The Week in Silver: Fall is Better Than Summer Edition

My son hones his golf game

My son hones his golf game

Here’s an unpopular opinion: Fall is a better season than summer.

Sure, summer is the time of sunshine, of water parks and well-weathered vacations. But what about the fair-skinned among us? I sunburn easily. My time on the beach usually needs to be limited to about two hours. And the sun makes me tired.

The fall, though? It has so many advantages. One can go outside without an overcoat, but also without burns or coma-inducing heat. Football’s underway. Baseball’s into the pennant race/playoff phase. The movies are better than they are in the summer. And when it’s election year, fall means we’re just a little closer to it mercifully being over.

Sure, there are things about summer that I like. Seeing the joy on my kids’ faces at camp, on the beach and on Boardwalk rides is one of my favorite things. There’s nothing like food at the Jersey Shore.

Aside from that? I’m ready for fall, how about you?

On to this week’s links:

At Splice Today, I first reviewed the comedy documentary Can We Take a Joke- which yielded a very nice email from one of its subjects, Jim Norton- and also Sausage Party.

At Blasting News:

– The disgusting tabloid attack on Malia Obama

– The stupidest defenses of Trump’s “Second Amendment People” comment

– Why Putin’s fans on the left and right are all being played for fools:

And at Mapquest’s Parachute, I looked at the best places to watch college football in Philadelphia.

At Screenrant:

A Redditor threatens to sue over Suicide Squad

A list of the ten best non-baseball uses of baseball bats in TV and movies.

Margot Robbie and mimosas

A look at Jack Reacher, Round 2:

Hodor’s death scene in other languages

The end of free Hulu

The casting of Ocean’s 8

Much more to come this week, including my debuts with two new outlets. As always follow me on Twitter at @StephenSilver.


The Week in Silver: The Only Living Boys in New York Edition

timessquareLast weekend we headed up to New York City, taking our two sons into the city for a day for the first time for both of them (they’re 4 and 6.) It went pretty well, all things considered: Times Square, Ray’s Pizza, the M&M Store, Statue of Liberty, and Central Park, they enjoyed it all. Tourist stuff all, yes, but they’re little kids- I wasn’t going to take them to a punk show on the Bowery or anything like that.

Aside from a layover or two, I didn’t set foot in New York City until I was 18 years old and already in college. But I quickly fell for the place and moved there after graduation. I lived in New York from 2000 to 2005, arriving at age 22 and leaving at 27, and one thing that’s always fascinated me about the experience is that I never had any conception of either being a kid in New York, or having one. Being a kid who takes the subway to school, or walks by newsstands daily with nudie mags? I couldn’t even imagine it.

Then there’s the idea of parenting in New York City. Remember the Louie episode where his daughter suddenly gets off at the subway stop and he’s still on the train? That was my nightmare scenario for just about every minute we were on the subway- no, it didn’t actually happen, but… how many times a day, in New York City, does that happen? And how do you reunite with your kid?


I left NYC in 2005 when I happened to meet my future wife who lived in Philadelphia, although really I’d decided about a year earlier that it was time to bring that part of my life to a close. Why? I missed having a car and driving to work. I wanted to live somewhere that was a city and not a world capital. And I wanted to live somewhere besides tiny apartments, and figured that wasn’t happening anytime soon if I stayed in the Big Apple.

Do I regret leaving? Not for one day- things have turned out pretty well for me in Pennsylvania. But I appreciate that I live so close to New York, have occasional business-related reasons to return often, and can wander around, visit my old haunts (the ones that are still there, anyway) and have some idea of what I’m doing and where I’m going.

I’m also looking forward to sharing certain NYC adventures with my boys as they get older- especially of the baseball, theatrical and culinary varieties. But even so, I’m going to hold them extra-close on the subway, because that Louie scenario still scares the shit out of me.

On to this week’s writings:

At Splice Today, I reviewed Suicide Squad (with a brief aside on Don’t Think Twice.)

At Screenrant, I look at that very movie’s box office performance, what ever became of The Joker, and that insane petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes. I also looked at Nine Lives’ silly, cat-pun-filled commercial, Michael Jordan’s pick to replace himself in Space Jam 2, the Game of Thrones election that lets GoT copy politics for once instead of the other way around, a first look at Amazon’s The Tick, and finally, a eulogy of The Big Lebowski himself, David Huddleston. Did you know he was Grandpa Arnold on The Wonder Years?

At Blasting News, I look at the disgusting smear campaign aimed at Khizr Khan by Trump surrogates, why I feel sorry (not really) for Trump’s campaign staffers and why, despite nonsense about Trump having Twitter followers, Hillary Clinton is very clearly winning.

And at Parachute, a road trip through the Phillies’ minor league affiliates.

Three big things are coming up this week, so stay tuned for those at my Twitter feed, @StephenSilver.

Clapping for two presidents

The Week in Silver: Turning 38 at the DNC Edition

I celebrated my 38th birthday this week, and marked the occasion by hanging around the Democratic National Convention for much of the week.

I was sadly denied a credential for the convention itself, but was able to spend two days in the city both covering the protests and ancillary events around the convention. And… I loved it. I hadn’t done political reporting in awhile and remembered that I really enjoy it.

Highlights of the week: I met, and was “interviewed” by- Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and his puppeteer, Robert Smigel. I saw all manner of protests on behalf of various causes- with Bernie Sanders and marijuana by far the two most popular. And on Tuesday, I ended up about five feet away from Bernie Sanders himself, who happened to be walking down Arch Street with a small entourage. At that point that small cell of Christian fanatics I had seen the day before seized on him, with one even yelling at him to renounce Judaism.

And then, Friday, I attended a rally for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine at Temple University. This was a much different vibe from the Bill Clinton rally I covered back in the spring, in which the former president and a heckler yelled at each other; the whole room was with her, with the except of one heckler who called Hillary a murderer. Afterward I got to meet Kaine briefly.

Anyway, on to this week’s links:

– At Broad Street Review, I reviewed the “Politicalfest” exhibit around the convention.

– At Splice Today, I wrote about the protests on the first day.

Then, I reviewed “Jason Bourne” and “Bad Moms”

– At Blasting News, I went in on out-of-town reporters complaining about Philly.

I also took a look at a politician who doesn’t often get his due, Howard Dean:

And why the DNC’s Bradley Cooper controversy was stupid.

– And at Screenrant:

An update on Creed 2.

– A new edit of Arrested Development’s Netflix season.

– The death of Project Greenlight.

– The biggest buzz about of Comic-Con.

– The Bourne trilogy in 90 seconds.

– How the Millennium Falcon almost killed Harrison Ford.

As always, follow me on Twitter, and check out my Facebook page for my videos from the DNC.

The Week in Silver: “Okay, So You’re Brad Pitt” Edition

I’ve decided to start doing weekly roundups of all my published writing here each Friday; if all goes well perhaps I’ll turn it into a newsletter or something.

I plan to be loitering around the DNC and various ancillary events in Philadelphia throughout next week, so if you’re in town reach out and let me know.

Speaking of which, my favorite news story of the week involves two of my favorite journalists in town, both of whom I know slightly: Fox 29’s Steve Keeley confuses Phillymag’s Dan McQuade with a movie star:

Anyway, on to the links:

At Splice Today, because I didn’t see Star Trek Beyond yet, I review three movies: Cafe Society, Equity and Captain Fantastic. Stay tuned next week for Jason Bourne, Bad Moms and Can We Take a Joke? You can read all of my movie reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. 

At Mapquest’s Parachute, a look at the sports stadiums along the Delaware River- including a pretty gorgeous shot I took at the Philadelphia Union match last weekend:

At Blasting News, I wrote several pieces about the slow descent into madness that was the Republican National Convention

– Why you shouldn’t believe “shock polls” and Hillary is actually winning

– Why the theme of the first night was “be very afraid”

– Why the RNC didn’t mention the one true GOP triumph of the last couple of years

– And why “being un-PC” is no excuse for calling for the death of a rival political candidate.

Over at Screenrant, I was busy this week:

– I eulogized the great Garry Marshall:

– Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the movie, 15 things you may not know about Miami Vice:

Game of Thrones Season 7 will have 7 episodes.

– Bojack Horseman got a fourth season on Netflix:

– There will be more Powerpuff Girls, too.

Law & Order: SVU is making a Making a Murderer-inspired episode.

– The trailer for a new documentary about Leonard Nimoy.

– Star Trek 4 will not recast Anton Yelchin. 

The Emoji Movie has cast T.J. Miller:

As always, follow me on Twitter at @StephenSilver. 


My Thoughts on Prince


I already wrote an obituary for Prince at Screen Rant; you can read that here. Below, just a few disconnected thoughts on the death of the Purple One:

Ever since Prince passed away on Thursday, I’ve discovered that a lot of my Minneapolis friends have Prince stories. They once ran into him somewhere, he randomly popped onstage at a club they were at, or maybe they saw him at an early club gig before Prince was Prince.

I really don’t, though. I never saw him in person or in concert or came in any way close to meeting him. My father represented someone with a legal case that tangentially involved him, the details of which I don’t remember, but he never met him either. Hell, I’ve never even been inside First Avenue.

But I’ve always loved Prince’s music, going back as far as I can remember. He was a staple of the radio, and MTV, both of which I followed obsessively as a kid. And of course, there was always the Minnesota pride angle of it. I’ve written before that in the early ‘80s the Replacements/Husker Du music revolution was going on a few miles from my house, but I was too young to know about it and didn’t even discover the music until I was in my 20s and living in New York. But Prince was different. I appreciated his music, and his larger-than-life persona, even from a very young age.

Which isn’t to say that I totally got it. Even as I saw Prince perform in assless chaps on the Video Music Awards, and listened to the album (“Lovesexy”) where he was naked on the cover, the pure sexuality of his music was certainly not something I grasped when I was that young. Neither was the pure complexity of the songs and genre combinations.

The songs are all great. The public persona, like no one else in history. “Purple Rain” is one of the best music movies of all time- and a clear influence on so many others since- and goes in the Minnesota Movie Holy Trinity along with the Coens’ “Fargo” and “A Serious Man” (Whatever #4 is, it’s a steep drop. “Grumpy Old Men”? “Jingle All the Way”? “Drop Dead Gorgeous”?)

For some reason I always really loved the “Diamonds and Pearls” album, especially the title track. And I’ve always dreamed of writing a book about a financial scandal at a synagogue, called “Thieves in the Temple.” And yes, that Chris Rock joke about how “the only black people in Minnesota are Prince and Kirby Puckett” is funny but highly inaccurate, even now that Prince and Kirby are both gone.

Then there was at the strange fall of 2009. For years I had always joked that Prince should buy the Minnesota Vikings. He was a Minneapolis native, with plenty of money, who favored wearing purple, the NFL wanted more minorities in the ownership ranks and he couldn’t possibly be worse than the Headrick Ten, Red McCombs or the Wilfs. That never happened, but that year, when the Vikings had a contending team with Brett Favre at quarterback, Prince- long a fixture at Timberwolves games but never Vikings ones- started appearing at every game, always on TV. He even wrote the team a new fight song.

Sure, the song (“Purple and Gold”) was terrible, the team never used it again, the Vikings lost yet another NFC Championship Game, and Prince was never seen at a Vikings game after that. But it was one of the team’s most exciting runs ever, made more special for me as my first son Noah was born in the middle of it.

I’ve watched and read the tributes, and listened to the songs on every radio station, just like when Michael Jackson died seven years ago. So I’m especially happy to be heading back to Minnesota on Saturday for Passover- say, is that block party outside First Avenue still going on?

The Big List 2015: Ranking Every Movie I Saw This Year

In 2015, I saw 162 movies, a new record and more than 20 more than my previous record. How’d I do it? I went to two film festivals instead of one, had slightly better screener access, and a couple of months of unemployment to catch up. Yet even with all that, there were still more than 200 days that I didn’t see a movie. That’s when I did all that stuff like working, being a husband and father, and all that.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s everything I saw this year (Find all my reviews here):

    1. Mad Max: Fury Road
    2. Spotlight
    3. Creed
    4. Anomalisa
    5. Wild Tales
    6. The Mend
    7. Dope
    8. Love & Mercy
    9. Chi-raq
    10. Brooklyn
    11. Inside Out
    12. The Big Short
    13. The Martian
    14. Ricki and the Flash
    15. Carol
    16. 45 Years
    17. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    18. Ex Machina
    19. Results
    20. The Walk
    21. Steve Jobs
    22. I’ll See You in My Dreams
    23. Beasts of No Nation
    24. The End of the Tour
    25. The Look of Silence
    26. Tangerine
    27. Trainwreck
    28. Bridge of Spies
    29. The Hateful Eight
    30. Room
    31. The Revenant
    32. Magic Mike XXL
    33. Moonwalkers
    34. I Am Big Bird: the Caroll Spinney Story
    35. Sleeping With Other People
    36. Youth
    37. ’71
    38. Danny Collins
    39. Night Owls
    40. Kingsman: The Secret Service
    41. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
    42. Furious Seven
    43. Call Me Lucky
    44. The Best of Enemies
    45. Listen to Me Marlon
    46. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon
    47. Batkid Begins
    48. What Happened, Miss Simone?
    49. Tig
    50. Clouds of Sils Maria
    51. Southpaw
    52. Jafar Panahi’s Taxi
    53. The Assassin
    54. Experimenter
    55. Time Out of Mind
    56. It Follows
    57. Victoria
    58. James White
    59. Tales of the Grim Sleeper
    60. The Sandwich Nazi
    61. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
    62. Amy
    63. Three and a Half Minutes Ten Bullets
    64. The Wrecking Crew
    65. Larry Kramer In Love and Anger
    66. Cartel Land
    67. Straight Outta Compton
    68. Mistress America
    69. A Wonderful Cloud
    70. The Woman in Gold
    71. Phoenix
    72. Heaven Knows What
    73. Ant-Man
    74. The Peanuts Movie
    75. I Smile Back
    76. 99 Homes
    77. Sicario
    78. Joy
    79. Before We Go
    80. White God
    81. Z For Zachariah
    82. Black Mass
    83. By the Sea
    84. Concussion
    85. Trumbo
    86. The Good Dinosaur
    87. Spy
    88. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Faith
    89. The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?
    90. The Wolfpack
    91. Do I Sound Gay?
    92. Red Army
    93. Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile
    94. Sons of Ben
    95. A Walk in the Woods
    96. The Visit
    97. Love
    98. The Danish Girl
    99. Maggie
    100. Timbuktu
    101. Deep Web
    102. Live From New York
    103. Manglehorn
    104. Slow West
    105. Avengers: Age of Ultron
    106. Focus
    107. McFarland USA
    108. I Am Chris Farley
    109. Our Man in Tehran
    110. Jurassic World
    111. Welcome to Me
    112. Age of Adaline
    113. The Rewrite
    114. Uncle Ken 2
    115. What We Do in the Shadows
    116. Kumiko the Treasure Hunter
    117. The Overnight
    118. Fifty Shades of Grey
    119. Deathgasm
    120. Our Brand is Crisis
    121. Crimson Peak
    122. Merchants of Doubt
    123. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
    124. Son of the Congo
    125. Atari: Game Over
    126. While We’re Young
    127. Minions
    128. Thought Crimes
    129. Irrational Man
    130. The D-Train
    131. The Sheik
    132. Hot Girls Wanted
    133. Undocumented Executive
    134. Pitch Perfect 2
    135. Wolfcop
    136. The Film Critic
    137. Adult Beginners
    138. San Andreas
    139. The Duff
    140. Chappie
    141. Escobar: Paradise Lost
    142. Snapshot
    143. Tomorrowland
    144. The Last Five Years
    145. Entertainment
    146. Get Hard
    147. Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine
    148. A LEGO Brickumentary
    149. Entourage
    150. Blackhat
    151. The Wedding Ringer
    152. Run All Night
    153. Aloha
    154. Staten Island Summer
    155. Serena
    156. American Ultra
    157. Hot Pursuit
    158. True Story
    159. No Escape
    160. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
    161. The Cobbler
    162. Jupiter Ascending

Did not see (reputedly good): Diary of a Teenaged Girl, He Named Me Malala, The Duke of Burgundy, Grandma, The Tribe

Did not see (reputedly bad): Truth, Ridiculous Six, Pixels, Mortdecai, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Fantastic Four, Stonewall