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December 22nd, 2014

Max’s View

Hunger Games: Catching Fire ****

  I like Joan Rivers. I enjoy her brash, offensive style of comedy.   However, in her old age, Joan Rivers has gotten a little out of touch about a few issues. I don’t like it when she makes fun of the Kardashian sisters for their habit of interracial dating (cringe). I don’t like it when she makes fun of actor Peter Dinklage for his heig...

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CBGB *1/2

The year was 1976. The country celebrated its bicentennial. I was born. And rock music on top-40 radio was awful.   Peter Frampton, Chicago, Wings, Elton John, Aerosmith. These artists were simply not very interesting.   In fact, I’m not sure they should even be called artists. Artist implies that they were driven by a muse to create fine...

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Our Nixon ***

    When you think of Richard Nixon, one event comes to mind: Watergate.   If a school kid knows one thing about Nixon, it is that his presidency was destroyed by his participation in a small time burglary. And he wasn’t even involved in the crime. All he did was foolishly lie and obstruct justice in order to cover it up.   If N...

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12 Years A Slave ****

  Slavery is bad. Everybody knows that. Everybody agrees with that.   So there’s no point of making a simple anti-slavery movie. That would be as pointless as making an anti-Osama Bin Laden movie. Everybody agrees that Bin Laden was awful. And he’s gone forever, anyway.   To make a great film about slavery, you need to give us more t...

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The NFL is Great, But it Could Be Better

  I watch NFL football every week. It’s what Americans do. I love it.   But I don’t think it’s perfect. NFL games are too long, with too many unnecessary breaks in the action. I have come up with four ways to make games shorter and faster-moving.   Here they are:       Get Rid of Instant Replay.   Most challenges go th...

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Captain Phillips **1/2

  It is weird to me that pirates are so popular.   Pirates are portrayed as dashing rebels who sail the seven seas, hunt for hidden treasure, and offer people mass-produced spiced rum.   Thousands of kids will choose to dress up as pirates this week. And I know that Halloween costumes are often scary bad guys, like ghosts and witches...

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Gravity **

Life is impossible in space.   With these words, writer/director Alfonso Cuaron begins “Gravity.” Then he spends 90 minutes trying – unsuccessfully – to prove it.   The argument that space travel is foolhardy might make more sense to younger viewers. To kids, space is something that Americans visit in movies and video games...

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Don Jon

Hollywood never makes honest movies about sex. I can think of two reasons why:   1) This is a Puritan country. New England was originally settled by strict Calvinists. The Puritans found the Church of England to be so tolerant on social issues that they chose to leave the entire continent rather than live amongst the hedonists. America has bee...

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Goodbye, Mariano Rivera

  Last month, my best friend and I were watching the Yankees play the Orioles. It was Mariano Rivera’s final time playing in Baltimore. Before the game, the O’s organization took the time to honor the retiring Yankee with a pre-game ceremony and some thoughtful gifts.   “They don’t do that for every retiring player,” my friend observed....

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Lee Daniels’ The Butler ***1/2

  I roll my eyes at the English people’s obsession with the royal family. But, truth be told, Americans are just as obsessed with our presidents.   The president is just one man in a government of thousands. And due to the Constitutional framework of checks and balances, the president doesn’t have all that much power to change things. But...

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