Sports are full of clichés. Play one game at a time. Leave it all out on the field. There’s no “I” in team. Clichés allow fans to make sense of the unpredictable nature of athletic competition. Without them, how else would we be able to explain results that don’t make sense? How else did the underdog beat the favorite if they didn’t have more heart? The odd nature of sports clichés is that despite them being an exercise in generalities and vagueness, there can be truth behind them. There is a reason they became clichés in the first place. Sometimes a game isn’t just a game. Sometimes a basketball team isn’t just a basketball team. Sometimes a warm-up jersey isn’t just a warm-up jersey. The 1992 Lithuanian Olympic Basketball team wasn’t just a team who played in a game with an odd-looking warm-up jersey. They represented a whole lot more…. More…

It wasn’t the fact that the entire movie was structured as Oscar-bait, nor was it the historical inaccuracies. I watched The King’s Speech with increasing frustration because every time Helena Bonham Carter came onto the screen, I thought, “Are they going to let her do anything? Or is she just going to sit on her husband’s stomach and quip one liners?”

From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in Movies by Molly Haskell. 444 pages. University of Chicago Press. $21.

Despite the narrowness of her role, Carter was nominated for an Academy Award, and on February 27, we’ll get to see which woman in a category full of girlfriends, wives, and mothers takes the award.

Hollywood is not a woman-friendly place, and the Academy Awards are an annual festival that hammers home that point. Once again there are… More…

Is he a cliché? That’s the question you keep coming back to when you look at the paintings of Edward Hopper. On the face of it, the current show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, “Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time,” doesn’t help answer the question. The show gives us paintings like “Soir Bleu” from 1914. We’re at a café in France somewhere. Patrons sit at the tables. Right there in the middle, facing us, is a clown. He is wearing a white, frilly get-up and his face is painted white, too, with red lips and a couple of red stripes down the eyes. He is smoking a cigarette. This may, in fact, be the sad clown we’ve all heard so much about. I’ve toyed with the idea that “Soir Bleu” is making fun of itself. Or maybe it is making fun of us, the viewer? But, no…. More…