Movie: Don Jon

Don JonActor Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his debut as a writer and director with Don Jon. On the surface, the movie appears to be a superficial comedy about sex and, perhaps, just an excuse for him to make out with Scarlett Johansson on the silver screen. But, surprisingly, there is actually substance behind it all.

Gordon-Levitt also stars as Jon, a pretty boy bachelor in New Jersey. He is the envy of his friends, scoring the hottest girls at the trendiest clubs. He also loves his porn. Pornography, he argues in narrative voiceover throughout the film, is better than sex.

Several comedic scenes illustrate this view, and as he describes sex acts he would like to engage in, they are then contrasted with the sex acts that he actually gets his conquests to participate in — which are far less glamorous than what is illustrated in his favorite pornos. Yes, Jon can always take solace in his porn. And he does. A lot. Continue reading

Movie: Afternoon Delight

Afternoon DelightAfternoon Delight is a comedy with a message about sex that falls embarrassingly short in its execution. The story follows a stay at home mom, Rachel (played by Kathryn Hahn) who becomes strangely fascinated by a young stripper and prostitute (Juno Temple). She befriends the girl and offers her a place to stay when her luck runs dry.

And thus begins a series of cringe worthy series of inappropriate, child-endangering behaviors that make you want to look away from the screen in embarrassment for the film makers. It’s not all bad, though. Continue reading

Movie: About Time

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Some of my favorite movies are in a genre I call “simple science-fiction,” which means that most of the movie is realistic except for one or two aspects of reality which are altered by some made-up technology or otherwise mystical power. Usually the premise can be summed up in a single “what if?” statement. For example: “What if you could erase specific events from someone’s memory” (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind);  “What if we could choose the genetic makeup of our children and lived in a society that over actual skill and ability?” (Gattaca); “What if somebody were forced to always speak the truth, and that someone was a habitually lying defense attorney?” (Liar Liar) Continue reading

What Comes After RIE?

afterrieMagda Gerber’s caretaking and parenting philosophy, which she named RIE , is explicitly intended to be applied to children from birth until about two years old. Discovering and applying RIE with my young children is without a doubt the best thing my wife and I have done as parents, and we are huge advocates of Gerber’s philosophy. (Click here to read my introductory post about RIE.) However, often the question comes up: what do I do with my kids after RIE? Do the ideas still apply? Continue reading

When It Comes To Parenting, Do Not Follow Your Guts

As a parent I spend a fair amount of time in various parenting forums and discussion groups, either seeking advice or offering my own. Too often, however, in response to parenting questions, I hear other parents offering the clichéd advice: “follow your gut,” or “just do what feels right.”

But what if you feel like hitting your child, because you are particularly annoyed about something they did? What if your “guts” tell you to put your kid in time-out? Or call them names when they’ve done something you think is stupid? Or worse? Is it okay to follow your guts then? Continue reading