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The Florida Project on the edges of Disney

Movie Review: The Florida Project A single mother and her precociously savvy daughter scratch out a living in a $38-a-night motel beside Disney World in this gritty look at American life near the bottom

Close encounters on the third base line

Sports: Jays' Spring Training in Dunedin Whether you're sponging up the baseball, sponging off the spilled beer, or buying a sponge in a seaside tourist shop, catching Blue Jays spring training in Dunedin is a ball fan's beery version of Valhalla By Jay Stone DUNEDIN, Fla. — On my first day in Dunedin this year, I went to a spring training baseball game and saw a pitcher named Pat Venditte, who can throw with either arm. He has a special six-finger glove with a thumb at each end, and he can put it on whichever hand he wants and throw with the other arm. Venditte, who is in the Toronto Blue Jays camp, has been in the league for a while — he was with the Yankees two years ago and Oakland last year — and there’s even a rule named after him. It says that he has to declare which arm he’s going to throw with against a switch-hitter. This keeps baseball, which is kind of a leisurely sport anyway, from becoming an endless game of chicken, with Venditte moving his glove from ...

From the frying pan to the panhandle

Mob Rule: Part 38 Jack learns that brokering political deals in Florida means biting into fat slabs of bad meat By John Armstrong So that’s what we did. When we got to Florida Bobby called Wallace and arranged a conference in Albany, Georgia for the following day, the closest reasonably sized city to both camps. I didn’t go along with them and I confess I didn’t argue hard for the privilege. I’d seen enough of Wallace, Conner, and the "superior white race” and so far as I was concerned, I’d be just as pleased if the next time I saw them it was to identify the bodies. Our two diplomats left with a driver around 10 a.m. and expected to be back for supper. While they were gone I thought I’d take Vanessa to the beach and let the sun bake the stress away. It was already over 80 degrees. I found Sydney drinking coffee and asked if he knew how to get to the beach and he looked at me like I’d already been in the sun too long. I was in my shorts and sandals, a towel ...

Ramin Bahrani forecloses on 99 Homes

People: Rahmin Bahrani The writer-director of Man Push Cart returns with 99 Homes, another story about social justice and an economic system that he says creates Donald Trumps, rewards greed and fails to protect families By Katherine Monk After directing Man Push Cart a decade ago, the late great Roger Ebert described director Ramin Bahrani as one of the most important new voices in cinema, hailing his ability to see the outsider and sympathize with those silently struggling to find their way. His low-budget dramatic debut focused on a former Pakistani rock star who ended up selling food on the streets of Manhattan, and his more recent At Any Price starring Zac Efron took on the reality of genetically modified crops and their effect on America’s family farms. He is unapologetic about his interest in themes concerning social justice, but Bahrani’s most recent feature, 99 Homes, may be the most trenchant piece of social commentary he’s made so far as it brings us ...