This is Lance Mannion's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Lance Mannion's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Lance Mannion
Recent Activity
Image
Lousy weather has caused delays and school closings around her all week. But this morning the sun’s shining and the roads are clear and all is merry and bright. Woke up at six-thirty and after checking the weather report and the Mannion guys’ school websites to see what was up, I immediately texted Uncle Merlin. “School day! Up and at ‘em!” He replied: “Ha! Got ya beat! Dog had me up at 5:59!” So I texted back: “Good for Art. Since he’s so energetic this morning ask him to make the coffee.” Uncle Merlin relayed the message. This is the... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Lance Mannion
Image
“Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone.” Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, one of the few bible stories I’ve been able to count on my students, even the Christian ones, to know off the tops of their heads. Having lived most of my life in New York State with a couple of short stints in Boston and Iowa City and one other place I’m going to talk a little more about, I don’t know many Christians. Of course I don’t mean Christians. I mean Christians. Evangelicals. Pentecostals. Born-Agains. Fundamentalists. Most people I... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Lance Mannion
7:30 PM. 36 degrees. Snow’s been melting all day. On 300, heading east. Smelled it before seeing it. First dead skunk of the season. The smell fills the car as I pass over and it stays with me for at least half a mile. I don’t mind. I feel bad for the skunk and wish the odor was due to his having sprayed a dog or a coyote and not his having been too slow crossing the road. But I’m glad for the skunk smell. It’s the smell of spring arriving at last. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Lance Mannion
Image
Casualty of war: Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) traveling with the dead in a symbolic moment from Clint Eastwood’s decidedly not pro-war war movie about the most lethal marksman in U.S. military history, American Sniper. Chris Kyle’s first kill in American Sniper isn’t presented as a moment of heroism or of battlefield courage or even as a demonstration of superior skill. He and the Marines under his watchful protection aren’t under fire. He’s in no immediate personal danger. The target isn’t an enemy soldier and isn’t aware he’s a target. He’s walking down the middle of an open street,... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Lance Mannion
Gary, well, I'm in agreement with you on Final Frontier. As I say in that graph, it's the one exception. And I actually dislike Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which is why I'd rather not count it as one of the Star Trek movies. But I've let myself be persuaded by fans that I'm letting my biases over-rule my critical judgment and it's a good movie on its own terms. As for The Search for Spock, I've grown increasingly fond of it over the years. It's a good bridge between II and IV and it has its charms. Christopher Lloyd for one.
Bob, I don't really think Abrams' hates Star Trek and is plotting to ruin it. I was trying to be funny. Hyperbole for comic effect and all that. Didn't work. I do think, though, that he doesn't *get* it. I liked his first Star Trek a lot and actually kind of enjoyed Into Darkness *while* I was watching it, although mainly on account of Cumberbatch, Pine, and Pegg. But I don't like what he did to Khan, Marcus, and Uhura, and what he did with Wrath of Khan.
Image
Editor's note, Monday morning, March 2: I don't really believe J.J. Abrams is plotting to ruin Star Trek. But I have issues. See the comments. “Live long and prosper, Spock.” “I shall do neither, for I have killed my captain and my friend.” ---Star Trek. Season 2, episode 1. “Amok Time.” Mr Spock’s and Leonard Nimoy’s best episode. You probably don’t need me to tell you the news of Leonard Nimoy’s death. And there are plenty of tributes up all over the web already and there’s nothing meaningful I can add. But I do have a few thoughts, not so... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
Image
It’s my birthday. It’s also family movie night. Seems appropriate then that we’ll be matching a movie about a grumpy wreck of an old man or, as I like to think of it, one of the best movies of last year that wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award featuring one of the best performances of his career by an actor who wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award but should have been: St. Vincent. Here’s my review from last fall. __________________________________ There but for the grace of God: Bill Murray as Bill Murray might have been in Theodore Malfi’s very Catholic... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Lance Mannion
Image
Uncle Merlin’s been on Maui for the past couple of weeks. To apologize, he sent us a CARE package. He forgot to include some sun, surf, sand, and warm weather. Probably in the next package. Aloha! Macadamia nuts. More macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts dipped in chocolate. Various sea salts and spices, flown in fresh from Hawaii, having survived an 80 degree drop in temperature along the way. Kitchen at the Mannion Ranch. Wednesday evening. February 25, 2015. Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Zero Dark Thirty and about to hit the road for Syracuse. Could use a little help with the gas and tolls again. So I'm asking... If you enjoy what goes on around here and you can swing it, please consider making a donation. It'll be a real help and much appreciated. Thank you. And thanks to all of you for reading the blog. Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at Lance Mannion
BetterYeti, I'll tell Uncle Merlin you were asking after him but you might not want to hear this: he's been in Hawaii for the past two weeks.
Image
Going by the online discussions I’ve seen, I can’t tell whose hearts were more thoroughly broken by their favorite movie’s not winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, the fans of Boyhood or the fans of American Sniper. They seem equally indignant on behalf of their movie, though, and equally certain that history will acknowledge that theirs is a cinematic masterpiece. The American Sniper zealots, Right Wing conservatives to a man-boy, apparently, point to the amount of money it’s taken in at the box office to prove that it’s a great movie because, as we all know, mass popularity determines... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at Lance Mannion
They may sound crazy and stupid, out of their minds and out of control to us. But that’s not how they sound to their base. To the fearful and angry mob that has become the core of the Republican Party, demagogues like Rudy Giuliani sound like speakers of truth because they are delivering the truth as the mob sees it. Wants to see it. So the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson is correct in describing what seems to be the case: GOP power brokers and potential candidates surely realize that President Obama is ineligible to run in 2016. Yet they seem... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at Lance Mannion
The quotable Matt Taibbi on his belief in American exceptionalism: I feel sorry for Rudy that he can't love this country the way it is. I love America even with assholes like him living in it. In fact, I'm immensely proud of our assholes; I think America has the best assholes in the world. I defy the Belgians or the Japanese to produce something like a Donald Trump. If that makes me an exceptionalist, I plead guilty. Taibbi’s column at Rolling Stone, Rudy Giuliani, American Soviet, features an interesting sketch of life in Russia in the first few years following... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Image
Birdman director-writer-producer Alejandro González Iñárritu accepting the Oscar for Best Picture at last night’s Academy Awards. Sean Penn’s green card dig at his friend Alejandro González Iñárritu was boorish, insensitive, inappropriate, unfunny, kind of mean, and a real cheap shot. It was the kind of “joke” that only gets a laugh between friends who are in the habit of teasing each other. It’s not the kind of joke you should make in public especially when your friend's big night when he's just won his third Academy Award of the evening. Penn should have saved it for the party afterwards. Better... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2015 at Lance Mannion
You know what, Frank? You're right. I wrote and posted this one in too much of a hurry. Thanks for flagging that passage. I rewrote it and made other revisions as well.
Image
Not just a pretty picture post card of a movie: Academy Award nominee Reese Witherspoon as the young author Cheryl Strayed making her lonely but determined way through a beautiful but less than welcoming landscape in Wild, Jean-Marc Vallée’s understated adaptation of Strayed’s memoir of her adventures hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. One of the smartest things director Jean-Marc Vallée does in Wild, his film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, is avoid turning passages of nature writing from Strayed’s book into pretty motion picture post cards. He lets cinematographer Yves... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Image
Haven’t we seen Robert Downey Jr doing this in the Iron Man movies, not to mention The Avengers? Why, yes we have, and that’s the joke: Tony Stark and the Avengers have nothing on Hiro Hamada and his team of scientists turned superheroes in the Academy Award nominated, Big Hero 6. As cartoons featuring innocent-as-a-child, self-sacrificing, highly-weaponized flying robots go, Big Hero 6 is no Iron Giant. As cartoons featuring a team of superheroes learning to work together go, Big Hero 6 is no The Incredibles. But as cartoons featuring innocent-as-a-child, self-sacrificing, highly-weaponized flying robots and a team of superheroes... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Let’s pretend for a moment that Rudy Giuliani is a less nasty, less duplicitous, less self-serving, less corrupt human being than he is. I know, some of you will have a hard time pretending he’s a human being, never mind the other things. But let’s all be good in a way he can’t be bothered to be. In fact, let’s pretend he’s not just less all those things but more their opposites. Let’s pretend he’s almost a decent guy. We can’t pretend he is a decent guy because, besides its being too much of a stretch, I want to write... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Image
It’s Oscar Weekend here in Mannionville and the editors are gearing up for the Big Event Sunday with a Lance Mannion Movie Review Festival! Here’s the schedule: This morning: I’ve already reposted by reviews of Best Picture nominees The Imitation Game, starring Oscar nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, and The Theory of Everything, starring Oscar nominees Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne. Click on the links or scroll down. The Imitation Game: Benedict Campbell’s Turing de force. The Theory of Everything: A Brief History of Love. This afternoon: my review of American Sniper should post. Tomorrow: Wild and The Grand... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Lance Mannion
...and you can swing it, please consider making a donation. It'll be a real help and much appreciated. Thank you. And thanks to all of you for reading the blog. Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Image
A marriage and a revolutionary theory of time begin together in a discussion between Jane Wilde (Academy Award nominee for Best Actress Felicity Jones) and Stephen Hawking (Academy Award nominee for Best Actor Eddie Redmayne) about the phosphorescents in a brand of laundry detergent in the real life love story, Academy Award nominee for Best Picture The Theory of Everything. ______________________ Serious spoiler warning: If you’re even broadly familiar with the life and work of Stephen Hawking and the story of his marriage to Jane Wilde, nothing below will count as a spoiler. If you don’t know any of that,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Image
Academy Award nominee for Best Actor Benedict Cumberbatch as mathematician and genius codebreaker Alan Turing with his main love interest, the pro-computer Turing’s ahistorically named Christopher in a movie that should be titled “How Alan Turing Won World II All On His Own and Was Punished For It,” Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, The Imitation Game, directed by Academy Award nominee for Best Director Morton Tydlum. Watching Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game diligently earn his Oscar nomination for his performance as the tormented genius mathematician Alan Turing whose work helping to break the German’s supposedly unbreakable Enigma code... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Lance Mannion
If you like what goes on around here and you can swing it, please consider making a donation. It'll be a real help and much appreciated. Thank you. And thanks to all of you for reading the blog. Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Lance Mannion
A big difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is that Republicans have to lie about what they’re about and Democrats don’t. I’m not talking about the usual sort of lies individual politicians tell to get themselves elected---making promises they know they won’t be able to keep, pretending to be concerned about issues they know don’t matter, exaggerating their achievements, minimizing their mistakes, fudging their records, fudging their opponents’ records, faking feelings they don’t have---I’m talking about what their respective parties stand for and intend to do for the country. In the case of Republicans that’s really “intend to do... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Lance Mannion