Open Mic

The Puzzling Reaction by the Editors of The New York Times to Its TV Critic’s Wrong-Headed Essay About Shonda Rhimes

There’s been a lot of good journalism written in the past week or so about a poorly reasoned, stilted and vexing essay penned by New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley about Shonda Rhimes. One of the must-read critiques countering…

Sep 29, 2014

Maybe It’s Time for a New Version of the Academy Award-Winning Best Picture ‘Gentleman’s Agreement,’ This Time Focusing on the Discrimination Faced by the LGBT Community

In the history of movies, only 86 films have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. One of them was “Gentleman’s Agreement,” released in 1947. It was based on a best-selling novel by Laura Z. Hobson and it was one…

Sep 23, 2014

‘Koch’: A Look at the Man Who Was Called ‘America’s Mayor’

Those who lived in New York City during the Ed Koch years will have a visceral reaction to a new documentary about the man once called America’s Mayor in a Time magazine cover story. For everyone else, the feature-length “Koch”…

Sep 22, 2014

Institutional Corruption on Trial — or Not — in CNN’s ‘Whitey’

His name was once second on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, right after that of Osama bin Laden. But even with notorious gangster Whitey Bulger captured, convicted and behind bars for the rest of his life in a federal penitentiary,…

Sep 19, 2014

‘The Roosevelts,’ Ken Burns’ Latest PBS Documentary Series, Opens to Big Numbers

As were “The Civil War” and “The War” before it, master documentarian Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” is turning out to be a massive blockbuster for PBS. The sprawling documentary chronicling the lives of Theodore, Franklin Delano and…

Sep 17, 2014

Have Fun Watching a Sexy, Romantic Movie That Was Made for the Silver Screen But Whose Real Magic Is Revealed on the Intimacy of Your TV Screen

“Anybody got a match?” In about a month it’ll be 70 years since Lauren Bacall said those, her first words on the silver screen. Hers was a movie debut for the ages. If many movies, from both a commerce and…

Sep 15, 2014

Another Tragic September Anniversary

We have just commemorated the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, yet many people may not realize that September marks another such tragic milestone. It’s been one year since an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group based in Somalia attacked…

Sep 15, 2014

A Little Mayhem as Kurt Sutter’s Shakespearean Biker Gang Tragedy Premieres in Hollywood

It was only fitting that there was a little bit of mayhem at Saturday night’s Hollywood premiere of FX’s hugely successful motorcycle gang drama “Sons of Anarchy,” which launches its seventh and final season on the cable network Tuesday night….

Sep 9, 2014

A Tribute to Joan Rivers, Who Proved That the Human Spirit Is Indomitable, and That Life Is Funny as Hell

Back in the summer of 1993 one of my favorite humorists, Paula Poundstone, had a column published in Mother Jones magazine that spoke about honesty and Hollywood. It begins, “The editor guy of this magazine asked me the other day…

Sep 5, 2014

Deja Vu All Over Again at This Year’s Emmy Awards

With the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards now down in the history books, the television industry’s highest honors will be remembered as an awards show that was all about “in with the old and out with the new.” With repeat program…

Aug 28, 2014