Billy Crystal talks about the iPhone curse while promoting ‘Parental Guidance’

Billy Crystal and Bette Midler co-star in "Parental Guidance" — in theaters on Christmas Day.

An early scene in “Parental Guidance” finds Billy Crystal’s baseball announcer Artie Decker confused by a barrage of Twitter and Facebook-related terms lobbed at him by his boss. While Crystal himself has become an avid and adept user of Twitter, he does share some of his character’s misgivings about technology. Pulling out his iPhone, he says, “The thing about these things — and I just got one — as a parent and a grandparent you can get called when things happen. But I hate seeing families in restaurants and they’re all [looking at their phones]. They text the waiter what they want. They look so sad. The art of conversation is gone.”

That condition extends beyond the family dinner hour, Crystal warns. “What kills me also is people walking around town looking down at their phone assuming everyone else is going to stop and get out of the way,” he says. “We have a world looking down.”

That early scene, by the way, ends with Artie getting fired at age 58 after being a minor league baseball announcer for decades, always dreaming of calling major league games for the San Francisco Giants. Luckily, 64-year-old Crystal hasn’t had to see any dreams go unfulfilled himself.

“I’m shocked I’ve done as many things as I’ve done,” he says. “I’m so grateful for having a long career. And I hope it gets longer. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m so fortunate and lucky in my life. I met somebody who I fell in love with when I was 18. I’ve been married 43 years. I have two great kids, four grandchildren and another on the way. This was a dream of mine to get made and we wrestled it to the ground and got it made. If I stop now, every dream I’ve ever had is great. I just keep dreaming.”

Past parental guidance

When it comes to advice he received from his parents that meant the most, Crystal has one particular music-related memory that sticks out. “My dad died when I was 15 and he had worked a lot, way too much. So much of my influence came from my mother,” he says. “When I was about 21, just about out of college at NYU and Vietnam was raging and I’m a frustrated musician, and she said, ‘You should really take clarinet lessons because if you get drafted you can play in the band and you don’t have to fight.’”


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.