Newsmakers

Once Upon a Time in Park CityOne of the best films at this year's Sundance Festival is about a dwarf who digs trains, and stars Peter Dinklage, whom you've never heard of.

Say Goodbye To Hollywood

Call me a geek, but within a day of arriving in town for the Sundance Film Festival, I found the perfect formula for enjoying myself: skip the parties, stick to the movies.This year's festival, which ends this Sunday in Park City, Utah, was my first, and I quickly learned that there are actually two Sundances.

Music: Money For Nothing

Did you purchase a CD at any point between Jan. 1, 1995, and Dec. 22, 2000? If the answer is yes--and it really should be--congratulations! You are entitled to up to $20, absolutely free. (If the answer is no, listen, you need to let go of the eight-tracks.

The Matrix Makers

One Year, Two Sequels--And A Revolution In Moviemaking. An Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes Of 2003'S Hottest Flicks.

I Love My Car

Oh, the things a "tuner" would love to do to your car... They know what you think of that Honda Civic in your driveway. Safe. Practical. Fuel-efficient. "This car," you think, "was a smart purchase." Here's what tuners dream about when they see your little Civic.

Confessions Of An Outrageous Mind

Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman refuses to sit for photographs, and of course interviewers ask him why. When NEWSWEEK put the question to him at lunch last month, he started out by grumbling that his explanation--which he thinks is pretty reasonable--never gets into the story, forcing readers to conclude that he's either weird or disfigured. (He's neither.) So here you go, Charlie, the floor is yours. "The big thing is, I'm just not a public person.

Don't Whack 'The Sopranos' Just Yet

If you're wondering what went wrong-well, a little bit wrong-with "The Sopranos" this season, the best place to start is actually last season and with a character whom fans of the show have come to call "the Russian."The Russian was a key player in the third season's best episode, "The Pine Barrens," in which Christopher (Michael Imperioli) and Paulie (Tony Sirico) allow a murderous Russian mafioso, whom they tried and failed to kill, to escape into the icy back woods of South Jersey.

Britain's Cat In The Hat

Damon Gough, a.k.a. Badly Drawn Boy, is going to get this song right if it kills him. He's started and stopped three times so far, and he'll start and stop 12 more if that's what it takes.

Winner By A Mile

All the people who've ever met Brittany Murphy most likely have one thing in common: they have all been hugged by Brittany Murphy. Over the course of an hour-and-a-half conversation in the lobby of Manhattan's Mercer Hotel, she issues 11 hugs, an average of one every eight minutes.

'Jackass' Nation

I first met Johnny Knoxville two years ago, about a month before "Jackass"--the hilariously masochistic show that would make him both famous and infamous--premiered on MTV.

Newsmakers

'Les Miz' Bows OutThey're ripping down the barricades at "Les Miserables," and even Broadway insiders are shocked. After all, "Les Miz" was the sturdiest of Broadway hits, a show that not only managed to make the French Revolution entertaining but over the years employed the likes of Debbie Gibson and Ricky Martin.

Ultrahigh Resolution

Ever notice how videos on MTV these days kinda stink? Good ones are still getting made--just not here. Europe is where it's at right now. Case in point: the British trio Dirty Vegas's "Days Go By," in which a man drops a boombox on a nameless city street and begins b-boying like he just stepped out of "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo." MTV eventually caught on, but the video wasn't seen in America until it premiered last year at RESFEST, a four-day traveling carnival of the world's most inventive...

Playing By Her Own Rules

When you think about it, three years is a really, really long time to go without sex. "The West Wing," NBC's romance-starved White House saga, has won three straight Emmys for best drama series, so it seems to be managing just fine.

A Spanking Good Role

So James Spader is starring in a weird, kinky sex movie? You don't say. What a stretch. The 42-year-old actor has made a career out of carnal deviance, most famously in 1989's "sex, lies and videotape" and most notoriously in the 1996 cars-and-copulation fantasy "Crash." In "Secretary" (review) the fetish du jour is S&M, but the office romance in question is so unexpectedly sweet it feels unlike anything Spader has done before. "The two of them seemed so innocent to me," says the actor. "[Grey]...

Campaign '02: Puffy's Got His Back

Hip-hop stars are famous for endorsing Escalades, Courvoisier and, most commonly, themselves. Political candidates tend not to make it onto their radar screens.

High 'Wire' Act

If HBO's cops-and-drug-dealers series "The Wire," which wrapped its first season on Sept. 8, were instead debuting on, say, ABC or CBS this week, I'd give it two episodes before it was canceled.The show's pilot--which ran back on June 2--was, quite frankly, a snooze.

Coach Till You Drop

The last time Herman Edwards, head coach of the New York Jets, wrote a personal check was 1997. He thinks. "Let's see," Edwards says, glancing up at the ceiling of his terrifyingly tidy office in the Jets' Hempstead, N.Y., training facility. "Yeah, probably five years ago.

Gidget Girls

There were a few guys in the water at Malibu that Vicki Flaxman just wouldn't mess with, even if they did cut her off in the lineup or snake her on a wave.

Don't Try Playing Through

Tiger Woods is a chump. Yeah, that's right. When he won the U.S. Open in June on the Black Course at Bethpage, he had it easy--just strolled right up to the first tee.

Blood, Sweat &Amp; Pastry

There is no pastry-chef equivalent of seppuku, the ritualistic method of suicide for shamed samurai, but if there were, Jean-Philippe Maury looks about ready to commit it.

The Return Of Dave

I could tell that the Dave Matthews Band had returned to its former glory after listening to its new CD, "Busted Stuff," just one time: I didn't like a single song.

Design: Let's Do The Time Warp

TV sets are an easy thing to evaluate. The better the picture, the better the TV--simple. That's why those plasma-screen thingies are considered the very best.

Dvds: You Say 'Autobot,' I Say 'Decepticon'

For boys of a certain age, the last time we'll admit to crying at a movie was 1986, when Optimus Prime died at the hands of the Decepticons in "Transformers: The Movie." Well, grab your hankies again, boys, only this time prepare to shed tears of joy.

Bye-Bye, 'American Pie'

Chris and Paul Weitz want you to know that they loved directing "American Pie." They're proud of the final result, proud that it became a teen-comedy classic.

Boycotting The Blockbusters

Folks, the only we way we're getting through this summer is by being honest with ourselves. We did not have fun watching "The Scorpion King." No, listen, I'm telling you, we didn't.

Newsmakers

It's no surprise that Oprah Winfrey doesn't have all day to curl up with a good novel, but shelving her beloved book club? Didn't see that one coming. "It has become harder and harder," Winfrey said in a statement last week, "to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share." A spokesperson for Winfrey clarified that she will continue to pick books periodically.

Movies: Talk About A Hairy Situation

It might not be possible to make a funnier movie about body hair and table manners than "Human Nature." Those are some tricky subjects, two places your average screenwriter might not dare to go.

Primal Screamer

It is a cliche of celebrity profiles to begin with the subject's arriving for the interview--Gwyneth walked into the hotel lobby, a vision in red...--and, typically, the gimmick is contrived and pointless.

Newsmakers

The bride (wedding no. 4) wore white. Michael Jackson (two ex-wives) held her train. Liz Taylor (eight weddings) forgot her shoes and showed up late but still got billed as the "maid" of honor.

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