New MPAA ratings suggestions

The MPAA ratings for movies are woefully inadequate. Yes, they tell you something about the “moral” content of a movie. For example, if your middle-schooler wants to see a movie of non-stop violence and mayhem, no problem. If he or she wants to see an important documentary about social ills that happens to include more than two F-bombs, that’s verboten. Makes perfect sense, huh?

But what about those of us who have no children to helicopter around but who care about other types of content? Have no fear! I’ll prime the pump with a few suggestions:

MPAA-BDThis is a movie populated by idiots doing idiotic things. It could be teenagers opening doors in buildings where serial killers are known to be. (This concept was lampooned most effectively in a hysterical Geico commercial.) Romantic comedies are also prone to this moronic behavior. If they just told the truth at the beginning, none of the misunderstandings would happen. And the movie would never have been made. That’s called “win-win.”

MPAA-HOWYou’ve seen them. Movies so bad, you wonder what now-unemployed producer gave this beast the green light? They have no positive qualities but someone shelled out several (sometimes hundreds) millions of dollars to get it made. You spend the entire movie asking yourself, “Who thought this was a good idea?” (q.v. “Mortdecai“)

MPAA-WTBy the end of one of these things, your scalp is bleeding because you spent the whole time scratching it. Instead of asking, “What did you think?” you ask, “What happened?” Let me say up front that I like some of these movies. Some I like a lot. This label could be applied to “2001”, as well as most films by Terrence Malick or Wes Anderson. After all, it’s good to have something to talk about after a movie other than the headache you got from the extreme volume and non-stop light show of special effects. Some so labeled, however, are simply self-indulgent nonsense. The poster child for this category is David Lynch’s “Eraserhead.” More prominently and more recently I’d add the interminable “Interstellar.”

MPAA-LW2The worst kind of movie. This is the equivalent of the current NC-17. Except these should be labeled, “no one over or under the age of 17 will be admitted.” Some of the aforementioned movies could also carry this caveat, but the most renowned recent example is “Boyhood.

Do you have any labels you’d like to add?


[Congratulate me for not shamelessly promoting my new book.]

“A Slippery Land”

It’s finally done. My first book, a novel about Haiti, is available for sale in paperback or Kindle edition. Here’s the cover:

ASLcoverFor the sake of completeness, here’s the back cover:


I’ve been working on this book in one form or another for more than four years. It started out as a screenplay, one that finished in the top 5% in the world’s most prestigious screenplay competition. Some of the judges’ comments included: “Strongly, clearly, confidently, and dramatically written… Settings are vividly brought to life… There is a heartbreaking authenticity to this.”

The story follows the life of a Haitian girl over six years, beginning with the nightmare of the 2010 earthquake. Her life becomes a series of trials common to many Haitians. How she faces those difficulties reflects on the resilience and strength of the Haitian people.

The book’s title comes from a painfully appropriate Haitian Creole proverb: “Lavi se tè glise“, which translates to the English: “Life is a slippery land.”

While a fictional tale, “A Slippery Land” carries a lot of truth. It incorporates many actual events I’ve seen or experienced and observations I’ve made while visiting the country and getting to know its people over the last 15 years.

Please consider buying a copy and letting me know what you think. The book is suitable for a wide audience, including Young Adult – even though it has no vampires, zombies, or mean girls, though Haiti could qualify as a dystopian society – or anyone who enjoys reading and learning about other cultures. It should be particularly good for book clubs because there’s plenty to discuss about our perceptions of Haiti and the third world.

You can see and purchase the paperback or Kindle edition through my Amazon author page here.

Thank you for reading.

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Things that make me say, “Huh?”

When time is short, I rely on photos to cover my… bases. This is such a post. Herewith, three photos that make me say, “Huh?”

The age of specialization has gone too far. What? You can't clean your own bass before you throw it in the Bass-O-Matic???

The age of specialization has gone too far. What? You can’t clean your own bass before you throw it in the Bass-O-Matic???


Oh snap! Why are we encouraging needy people to spend what precious funds they have for food on Ben and Jerry's?

Oh snap! Since when did Ben and Jerry’s qualify as “supplemental nutrition”?



Yeah, and we really, really mean it this time.