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Why is this Martin Luther King Day unlike other Martin Luther King Days?

January 15, 2018, 2:28 pm

Why is this Martin Luther King Day unlike other Martin Luther King Days? Because today marks the 50th time that we’re recognizing his birthday without him. A half-century of coming to terms with what we lost, of trying to live by his example. This is also the first MLK Day under the 45th President. It only seems like he’s been President for 50 years. If Dr. King was still with us at the tender age of 88, what would he
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Academy Awards, Hear My Plea and Lecture, Nominate “The Florida Project” For Best Picture

January 9, 2018, 10:30 am

This post appeared at Filmotomy. “The Florida Project” was Walt Disney’s 1960s-era code term for a planned East Coast amusement park, an euphemism justified by Disney’s fear that Orlando property owners would demand that Disney reimburse them at market rates. The secrecy worked, but what Disney couldn’t prevent was the hotel and motel industry’s successive Florida Project, a mini-gold rush that snapped up all the land within miles of the Magic Kingdom’s property. Nor could the Mouse House do much about
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“Al Jazeera Dad”?

January 8, 2018, 10:11 pm

Al-Jazeera called me from Qatar about 30 minutes before the beginning of the Golden Globes broadcast. They had live-interviewed me twice before, and I suppose I had done well enough to warrant a third invite. Al Jazeera wanted to put me on the air during the broadcast, at about 6:30pm California time. I said yes, although my wife and I were about to use our house to throw a friend a surprise 50th birthday party. That all went fine. He was
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Sister Insister

January 1, 2018, 5:37 am

Let’s begin the year with a brand-new video that I co-wrote and directed; let’s sing and dance on the way to justice.   Share this post

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Bye-bye, 2017; hello, a new kind of blog in 2018

December 30, 2017, 12:41 pm

For four years now, I have been writing 3000-plus words a week, spread over at least three entries a week. What a ride. What tremendous responses from friends old and new. My blog has been cross-posted in places like AwardsDaily, Sound on Sight, and Filmotomy, and the exposure has led to appearances/citation in The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, and The Christian Science Monitor. My blog has become part of a thriving and extraordinary community of blogs by parents of autistic
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Merry Christmas Everyone!

December 25, 2017, 5:37 pm

I love the line in that song “When Christmas Comes to Town” – “On Christmas it’s hard to be alone.” It somehow captures three different kinds of poignancy – it’s hard if alone-ness happens to you, it’s also sometimes hard to get away from people, it’s also sometimes about loving the crowd of people. Wishing you poignant association with art today and every day. Share this post

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How Performances Made “Titanic” (1997), and How “Titanic” Changed Blockbuster Performances

December 4, 2017, 11:44 am

This is from a section of my book, due to come out next year, called “Blockbuster Performances.” I argue that despite critics who typically dismiss acting as a tertiary concern of blockbuster movies, in fact strong performances make strong blockbusters, and in particular, the success of Titanic, especially compared to 1997’s only other $100 million+ film, Batman and Robin, proved that excellent acting was more important than “star” casting. Now that Titanic has returned to theaters for its anniversary, it
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In Memoriam: Kevin Spacey’s Career 1986-2017

November 14, 2017, 6:42 am

Our memory of Kevin (reprobate) Spacey’s career deserves better. Not the person, but the career. When Louis C.K.’s career ended because of accusations of sordid behavior, several major writers rushed to memorialize him – hurried to tell us what Louis C.K. meant. Caveats and qualifiers were in full effect, but there was a heartfelt sincerity to the Louis C.K. requiems. Kevin (asshole) Spacey’s career ended the week before C.K.’s because of some other accusations of sordid behavior. Why hasn’t Spacey’s career
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After Your “Stranger Things 2” Binge

October 31, 2017, 9:35 am

After looking forward to the binge weekend of “Stranger Things 2” for most of 2017, I have to say there was one thing that surprised me. I did not expect to flip over to a Dodgers-Astros World Series quite so often. Sorrynotsorry, there were plenty of pleasant plot turns in the second installment of “Stranger Things.” I’d say most of it was…tubular. This is not the place to read a plot summary. You want that, you go find recaps on
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As Time Goes By: 5 Years of the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival, 75 Years of “Casablanca”

October 24, 2017, 4:16 pm

Now don’t get sore, shweetheart. When my friend DP brought the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival to my attention a few years ago, it was a “someday” thing. Somehow and someway, someday became October 18 to October 22, 2017, at the Playa Largo in Key Largo, Florida. DP and I each shelled out $500 for the all-inclusive Bogart Pass plus more smackeroos for the related hotel resort and the airfare from California. A week later, Hurricane Irma “destroyed” the Florida Keys. A day later, DP texted me,
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