Seen on Screen: Titanic, The Kid with a Bike, Bully, American Reunion

**Saying “I do” is hard** Movie reviews are borne of a subjective amalgam of the author’s personal experiences and learned wisdom. Personal likes/dislikes about a genre, camera angle, actors, or direction are to be expected. Thus, it’s no surprise so much valuable print space is wasted on the discussion of film reviews—this letter included—but more often in the Reader Movie Review section. A reviewer stating an opinion about a movie is great when backing up their feelings with reasons—allowing me to decide to choose to lay out cash for a ticket. A legacy of Reader reviews trashing a movie, countered ferociously by readers of the opposite opinion, and sometimes, vice versa. It’s not often when you get to watch as a reviewer does both by himself in one piece. David Elliott’s April 11 nostalgic review of a nostalgic film spends the first three paragraphs scuttling his feelings about the movie in a thinly veiled attempt to prove to the readership and film intelligentsia that he should know better, then the remaining four resurrecting them. One doesn’t need to apologize for liking a movie for the things that make it likable. Only the crassest of cinema snobs are going to fault one for appreciating the grandeur of an epic that harkens back to a style when film was about the relationships between characters caught in dramatic circumstances. That’s the human relatability thread that makes movie goers care—and the reason there are separate categories in the Oscars for Best Film and Best Documentary. That grandeur doesn’t come cheap, either. Viewers can vote with their feet if they don’t like a film. When the director who changed the face of cinema technology with the introduction of Avatar rolls out a 3-D version of a 2-D filmed epic, I’d hope he dropped some coin to update it to the current standards that he advanced. Reviews are supposed to act as the first wave on the beach, helping us decide which route to chart amongst the detritus of trumped up laurels from the Kansas City Star and their ilk. Cynics (ain’t nobody here but us chickens) can confuse success with greed all they want; without big box office returns, blockbusters on this scale don’t get risked by studios. Attempts to agitate for equivalency between a film’s popular success and an Occupy Fill-In-The-Blank notion of greed will elicit more sweeping vistas and cinemagraphic excellence on the scale of The Blair Witch Project and it’s hand held on-hanger progeny—of course, driving the profit margins higher on such fare and encouraging more such “sell outs”. I’ll continue to look at what reviewers say, then make my own call on the next James Cameron film, or any film that piques my interest, and not worry about someone catching me enjoying it. For those more self-conscious viewers, IFC usually gets thrown into the first tier cable package at no extra cost. You either like this stuff or you don’t. --Matthew Thompson
— April 14, 2012 3:21 p.m.

Junkyard Creatures

Just returned from an extended out-of-town trip and rushed to your piece to get my weekly dose of snark--and wasn't disappointed, but got it in a truly overdose fashion. We readers get it that you're not particularly copacetic with calendar challenged bunchkins. It's good to know one's limits. And yes, you probably don't get to pick your “Stepping Out” assignments. Going into the "New", the "Old", or any establishment with the word Children above the door should be a tip off of what you might encounter inside...and then to heap on more fuel by referring in your piece to the children reveling in their element repeatedly as "it" when it was clear you are capable of discerning the albeit burgeoning primary sex characteristics of the small entities is just gratuitous. I'll break it down for you Hemingway style--you're painting a bad picture for childless adults. You've written about your own relationship with nieces/nephews, so certainly you've shown some capacity to co-exist in familial settings and bond over the small part of the Venn diagram where your lives overlap. So no doubt you've been exposed to a couple of the major faux pas when relating to childed adults, namely, never compare children to pets (although props to deniseathome for translating into pet owner speak for easier digestion) and never use gender neutral pronouns when speaking of a specific child whose gender is known to you, or at least pretty damn obvious. Sure, it helps you in your writing to self-identify as a kidless by choice adult so that others can recognize you and bond--but you take the rest of us in the same boat down a notch with you. I implore you not to mistake this as some misguided attempt to squelch your free speech--you're far too intelligent for that. It's an appeal to common sense--words have meaning, and don't have to be as cruel and devisive as the N word or the C word to have negative impact and separate us even further. --Matt, a very happy uncle
— March 20, 2012 7:03 p.m.

Otay Mesa Power Plant Tops Greenhouse Gas List

Mr. Potter: You did state at the beginning of the piece that the posted numbers from the website was for annual greenhouse gas emissions. But the more signficant story is how efficient each of those major emitters that are energy producers are. Lookup the nominal (non-peak) output capabilities of the three leading county power generators and you'll be surprised to note that the Encina Power Station (Cabrillo Plant) generates 965 MW nominal power while listed under the 2010 stats at .23 G MT CO2e, whereas the Otay Mesa Energy and Palomar Energy Center produce 513 and 554 MW respectively at their considerably elevated .84 G MT CO2e and 1.2 G MT CO2e. The question you should be investigating is how the Encina Station, which was recently challenged by residents to expand it's capacity by 200 MW, can run so efficiently, and what the actual cost of power generation is per MW using the steam turbine generation, as opposed to the two cycle units in place at the other two generation sites. Otay Mesa 2010 emissions isn't a story because it's squirreled away by the Otay Mesa Truck border crossing with (currently) no neighborhoods nearby. How 'bout going against the grain and pointing out the fallacy of NIMBYism when it doesn't hold up--not all data points to a scandal, and using words like "honor" and "boast" belie an anti-energy agenda. --Matt Thompson
— January 23, 2012 4:40 p.m.

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