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EW review: Gene Wilder's uneven 'Kiss'

By Scott Brown
Entertainment Weekly

Jonathan Lethem
Mel Brooks
Gene Wilder

(Entertainment Weekly) -- It's impossible not to feel deep affection for Gene Wilder, the frizzy-haired Mel Brooks regular, Oscar nominee and Mr. Gilda Radner: His sui generis screen persona fused volatility and adorability into a new isotope of comic acting.

Affection for his desultory, confessional memoir, "Kiss Me Like a Stranger," however, will vary according to one's desire to see that persona in extended therapy.

Much is revealed -- military academy beatings, standard sex woes, etc. -- but half of loving the erstwhile Willy Wonka is not knowing what makes him tick ... tick ... BOOM.

EW Grade: B-

'The Disappointment Artist'

Reviewed by Gilbert Cruz

In various essays about the intersection of pop culture and personal memory, Jonathan Lethem illustrates how the consumption of books and movies is seldom simple, capable of serving as a gateway to nostalgia or a point of disconnect.

With a subtle undercurrent of shame, Lethem recalls his decision to end a friendship over John Ford's Western "The Searchers."

In "The Disappointment Artist," he realizes that the reason he saw "Star Wars" 21 times in the summer of 1977 was related to the fact that his mother was slowly dying from a brain tumor.

And in ''Two or Three Things I Dunno About Cassavetes,'' Lethem says what any film obsessive has always wanted to tell a significant other: ''Quit saying you love me because if you don't love that movie you don't love me.''

Lethem's trademark pop insight makes this slim volume a remarkable read.

EW Grade: A-

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