To mark the end of 2005, Slate asked writers, artists, and other luminaries to name the most amazing—or most disappointing—cultural happening they stumbled on during the course of the year. Here are their responses:
Judd Apatow, writer-director, The 40-Year-Old Virgin
My favorite cultural event was the release of the documentary about Bob Dylan, No Direction Home. It is almost always a letdown when press-shy artists speak. Remember Marlon Brando on Larry King. It made me want to scream at the TV, “You didn’t talk to the press for so long. Why ruin it now by kissing Larry King?! The mystery is gone.” Fortunately, this documentary is illuminating and inspiring. Bob Dylan, with great dignity, takes us through his story, and it only makes me admire him more. It also reminds all creative people why we need to take risks to do great work.
Noah Baumbach, writer-director, The Squid and the Whale
The transit strike temporarily brought Manhattan back to me. In recent years, I’ve felt dismayed watching neighborhoods like the Meat Packing District turn into playgrounds for tourists. I hate the grotesque mall that is the Time Warner building. New York is becoming more and more a place for other people. As infuriating and crippling as the strike was for so many, I selfishly appreciated having a city that was uninviting and briefly in turmoil.