Mystery and Manners: Essays of Flannery O’Connor

It's been a long time since I have added to my booik journal, but I have been reading! When a friend started quoting Flannery O'Connor at the bottom of his emails, my interest in this novelist from the South (1925-1964) was rekindled. I had read only one of her short stories years before, but my friend was quoting from Mystery and Manners, Flannery O'Connor's essays. Actually, these essays are mostly extractions or compilations of various talks that Flannery gave at universities, though the one … [Read more...]

Perfect Man, The

Jean Hamilton (Heather Locklear) is a 30-something single mom with two daughters: Holly (Hilary Duff) and Zoe (Aria Wallace). They live in Wichita, but when another of Jean’s prospects for a husband ditches her, she packs up the girls and they head for Brooklyn, New York. This is always Jean’s pattern for dealing with disappointment, and Holly is getting tired of it.   Once in Brooklyn, an old friend of Jean’s gives her a job in a bakery. Holly begins classes at the local high school, d … [Read more...]

Honeymooners, The

As the millennium approaches New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden (Cedric the Entertainer) stops at the end of his day to give a ride to a pretty young woman, Alice (Gabrielle Union). He flirts with her and along the shores of the East River shows her the Y2K kit he invented that is going to make him a millionaire.   Six years later, they are married and living in a walk-up apartment where an elevated train goes by every few minutes. Ralph is no longer the jolly bus driver; he is a … [Read more...]

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie) Smith are at their first marriage therapy session. After five or six years of marriage they realize they are having difficulty but are unable or unwilling to articulate their problems to the therapist. He asks them to describe how they first met and they revisit their chance meeting in a bar in Bogota’, Colombia after an important man had been assassinated. They are immediately attracted to one another and soon John proposes to Jane.   John and J … [Read more...]


Four animal friends perform for visitors daily at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan: Alex the Lion (voices of Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Christ Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith). Alex turns ten years old, which is mid-life for this lion, and he starts getting metaphysical about the meaning of his life in captivity. Alex longs for the wild. Alex discovers that four penguins are trying to dig their way out of the zoo to return to the … [Read more...]

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The

Four 16-year old girls, Tibby (Amber Tamlyn, Joan of Arcadia) , Lena (Alexis Bledel, The Gilmore Girls), Carmen (America Ferrera, Real Women Have Curves) and Bridget (Blake Lively), have been friends from birth – or rather before birth when their mothers all took the same workout class. As they get ready to go their separate ways for the summer, they happen into a used clothing store. Carmen sees a pair of old jeans folded on a table, and tells the self-conscious Lena to try them on. Eventually a … [Read more...]

Cinderella Man

Faith and Film Study Guide for Cinderella Man now available:     It is 1928 and the promising prizefighter Jimmy Braddock (Russell Crowe), the “Bulldog of Bergen” has just won a big fight. His boxing manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) pays him generously and Jimmy goes home to Bergen CountyNew Jersey, to his loving wife Mae (Renee Zellweger) and young fam … [Read more...]

Joan of Arcadia: Fans not happy with cancellation

From May 31, 2005 (A daily TV and film industry newsletter):   Joan of Arcadia fans are not taking the cancellation of the CBS show lying down.  It used to be a fan group would write letters or sign petitions.  In this day and age, they send e-mails launch a website: The response from CBS spokesman Chris Ender on behalf of the network:  "It was one of the toughest programming decisions we have had to make in the last … [Read more...]

Mad Hot Ballroom

Mad Hot Ballroom is a wonderful full-length feature documentary about several teams of 11- year olds from New York City public schools who learn ballroom dancing and then compete in a city-wide contest.   Many reviewers and film critics say it reminds them of Spellbound, the documentary that follows five or six young people go from local spelling bees to nationals. I enjoyed Spellbound very much, but it had nowhere the magic of Mad Hot Ballroom, probably because ballroom dancing is a team … [Read more...]

Turn Beauty Inside Out Conference

On April 18, 2005 I had the privilege to participate in the 2nd annual “Turn Beauty Inside Out” Conference held at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles.  The purpose of “Turn Beauty Inside Out” (  is to “Promote healthy body image and expand the definition of what makes people beautiful!"   “Turn Beauty Inside Out” is sponsored by “Mind on the Media: inspiring independent thinking and fostering critical analysis of media messages.” (For more information visit www.tbio.o … [Read more...]