Who else but Pauline Kael would have said: "It's not fun writing about bad movies. I used to think it was bad for my skin." On September 3, 2001, the movies and those who love them lost one of their greatest friends-a friend who never tired of championing the best that the movies could offer and didn't shrink from taking to task any film, director, or actor she thought deserved a taste of her famously acerbic wit. Kael's insight, spirit, and straight-shooting won her singular respect in both movie and literary circles, as well as a passionate following for her New Yorker columns and her inimitably titled books such as I Lost It at the Movies and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Shortly before her death, Kael sat down with Francis Davis for a series of conversations about her life and work-and, of course, the movies. Among many, many things she talks here of her early days as a critic, her career at the New Yorker, the directors she knew (for better or worse), her disappointment with recent cinema, and her renewed interest in television. It's funny, it's controversial, it's right-on-the-mark-and time and again you realize that no could would have dared to say that, in just that way, except Pauline Kael.