men in black 3

Normally, a third sequel is a well run dry, but Men in Black 3 while not breaking new ground, was still a fun movie to watch. I like Will Smith movies, and this film is centered on Will Smith even more than the other Men in Black movies.  I love that Will Smith movies are not usually violent and usually end on a positive note.  He has a casual humor that he’s taken all the way from the Fresh Prince of Belle Aire.

The narrative, as with the other films, is simple and cartoonish.  The villain is distorted and perverse in an interesting way, but is given only enough time to crack a few jokes, not enough to become annoying.  I really enjoyed the scene when he interacts with himself, (time travel is involved) and the audience discovers that he is so awful even he can’t stand himself.

If I had any criticism, it would be that the aliens weren’t as inventive as in the other film.  I still chuckle a little when I think back on the scene in the post office when we (along with the movies’ characters) discover that nearly every one is an alien, or in the first MIB when they use the tabloids to find their alien activity.  Still, it is a worth while, enjoyable film to watch, although I think I could have waited until DVD for it, if it didn’t cross three of my favorites in one: Will Smith, sci fi and Men in Black.

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Drop dead healthy


This is not the first of A.J. Jacobs’ books I have read, and certainly won’t be the last.  In many of his books, he has taken on the onerous task of doing things that the rest of us are curious about but never have the time, money, or energy to do.  In Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, he is trying out on himself all of the health fads, to see which are beneficial.  On the surface, this seems rather dull, but he has a self depreciating way of making it somewhat ridiculous. He documents his health and he does become healthier, sometimes through simple means.  It is a fun trip through all sorts of health fads.

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

Because of Winn-Dixie


I don’t usually like books about dogs.  However, I must say that not since Ribsy by Beverly Cleary, have I enjoyed a dog book this as much as Because of Winn-Dixie.  It is a children’s book, and one that I can recommend freely, since it is without even a touch of violence or sexually.  Even children that are not old enough to actually read this book, can hear it without any parental cringing (or as I used to do sometimes when reading to my kids – editing).  It is told from the lead character’s perspective as she finds her pet in her new home town, then the pet leads her to build her own little community of odd people.  The characters are unique, small town characters, each with wonderful stories to tell.

If you chose to listen to this book on tape, the actress who reads, Cherry Jones is wonderful.  She has a southern little girl’s voice that is expressive and sweet.

Because of Winn-Dixie Signature Edition, DiCarmillo, Kate and Jones, Cherry

The Winters in Bloom


The Winters in Bloom: A Novel is a book about secrets.  It is also about parents’ biggest fear: that their child will be kidnapped.  As these parents find themselves in that circumstance, the novel examines their lives for possible suspects.  As each of those suspects emerges, we get a better picture of each parent.  While a mystery, this book is not violent or mean.  Rather it gently follows each character through a description, a history and then along his or her logical path to a surprisingly agreeable ending.

Lisa Tucker, September 2011, Atria Books

Cinderella ate my daughter


I picked up this book out of curiousity.  What kind of effect does the “princessification” of girls have on young women? The premise is that uber exposure to princesses through the Disney marketing, girls are harmed. The question is interesting, but like many things in childhood impossible to isolate in the context of the overall environment.  While I do agree that our over materialistic society does create some soullessness for all that are in it, this particular problem seems to be a problem in that perhaps these girls are a little spoiled. My Catholic background always brings me back to the axiom that anything in extreme is bad, but a little bit is harmless in most cases.  In that way, I see that while my little nieces like to dress up like princesses, one has a wonderful whismical sense of dress, that is her own special thing, and the other is just as likely to have a cowboy hat on.  Both of them keep pace with multiple brothers.  Balance is the key.

She goes on to say that the indulgence in the princess can create an unbalanced sense of sexuallity in teenagers. This may be a contributing factor, but I think our society’s hypersexuallity may have just as much influence.  Again there is the problem of isolation.

Whether I disagree or agree with her premise, the book was interesting and well researched.  Peggy Orenstein deals with the issues in a thoughtful and personal way.   She studies many facets of this issue from the child pageant, pre-teen online activities to the American girl craze.  She looks at the issues from all sides, and is sympathetic to the idea that most parents are just trying their best.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein, Harper Collins, 2011