Music, Book and Movie Reviews
Forget Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions. The words “Play ball!” are the most dependable sign that spring has arrived in America. Finally, baseball season is here.
Maybe because it is an outdoor game, with a schedule stretching across three seasons. Maybe because it is a child’s game played by men, bridging the different times of our lives. But the start of the baseball season is always greeted with relief, a sign of rebirth and hope, that this year appropriately coincides with Easter.
Winter is over. The bleak time has been survived. And slowly but soon the familiar rhythms of life will reassert themselves. This, as it’s referred to in the film “Bull Durham,” is the church of baseball, open to all. Read More…
With a crop of political movies in the Oscar running, this weekend Hollywood is looking more like Poliwood. Best Picture contenders such as “Argo,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Lincoln” have managed to pay off at the box office even as they brought politics and history to the big screen — proof that we’ll take smart over stupid as long as we’re entertained while educated.
But what’s really notable about these films is that for the most part they avoid hagiography. They dare to show complexity. This doesn’t mean indulging in moral relativism; evil exists and these films acknowledge it. But the human dimension is kept intact rather, with characters not divided into simply angels versus devils. The real tradeoffs behind difficult decisions are acknowledged, consistent with the idea that the truth is never pure and rarely simple. Read More…
Backstage at Erin Burnett OutFront, political commentator John Avlon discusses Star Wars.
News that Richard Ben Cramer died swept through the Twitterverse on Monday night, even before a hint of his passing hit major news outlets.
It was oddly appropriate, because the cult of Richard Ben Cramer was always first a word-of-mouth initiation, as in: “You’ve got to read this.” Journalists passed his work among them like samizdat, old articles referred to more than read, finally put online after persistent if not widespread demand. He was just that much better than anyone else. Read More…
There’s a new movie out portraying Abraham Lincoln as both a defender of freedom and… a vampire hunter. Yes.
In what appears to be a trend of irreverent but oddly heartfelt takes on American history, The Daily Show Senior Writer Kevin Bleyer has taken it upon himself to rewrite our nation’s most sacrosanct document in his new book “Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution.”
A comedy writer rewriting the constitution? What could possibly go wrong?