A Long Summer: Movie notes

In the order I saw them. Saving the best for last.Hush: Home-invasion horror centering on a deaf woman. This is very suspenseful--really effective--and I loved that three of the four characters were noticeably, extremely quick-witted and resourceful. Absolutely worth watching if this is the sort of thing you like. Quite bloody. The ending has some degree of ambiguity; I'm choosing the grimmer interpretation because I think the movie has already given you plenty of reasons to consider even … [Read more...]

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Kids Under 12 Drink Free: I review the “AbFab” movie & “Bojack Horseman”

together! The third season of Bojack Horseman arrived the same day the long-awaited Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie opened here in D.C. So audiences who want to watch appetitive people careening through aimless lives have two starkly opposed portrayals of antiheroes who gobble drugs and guzzle booze, corrupt minors, and abase themselves for fame and maybe kill people.AbFab is the simpler pleasure. The movie plays like an extended episode of the TV show, in which lifelong best … [Read more...]

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I Revisit Saul Bellow’s “Ravelstein,” A 2000 Novel About Love and Tenderness–And the Coming Crackup of the GOP

here you go: Ravelstein, Saul Bellow’s roman à clef about the last years of philosopher-provocateur Allan Bloom, may be the best post-9/11 novel published in the year 2000.Ravelstein has as many virtues as its subject has grabby, endearing vices. It’s a subtle portrayal of the blurred boundaries between eros, philia, paternal, and filial love. It calls attention to its own provisional nature: “I may return to this subject later,” the narrator says, but “I probably won’t.” It’s a loving portr … [Read more...]

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The Soul Searchers: Four Moral Histories of Washington, DC

In preparation for this exhibit at the Anacostia Museum I've been reading about my hometown's long, hot summer--the years from 1968 through the late '90s--and its aftermath. These are really just notes.Ruben Castaneda, S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, And Redemption in DC: Four stories, mostly deftly woven together. First is our narrator, a reporter in LA who gets hooked on crack before moving to DC to be the night-shift crime reporter for the Washington Post. Our man straight-up interviews … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Corrections and Overcorrections

"The Myth that Fewer People Are Going to Prison": John Pfaff, a legal scholar at Fordham University, pointed out the paradox in a series of tweets on Tuesday. While more people are being sent to prison than in 2010, the total population declined because prisoners are serving shorter terms, partly as a result of lawmakers' efforts to reduce minimum sentences. The reduced sentencing are welcome for convicts and their families, but incarceration is not affecting fewer lives. more; also, did Cal … [Read more...]

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Bad Catholics, Anxious Christians

A very small thought about this review of several "young evangelical memoirs."So first, there's a lot of good stuff in that review, even if Jake Meador is not quite as sympathetic to the authors as I think he thinks he is. (Yes, I am reviewing a review, because the Internet is bad.) I really liked the discussion of performance vs "putting on Christ"--cf the mask of obedience. Liked the line, "The problem [scandal and its discrediting of religious authority] creates is that religious … [Read more...]

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Virginia’s Drunk on Power, Detroit Is Getting Some Sunshine, And Three More Links from a Criminal Justice System

In the continuing saga of am I the only person who remembers the '90s, seriously people, am I going crazy?, let's look at Hillary Clinton in her historical context: ...The word “superpredator” is part of the long lineage of language used to strip black people of their humanity in order to justify treating them inhumanely. It became popular because it put a clever name to what was already in the air, and this dehumanization has had real, material consequences. It is why black children are seen as … [Read more...]

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