Down with Elmo!

I am a big fan of the children’s TV show Sesame Street. I don’t watch it anymore but I used to watch it every day with my children when they were young and I got very fond of the characters on the show, particularly the Muppets, because the program was clever and funny. My children are all grown up now but I still watch some of the clips online where they parody popular culture
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Star Wars mania and the powerful desire to be first

I just do not understand the desire that some people have to be the first to get or do something that seems so trivial, and even if that lead is so fleeting and intangible. For example, the people lining up for days in advance, or paying others to do so, just for the privilege of getting a new iPhone on the day it is released, when you could wait a few days and get it at your leisure. But it seems to matter greatly to some to be the first.
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Film review: Best of Enemies (2015) and the current state of political discourse

1968 was a turbulent year. Marin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy had both been murdered, opposition to the Vietnam war was at its height, the Tet offensive had shattered the US government’s claim that they were winning that war, and racial tensions were soaring. It was in this volatile environment that the two political parties held their nominating conventions. The 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago was notorious for mayor Richard Daley imposing what was essentially a police state, with tanks and armored vehicles patrolling the streets and the violent clashes that ensued. Haskell Wexler’s film Medium Cool (1969) captures the mood well.
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Film review: Gaslight (1944)

Last night I watched this old film that won an Academy Award for Ingrid Bergman. She played Paula Alquist, an orphan who was raised by her aunt, a famous opera singer who was strangled in her London home by a killer in pursuit of expensive jewelry that had been gifted to her as a reward for her performance. The case was never solved and the jewels never found. Paula was just 14 at the time and she was immediately sent away to Italy to study music under her aunt’s tutor, and the London house was mothballed but not sold or rented.
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Film review: High Noon (1952)

A couple of days ago I watched once again this classic western. It is one of the few films that I have watched more than once and it still grips me. It is a western but has little action, its fascination lying in the human drama. For those few who have not seen the film, the entire action takes place in almost real time. It stars Gary Cooper as marshal Will Kane who has cleaned up a western town. At 10:30 am one morning he gets married to Amy Fowler (played by Grace Kelly), a Quaker, and following he ceremony he gives up his badge in order to accommodate his pacifist wife and leave town and start a new life elsewhere as a shopkeeper.
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The funniest film screenplays of all time

I enjoy comedies so I was interested in this list of the 101 funniest screenplays of all time. The list ranks them in order but while such rank ordering is good for getting people to click and argue about which films are better than others, I tend to ignore the rankings and use such lists merely as general guides to identify good films that I might have missed.
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Film review: Monkey Kingdom (2015)

This is a Disney nature documentary in which Tina Fey narrates the story of a troop of macaque monkeys, focusing on just two of them, Maya and her infant Kip. It appears that macaque troops have a strict social hierarchy in which the people at the top get first crack at all the good food and shelter while those at the very bottom, like Maya, have to make do with what is left over. Not much different from many human societies, really.
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Film review: The Imposter (2012)

Nicholas Barclay was a 13-year old boy living in a small town outside San Antonio, Texas who suddenly disappeared in June 1994. Three years later, after having pretty much given up hope of ever seeing him again, the family gets a call from Spain saying that authorities have found him. His sister goes to Spain and brings him back where he begins his life again as a high school student.
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