Everyone thinks The Onion is gut-bustingly hilarious and so do I, but if it came down to choosing between the faux newspaper’s satiric content — The Onion proper — and its supplemental entertainment section — The Onion A.V. Club — I’m almost certain I would choose the latter. This section, composed primarily of movie, music, video and book reviews, is highly underrated or at least under-noticed.
Issue after issue, it continues to impress me with its top-shelf writing, which is articulate, intelligent, free of obscurism and full of wit. For any given new release movie, the A.V. Club’s review is among the best and most insightful reviews you’ll likely read. What’s more, their weekly, lead-off interviews with artistically notable artists from Frank Miller to Sarah Vowell is more often than not surprisingly illuminating.
Which brings me to my second point. This week’s interview is with former Saturday Night Live player Will Ferrell. At the office yesterday, we were all watching the QuickTime trailer for Ferrell’s upcoming comedy feature “Elf.” A few of my colleagues expressed skepticism as to whether the movie would be worth the price of admission, but I’d watch Ferrell in just about anything. The A.V. Club describes his performance style as possessing a “sometimes-spooky level of glassy-eyed conviction,” and I think this is a great description. His almost frighteningly focused comedic talents have elevated just about every movie I’ve seen him in, making him just about the only worthwhile part of a host of ill-advised, would-be comedies. In fact, I’m willing to say there’s a parallel between Ferrell and fellow former SNL player Bill Murray, which is to say that his is a career to be watched.