Movie: “The Blind Side”

When I read the book, I pictured a woman exactly like Sandra Bullock. I normally dislike her as an actress, but she nailed this role. The best part of the film is seeing the actual pictures of Michael Oher and his adopted family. And yes, I cried when I read the book too.

Book: “Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code”

Bart D. Ehrman’s dissection of maybe a dozen pages turns out to be far more interesting than anything in Dan Brown’s entire novel. It’s also full of genuinely controversial material that’s taken seriously by actual historians. Worth reading even if you disagree with his conclusions.

Movie: The Peacemaker

A big, dumb, Hollywood action flick that makes one good decision: giving the bad guy a sympathetic back story. But then it messes the whole thing up by focusing on George Clooney and Nicole Kidman’s surprisingly dull relationship.

Movie: “Mission: Impossible II”

I think this is the first movie I ever fell asleep watching in the theater. Yes I was critically sleep-deprived, but I think there was nothing to the film but action sequences. It’s hard to care about a character in mortal danger when you don’t really know who they are or why they do what they do.

Place: ComedySportz Los Angeles

Los Angeles County is awash with comedy clubs, so what makes this one different? Well, it isn’t stand-up, but “competitive improv”. It’s also “clean”. (There’s a foul if anyone is foul.) And it’s cheap (call ahead for a discount), free parking is available, and it makes me laugh.