Tickled Is So Much More Than a Laughing Matter

27 Jun

tickled-posterIf it’s true that truth is stranger than fiction, then what are we to make of the new documentary Tickled?

Ostensibly the story of a New Zealand reporter who wants to know more about the world of Competitive Endurance Tickling (yes, that’s really a thing), this documentary takes viewers on an unforgettable journey down a rabbit hole so twisty they’ll never see the bottom coming.

Without spoiling anything, here’s the gist: David Farrier is one of those lighter-side TV personalities who is always reporting on the weird and wacky side of life. So when he comes across videos featuring the sport of “competitive endurance tickling,” he figures he’s found his next great story. In the world of CET, a young jock is held down — shackled, actually — and, yes, tickled by one, two, or three other men. Why do they do this, other than, apparently, for significant financial gain? Who wants to watch this? And who is behind it all? Continue reading

Blake Lively vs a Shark, and Other Summer Movie Thrills

24 Jun

blake-lively-the-shallowsWhat’s with movie producers putting Blake Lively in danger? First, Ben Affleck turned her into a drugged-up townie in The Town. Then, she got kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel in Oliver Stone’s Savages. Now, the erstwhile Serena van der Woodsen is being hunted by a hungry shark in The Shallows.

My girl just can’t catch a break!

Unfortunately, the same can be said for moviegoers. Based on the films I’ve seen in the past few weeks, there’s not a breakout that screams “must-see.” So, with that spoiler aside, I figured I’d share a bunch of recent reviews, starting with a review of Blake Lively’s latest. Continue reading

I’m 42, and I Have No Idea What That Really Means

7 Jun

42 candlesAs you get older, you start to ask the big questions. Like, for example, what is the meaning of life?

So here’s a fun fact.

If you ask the Google machine what the answer to life, the universe, and everything is, the answer you get is 42.

That’s right, forty-two. Continue reading

When Is a College Reunion Not a College Reunion?

5 Jun

brandeis_reunionSo, here’s the thing about college reunions. Mine, anyway.

Ten years out of school is a significant milestone. Which is probably why, at my 10-year reunion, there was great attendance — in addition to many members of our class, there were lots of spouses and kids in tow. And it very quickly turned into a disappointing, awfully superficial affair: Many people overdid it with the hyperbole (they had “the most wonderful husband” and “the best kids”) to show off how well they were doing, and made all kinds of excuses about why they hadn’t stayed in touch over the years. It was kind of like the old-fashioned cliché of reunions, complete with social anxiety and lots of one-upmanship. (Remember: This was in 2006, when most people weren’t using Facebook.)

Suffice it to say, as a single guy who was frustrated personally and professionally at the time, it really wasn’t my scene. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, there were folks there I didn’t care to see (like, ever), who I went out of my way to avoid. So I didn’t enjoy that reunion very much. No surprise. And I skipped my 15-year reunion altogether.

This weekend, at my 20-year college reunion (a fact I’m still trying to wrap my head around), it was a very different scene. Continue reading

“Don’t Be Afraid to Let the Experience Find You.”

6 Apr

Everybody Wants Some posterThe best Richard Linklater movies have always emphasized dialogue and character over plot. And the fleeting nature of time has often been a dominant theme.

Boyhood, Linklater’s Oscar-nominated 2014 social experiment, beautifully documented in subtle fashion what it was like for a young boy to grow up over the course of 12 years.

The films in his Before trilogy (Sunrise, Sunset, and Midnight) each focus squarely on the same couple, and we watch as these two walk and talk and talk and talk, examining their own relationship as it evolves.

Dazed and Confused, the instant classic saga of Austin, Texas, high school kids in search of a party on the last day of school in 1976, featured a cast of up-and-coming actors mostly talking, driving around, and hanging out — when they weren’t getting high, of course.

Now, Linklater returns to school with Everybody Wants Some!! (yes, there are officially two exclamation points in the name), what the writer/director is calling his “spiritual sequel” to Dazed. That means we’re still in Texas (natch), but it’s four years later and none of the characters are the same. Continue reading

The Top 10 Movies I’ve Seen So Far This Year

28 Mar

batman v supermanBefore you get too excited about that headline and the blog post that follows, I need to offer a brief disclaimer: I’ve only seen 10 movies so far this year. And these reviews are in order of when I saw them, which means they’re unranked.

So … sorry for the clickbait.

Alas, I wanted to clear the deck before any good movies come out. So here we go: My first 10 review blurbs of 2016. Continue reading

25 Important Lessons My Father Has Taught Me About Living a Great Life

21 Feb

Martin and HarveyFor a long time now, my sister and I have (affectionately) given my parents a hard time because they can be kind of square. You know, like ’50s TV parents square.

But the nice thing about having Ward Cleaver for a father is that, just like on Leave It to Beaver, there’s always a lesson to be learned, whether you realize it or not. And over the years, me and the Beav — I mean, my sister — have certainly learned a lot.

Today, on the occasion of my dad’s 70th birthday, I wanted to share a few of those lessons. Most of these my sister and I cowrote and read aloud at a surprise party for him yesterday. But since we didn’t want to speak too long and bore the crowd in attendance, I kept a few extras just for this blog post. Continue reading

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