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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Experts Versus Fans, or a Song of Two Best-Films Lists

March 31, 2014, 8:36 am

Everyone loves lists of the best movies of all time. They’re not like periodic tables of the elements, because no two lists are alike. There’s metacritic’s list by critics. There’s metacritic’s list by users. There’s the AFI list from 1997. And then there’s the AFI list from 2007. There’s also Rotten Tomatoes’ list. But when we’re talking All Time Best Movies in All Genres, with less American bias than the American Film Institute (though they still poach films like Lawrence of Arabia – go figure),
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N8 H8r? L8r!

March 28, 2014, 11:27 am

Nate Silver’s back. He’s baaaaaaaaaaack. Last week, fivethirtyeight.com relaunched kinda like the independent website it was in its pre-New York Times days, but this time in partnership with ESPN. After being crowned (by Jon Stewart) “Lord of the Algorithms,” after becoming America’s tea-leaf-reader-in-chief, Nate Silver peered into his cup and decided that his best long-term business interests lay with sports fans. That’s almost a rebuke to half of 538’s readers. More on that in a moment. If you follow the
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Shortness People

March 26, 2014, 2:07 pm

This post really puts the “waaaaaaaa” in Waaaaaaaaaaambulance Wednesday. Because it’s about tantrums. I told myself that at some point, I would dedicate a post to his tantrums. Hey, look at the time! It’s fuss o’clock.   Dar screams a lot. This does not distinguish him from a lot of other 4-year-olds. But when Dar screams, it’s not punctuated by words like “no” or “mom” or “dad” or “I won’t.” After 4 years, “waaaaaaaa” is pretty much his only proactive word.   The thing
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SCMS 2014

March 24, 2014, 12:30 pm

“Drinking every time someone says ‘this is part of a larger project’ could prove a dangerous game.” “This conference doubles as a Macintosh-fetish group-therapy meeting.” “Interesting to see gatekeepers who don’t see themselves as such.” –  some tweets from #SCMS14 The Society of Cinema and Media Studies held its annual conference in Sheraton Seattle over the weekend. SCMS is the main organization of film, TV, video and media scholars. Yes, these are the pointy-headed professors who think you can explain
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Rage, Again, the Machine

March 20, 2014, 9:23 pm

Recently, a new Pew Survey revealed that millennials don’t really believe in any –ism other than individualism. (Certainly not populism.) Apparently, only 19% of people born after 1980 think that most people can be trusted. Gee, what a surprise! Knock down twin towers, replace with twin towers of the internet and right-wing radio, and see what you get. No, but seriously, Obamacare, the shutdown, the way most websites are moderated, the people in both parties and Wall Street responsible for the recession
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Rain-Bullets Man

March 18, 2014, 10:35 pm

Last week, I reacted to a story about a child who has learned to manage his autism through Disney videos, a story that spent a week at the top of the New York Times’ most-read list. As it turns out, last week there was another story from another New York-based periodical that was also going viral (well, let’s say “print-viral,” hardly as important as the fake “first kisses” video) that was also about a father’s communication, and lack of it,
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The Best Irish-American Characters of TV & Film

March 16, 2014, 9:15 pm

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Ever noticed that there are a lot of Irish-American characters in major roles on television and in film? It’s true! And these aren’t just any old characters. Writers love to give Irish-American names to the indispensable, no-nonsense problem-solvers who become icons, to the scrappy, soulful, hardscrabble people who make real the inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Irish-American filmic and TV-based characters might have to bend the rules or take a drink now
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L’etat du moi

March 14, 2014, 11:42 am

I wish I knew when I was 3: Left shoe goes on left foot, right shoe goes on right. Picking my nose isn’t great. Neither is carrying my blanket wherever I go. Be open to foods outside of PB&J, pasta, and M&Ms. Whine less, love more.   I wish I knew when I was 13: Mullets don’t look good. Stand up straight. You can be “an independent thinker” and still not dress like your clothes fell off a refugee palate.
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When You Wish Upon a Star

March 11, 2014, 10:27 pm

Well, Ron Suskind’s article “Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney” has been sitting high atop the New York Times’ “Most Emailed” list for almost a week now, and it’s hit the online autism community like a hurricane. There have been many reactions, some of them not…thrilled. The discontent ranges from offense at the phrase “my autistic son” in the headline (more PC would be “my son who has autism” or “my son, diagnosed with autism” – because the diagnosis shouldn’t
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Steven and Stevens

March 9, 2014, 3:13 pm

  Remember Lincoln? Not the 16th President, but the film named after him? Directed by a fella named Steven Spielberg? Surprised everyone by earning almost $200 million at the domestic box office? Not really a bio-pic, but more of a film about the passing of the 13th Amendment? Snubbed at the Oscars in favor of Ben Affleck’s story of how Hollywood rescued some diplomats from Ayatollah Khomeini? That Lincoln? Right, now let me tell you something you don’t know about
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