Favorite

The week's best releases from the pop-culture universe. 

DVD -- Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier: Both versions of the greatest war movie ever made are gathered for the first time in a two-disc set. While we prefer the longer, 2001 Redux, which includes crucial scenes that further probe the characters' frayed psyches, hopelessness looms even heavier in the 1979 original. Extras include several featurettes, more deleted scenes, and a primer on the simple synth score.

DVD -- A Bit of Fry & Laurie: Season One and Season Two: Before he became TV's most cantankerous doc on House, Hugh Laurie was half of this overseas sketch-comedy team. Like all British humor, the show combines witty wordplay with jokes about people in their underwear. Fry & Laurie also skewers pop culture, taking on lofty costume dramas, detective shows, and Michael Jackson. Their "light metal" band, the Bishop and the Warlord, is almost as funny as Spinal Tap.

TV/DVD -- On Native Soil: Just in time for the fifth anniversary of 9-11 comes this documentary. Kevin Costner and Hilary Swank narrate, but the real stars are the survivors and family members, who recount the day's events and their subsequent determination to keep the 9-11 Commission on course in its investigation. It airs at 9 p.m. Monday on Court TV, and an extended version will be released Tuesday on DVD.

TV -- Pee-wee's Playhouse: Now that the kaleidoscopic Saturday-morning '80s show airs at 11 p.m. every Monday through Thursday on Cartoon Network, we have the perfect cap to our workday -- even if we are bouncing off the walls by bedtime. Most fun is spotting future stars Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis and Phil Hartman as Captain Carl.

CD -- Third Eye Blind: A Collection: Admit it. You kinda liked "Semi-Charmed Life" when it was all over the radio in 1997. The rest of this 19-track overview checks in with a number of lesser-known but no less fun songs -- especially "How's It Going to Be" and "Never Let You Go" -- which ably rebut the knock that Third Eye Blind was a one-hit wonder.

BOOK -- To Air Is Human: One Man's Quest to Become the World's Greatest Air Guitarist: This memoir chronicles how New York Times writer Dan Crane put down his real axe, renamed himself Björn Türoque, and went on to become a runner-up at a national air-guitar contest. It's a funny and occasionally pathetic look at the culture of wannabe rock stars.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Undisputed: Beenie Man's latest CD sounds like every other dancehall album of the past three years. Hip-hop, reggae, and R&B collide over a bunch of rinky-dink beats that get endlessly recycled over the course of an hour. Meanwhile, Beenie wearily burns his way through multiple sex jams and a duet with a bored-sounding diva. If the debate is over whether this is crap, it is indeed undisputed.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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