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Latest Work

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Collateral Ham-age: "Stuber," reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani are fun together, but  Stuber  is a misfire. (Mark Hill/Fox)

Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani are fun together, but Stuber is a misfire. (Mark Hill/Fox)

Halfway through another summer packed with sequels and reboots and brand IP extensions, it give me no pleasure, none at all, to have to tell you that Stuber, an action comedy from an “original” screenplay and starring two very talented and appealing comic actors in Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani… is just Collateral, only not as good. My NPR review is here. Ugh! I feel terrible!

527 Dog Years: Mike Daisey Tells "A People's History"

Chris Klimek

Class is in session. (Darrow Montgomery for the Washington City Paper)

Class is in session. (Darrow Montgomery for the Washington City Paper)

Mike Daisey is an artist I've written about more often and in greater detail than only anyone else. He's certainly the artist with to whom I've spent the most time speaking directly. The reviews I've written of his monologues and the features I've reported about how he creates them and editorial I was once moved to write in his defense all reflect my great admiration for his work.

That has not prevented me from condemning him when I think he's deserved it, and he did do something that warranted condemnation, years ago. I will say that in the third year of a Donald J. Trump administration, it seems awfully quaint that so many journalists who had never publicly discussed theatre at all before they lined up to express their outrage at Daisey in the spring of 2012 got so steamed over a guy who tells stories in theaters for a living taking some liberties with one of them.

Anyway, Daisey's wildly ambitious current show A People's History—an 18 part retelling of American history circa 1492-to-now, based heavily on the work of Howard Zinn but also on Daisey's own life—is the subject of my second Washington City Paper cover story about him, available today wherever finer Washington, DC alt-weeklies are given away for free. My 2012 WCP story detailing the problems he created for himself with his show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, and his effort to remedy them, is here. In fact, all of my writings about Daisey are mere clicks away! How much time do you have?

Pop Culture Happy Hour: "Spider-Man: Far From Home" and What's Making Us Happy

Chris Klimek

Tom Holland gets some enhanced security screening. (Sony)

Tom Holland gets some enhanced security screening. (Sony)

Host Linda Holmes is off promoting her already New York Times-bestselling debut novel Evvie Drake Starts Over this month, so Glen and Stephen handled the hosting chores on PCHH this episode, with Mallory Yu and me in chairs three and four to talk about Spider-Man: Far From Home, the eighth movie with the proper noun “Spider-Man” in the title since 2002. (For more important data analysis, see my NPR review of the movie.)

We recorded this episode first thing in the morning on one of the most heavily-scheduled days of my adult life. Fortunately, my energy peaked early that day, which is rare. I'm sure the wise and kind Jess Reedy was doing me a favor and protecting NPR when she sensibly excised my rant about how much money I lost on my first car, a Ford Taurus, when its engine exploded in the middle of the night and the beginning of a snowstorm as my brother and I were on our way to catch a plane to my grandpa's funeral. Attentive listeners will easily pick out where in the episode that would have gone were Jess not so good at her job.

I also shamelessly plugged my Washington Post piece from Tuesday about 1970’s Honor America Day and its soundtrack album, Proudly They Came… to Honor America.

Trump's "A Salute to America" is just a lame reboot of 1970's "Honor America Day."

Chris Klimek

A dollar well spent.

A dollar well spent.

I’ve bought an embarrassing number of weird old records over the last several years, some of them priced considerably higher than the $1 I dropped on Proudly They Came… to Honor America. The double LP was a memento from "Honor America Day," a 1970 Independence Day observance organized by President Nixon's inaugural committee chair.

I'd never heard of that event until I found this record, but when I read up on it, mostly in Kevin J. Kruse's 2015 book One Nation Under God, it struck me as similar in intention to the self-aggrandizing “Salute to America” that President Trump has announced for this Thursday, but far less dire and militaristic. I wrote about all this for the Washington Post. .

Does Whatever a Spider Can, Again, Some More: "Spider-Man: Far From Home," reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Secret identity, shmecret identity: Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland in  Far From Home  (Sony/Columbia)

Secret identity, shmecret identity: Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland in Far From Home (Sony/Columbia)

Here's my NPR review of Spider-Man: Far From Home, a lovably shaggy vestigial tale on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Y'all are great at this. Now just stop it for a while already.

I'll be on Pop Culture Happy Hour next week to talk about the movie with the great Mallory Yu, Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon, and guest host Stephen Thompson.

Summer 1989: Todd McFarlane was a good Spider-Man artist whose fast-growing popularity convinced him he could write, but he was wrong.

Summer 1989: Todd McFarlane was a good Spider-Man artist whose fast-growing popularity convinced him he could write, but he was wrong.

Despite Its Pedigree, "A Doll's House, Part 2" Is a Fixer-Upper

Chris Klimek

Holly Twyford and Craig Wallace as the long-separated Nora and Torvald. (Kaley Etzkorn)

Holly Twyford and Craig Wallace as the long-separated Nora and Torvald. (Kaley Etzkorn)

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2 for a couple of years. The announcement that the Broadway hit’s DC premiere from Round House Theatre would star the great Holly Twyford as Nora? Music to my ears.

In this week’s Washington City Paper, I try to diagnose why Nicole A. Watson’s production is so bloodless.

The Third Time's the Charmless: "Shaft," reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Alexandra Shipp, Jessie T. Usher, Samuel L. Jackson, and Richard Roundtree in the third series entry to be called  Shaft . (Kyle Kaplan)

Alexandra Shipp, Jessie T. Usher, Samuel L. Jackson, and Richard Roundtree in the third series entry to be called Shaft. (Kyle Kaplan)

Some stuff I didn't have space to say in my NPR review of Tim Story's not-very-good new Shaft: The distinctive feature of the Shafts is a shared contempt for crosswalks and a love for walking into traffic. And it's a shame that after Gordon Parks' Shaft hit big in 1971, newspaperman-turned-novelist-turned screenwriter Ernest Tidyman got right to work adapting his third novel about the Black Private Dick Who's a Sex Machine to All the Chicks, Shaft's Big Score!, skipping right over Shaft Among the Jews.

Royal Flush: "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," reviewed.

Chris Klimek

rev-1-GKM-FP-201r_High_Res_JPEG.jpeg

I really liked Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla, and I want to like any movie with the audacity to call itself Godzilla: King of the Monsters, but Michael Dougherty’s sequel is dreary drag, man. Good enough to catch on a double or triple-bill at Bengies on a gorgeous summer night, but no better than that. I reviewed G: KofM for NPR.