Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

I enjoyed this movie.  It had some quirkiness going on – not as much as Juno, but it was good.  Sort of a variation on “coming of age” – only this time with a dying girl.  My biggest issue was that there were lots of jokes about the movies that these two high school senior boys make – because they do – you don’t really get why they are doing what they do other than they are not really connected to anybody else, and it’s fun.   But the joke titles that they come up with – Senior Citizen Kane,  My Dinner with Andre (the Giant)  etc.  are a hoot, and my issue was that they went by so fast that you don’t even have time to catch more than about 10%.  I liked the interaction between the main kid and the dying girl. It was well done, and frankly a bunch different than most of these movies – they don’t  become lovers or even boyfriend and girlfriend.  And I’m not giving anything away here.  The guy who voices over the movie tells you this in the first 10 minutes of the film.

The other thing that I didn’t like much was that it was difficult to understand them talking sometimes. But having said all that, I’m still giving it 4 paws.  I hope it gets wide distribution.  The title might make that difficult.  I had that problem when I did a film and made the mistake of calling it “Video Letters from Prison” .  It seems that most PBS stations don’t like the idea of showing films that have the word Prison in the title.  Oh well.

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The Paws Report: Love and Mercy

I really liked this movie.  I can’t say that I loved it because it was too scary for me to love it. It was so hard to watch parts – particularly the stuff in the present – with John Cusack and Paul Giamatti.  Paul Dano as the young Brian Wilson was actually much better as Brian Wilson, but it was the interaction between Giamatti and Cusack that was so scary.  Now that I think about it, the stuff between Brian Wilson and almost everybody was a bit scary.

Having said that, it was so cool to see the musical creation of Pet Songs, and Smile, and Good Vibrations.  I totally recommend this movie – 4 big fluffy paws.

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Merry Christmas! And all that other stuff.

Folks, I know that it’s a little after Christmas, but what the heck?  Stephen Hawking, Einstein, and Shiva all have told us that time doesn’t really exist, so who am I to judge?   Merry Christmas!  I was tied up for the last couple of days working on my breathing, but I’m back home and feeling great.  I’m looking forward to see a bunch of my kids over the next few days, and a few of the grandkids (about 11 I think).


We had an open house here today after I got home.  It was sweet – I made eggnog – the real deal – and Rick and Jim and Becky and Steve came over.  We also had oyster stew, chili and clam dip – what could be better?

While I was laying around I choose to finish a book I had been reading for about a month – Washington Rules by Andrew Bacevich.  Wow!!  What an amazing book!  I repeat – read this book – Washington Rules.

Here’s the thing about this book – it tells the history of America’s military establishment and how we Americans are being lead down a road that doesn’t really help us.  I know that I’m as guilty as the next person of putting stuff on facebook that points out how much I hate war, and the wars that we seem to be constantly fighting, but I rarely try to explain why I know – deep down in my tummy – how bad this is – not just for me but for our country and by extension my family and descendants.  And here’s the reason why: Washington Rules.  It is really complicated – very extensive, and takes a whole book to explain.  This goes back to the first world war and all the Dulles boys, and takes you right through General Petraeus and Barack Obama.  So clearly it’s a bit much to try to explain in a facebook post.  But if you don’t understand what this is all about – and how complicated it is to explain. then you are doomed as I have been doomed to repeat short statements about how awful it is without ever explaining why it’s so awful and more importantly – WHY it has happened.  I need to read this book again.  I’m still not ready to explain the Washington Rules in a short explainable way, but when I am – I will.

Until then  – Have a great New year’s!




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The Paws Report: Exodus – Gods and Kings


What feels like 40 years of wandering in Desert, carrying some really big stone tablets, and all around you – you hear, “Let my people go!” from the rest of the audience? Exodus. Oh wait, that was me – In fact I was the only person there tonight. I suspect IEXODUS know the reason why. It was pretty dull. I mean you are waiting to see Moses part the red sea, and when it comes (spoiler alert) nothing happens – you just see a bunch and by bunch I mean a huge gigantic BUNCH of folks wandering around on a mud flat. Not exactly a sea parting.

Then Moses goes up on a mountain and starts carving some tablets. Carving? Since when? Maybe if Moses was a little more dynamic, maybe if there was more than 5 minutes of plages. 5 MINUTES, and all the plagues were done. Come on folks! Let’s have some crazy action! How about God smiting some folks? How about Moses struggling? I was going to give it 2 paws but the more I think about – I’m thinking 1 paw.

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The Paws Report: The Homesman

I enjoyed this film – both Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones were excellent – as they pretty much always are. And I’m a sucker for westerns so there’s that. And the concept is pretty wild – three women go nuts out on the Nebraska plains (who wouldn’t???) and Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones take them back to Iowa – presumably to get some help.

But it just didn’t really come together. I sort of wanted there to be more of a filling out of the characters. There was a lot of wandering across the empty plains and some very crazy stuff happens, but it wasn’t really a home run. 3 paws.

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The Paws Report: The Theory of Everything

Wow – this was a wonderful film. It’s the story of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) who falls in love with Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). It’s pretty much their life together that is in this movie – which makes sense since it was based on a autobiography of Jane Wilde. I had watched the documentary of Stephen Hawking earlier (on Netflix of course) and so I wasn’t bothered by the lack of stuff about Professor Hawking’s amazing physics theories. I’ve been told that others haven’t been as sanguine about this but there you are.

What I loved about the movie was the connection and the chemistry between the two leads. I’m not sure if I’ve seen Eddie Redmayne before – I need to check that, but his smile is so engaging. And so is Felicity Jones’. Wow it was just really sweet to watch them together. I say 4 paws and a big fluffy wagging tail.

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The Paws Report: Nightcrawler

Wow – now this is what you should have watched for Halloween. So scary!!jake-gyllenhaall

Not like a horror movie scary but like a business success seminar scary – like watching Werner Ehard, Tony Robbins, and Ted Bundy, all rolled into one, and one local famous person who many of you know. SCARY!!! Having said that – it was really good. An indictment of television news for sure, but also a look inside the mind of a true psychopath. 4 big shaky paws.

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The Paws Report: St. Vincent

I really enjoyed this. Of course they fox you a bit with the trailer – lots of laughs and all that, when it really it’s not really a comedy at all – it’s actually a character study. And one of the best characters is the young boy, Oliver, played by Jaeden Lieberher.

This kid is really special. I liked him a bunch. Bill Murray does a very nice job tool – playing the combination of the character from Ghost Busters and the end of Ground Hog Day. Melissa McCarthy is always very sweet. She does have a habit though of playing not so engaged people – people who just aren’t really very good at doing life. Anyway, I loved the interaction between Vincent (Bill Murray) and Oliver. I say 4 paws.

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The Paws Report: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

The Paws Report: Birdman.

Well I didn’t really know what to expect when I went to this. I had seen a clip in which Michael Keaton was walking down Broadway in his underpants, but that was about all I knew – oh well I guess I knew that it was also about a celebrity that was producing a play on Broadway, but that was it. So the show had some really good acting. Emma Stone, Amy Adams, Michael Keaton, Ed ward Norton was especially good. But here’s the thing – the script was in many ways – just an intellectual exploration of the meaning of celebrity. I’m sure that the Oscar folks (and definitely the festival people) will love this film – oh and the theatre people will go nuts, but honestly it didn’t really engage me. I felt like I was watching an Ibsen play (Hedda Gabler to be specific) in which we are shown a gun twice, and then when it shows up the 3rd time, we have been prepped to say, “Ah – I knew he was going to do that”.

The theatre stuff was amazingly real – just the way that theatre people are – full of themselves – arch, scathing, and simultaneously innocent. I don’t know – maybe it was better than I think. I feel like I should go see it again – just to make sure that I’m not missing something, but frankly, I don’t really want to – 3 paws.

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The Paws Report: The Drop and This is Where I Leave You.

Fall has finally come – which is good and not so good. Less time to be outside is soon on it’s way, but more good movies. FINALLY! This weekend I went to two really good movies. The Drop is a kind of a standard gangster movie in which an old time washed up gangster tried to rescue his dignity. Of course being played by James Gandolfini makes it bitter sweet to watch – He was so good. But honestly you can see in this film that his health is not good. I suppose looking back it’s easy to see that maybe he might die, but before it happens you just don’t think it’s going to. Anyway this film was quiet, but at the same time had an undefined tension that rides through the film. Honestly you have no idea how this is going to turn out. 4 paws.


Wow – two good movies in one weekend. Must be fall. Ok, so I really enjoyed this. It’s a “family” movie – definitely not for the whole family – but about the whole family. The basic structure is that the dad of 4 grown kids dies and their mom says they have to come home and sit shiva. That means sitting in a shiva chair for 7 days in your house while people come and visit you and talk about the deceased. Lots of food, memories and all that. But don’t worry – these guys can’t sit still for very long. The main people you know are Tina Fey, who doesn’t do comedy in this one, Jason Bateman who also doesn’t do comedy, and Jane Fonda, who does really big breasts in this one. What I loved about this was the reality of 4 siblings (grown ups theoretically) being forced to talk to each other as only brothers and sisters can. And of course being back home brings back all the old things that they thought were carefully tucked away. Very systemic. Very Hellinger – although they could have used Bert to straighten some of this craziness out. I know that if you really hate your brothers, sisters, mom or dad, you probably won’t like this one. I seemed to be the only one laughing like crazy, but I liked it, and that’s all that I can say – 4 paws.

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