By Ken Tucker
Updated December 24, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Dear entertainment lovers all, We hope this year you’ve had a ball, At least as much as we’ve had making Special-issue salutes to stars earthshaking, From Malkovich, John, to all Chicks Dixie And a big shout-out to Regis, you pixie! Speaking of millionaires, let’s not be chary: M. Night Shyamalan—your ‘Sixth Sense’ was scary! More emotional than the project ‘Blair Witch’ Yet less creepy than David Spade’s unctuous Finch.

‘Tis the season to be merry So crank up Lou Bega, revive Bryan Ferry, Fiona, Mariah, and what the heck— Throw a log on the fire for swivel-hipped Beck. Decide if Chris Gaines is really Garth Brooks, Then send them both presents: self-help books. Best wishes to Spikes Lee and Jonze, Directors as different as bagels and scones. Ricky Martin, Faith Hill, Ashley Judd, Pokemon: Each in his or her way a true phe-nom-e-non!

We’d feel very dumb, very small, very teeny If we didn’t salute the great James Gandolfini Whose ‘Sopranos’ sang louder than any holiday choir And brought HBO kudos it hadn’t had prior. Our labor is done; time for fun, time for play: With reruns galore, we relievedly say, This holiday break, we’ll turn off the TV And read Harry Potter—not one, but all three!

— Ken Tucker, with apologies to Roger Angell and ‘The New Yorker’