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James Garner is one of my all-time favorite actors and I am delighted that he has published a new book about his life, The Garner Files: A Memoir. Garner got his start in the theater playing a juror in “The Caine Mutiny” on Broadway, which gave him an invaluable lesson in focus and the best seat in the house to observe brilliant acting every night.  He specialized in playing laconic but honorable men and is best remembered for his television work: The Rockford Files and Maverick.  But I am a big fan of his movies, especially the two he did with Julie Andrews: Victor/Victoria and The Americanization of Emily and two he made with Doris Day: The Thrill of it All! and Move Over Darling (a remake of Cary Grant’s “My Favorite Wife”).  His pair of comic westerns, Support Your Local Gunfighter and Support Your Local Sheriff are a lot of fun.  He is an adept dramatic actor as well, in films like The Great Escape and The Notebook.  This new book is a great opportunity to revisit his performances.

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How families use media and what it means for kids’ health and well-being is the subject of Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America, the first study by Common Sense Media’s new Program for the Study of Children and Media, released late last month.

The study shows that everything from iPods to smartphones to tablet computers are now a regular part of kids’ lives, with kids under 8 averaging two hours a day with all screen media. Among the key findings:

  • 42% of children under 8 years old have a television in their bedroom.
  • Half (52%) of all 0- to 8-year-olds have access to a new mobile device, such as a smartphone, video iPod, or iPad/tablet.
  • More than a third (38%) of children this age have used one of these devices, including 10% of 0-to 1-year-olds, 39% of 2- to 4-year-olds, and more than half (52%) of 5- to 8-year-olds.
  • In a typical day, one in 10 (11%) 0- to 8-year-olds uses a smartphone, video iPod, iPad, or similar device to play games, watch videos, or use other apps. Those who do such activities spend an average of 43 minutes a day doing so.
  • In addition to the traditional digital divide, a new “app gap” has developed, with only 14% of lower-income parents having downloaded new media apps for their kids to use, compared to 47% of upper-income parents.

What troubles me most in the results of this study is the pervasive exposure to media for under-2’s, contrary to the recommendations of pediatricians and the increasing digital divide that limits the opportunities to use the best of what is available to kids who already have greater access to traditional resources.

I agree with the recommendations of Common Sense Media:

But my own recommendations go a little further.

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Thanks for the great questions!

I’m trying to find out the name of a movie I saw back in the sixties, i’m not sure what year it was made. It was about a girl that just wants a simple married life but everytime she gets married her husbands end up getting rich and at the end she ends up back with her first boyfriend that was already rich but when they meet in the end he has lost his fortune.

One of my favorites! Shirley MacLaine in What a Way to Go! starring Paul Newman, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, and Gene Kelly and some of the wildest costumes ever!

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I remember a children’s movie from probably the early to mid 80’s about children who invent a flying ‘bubble’ with their computer in the basement of their house.  They then make it large enough to ride in and have some fantastic adventures. Do you have any idea what this movie is?

That’s Explorers with Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix.

A father and son wind up toy mouses that are connected together. I believe the story takes place during Christmas holidays. Their adventures are on city streets and in a sewer with rats. A crow trying to catch them. I remember the movie from HBO as a kid. It was late 70’s or early 80’s. The movie starts with a scene of a snow falling and looking thru a toy store window from outside. The toy father and son mouse were on display.

A lovely movie: “The Mouse and His Child.”

I’m searching for a film title for a friend. they only know the plot and saw it a few years back on Sundance. A boy and girl are friends and play a game involving a box. the game consisits of dares. Whoever has the box dares the other to do something and if they do they in turn get the box. they grow older and apart but still continue the game. This person thinks the film is European. possibly French or Italian. would love an answer to this. Thanks.

That’s a Belgian film released in 2003, Love Me If You Dare originally titled “Jeux D’Enfants.”

A man and woman meet as they are both planning their weddings while their future partners are busy elsewhere. They spend time together and start to fall in love but in the end go their own way. Later they both cancel their wedding but don’t know this of each other. The man then writes a book about the whole experience. Upon hearing about the book the woman realizes it’s not too late and looks up the man. Happy ending.

That’s It Had to Be You with Michael Vartan and Natasha Henstridge.

The movie was in black & white and I believe it was made in the 40s, maybe 50s… I’ve seen it when I was young. A woman living in a big house near the sea thinks that the ghost who is haunting her house is her mother’s, and she feels protected but she is in danger. Another ghost, “the nurse” I think, is her real mother and protects her, but she doesn’t trust her. At the end she knows the truth…

One of my favorite spooky movies! Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey in The Uninvited, which introduced the classic song, “Stella By Starlight.”

Do you know a movie, I think an American one, in which at one point a shady psycho/hitman who wants something from our hero, gives a pet cat a drop of LSD at an apartment, which kills it? At the end the stand off involves the bad guy unwittingly drinking the LSD overdose which the girl friend of leading man has swapped for drink.

Great one! That is Dollars with Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty.