March 1, 2015 |
In my work throughout Europe, I struggle almost daily with this issue: When is a tourist experience actually a unique slice of a culture, and when is it a tired cliché kept alive by the travel industry? Amped-up Spanish flamenco bars, dirndl skirts in Germany, ape tours of the Rock of Gibraltar - when does something slip from authentic to cheesy? When you've traveled for several decades, as I have, you witness genuine customs giving way to rising commercialization ("gladiators" charging exorbitant fees for photo-ops at the Roman Colosseum comes to mind)
February 12, 2014 |
IN THE BASEMENT of the Long family residence in Olney, you will most likely find the television stuck on cartoons or sports. And at the clicker controls, you will find Tyrell Long, a 6-5, do-it-all forward for Bishop McDevitt. Apropos of his on-court versatility for the Royal Lancers is the love Long has for his favorite animated character, Bugs Bunny. You should have seen the senior's face after he was asked about the baseball episode in which Bugs plays every position against the Gas-House Gorillas.
February 16, 2013 |
Reprinted from Thursday's editions. Safe Haven , the latest film adaptation from romance writer Nicholas Sparks ( Dear John , Message in a Bottle ), opens on a dark, stormy night in Boston. A young woman bursts out of a house, running. She fights her way through the heavy rain, running, always running, as police cars, lights and sirens wailing, follow. The runner is Katie, an elegant, slim, troubled, haunted woman whose distress, fear, and anxiety are palpable.
December 30, 2012 |
Matt and Vicky Martelli found what became their 5,600-square-foot dream house in West Philadelphia - with enough space to accommodate a "man cave" for him and a room-sized closet for her - because they ignored that old cliché about real estate. You know, the one about location. In essence, they gave up trying to find a house in Center City, their first choice of geography, and decided that the design of the house they wanted was more important than its address. "We tried to buy a house in our old neighborhood in Washington Square West, but we found it would have been impossible, considering the size and number of rooms we wanted," Vicky Martelli says.
November 2, 2012 |
THERE'S a particular genre of film and photography that has become associated with Detroit in recent years: Called "rubble porn" or "ruin porn," it dwells on aestheticized images of urban decay and hopelessness that have become glib visual signifiers, not just of Detroit but of post-industrial America. "Detropia" trafficks in its share of those images, most strikingly the ghostly and tattered facade of a once-splendid skyscraper, teetering precariously on a blighted skyline. But in the hands of filmmakers Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, "Detropia" largely sidesteps the cliches and facile false choices that have beset so many Detroit movies.
September 17, 2012
On Aug. 8, 1971, superstar quarterback Joe Namath threw a pass that was intercepted in a meaningless preseason game. Namath reacted by trying to tackle the opposing player. He promptly blew out his knee, and his team's season was ruined. Asked why, given the game's low stakes, he didn't simply refrain from hurling his body in front of the runaway linebacker, Namath responded: "I only know how to play football one way - at full speed. " Interestingly, Namath wasn't widely pilloried for exhibiting poor judgment; instead, he was admired for being a great competitor and leader.
August 7, 2012 |
BETHLEHEM — The dark clouds arrived quickly, minutes after the end of practice. The television satellite trucks packed up and the players showered and dressed and made their way back to their dorm. Soon, thunder and lightning and rain overtook the valley. Sometimes it really does seem like life is just a series of cinematic cliches. The search for the appropriate words here is destined to be futile. On the day a man loses his son, there really are no words. He is a public man, Andy Reid is, and has been since 1999 in Philadelphia, but most still see him as a caricature: big, stubborn, impenetrable.
March 23, 2012 |
Azuka Theatre's production of Hope Street and Other Lonely Places by Genne Murphy is exactly the kind of show I want to like. A small theater company, a new script by a local playwright, and under the direction of Kevin Glaccum, who runs the company. I arrived with my cheerleader pom-poms at the ready. And then the play began. About halfway through Act 1, I whispered to my friend in the next seat, "Did it start yet?" Hope Street , set in Philadelphia, is built on so many cliches, so much inaction, with so pointlessly inconclusive a plot, and performed in a style of acting so naturalistic that it seems to be anti-acting, that the answer to my question was both yes, obviously, and no, not really.
October 21, 2011 |
IN RON SHELTON'S "Bull Durham," one of the best sports movies ever made, Crash Davis coaches his mentee, Nuke LaLoosh, on how to talk to the press. "You're gonna have to learn your cliches," Crash says. When LaLoosh counters that this tactic is boring, Crash replies, " 'Course it's boring, that's the point. " The same could be said for sports movies in general. They all seem to follow the same general pattern: A team must overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in order to win out in the end, even if their triumph isn't literal.
October 5, 2011
* AMERICAN HORROR STORY. 10 tonight, FX. * GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD. 9 tonight and tomorrow, HBO. IN A COUNTRY full of people stuck in houses they can't afford and can't sell, you don't have to look far to find a horror story. The American Dream-turned-nightmare isn't nearly scary enough for "Glee" producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, whose latest production, FX's "American Horror Story," mines its blood-spattered genre for one cliche after another to tell the story of a couple whose lack of due diligence - starting with a failure to Google their prospective new address - results in the worst case of buyer's remorse since the Lutz family moved into that house in Amityville.