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Monthly Archives: August 2015

When Stars Won’t Do Brand-Name Franchises, Do They Help Their Own Brand?

August 31, 2015, 12:25 pm

“Franchises are not a big part of the movie business. They are not the biggest part of the movie business. They are the movie business. Period.” – Mark Harris, Grantland, December 16, 2014 Since Harris wrote those words a few months back, most of the other serious, Harris-level writers about film have nodded their heads in approval. But there are a few star-actors who don’t seem to have received the Harris memo. And for at least some of them, we can very […]

When The Levee Breaks…Ten Years Gone

August 28, 2015, 1:24 am

I don’t normally suggest a soundtrack for one of my blog posts, but like everyone else this weekend, you should be listening to a double-Zeppelin-shot of When the Levee Breaks and Ten Years Gone. Hurricane Katrina, which struck Louisiana ten years ago this weekend, was an exceptional event: it was the ne plus ultra of weather calamities, an environmentalist cautionary tale, a natural disaster abetted by extraordinary human failings, a rare window into an American city given over to anarchy, […]

Just Goggle It

August 26, 2015, 11:45 am

Today we celebrate Dar wearing goggles! Like a lot of kids with autism, and a lot of kids period, Dar generally refuses to have anything to do with headwear. Any day in the sun involves copious application, and re-application, of sunscreen, because he treats a hat alighting on his head the way you would treat a banana peel doing the same thing. As part of his learning to swim, we have occasionally been ambitious enough to attempt to place goggles […]

Why “Sex” is Better Than You’ve Heard

August 24, 2015, 11:34 am

The recap-industrial complex is jumping the shark, as we say in TV-watch-and-bitch-land. Recapping is hard; you have to get it done fast and right. But there are people who do that. Back in 2006, when my essay “Still More Gilmore” appeared in the first book about Gilmore Girls and I interviewed the show’s recapper Pamela Ribon, her employer,, was the only recapping game in town, and Ribon was one of its writers who typically understood all there was to […]

Saying “Where’s the Outrage?” Is Kinda Outrageous

August 21, 2015, 1:09 am

A few recent events have occasioned more than the usual “if outrage over this, why not that?” comments from leading journalistic sources. Three examples: Since Cecil the Lion was trophy-hunted and killed by an American dentist, many major sites have asked: why the outrage over Cecil, and not all the other animals that have been killed before and since? Since activist Shaun King was revealed to have lied to Oprah Winfrey about his biracial identity (turns out he’s white), sites […]

They Took All the Toys, and Put Em in a Toy Museum

August 19, 2015, 12:01 pm

Last weekend I had a crazy thought regarding all the wonderful people who gave us such fantastic gifts when Dar was born. Do any of them want the gifts back now that they know Dar can’t use them? I know, ridiculous. Our second kid uses them. No, of course they don’t want them back. I had this silly notion – or as people say who watch Thomas and Friends as often as me, an idea flew into my funnel – […]

Dear Disneyland, Just Replace Tomorrowland with Star Wars Land, Already

August 17, 2015, 10:31 am

Last weekend brought the astonishing news – at Disney’s 23rd Annual Convention, or “D23 Expo,” as everyone is now hip to calling it – that Disney will build a so-called “Star Wars Land” in both Orlando and Anaheim. Fans can rejoice: Disney chief Bob Iger claims that “nothing will be out of character or stray from mythology… We’re going to transport guests to a whole new planet. It will be real, it will be authentic.” Yes, that sounds terrific. And placing the Florida […]

16 Reasons 2006 Augured The PC Era

August 14, 2015, 12:37 pm

No one reading this would be surprised, twenty years from now, to hear this current period called the Era of Political Correctness. For some, these are years of outrage over relatively little; for others, these are years of long-overdue inclusiveness, or as Chris Rock put it, “white people have gotten less crazy.” There are two extant media narratives to explain how we got here. One, advanced by Caitlyn Flanagan writing at The Atlantic, suggests that political correctness has enjoyed roughly a three-decade metastasis from […]

It Was a Good Day (2015)

August 12, 2015, 10:55 am

This week has seen a lot of hype for Straight Outta Compton, a film about a group and album that I misspent a LOT of my late teenagerhood listening to. In salute to its most creative mind, I thought I would spend this post paying tribute to one of his most famous songs. Just wakin’ up in the morning gotta thank God I don’t know, they say my son’s kinda odd No barkin’ from our dog, no smog Who wants […]

Incide-Outption: Joy Versus Cobb

August 10, 2015, 1:14 pm

Headquarters, where Riley’s five emotions live and work. Night, and four of them are asleep. The fifth is at the control panel. FEAR (Bill Hader) Just another night of boring dream duty…ho-hum…hey, that looks familiar. (We see the dream: rainy LA streets, oddly photorealistic humans for a cartoon. And then, incongruously, a train powering through them…) FEAR Disgust? Disgust? Wake up. DISGUST (Mindy Kaling, sleeping) Omigod, Fear, what is it this time? FEAR There’s a train in Riley’s dream that […]