Like many people, I’m not a particularly religious person. I was raised Jewish, and still half-heartedly honor and celebrate some Jewish holidays, but haven’t been to temple in years. My children are similarly unengaged with organized religion and their Mom was raised in the Christian faith but celebrates the cultural side of Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, not their religious observances and meaning. Nonetheless, it’s hard to be a member of Western Civilization and not…Read More
Catch up with “Outlander” during Watchathon Week
If you like your romantic fantasies to be woven out of historical fiction then have I got a show for you! Here’s the set up: It’s the middle of World War II and military nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) and her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies) are visiting the remote village of Inverness, Scotland for a much needed holiday. When they explore the standing stones (think Stonehenge) above the town, Claire touches the highest stone and promptly…Read More
Frank Reade and Why I Love the Public Library
I consume a lot of books, whether in print form, ebooks for my Kindle reader, or audio books that I listen to at the gym or while driving to and from Denver as a way to avoid getting stressed about traffic. I’ve also been a reader for long enough that I can appreciate serendipity when I encounter it, whether it’s a fiction book that references a non-fiction work or a book mentioned on a social…Read More
What films are appropriate for your children to see?
I remember going to see Saving Private Ryan in the movie theater on an afternoon matinee and a few rows in front of me was a father and his 10yo son. The boy was crying, clearly overwhelmed at what was a completely inappropriate movie for someone his age, and his Dad was just pissed, telling him to sit down and shut up. At the time, not yet a parent myself, I avoided saying anything, but…Read More
Good Grief! It’s the Peanuts Movie!
I’ve always had a secret sympathy for Charlie Brown of the incredibly long-running Peanuts cartoon strip. An everyman in a world of achievers, he’s the embodiment of persistence and optimism, even as his friend and part-time nemesis Lucy Van Pelt annually reminds him that the world isn’t completely safe, even when you think you’ve got it all figured out. The back story of Peanuts is just as rich too: In 1947 creator Charles Schulz started…Read More
I Save The Day for Avengers: Age of Ultron!
My teens are excited about the opening of Avengers: Age of Ultron, as is just about every other Marvel superhero movie fan in the United States and throughout the world. My guess is that this is going to be the #2 strongest film this year in the box office (nothing will supplant the seventh Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and as this is opening weekend, it’s #1 on the list of a lot…Read More
Why you should Join the Spiritual Cinema Circle
As a film critic, I watch a ton of movies. What’s always amazing, though, is how many really good films slip through the cracks, where not only don’t you ever get a chance to see a sleeper film, but even us critics don’t hear about it until years later. For the film makers, that’s incredibly frustrating as they might have spent years working on their movie just to fall flat when it came time to…Read More
My Visit to Lucasfilm, San Francisco
I’m here in San Francisco to participate in the terrific Dad 2.0 Summit this weekend, and as with every year, the organizers have done a fantastic job of getting people and companies involved as sponsors, and lining up really fun things to do. One of the sponsors of the event for the last few years is LEGO and this year they went all out, arranging for us to have an evening event at Lucasfilm, an…Read More
Fatherhood rules Super Bowl XLIX Advertising
I’m not a huge fan of professional football, though I appreciate a good game. This year, the Super Bowl was definitely just that, a really good game with an exciting ending that featured an incredible fumbling catch by Jermaine Kearse of the Seattle Seahawks on the 5 yard line, leaving the team poised to come from behind with an easy touchdown in the last 45 seconds of the game. Followed rather inexplicably by a passing play,…Read More
“The Interview” and capitulating to bullies
I had lots of problems with a bully when I was in middle school, and each of my children at various times have had issues with bullying behavior, and not always on the receiving side of the equation, unfortunately. Still, there’s a certain power dynamic between big people and everyone else. But it doesn’t take physical size to make a bully: there are plenty of people who bully and are of smaller stature, they just…Read More
Dracula Untold: How far will a dad go to protect his son?
Over on my DaveOnFilm film blog, I posted a review of the new film Dracula Untold. You might go read it, as the film was definitely better than I expected, and better than most critics would lead you to be believe. Just as Batman Begins is a retelling of the mythic Dark Knight origin story and Wicked is a retelling of the Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West, so is Dracula Untold a different…Read More
Father’s Day Gifts When Dad was a Shadow Recruit
As Father’s Day gets closer, I keep thinking about how I used to suspect my Dad was a spy, a “shadow recruit” and probably worked for MI6 alongside Bond, James Bond and the crew. Heck, he probably had the secret phone number for “M” so he could check in as needed. I mean, think about it: We’re English, he was born in London, he had that sophisticated Brit accent, served in the RAF and looks almost exactly…Read More
Dads in Films: “The Croods”
Every once in a proverbial blue moon I see a film where the father role is interesting or realistic, instead of us dads being perpetually portrayed as buffoons or the extra child in the family dynamic. Have I mentioned recently how much I hate that and how I hate that it’s just accepted in society that boys rarely transition to manhood and when they do, babies push them back down the evolutionary ladder? Now to…Read More
Die Hard, Teen Boys and Age Appropriate Action Films
My 13yo son G’s life is a bit confusing. He goes to a school that discourages media consumption but his best friend has a TV and Xbox in his room. He lives part time with a mom who doesn’t have cable and thinks media is uniformly bad unless it’s from the 70s or earlier (he’s seen every episode of The Brady Bunch, G-d help him), and even then, well, everyone’s life would be better if…Read More
Kids and Scary Movies: Protect ’em or Desensitize Them?
A friend of mine sent me the following question about her kids: I saw your posting about 13-year-olds and R-rated movies and realized you might be the right person to help solve a (minor) problem. We’ve been been so “good” about sheltering our kids from violent movies that now they are sort of scaredy-cats about it. We worry that they won’t fit in when their friends invite them to birthday parties where G or PG…Read More
Why Must Olympic Coverage Be So Awful?
I tried. I really tried to watch the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games with an open mind, not dwell on my memories of the last time I tried to watch the Olympics on TV and gave up in exasperation after the commentators ruined event after event with their constant criticism and banal remarks. Nope, this time around I was going to be open minded and enjoy the coverage. After all, London’s my…Read More
How Does TV Affect Your Kids?
A guest post… Are you a parent of young children? Do you sometimes worry about the types of shows your children are exposed to on television? Do you ever wonder if television is having a negative influence on your children? If you have ever worried about the effect television is having on your kids, read on for a short discussion of the negative, as well as the positive, aspects of TV. First, it is important…Read More
Top Science Fiction books: How many have you read?
When I’m not parenting and doing all that work stuff that helps pay the bills, I’m a pretty avid reader and even prefer analog. You know, that paper stuff. I’ve been an enthusiastic reader since I was a kid and by the time I graduated high school I had pretty much read through the entire sci-fi and mystery sections of the local (relatively small) library. Then I’ve had brushes with various science fiction authors in…Read More
Who is the World’s Greatest TV Dad?
There’s a pretty interesting discussion happening at Man of the House around the topic of who is the World’s Best TV Dad and it’s gotten me thinking about the topic quite a bit. As I’ve written about before, I believe that modern culture does a disservice to us Dads by portraying us as clueless morons who want to avoid anything that might be domestic work or responsibility, while still having our pin-up sex partners. Watch…Read More
Reality TV Show Casting Call!
Generally I am not a big fan of reality shows as I know from the inside that they’re manipulated and designed to create drama and interest rather than the actual boring humdrum reality of our day to day, minute by minute lives, but sometimes things do come along that are a bit different. This casting call, from an LA-based freelance casting associate, does sound kind of interesting, with its emphasis on ” America’s most outgoing…Read More
“Imagination Movers” and the quality of children’s music
Somehow, I’m not entirely sure how, I have landed on the promo list for Disney Music and every month or two get a music CD aimed at the 3-7 set. Most of them are pretty good, but I have to admit that the latest disk they’ve sent us is quite astonishingly good and very worth a listen. The disk is Disney’s Imagination Movers: For Those About to Hop and it’s songs from the hit Disney…Read More