

    You’re not thinking of the “Why do lawyers wear neckties?” joke, are you?

  25. #25 Ed Brayton
    November 29, 2005

    Pieter wrote:

    You’re not thinking of the “Why do lawyers wear neckties?” joke, are you?

    No, I was thinking of this joke:

    “You know what happens when you give viagra to a lawyer?”

    “He gets taller.”

    I find lawyer jokes especially amusing because so many of my closest friends are lawyers.

  26. #26 Pieter B
    November 29, 2005

    The answer to my riddle is “To keep their foreskins from covering their faces.”

    If you (or any lurkers) love words and are interested in “nouns of multitude” like “a pride of lions,” you should own James Lipton’s An Exaltation of Larks. A truly wonderful work.

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