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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Monday, June 1


How could Clooney have signed on for his role in Disney’s Tomorrowland? What was he thinking? When he sees himself in this stinker, what does he see, how does he react? I can’t believe he’d do anything but hold his nose. Where is the guy I loved in Up in the Air and Gravity? Instead, I see a grizzled old man who looks like he’d rather be in Yesterdayland than in this land of tomorrow. I checked the response to this movie on Rotten Tomatoes and was amazed—no, dumbfounded—to see that 49% of critics and 59% of viewers were positive. What are they seeing that I and the rest of my audience members didn’t see? Here's what one reviewer, Ken Hanke, had to say: "Tomorrowland—vaguely based on the Disney theme park attraction—is a mess. Structurally, it’s a nightmare. Dramatically, it only occasionally comes to life. Technically, it’s sometimes impressive and sometimes a thing of 1930s-level matte paintings and CGI that’s so cartoonish it’s hard to remember it isn’t an animated film. Thematically, it’s such a bizarre farrago of mismatched “philosophies” and ideas that it’s hard to tell what it’s supposed to be. I’d like to call it a “noble failure,” but I’m not at all sure that it’s noble. I am sure, on the other hand, that so far as I’m concerned, it’s certainly a failure." I spoke with a number of my senior neighbors who saw it. A few walked out, a few thought about walking out, most suffered through to the end. I was one of the “thought about” walkers. I stayed to the end even though I dozed off in a few places. There were quite a few youngsters from five to ten there, not making a sound—not a chuckle of amusement, not a gasp of excitement. Just dead silence. I remember children’s responses to The Wizard of Oz, my own in particular when I first saw it in 1939. It was a wonderful story with wonderful characters set in an imaginary wonderful place called Oz. When Casey (Brittany Robertson) first touches the token that zips her away from reality to this land of the future, she ends up in a yellow wheatfield with a view of the futuristic spires of Tomorrowland in the distance, almost laughably similar to Dorothy’s first view of the Emerald City. And now these children are seeing a confusing story with plenty of confusing flashbacks and location switches with far too many shootings and killings and blowups and ridiculous ninja fightings. Hugh Lawrie as David Nix made an able villain in a wicked-witch-of-the-north way. He was exactly the curmudgeon we got used to in House. Apparently the film’s message was that we’d better do something about the state of the world now or we’ll never realize the wonders of Tomorrowland. Casey asks the riddle: There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is: which wolf wins? The answer: The one you feed. There, children in the audience, what do you make of that? A confusing message for all ages. I’m an adult, an old adult, and I’m not sure what was intended. Sorry, Walt. Sorry, Brad Bird and your sorry directing and writing. Tomorrowland just doesn’t cut it. And shame on you, George Clooney, for lowering yourself to this stinkbomb’s level.
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