HIFF Q&A: Ty Sanga, ‘The Life of Pinky Thompson’

Ty SangaTy Sanga wants to tell you a story.

It starts in Kalihi where he grew up. His mother was first-generation Filipino and his father was Hawaiian-Chinese. They worked hard, so Ty did too. He worked room service at the Ihilani and studied ethnic studies at the University of Hawaii, where local documentaries like Victoria Keith’s “The Sand Island Story” deeply affected him. Sanga decided he wanted to make films about local and Hawaiian stories, and he wanted to tell them right.

During graduate school at Chapman University he wrote and directed the short film, “Stones,” based loosely on a Hawaiian legend. In 2011, the film was chosen from 6,500 entries for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Indigenous Shorts Showcase. Sanga followed up that success by directing the 2013 food-travel show, “Family Ingredients,” hosted by Chef Ed Kenney (Town Restaurant) and featuring Chef Alan Wong (read Diane Seo’s review here). In 2014, “Family Ingredients” won a regional Emmy for lifestyle-program special.

But Sanga’s story doesn’t end there. His latest film, “Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson,” was selected as the closing night film of the 2014 Hawaii International Film Festival. The incredible story of Thompson, father of Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, is about how one man can make a difference. I talked with Sanga about the documentary, winning an Emmy and Bruno Mars.

Why is giving Hawaiians and local culture a voice so important in your work?
It’s just the types of stories I’m attracted to. No matter what I do, I’ll always have this perspective as a storyteller. It grounds me.

What was it like being selected to the Sundance Film Festival?
When I received the call, I was on Maui and I didn’t have good reception. When they said we were accepted, I couldn’t hear him clearly. I had to run out of the car to find a good signal. I still can’t believe we got in. After completing a movie your next goal is to find an audience, and the Sundance Film Festival is the biggest stage for up-and-coming filmmakers. It was a dream to be able to share my short film there. Plus, I got to play in the snow.

PinkyThompsonTell us about your HIFF film, “Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson.”
Pinky Thompson was one of Hawaii’s greatest leaders. It’s crazy when you realize what the Hawaiian community was like in the 1920s and how much it has changed today. For the longest time our kupuna had to hide our Hawaiian culture.

Today, the culture is as vibrant as ever. In many ways it was Pinky who helped push us in that direction. He was a great visionary. He understood the value of early education and brought change in the state and national level. To him, nothing was impossible.

How did you get the idea for the film?
I’m blessed to be able to work with Randie and Jamie Fong from Kamehameha Schools. They understand the value of film not only as a medium to archive and entertain, but also to incite change. When they told Keala Lucero (producer) and I that they wanted to do a documentary on the late Pinky Thompson, we agreed that it was long overdue.

Did you discover anything that took your story into a direction you didn’t anticipate?
The amount of accomplishments Pinky achieved in one lifetime is astonishing. The difficult part was narrowing it down for a feature documentary. It was a long process. Once Seong Kyu-Whang, our editor, and I discovered the narrative through-line, it became our gauge to measure what stayed in the film and what went.

What’s the status on “Family Ingredients”?
We are currently filming new episodes, which will premiere nationally in 2015. I can’t share too many details, but the stories we have lined up are amazing. We’ll be visiting seven new locations and we have a lot of fun stuff planned for Ed (Kenney).

Did you like the raw egg rice (tamago-kake gohan) featured on the show?
Yes, it’s delicious, especially if you have ono side dishes. In editing the pilot, we had to take a tamago gohan break. We busted out the rice cooker and Peterson eggs and whipped up a snack. It’s difficult working on a food show because you’re always hungry.

What was it like winning an Emmy for “Family Ingredients?”
It was a total surprise. We were just thrilled to be nominated. We didn’t expect anything else, so no one from the team was at the ceremony. I found out through Facebook.

What’s the hardest part about being a director?
Getting sleep. I’m a crazy workaholic, but sometimes my body is like, “denied. System will be in sleep mode. Try again later.”

What’s on your Netflix queue?
“Luther,” “Frances Ha,” “The Kid with a Bike,” “The Imposter.”

What filmmakers or films inspire or influence you?
Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kubrick, “Sansho the Bailiff,” “Ikuru,” “City of God,” “Jerry Maguire,” “There Will Be Blood.”

If someone was making a movie of your life story, who would play you?
Bruno Mars?

Top 3 guilty pleasure movies.
“Back to the Future III,” “Saved by the Bell (TV),” anything Jackie Chan.

What are you working on next?
Along with “Family Ingredients,” I also developed a feature film through the Sundance Native Lab called “After Mele.” The film wrestles with the expectations of Native Hawaiian males in today’s society. We have a fantastic cast attached, and we’re hoping to go into production soon.

Any advice to local filmmakers who are just starting out?
Have goals. Work hard. Watch movies. Be humble.

“Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson” premieres Sunday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at Hawaii Theatre and is the closing night film of the Hawaii International Film Festival 2014. It also screens on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. at Consolidated Theatres Koko Marina 8. HIFF runs Oct. 30-Nov. 9 on Oahu; Nov. 13-16 on Kauai and Hawaii Island. See film and event schedules at hiff.org, and Frolic movie guy Myong Choi’s personal must-see lineup.

“Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson” trailer:

Q&A with HIFF’s Anderson Le

Photo courtesy of Bao Nguyen.

Photo courtesy of Bao Nguyen.

Anderson Le has your dream job.

As programming director of the Hawaii International Film Festival since 2002, Le travels the world watching movies. While it’s more fun than typing TPS reports, his work is far from easy. He also programs documentaries for the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, as well as international films for the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. He’s one of the founding “offenders” of YouOffendMeYouOffendMyFamily.com, a pop culture, entertainment blog, along with director Justin Lin (“Fast and the Furious”). And locally, he’s one of the founders of Interisland Terminal, the innovators behind R/D and Kakaako Agora.

Le took some time off from the year-long madness of preparing for HIFF 2014, which runs Oct. 30 to Nov. 9, to talk about his top films of the festival, his cartoon doppelganger and “Gymkata.”

When did your passion for movies start?
As a liberal arts major, a lot of my classes would show films as part of their curriculum. That’s how I really fell in love with movies and saw them as more than entertainment, but a time capsule and reflection on milestones in history and culture. The one film that converted me from appreciating cinema “as an adult” was “The Seventh Seal.” That film just blew my mind.

What are some of the can’t-miss films and events at this year’s HIFF?
There are too many to list. But, I can say that HIFF will have something for everyone. For the whole family, we have screenings of “Big Hero 6” and the new Pixar short film “Lava.” Since Halloween is during the fest, we’ve got a fun horror comedy double feature of “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Housebound.” If you love Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”), then go see “The Imitation Game.” If you want to see the best from Cannes, Sundance and Venice, then we’ve got a lion’s share of films from those prestigious festivals, but we’ve also got lots of discoveries and premieres from the Asia and Pacific Rim. We’ve also got the definitive documentary on the legacy of the UH Rainbow Wahine volleyball team with “Rise of the Wahine.” Like I said, we’ve got something for everyone.

How many films/submission did you have to watch for 2014 HIFF?
This year, we’ve received almost 2,000 film submissions. As for me, I see about 400 films a year, give or take.

Do you ever get tired of watching so many movies?
I sometimes do get fatigued, usually in the mid-summer, when we have to start finalizing our selections. Watching 400 films is quite a lot, but what’s worse, is that the majority of the films are not good. Sometimes, I’ll need a palette cleanser and watch something comforting to me like “Dazed and Confused” or something stupid like “Roadhouse” to get me back on track.

What qualities separate a selected film from the pack?
We have specific criteria and formula for the selection process, but the general traits of “good story,” “technical proficiency,” “good acting” and such are important components.

Give us your top 5 films of 2014 HIFF.
“Tokyo Tribe” – Japanese rap battles between warring gangs set in a dystopian future Tokyo. This is the latest manga adaptation by Japanese punk director Sono Sion.

“The Tribe” – Ukrainian film where a teenager enters a remote school for the deaf and mute and enters a “Lord of the Flies” world fueled by sex and drugs. There is no spoken dialogue and no subtitles. One of the strangest and riveting films that also tests the boundaries of cinema. A true festival film.

“What We Do in the Shadows” – From the minds of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”) comes this hilarious mocumentary about three vampires living in New Zealand. It’s also surprisingly scary and bloody and a perfect Halloween film to see.

“Dearest” – From Hong Kong director Peter Chan comes this heartwrenching drama about a kidnapped child in China and the hopeless pursuit by the parents who are way over their head. It is touching, sad, but also uplifting and one of Chan’s best films in years.

“Lahaina Noon” – Go to the Kakaako Agora screening on Friday, Nov. 7, because the film presentation will also have live music accompaniment and score just for this event. It’s a short film from local director Chris Kahunahana, and it’s a type of genre and storytelling rarely seen here. It’s a mind trip.

Tell us about your involvement with “You Offend Me You Offend My Family,” who will also be mentoring at the HIFF New Media Lab.
YOMYOMF started off as a blog in 2009 and has grown into something kind of neat. We dabbled with new media by being one of the Google funded original content channels in 2012 and working with YouTube stars like Ryan Higa and KevJumba. The site is being revamped and we’re launching a 2.0 edition, with a new look and direction towards Asian American content and commentary. We’ll have the founders of Giant Robot and Disgrasian, for example, on board for the relaunch.

yomyomf_bananaIs it true you were almost an animated cartoon character?
Yes. It was going to be a YOMYOMF Network web show, where I played a laid-back guy from Hawaii who moves into an apartment that is inhabited by an old-timer, kind-of-racist, ghost. But because I’m from Hawaii and so chill, I tell the ghost that it’s cool that he can live there, but he just needs to pay half the rent. Thankfully, it didn’t go very far, and isn’t happening anymore.

Give me your top 3 movies you love.
“The Seventh Seal” directed by Ingmar Bergman
“2001: A Space Odyssey” directed by Stanley Kubrick
“Ohayo! (Good Morning)” directed by Yasujiro Ozu

Give me your top 3 guilty pleasure movies.
“Gymkata” directed by Robert Clouse.
“The Room” directed by Tommy Wiseau
“The Dragon Lives Again” directed by Law Kei
When Bruce Lee died, it spawned all these clone Bruce Lee movies starring guys named Bruce Li or Bruce Lai. This one takes the cake, where Bruce Lee (played by Bruce Leung) is stuck in purgatory and has to fight for dominance against Clint Eastwood, James Bond, Zatoichi, Laurel and Hardy, the Godfather and even Popeye. Yeah, this movie is all about copyright infringement.

1916656_387337307238_1835713_nAny advice for filmmakers who are entering their work into film festivals?
Watch lots and lots of films, especially the ones that are currently doing well in the marketplace and that have similar factors to yours (budget, the type of camera, amount of shooting days). Read up on IndieWIRE and learn the trends of indie film and digital distribution and ways to build an audience. For today’s filmmaker, you have the mindset of an entrepreneur. But at the end of the day, no matter how you sell your film, it’s got to be good.

What do you love about film festivals?
It’s a great time to be a film lover. We live in a world where we can consume content at a click of a button via Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Fandor, just to name a few of the many options out there. But this makes film festivals more relevant as a curated film program of the best films of the year. It also provides an opportunity for people to get out of the house and congregate and celebrate film together in the traditional space where it was always intended to be seen: on the big screen!

The 2014 Hawaii International Film Festival runs Oct. 30 – Nov. 9 on Oahu; Nov. 13-16 on Kauai and Hawaii Island. See film and event schedules at hiff.org, and Frolic movie guy Myong Choi’s personal must-see lineup.

Hitchcocktober A-Z

HitchcocktoberAlfred Hitchcock directed over 52 films. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly the number of films directed by Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, combined. Over his 50-year career, Hitch was an innovator, an icon and one of the most influential filmmakers in cinema history. But don’t take my word for it. Every Thursday in October, Consolidated Theatres Ward is screening a Hitchcock classic for “Hitchcocktober.” For the super fans who’ve seen all 52 of his films (a film-nerd, bucket list goal of mine) and to the newbies who haven’t seen a single frame, here’s an A-Z primer on the “Master of Suspense” to get you ready for Hitchcocktober.

Alma
Alma Reville was Alfred Hitchcock’s wife. She was a writer, editor, director and Hitch’s unsung collaborator and partner.

Bass, Saul
Legendary graphic designer who created the opening titles for “North By Northwest” and “Vertigo.” His opening for “Psycho,” with composer Bernard Herrmann’s brilliant score, is one of my favorite film title sequences.

Cat
Cary Grant plays retired thief, John “The Cat” Robie, in “To Catch a Thief.” This may be the Hitchcock film I’ve re-watched the most. Grace Kelly and Grant are luminous. The French Riviera’s never looked better in VistaVision (the film won a best cinematography Oscar). And it’s just plain fun. It’s one of Hitch’s most romantic movies.

Dial M For Murder
The 1954 film, “Dial M For Murder,” will be screened in 3-D as the final film in Hitchcocktober. It’s not my favorite Hitch film, but Francois Truffaut said, “I enjoy it more every time I see it.” I’d watch it again just to see Grace Kelly in 3-D.

Edith Head
The most famous costumer designer in Hollywood history and winner of eight Oscars, Head made icons out of the Hitchcock Blondes in “Rear Window,” “To Catch a Thief,” “Vertigo” and “The Birds.”

Forty-Five seconds
The running time of the infamous shower scene in “Psycho.” It took 70 camera set ups and seven days to shoot.

Grant, Cary
Before there was George Clooney, there was Cary Grant. Grant was Hitch’s tall, dark and handsome proxy starring in “To Catch a Thief,” “North By Northwest,” “Suspicion,” and “Notorious.”

Hitchcock Blondes
Smart, strong and sexy, the “Hitchcock Blondes” refer to the group of actors who played Hitchcock’s victims of choice. Grace Kelly (“Rear Window”), Kim Novak (“Vertigo”), Janet Leigh (“Psycho”), Tippi Hedren (“The Birds”) and Eva Marie Saint (“North By Northwest”) were mesmerizing women who were magnets for trouble.

Ingrid Bergman
Uncharacteristically brunette, the three-time Oscar winning Bergman (best known for “Casablanca”) starred in Hitch’s “Spellbound,” “Capricorn,” and best of all, “Notorious.”

Joseph
Alfred Hitchcock’s middle name.

GraceKellyKelly, Grace
Along with Audrey Hepburn, no other actress had more sheer starpower, beauty and elegance. In fact, Grace Kelly retired from acting at age 26 to become a real life princess, the Princess of Monaco. Lucky for us, she immortalized herself on film in Hitch’s “Dial M for Murder,” “Rear Window” and “To Catch a Thief.”

Leigh, Janet
Nominated for best supporting actress in 1961 for “Psycho,” this buxom Hitchcock Blonde was the star of the film until… well, you know.

MacGuffin
The term coined by Hitchcock for the object of desire that drives a film’s plot. This device has little narrative explanation and in the big picture, isn’t very important. For instance, the microfilm in “North By Northwest” or the envelope of cash in “Psycho.”

North By Northwest
Ernest Lehman, screenwriter of “North By Northwest,” said he wanted to make “the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures.” This ultimate wrong man story starring Cary Grant may be just that, ranking #40 on the AFI’s 100 Years list.

Oscars
Surprisingly, Hitchcock didn’t win a single directing Oscar. He was nominated six times, including for “Rear Window” and “Psycho.”

Psycho
The Bates Motel. The shower scene. Mother. Arguably Hitchcock’s best and most influential film.

Quotes
Hitchcock wasn’t only a master filmmaker, he was a master marketer. He was a quote and quip machine. Here’s one of my favorites: “I enjoy playing the audience like a piano.”

Rear Window
I wrote about “Rear Window” for last year’s Hitchcocktober here. What can I say? I like to watch.

Stewart, James
While Cary Grant was Hitch’s surrogate superman, Jimmy Stewart was his surrogate everyman. Stewart starred in “Vertigo,” “Rear Window,” “The Man That Knew Too Much” and “Rope.”

The Birds
How did Hitch make birds terrifying? And how did he make an entire movie without a score and only electronic sound effects? You’ll have to watch to find out.

United States
Hitchcock was born in London and moved to the United States in 1940. His first U.S. film was “Rebecca.” It won an Academy Award for best picture.

Vertigo
If you’re looking for the fun of “To Catch a Thief,” look elsewhere. “Vertigo” is a disturbing thriller about obsession. Many think Jimmy Stewart’s performance in “Vertigo” was the best of his career.

Winding a Clock
Hitchcock is known for appearing in his films in clever cameos. In “Rear Window,” you can see the director doing this in the songwriter’s apartment.

X
The rating “Psycho” got in the UK in 1960.

Yes
The answer to the question, “Was putting this Hitchcocktober A-Z list together difficult?”

Zanuck, Darryl F.
Head of 20th Century Fox, where Hitchcock made only one film: “Lifeboat.” The film takes place entirely on a lifeboat after being torpedoed by the Nazis. So how did Hitch manage his onscreen cameo on a tiny lifeboat? You’ll have to watch the film to see… Maybe next Hitchcocktober?

“Hitchcocktober” screens every Thursday night this month at 7 p.m. at Consolidated Theatres Ward.

Oct. 2: “The Birds”
Oct. 9: “To Catch a Thief”
Oct. 16: “Vertigo”
Oct. 23: “Rear Window”
Oct. 30: “Dial M For Murder” in 3-D

Happy 40th birthday, ‘Saturday Night Live’

SNL40It was Saturday night, May 21, 2005.

The host was Lindsey Lohan and the musical guest was Coldplay.

My then-girlfriend, now-wife, and I were living in New York City for almost two years, and we finally got tickets to “Saturday Night Live.” I was excited. Fan-boy excited. I started watching SNL as a kid — a little too young to be up that late on a Saturday night. Back then, I learned comedy 101 from Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman.

Fast forward to today. This Saturday is the premiere of SNL, in its 40th season. The show was created in 1975 by a Canadian, Lorne Lipowitz (better known as Lorne Michaels). At its best, SNL was a revolutionary, star-making show that mirrored the times. At its worst, it was simply unfunny. But no show has a better batting average and when it bombed, it always went down swinging.

SNLwristbandBack to 2005. I remember bits and pieces of that night. Chris Kattan crossing the street in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza by taxi light. Tom Hanks waiting with his family in the lobby (Tom Hanks!?). Walking down the hallway to Studio 8H like cattle and seeing the photos of legends lining the walls. Inside, the set was smaller than I imagined and the low-hanging stage lights on the balcony were practically in our laps.

That year was a murderer’s row of a cast including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Will Forte, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Jason Sudeikis and a young Keenan Thompson. This was pre-Facebook. Pre-Twitter. Pre-iPhone. Believe me, I would have blown up newsfeeds with photos that night.

The cold open started. Then came the seven magic words that released the genie from the bottle:

“Live from New York, it’s SATURDAY NIGHT!”

Opening credits rolled on TV screens above us, the ones I loved as a kid and still do now. The sax. The city lights. The photos of New York weirdos. I never thought I’d live in New York and here I was. It was electric. For a little while at least.

It was a good show. Not great. Lohan was trying hard to prove she wasn’t a train wreck. There was Fey and Poehler on Weekend Update. “The Prince Show” with Armisen as Prince and Rudolph as Beyonce. The most memorable moment was Coldplay’s performance of “Fix You.” It was intimate and powerful, and when the song ramped to a climax, everyone in the audience had goosebumps.


But it was less about the show and more about the buzz. The energy. The fear. This was live television. Without a net. It was a thrill watching the frantic rolling and unfolding of sets during commercial breaks. The cast members dashing off after the applause signs turned off, shedding their clothes as they prepped for the next sketch. It was a great night.

It’s been 40 years of great nights.

Birthdays at this age tend to suck (believe me, I know), but happy birthday anyway, SNL. Here are my top 40 quotes and sketches from 40 years of “Saturday Night Live.” Test your SNL fandom and see how many references you can get.

35-40: You’re a true comedy nerd and we may be soul mates.
25-34: You’re an SNL fan, but on Saturday nights you probably have a life.
15-24: You have much to learn, young Paduan. Hit the Youtubes.
0-14: You read this far and that’s cool. High five. But we can’t be friends.

40. “Superstar!”
39. The Chanukah Song
38. Massive Headwound Harry
37. “Well, isn’t that special?”
36. Donnie and Marie on a Gumby Christmas
35. “That’s the news and I’m outta here”
34. “It was my understanding that there would be no math”
33. Season’s Greetings from Tarzan, Tonto & Frankenstein
32. Lord and Lady Douchebag
31. “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger…”
30. “Schwing!”
29.. “Get a life!”
28. The Ambiguously Gay Duo
27. “Candygram”
26. “We’re here to pump, you up”
25. “Strategery”
24. Stefon
23. Oops I Crapped My Pants
22. “I hate it when that happens”
21. Ronald Reagan Mastermind
20. “Chocolate Babies”
19. Synchronized Swimming
18. Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey
17. Samurai Delicatessen
16. All Steroid Olympics
15. Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood
14. Choppin Brocolli
13. The Blues Brothers, Soul Man
12. “Livin in a van down by the river!”
11. Little Powdered Donuts
10. Buh-weet Sings
9. Hot Tub
8. Therapists/The Rapists
7. More Cowbell
6. Dick in a box
5. Schmitts Gay Beer
4. Sarah Palin
3. Chippendales Auditions
2. Lazy Sunday
1. Shweddy Balls (still makes me laugh, every time I see it)SchweddyBalls

What are you favorite sketches and moments from SNL?

 
 

My summer in baby jail

Summer Entertainment 2014When I told my wife I had an idea for a column called, “My summer in baby jail,” this was her reply…

“Oh, you’re in baby jail?

Oh, YOU’RE in baby jail?

OH, YOU’RE IN BABY JAIL?”

Then she threw her breast pump at me. I’m sure she would’ve jump-kicked me in the throat, but she was in the middle of nursing our 3-month-old baby boy. Again.

So, let me caveat. The guy’s version of baby jail is like white-collar prison, compared to women’s supermax version. Either way, keeping a baby alive for its first three months can feel like you’re trapped in a bubble. It’s a blur of zombie-like sleeplessness, eating standing up in the kitchen, and a whole lot of laundry.

But as an intrepid Frolicker, I have a job to do. So here are my picks for the best entertainment of the summer 2014 — from a guy who honestly didn’t get out that much — with a few tips for parents-to-be who have yet to experience the joys of baby incarceration.

“American Ninja Warrior”
I remember watching the Japanese “Ninja Warrior” during baby jail with our first child years ago. The American version on NBC was perfect background noise for burping, bottle-feeding and eating left over Chinese food. Plus, it showcased Kacy Catanzaro’s viral Ninja Warrior run:

In contrast, here’s the first Japanese Ninja Warrior, women’s champion, Ayako Miyake. Women have come a long way. Perhaps there’s an “American Ninja Warrior Women” show in our future?

Baby jail survival tip: Drink wine.
You’re an adult now. Beer is for barbecues. Wine is for cosmopolitan parents with painful mortgages who need to unwind after wrestling their kids to sleep. Plus, wine is good for you. I think I read on the Internet there’s antioxidants and vitamins and stuff in it. Babyhood efficiency tip: drink straight from the bottle so you don’t have to wash a glass.

“Veronica Mars”
This spring, the “Veronica Mars” movie, based on the CW TV show, hit theaters. I backed this crowd-funded film on Kickstarter last year without watching a single episode. Stuck in baby jail, I decided to binge-watch the entire first season of the show. I don’t know how I did it — it’s all a blur of sleepless nights and burp cloths — but I managed to watch all 22 episodes in two weeks of paternity leave. And I instantly became a fan.

Part “Nancy Drew” mysteries, part “The O.C” drama, and with a lot of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” snark, the season revolved around teenage detective Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell, or as my daughter knows her, Anna from “Frozen”) solving the mystery of her best friend’s death. Here’s the trailer to the film, which I’ll see someday… I think…

Baby jail survival tip: Sleep is earned
One thing you learn in the first months of babyhood is you can successfully operate on about 75 percent less sleep than you thought. One of the highlights of my summer was moderating a panel with screenwriter Adam Braff for his film “Wish I was Here.” You can read my interview with Adam here. That night, I was running on coffee fumes and had dried breast milk stained on my shoulder. Lindsey Chun-Hori, promotions manager at Consolidated Theatres, saw me prepping for the interview and said, “Dude, you look tired.” If you only knew, Lindsey. If you only knew.

“Snowpiercer”
“Snowpiercer,” starring Chris Evans (“Captain America”) and directed by Boon Jong-Ho (“The Host”), is an apocalyptic sci-fi thriller that feels like a throwback to old John Carpenter movies like “Escape From New York.” You can read Myong Choi’s review here. Reportedly, it’s one of the most successful Video On Demand movies ever, after a limited theatrical run this summer. While I’m pro-theatre experience, I can say I was thrilled to watch the film on VOD together with the rest of the world, unshowered and in my underwear, while I changed the diaper genie.

BBaby jail survival tip: Don’t click on the gallery.
All those Frolic summer party pictures. All the restaurant photos. All the pool parties. Stop looking at them. There are no answers here. Only questions. “They can’t really be having that much fun, right?” “Will I ever eat a meal better than CPK take-out?” “Isn’t she cold?” On behalf of parents everywhere, I’ll tell all of you party-people where you can stick your selfie-sticks.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Boyhood”
For me, one of the best movies of the summer was “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and it’s not because it was one of the few films I got to see in a theatre (okay, maybe it was). It was the perfect popcorn flick. “Star Wars” meets the freak-and-geek, “Avengers.”

But “Boyhood” was probably/maybe/really the best movie of the summer. But I couldn’t tell you for sure because baby jail prevented me from watching it. I desperately wanted to see this ambitious Richard Linklater movie filmed over 12 years, capturing the growth of a boy to adulthood. I was even planning to write a column about my newborn son and how it related to “Boyhood.” It would have been poignant and funny and late (as usual). But here’s the rub: the movie is 2 HOURS and 45 MINUTES long! My baby grew out of his newborn diapers in less time. Someday I’ll see it, when I have time… which ironically could be 12 years from now.

Baby Jail Survival Tip: There are TWO secrets
After a few weeks in baby jail, he started smiling. A crooked smile with a big dimple. Then his eyebrows started growing in. For some weird reason, that was key. And for me, that’s when I knew my baby jail sentence was getting reduced for good behavior. But here’s the first big secret:

You never really get out of baby jail.

Raising a child is the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life, and it’s easily the most rewarding. The highs are higher and the lows lower. It’s that roller coaster of highs and lows that’s the most exhausting. But when you see your child’s eyes light up every time they see you, you know exactly why it’s all worth it. Which leads us to the second big secret:

Turns out, baby jail isn’t such a bad place to be.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a big Friday night ahead of me.