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Monthly Archives: August 2016

First Day, First Grade

August 31, 2016, 2:30 pm

After two years of kindergarten, we’re on to first grade at the same school, which is Thousand Oaks Elementary School in Berkeley. As we leave the house, I ask Dar to pause at our front door to take the Constitutionally Mandated Facebook Back to School photo. I get his backpack on him and shoot him about a dozen times. I try tickling his stomach to get that smile you guys like. Doesn’t work. All the pics are terrible. I give
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Why “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” Explains “The Night Of”

August 29, 2016, 10:16 am

Not every show is planned through its final three minutes. Not every show is written the way the screenwriter books tell you: know your ending, then work backwards. But HBO’s The Night Of, which was planned only for a single season (even if there are now rumors about more), is such a show. Let me explain. It should go without saying that you should NOT read this until you’ve seen all of The Night Of, including last night’s finale. You’ve
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Happy Centennial, National Parks!

August 26, 2016, 8:02 am

Yesterday, the national park service turned 100. Happy birthday, best part of America! (This blog is always in for a centennial. Can’t believe Olivia DeHavilland is older than both her right to vote and the National Park Service.) I encourage you to go read learned people write about why we need to love and keep the National Parks. Here, I’ll simply present a personal, subjective listicle of my 20 favorite National Parks. My wife and I are huge fans. (By the way,
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Back to the House of Horrors

August 24, 2016, 11:12 am

Dar and I are driving downtown. My teeth are gnashed, knowing what’s coming. Oh God, this is going to be a nightmare. I pass Shattuck and University and the McDonald’s there. I get lucky. There’s a parking space on University right next to where we’re going. I park. I get Dar out of his car seat. I take his hand. We walk into our haircutting place. Oh praise Jesus and all the saints, it’s empty. I see the nice lady
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“My Robot Can Beat Your Robot”: The Treatment

August 22, 2016, 10:44 am

We’ve had Pygmalion, we’ve had My Fair Lady, we’ve had Frankenstein…but have we ever had a story about a double-dose? About two inventors, two human-like creations, and each trying to one-up the other? I don’t think so. Written as a movie, could also conceivably be an 8-episode TV series. Main cast should all be comedians, the idea is to find the humor in the increasingly crazy situations. Just leaving this treatment here in case I ever come back to it.
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Dory, Dory, Dory the Explorer

August 15, 2016, 4:38 pm

This is a review/recap of one of the most disabled-friendly films ever, by a father of a special-needs child. Ever notice that TV shows get recapped but movies get reviewed? Two different animals. Sometimes I think: I’d like to see a movie get the more granular treatment of a recap, especially a movie that could never be a TV show, a movie that reminds us why we go to movies. What would such a recap look like? Well… (SPOILERS, duh)
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The ABCs of the Unprecedented Unpresidentiality of Donald John Trump

August 11, 2016, 3:19 pm

Let’s slow down, everyone. Let’s attempt some non-partisan perspective. Whether you consider Donald J. Trump a necessary course-correction or an unnecessary evil, you have to admit: he’s weird. He’s without precedent. He’s changing the system, for better and worse. Let us count the ways. From A to Z. Now, you’re probably like me. You read articles about Donald Trump, each elaborating on some different reason that he’s qualified, or unqualified, to be President. George Will says he doesn’t respect the Constitution. A former
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iPad icon immersion

August 10, 2016, 11:09 am

“Don’t forget his iPad,” wifey says. “I won’t,” I say. When Dar goes out, he brings his iPad. To be clearer, I bring his iPad. The goal is to integrate into more of his life. The good news is that Dar is pushing the icon buttons on his iPad like never before, like it’s going out of style. The bad news is that Dar is pushing the icon buttons on his iPad like never before, like it’s going out of
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Should Comic Book Movies Be Made By Artists or Craftspeople?

August 8, 2016, 1:23 pm

My former professor at the University of Southern California, Drew Casper, divided directors into at least two categories: artists (a.k.a. auteurs), and craftsmen, people who made very watchable films that nonetheless stopped short of actual art. Today’s topic: what sort of directors do we really want directing comic-book movies? Auteurs, craftspersons, or something else? This question has new relevance today, after a weekend in which DC/Warner Bros. crash-landed its second major superhero movie of 2016 with a Rotten Tomatoes score
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Let The Rio Olympic Games Begin!

August 5, 2016, 1:43 am

I love the Olympics. I love the world coming together for friendly competition. I love the idea of turning off the Trump-Clinton show for two weeks to watch, uh, anything else. (Bring on the archery!) I love that this year is the first time the Games will be played in South America; it’s long overdue. I love that Rio is only two time zones before New York, meaning the games will be and feel more “live” than they often do
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