ABCFamily’s “The Fosters” and the Power of Adoption

Late last fall, I found myself furtively googling “foster children Indiana.”  I say “furtively” because fostering children was something my husband and I had never discussed, and something I was barely able to imagine for myself.  But I had a sudden yearning to see the faces of the children who needed foster homes, to know their names and ages, to allow my worldview to be colored by the reality of the tragedies both big and small that had left those precious ones unmoored and in need of family. … [Read more...]

Ones and Zeros: A Reflection on Spike Jonze’s HER

Theodore Twombly is only human, and that’s a problem. If Mary Shelley has taught us anything, it’s that mortals should not mess around with creating life artificially; but that is essentially what the protagonist of Her does, without much more than a cursory glance through the instruction manual. His creation is Samantha, an artificial-intelligence “OS” fashioned in imago Theo (“How would you describe your relationship with your mother?” his computer asks him while installing Samantha’s program) … [Read more...]

Beware the Frozen Heart

“Mom, it’s kind of rude for a princess to say ‘Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy,’ right?” “Mom, why does she love chocolate so much? It’s not very princessy.” “Mom, why is Elsa so unkind to her sister?  Why won’t she open the door and play with her?”  “Mom, why does it say ‘beware the frozen heart?’ ” I took Rosie, my 5-year-old daughter, to see Frozen last month.  I clutched her mittened hand as we crunched through the slushy parking lot toward the theater, unaware we were also heading towa … [Read more...]

About Time: A Romantic Comedy That’s Actually About Love

by Marybeth Davis Baggett “With all respect to heaven, the scene of miracle is here, among us.” ~ Marilynne Robinson My new favorite movie is easy to mock, or at least easy to dismiss with faint praise. The critical consensus on movie review database Rotten Tomatoes labels it sentimental. Not a few reviews compare it to Groundhog Day, and the harshest ones call it insufferable with idiotic plot points. I get it, at least somewhat. Richard Curtis’s recent film About Time is adorable, and adorab … [Read more...]

The Office Ends, But Love Never Fails

I’ll be honest and say, right up front, that I haven’t been a faithful viewer of "The Office"; I binge-watched the first few seasons on DVD six years ago, then kept up via Hulu somewhat sporadically.  If a sitcom goes three weeks without making me laugh, though, I give up on it, and by its fifth or sixth season, "The Office" was recycling jokes like they were paper and plastic.  But after reading Matt Zoller Seitz’s insightful piece on "The Office"’s late recovery, I decided to watch the last do … [Read more...]

Is "The One" Worth Searching For?

The idea of "the one" or a "soul-mate" is quite common in popular culture today.  The Twilight series based 4 rather lengthy books on this concept (I am not sure how, but its an impressive feat nonetheless).  I will never forget Serendipity, whose plot is based on two people who met briefly in the past who later in life attempt to reconnect because each simply feels that the other is "the one."  Even some of the most popular romantic comedies play off this idea on some level--Sleepless in Se … [Read more...]