A place for FF's to write and read brief reviews of books and films for the benefit of other FF's.

A place for FF's to write and read brief reviews of books and films for the benefit of other FF's.

Friday, April 29, 2011


This is a really poignant documentary, the subject of which you likely have heard of someplace: this guy Mark Hogancamp was beaten nearly to death outside a bar by a bunch of teenaged thugs and suffered severe though not completely debilitating brain damage. He then took to creating this stunningly elaborate model of a fictional WWII-era Belgian town called Marwencol, and taking thousands of photographs of dolls enacting melodramatic stories within it. He's clearly messed up in a lot of ways, but also pretty self-aware. It's just so pleasant to watch a very talented person making art that is deeply personal and compulsive and totally divorced from "ambition" as we know it. It's a story rather tailor made for the "This American Life" crowd, but don't let that stop you from seeing it. Also it's amazing the shit that one can buy in a small-town "hobby shop" -- tiny guns with removable clips, and the subtle articulation of these doll bodies. Who makes this stuff? I wouldn't mind watching a documentary about them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three Books

I read these three books recently:

Den of Thieves, by James Stewart: This book is about Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky and the culture of insider trading on Wall Street in the 80s. It's in that same style of narrative corporate nonfiction as Barbarians at the Gate and Liar's Poker, though Stewart, a reporter by trade, isn't as good a writer as Michael Lewis (but who is, am I right?). Twenty years later, the lesson of the book is probably that even major scandals ultimately have very little effect on how Wall Street does business.

Riding Toward Everywhere, by William T. Vollmann: I love this dude. He spent a while hopping freight trains ("catching on") and wrote about it. It can be exciting to read an author who has truly transgressive views (sample sentence: "Once upon a time I almost married a Cambodian whore") yet maintains coherence. Vollmann's writing often reminds me of Dos Passos, who is one of my favorite writers.

Carpenter's Gothic, by William Gaddis: I've tried and failed to make headway on J R on a few occasions and don't have The Recognitions, but Carpenter's Gothic is much shorter (262 pp.). I found this book pretty captivating--it was short enough that I never got too frustrated at having to sometimes go back and re-read dialogue I'd attributed to the wrong character--and I'm happy to have finally read some Gaddis.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Novel of the Earth's Last Days

It's been a little while since I read Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days by Tim LaHaye and Jerry P. Jenkins, but in reviewing my notes, I found an excerpt that I think merits contemplation.

"He remembered the oldest joke in the airline industry: Ozark spelled backward is Krazo."

Please Give & It's Kind of a Funny Story

I saw both of these movies this weekend.

Please Give is about a couple (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) who sell furniture they buy when an old person dies. They also own the apartment of their next door neighbor, another old person. Catherine Keener feels guilty that she's always waiting for people to die and tries to make up for it by giving money to homeless people and one time playing basketball with some kids with Down's Syndrome. Her daughter has bad skin and also resents her mother's generosity to strangers. All of their lives change a little bit when they get to know their neighbor's granddaughters (Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet). Hall is nice and Peet is mean. This movie was OK.

It's Kind of a Funny Story was delightful as fuck.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Oxford Murders (2008)

This is a movie with Elijah Wood and John Hurt which I watched because I am NOT picky. It's about some murders that happen at Oxford. Elijah Wood and John Hurt have a lot of arguments about math and philosophy, which are very boring, even though I'm pretty sure the math and philosophy they're discussing is pretty remedial. They explain the Fibonacci sequence to each other at one point. Also, John Hurt blows Elijah Wood's mind with this thing that everybody already knows about:

-It was made in 2008, but it's set in 1993 for some reason. There is a part where they use really old big cell phones. But why?
-The acting is so bad, but not because people aren't acting hard enough. People are certainly acting super hard in this movie.
-The head butler from Downton Abbey plays the Police Chief, so that's okay.
-Elijah Wood plays an American, but speaks very formally and stilted as if he really wants to be doing a British accent but was told not to.
-There's a lot of people yelling at each other the whole time, even though you can't tell why anyone's angry.
-There is constant overly dramatic music, such that you think maybe this movie is supposed to be a joke?
-There's a part where John Hurt dresses up as Guy Fawkes, because England.
-There's a part where Elijah Wood eats spaghetti off a lady's boobs. But then they just sit there and talk about math, but there's still spaghetti all over her and it's VERY distracting. Then Elijah Wood jumps up because he got an important idea or something, and he also has spaghetti sauce on him and you can't take anyone seriously in this scene.

From some reviews:

"The Oxford Murders" attempts to pose interesting philosophical and mathematical issues, but this purported whodunit thriller never solves its main mystery: How and why did this film get made in the first place?


At the very least, trying to figure out the sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle provides a welcome distraction from the totally nullifying experience of watching The Oxford Murders.

The worst part was that one review mentioned that this movie was based on a book, and I suddenly realized I HAVE READ THAT BOOK. (The book was also called The Oxford Murders, so there were some clues.) I have to get my shit together.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Brief Rundown of Recently Watched/Read Items

Yiddish Policemen's Union (Michael Chabon, 2007): I liked this book, and especially enjoyed the fake Yiddish slang. Not a particularly amazing novel, but certainly a funny and mostly well-written detective book.

Never Let Me Go (the movie, 2010): very pretty, but very, very sad. There is not a minute of this movie that will not make you very, very sad. Just read the book.

Fantastic Planet (1973): this is an animated movie about humans rebelling against giant, blue aliens on a strange planet. According to the netflix jacket (where I get all of my cultural information), it may or may not have been based on the Soviet occupation of the Czech Republic. It also may have been based on what people like to see when they ingest drugs. Final analysis: interesting looking, but pretty boring to watch on amtrak.

Dr. Strangelove (1964): I rewatched Dr. Strangelove, and it continues to be a good movie.

The Outlaw Josie Wales (1976): this is probably my favorite Clint Eastwood movie. As Mr. Eastwood helpfully explains to you before the movie starts, it is about war and maybe about Vietnam, but not really. Anyway, it is terrific and everyone should see it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Legend (Tom Cruise)

Has anyone seen the Tom Cruise movie Legend? I was thinking of watching it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moon (a movie, 2009)

Have any of you guys seen this movie? It's pretty good and Sam Rockwell gives an unsurprisingly great performance.

That said, my favorite character in the movie is Gertie, a robot who is shockingly bad at hiding his "emotions" from Sam Rockwell (my favorite thing that Gertie does is make a squiggly unhappy face when Sam Rockwell asks him what's going on on the moon). Kevin Spacey does his voice and it's really so great. See this movie, but mostly for Gertie.

Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann

I just started reading A Visit From the Goon Squad, per everyone's recommendation and felt compelled to endorse Let the Great World Spin, which I finished about a week ago. I'm only a few chapters into Egan's novel, but from what I've read so far, the two books seem to have a lot in common -- namely, 9/11 and multiple narrators that are somehow connected to each other. Maybe more! But I don't know yet; I just took a break from reading at a bar in Chelsea Market to write this review.

LTGWS Is primarily set in 1974 New York, on the day when that French guy walked on a tightrope between the twin towers (hell yeah, I saw "Man on Wire" but I don't remember his name; he's a character in this book and I still forget his name, sorry!). Basically every narrator's story spirals outward from (or collapses into) this crazy day in New York history. It's too bad that "man on wire" came out before this novel (I know he was kind of pissed about it), but at least he won a national book award, right?

I thought that McCann did an amazing job developing his female characters. I liked reading his lady the chapters the best, actually (sort of like how I liked Patty's chapter in "Freedom" the best). My favorite character in the book is Gloria, a black woman who loses all three of her sons in the Vietnam war and is smarter and more complicated than all of her white friends, but never lets on.

If you liked AVFTGS, then I'm pretty sure you'll be down with this book. I read it moderately fast (3 days?).

First Orbit

Made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic orbit around the Earth, this movie (available on youtube) combines real-time real audio from Gagarin and his mission control with visuals shot from the International Space Station and some kind of arty atmospheric music. I thought this would be the best thing ever but it was pretty insanely boring such that I quit after 50 minutes. The visuals were very disappointing -- about 80% of the time I didn't even know what I was looking at. (The fact that I was watching it on a crappy little youtube window didn't help it any.) At some point I just started doing other stuff, and would click back when I heard Gagarin start talking again. The "dialogue" was kind of charming but almost comically unexciting. ("Cedar, how do you feel? How is it going?" "Feeling good. Very alert. The orbit is going perfectly.") A couple nice parts were when mission control said (or was translated as saying): "Continue in the same spirit!", and when Gargarin, with regard to weightlessness, said something like, "All the floating! Interesting! Beautiful!"

So, yeah, not really worth anybody's time, but still, I'm glad this exists.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grown Ups (2010), Podcast



I liked this movie. Saoirse Ronan is great. She's my favorite teen girl kicking ass in a movie so far (sorry Chloe Moretz). The movie overdoes it on fairy tale metaphors (one scene in particular is ridiculous) and there were some plot points that were never fully explained, but I didn't really care because overall it was this nice teenage coming-of-age story with cool action sequences. Cate Blanchett is great in it and very convincing as a psycho spinster villain. The British teenager from Tamara Drewe is also in this and very funny. Also people should see Tamara Drewe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On Demand

If, as a group, we can burn through all of the movies available On Demand, it would be a great service.

Fitzgerald & Hemingway: Works and Days, by Scott Donaldson

Somebody should write a super fun, gossipy biography about these two, who were always running around, getting drunk, and being in anecdotes together. This book wasn't it -it's a collection of essays by Prof. Donaldson of William & Mary, who prides himself on being a bit more accessible than other professor types because of his years in the newspaper business. True enough. I saw it at the bookstore and bought it and spent part of my Saturday afternoon pretending I was in college again. I don't recommend it unless you are in the exact mental state I was in at the time. Even then, no.

But I did learn the circumstances of F. Scott's death, in the ground floor apartment of his gf Sheilah Graham, on 1443 N. Hayworth.

"She and Scott had lunched together, and then he settled down in her green armchair to read the Princeton Alumni Weekly [weekly!] while waiting for the doctor's visit. She gave him two Hershey bars for his raging sweet tooth. The last time their eyes met, he sheepishly looked up from making notes on the Princeton football team to lick the chocolate off his fingers. A few minutes later, he rose from the chair as if yanked by an invisible cord, grabbed at the mantelpiece, and crumpled to the floor. By the time the Pulmotor [?] arrived, he was dead."

Youth In Revolt

I thought I was going to hate this but I mostly liked it. Though I keep deciding I'm sick of Cera, I'll then see him in something and realize I still love watching him. His performance as the main character's alter ego "Francois", a quietly sneering, cigarette-smoking aesthete and sociopath, was extremely fun to watch because it was sort of shocking ("Wow, look at Cera playing a total asshole!") without being too big. There were some animated sequences that were cute but unnecessary and perhaps too cute. The girl/love interest characters in movies like this usually bug me because they are rendered as not much more than adorable crazy-making machines (I guess I'm mainly thinking of Summer in "500 Days of Summer"). The girl here, while not exactly the antidote to this problem, at least had her own issues to deal with and was consistently inscrutable in a pretty funny way. Fred Willard always makes me laugh. 85 minutes running time -- can't beat it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Red (2010)

This movie was released at the same time as a bunch of other shlocky action/comedy movies and I threw my hands up at the whole bunch and decided I would wait until they all became AMC "movie classics" in ten years. But then someone in my household refused to watch Tron: Legacy or 127 Hours, so we watched "Red." And I loved it! It is solid entertainment. They cast some very lovable geezers (Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich), which makes you cheer every time they blow somebody up. Morgan Freeman does deliver a wistful speech on aging which made me wish that the movie "The Bucket List" was about two terminally-ill old men who decide to kill a bunch of assassins and go out in a blaze of glory, but this movie is sort of the next best thing.

Put "Red" on your Bucket List today.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Okay, this happens farther down on page 14:

His massive body was shaved and smooth. He lowered his gaze first to his feet, which were tattooed with the scales and talons of a hawk. Above that, his muscular legs were tattooed as carved pillars--his left leg spiraled and his right vertically striated. Boaz and Jachin. His groin and abdomen formed a decorated archway, above which his powerful chest was emblazoned withthe double-headed phoenix...each head in profile with its visible eye formed by one of Mal'akh's nipples. His shoulders, neck, face, and shaved head were completely covered with an intricate tapestry of ancient symbols and sigils.

This is starting to sound like a poor man's Prison Break. Also, if you're going to write a book about the mysteries of Washington D.C., you better get to the fucking L'Enfant Plan fast, because that's one of like three things I remember from college.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Okay, I'm only 14 pages in, but here's what's going on so far:

Now, energized by what lay ahead, he strode toward his bedroom. Throughout his entire home, audio speakers broadcast the eerie strains of a rare recording of a castrato singing the "Lux Aeterna" from the Verdi Requiem--a reminder of a previous life. Mal'akh touched a remote control to bring on the thundering "Dies irae." Then, against a backdrop of crashing timpani and parallel fifths, he bounded up the marble staircase, his robe billowing as he ascended on sinewy legs.

I'll keep you guys posted.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1988)

Over the last few decades, A Brief History of Time has gained notoriety as a pop science book that everyone bought but could not get through due to it being completely impenetrable. Theoretical physics was hella trendy in the early 1990s, like C&C Music Factory.

I found an old copy for $6 at a used book store in Kyoto as I was fleeing catastrophe in Tokyo, so I decided to see if I was smart enough these days to actually understand Hawking. Good news is that the book is gentle at first. But without warning, Hawking's prose suddenly starts flailing between dumbed-down metaphors for theoretical physics and the most obscure fragments from a PhD thesis. Hawking will string you along with easy-peasy discussions of black holes and entropy. And the next sentence, he'll write, "If the laws of science are unchanged by the combination of operations C and P, and also by the combination of C, P, and T, they must also be unchanged under the operation T alone." And then he ends the same paragraph, "If it were, crockery manufacturers would go out of business." This book is a goddamn roller-coaster ride.

I compromised on my goals and stopped reading before the last chapter on worm holes. But I did enjoy the book as an introduction to why we know what we do about the nature of the universe. The best part is that we predicted a lot of what make up the cool illustrations in astronomy books — black holes, neutron stars, etc. — through mathematical formulas. If deduction actually works somewhere, I'm happy it's with the laws of the universe.

A Visit From the Goon Squad : A Review

I saw this book all over the place for months. It was in the window of every bookstore and on display at the airport , but I never picked it up because I was thinking, "another book about music journalism? Pass!" and "I've already read Nick Hornby. I get it." But then I saw DAP recommend AVFTGS on Twitter. I just went back tothis Twitter feed to find the exact tweet and I could only find this:

DAP99 Jennifer Egan's "Look at Me" is beautifully written, elegantly constructed, and unsettlingly, hauntingly prescient.

So maybe DAP never recommended AVFTGS and I got the two Egan novels confused or maybe I just can't find the tweet. Anyway, I thought one of our friends liked it and this is one of the reasons I read the book.

I loved it. The novel is actually a collection of related short stories. We follow a community of people somehow involved with or touched by the punk rock music scene over 30 years or so. Every chapter (short story) is from a different character's point of view and written in a different style/tone. I really hate spoilers, so I'm not going to say anything else about the characters, but if you want a more detailed review, email me and I'll tell you.

I will say every voice felt completely unique - it's a real testament to Egan's talent for character development - kind of like a performer rattling off twenty impressions in a row. There's no "you can skip that one" chapter in my opinion. The major theme is time - how we change over time and how our lives have progressed from adolescence to adulthood. Pretty classic stuff, but Egan allows us to see the characters as they see themselves (in their own chapters), but also from the viewpoints of the other characters around them. For example, in the first chapter, we meet a music assistant who describes her middle-aged boss who is weird and kind of obsessive. Later we meet that boss and realize why he's a weirdo. If you've ever wondered how people see you or if someone knows he or she is a complete asshole or weirdo, this book tackles those questions within this extended community of people.

I think everyone should read A Visit From The Goon Squad immediately.

Five Stars.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Rules of the Game (1939)

This was really good. Maybe not "best of all-time" good like a lot of people say, but very solid. Everyone is very ugly in this movie, including the lead woman whom all the male characters pine for. Considering the risk Renoir took using such a homely cast (including himself as the bumbling failure Octave), I can see why it's a critics' favorite.

The Tortilla Curtain, by T.C. Boyle

I usually pride myself on finishing every book I start, no matter how boring it turns out to be. But recently I've had trouble, first with Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart, then with The Sportswriter by Richard Ford. (If you can't get me interested in a book about a sportswriter, something has gone terribly wrong.) I'm pleased to report that I had no such difficulty with The Tortilla Curtain.

The main characters are a nature writer living with his wife and her son in a gated community in Topanga Canyon and an illegal immigrant living with his pregnant wife at the bottom of the canyon itself. There are also coyotes. At times, the story gets pretty dark, but there are lightly comic sections as well, like an excerpt of the nature writer's overwrought prose. I think T.C. Boyle has a real talent for getting inside the heads of his characters, and his writing never feels didactic or overly partisan. Also, it was a refreshing change of pace to read a contemporary novel that wasn't written in and/or about Brooklyn.

(The pregnant wife is named America, which, come on, really? But the coyotes made up for it.)

source code

"Source Code" is one of those movies where reviewers smugly say something like "Of course, I don't want to reveal very much about the story because that will take away from the experience of seeing it..." and then they totally reveal something about the story that takes away from the experience of seeing it (YES THAT'S ME CALLING YOU OUT CLAUDIA PUIG FROM LARRY MANTLE'S FILMWEEK ON AIRTALK YOU STUPID DINGDONG). So I won't say anything except that this is a movie I really enjoyed and I think you would enjoy it too. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal and he's really pretty good in it. Going to the movies is fun.

A Visit From The Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

Haven't read it. Who has the stones to review it?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just Kids, by Patti Smith

This book is great. Smith's writing is beautiful and her observations are blunt but nostalgic. I did not know much about Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe for that matter (other than that she was a punk icon and he was a controversial photographer), but this book tells the story of their intense relationship as they were in the process of discovering what kind of artists and what kind of people they would become. Keith Richards, in Life, briefly describes his childhood and learning the guitar, and then almost immediately he is in The Rolling Stones and they are becoming a huge success and he is playing with all of his heroes. Smith and Mapplethorpe, living in the Chelsea Hotel, are similarly surrounded early on by giants in the arts community, but it takes them a good deal of personal struggle to figure out where they fit within that community.

Life, by Keith Richards

I read this book hoping it would be a balls-to-the-wall fuckfest full of ridiculous gossip and insane stories. It's not really that. Keith's voice in the book is pretty charming and he bequeaths himself very honorable attributes (friendship, loyalty, humility, toughness), painting a picture of himself as a pretty great guy. Sure, the Rolling Stones used to go on two or three hours late every night because Keith would be high on heroin and no one could wake him up because he slept with a gun under his pillow, but that is just lovable Keith, right? I mean, yeah—that sounds pretty awesome.

The main problem with the book is that it just lists events—nothing is really fleshed out. And most of the events are either vague times that Keith wrote a song, or more often, times that Keith couldn't find heroin, luckily found a lot of heroin, or had to go through security with a bunch of heroin. And he can't really remember those times very well.

It also seems like whenever Keith was tired he would just say to the writer, "ask someone else," which is why there are so many observations from other people. A few observations from Keith's son, Marlon, are outstanding, because they describe the crazy life he had going on tour with the Rolling Stones when he was seven years old and then living in the Great Gatsby house with two lunatics. But those descriptions are only about a page long, and many of the other observations in the book are thrown in without any real point.

Here are some of the main claims in the book:

1. Keith Richards is able to ingest a ton of drugs and alcohol, better than anyone else. Especially John Lennon.

2. Mick Jagger needs to get off his high horse and he is generally a pussy.

3. It's O.K. to do a ton of drugs if you monitor the amount and only do the best stuff.

4. Keith loves women, but many times he'll just lie in bed with them and not have sex. Unlike Mick Jagger, who is just about having sex for the sake of sex. And Mick Jagger has huge balls and a small penis.

If the whole book was ragging on Mick Jagger, I would have liked it more. But he is very much on the periphery and one of the least described characters, I felt.

The Proposal (podcast) 2010

I listened to this movie playing while I was doing something else at an angle where I could not see the television. Here are my observations:

1. By the end of the movie, I was able to believe that Sandra Bullock's character had become less "bitchy," but not that she and Ryan Reynolds had fallen in love. Their love may have been conveyed through a series of romantic glances and shared, quiet tendernesses which I missed by not seeing the visuals.

2. There is an awesome scene in which the two leads announce their fake engagement and everyone in the room yells that they want to see a kiss (bear in mind, the assembled are merely reacting to an announcement, not watching Ryan Reynolds propose). "We want to see you kiss!" "Kiss her!" Apparently, and I can only imagine how it went down, the kiss was not satisfactory. The crowd (composed of family and friends) demands more: "No! A real kiss!" "Really kiss her like you mean it!" Be forewarned, lovebirds: I will be ordering a lot more of you to kiss each other, and I will not be denied.

3. Ryan Reynolds is pretty much a spoiled dick in this movie (based solely on the audio).

Georgy Girl (1966)

No reason to watch this movie. I'd enjoyed the theme song, recorded by The Seekers, for some time, so I put the movie on my queue. Next thing I knew I was watching it. It's pretty weird sample of the "bleak post-war English life" genre. It's about a chubby girl whom James Mason wants as his mistress and who fools around with her smoking hot (Charlotte Rampling) roommate's boyfriend sometimes. The roommate is really detestable, those scenes are fun. The roommate's boyfriend is so pathetic it made me squirm. And in related wikipedia'ing I learned that James Mason wrote a book called "The Cats In Our Lives."

But the opening credits are a worthwhile short film, if anyone on here has three minutes.

Hanna (2011)

Reminiscent of Kill Bill, not as awesome, but enjoyable all the same. From what I could see through my fingers (yes, I still watch action/scary movies the same way I have since I was seven), the action scenes were well choreographed, scored, and filmed. Hanna learns how to navigate the internet much faster than I would had I been raised in the forest. For some reason, the screening was attended by 80% old (like, 60+ years old) people who didn't take advantage of the open bar. Their loss! The lovely Cate Blanchett has a pretty unnecessary southern accent, but that shouldn't stop you from seeing this film.

Monday, April 4, 2011

...And Justice For All, (1979)

I just watched this classic Pacino movie (directed by Norman Jewison) for the first time. If you haven't seen it, it's where the line "I'm out of order? You're out of order, the whole courtroom's out of order..." comes from. There are a bunch of funny characters in the movie (Jack Warden, Jeffrey Tambor, Uncle Junior from the Sopranos) and the disco soundtrack is awesome. The opening title sequence music is the kind of music that I imagine is playing whenever lawyers enter a courtroom. The story flips back and forth between comedy and tragedy and pretty much every extreme of judicial injustice occurs in about a week's time. In summary, this is Pacino back when it's cool that he's yelling, and this is a movie that all of you want to watch.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

千機變 (2003)

I don't know what happens in this movie, but I like it. Jackie Chan plays a small part as a humorous paramedic who gets married or something and the musical group Twins plays the hot girls who fight vampires. One character is named Vampire Zoolander. Be careful of this film if you're prone to becoming terrified or falling in love.

A Bug's Life (1998)

I can't say how I keep myself from crying when Dot holds the rock up to Flick and tells him to imagine it's a seed. I'm getting a bit soft as I think of it now.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Do we still do this? Write the things on the web site? I got bored and watched 2010's nerd hipster romantic comedy flop Scott Pilgrim vs. the World while playing the board game go online. I didn't enjoy it. When I saw it in the theater, I had a fun time because some neat things happen, but I didn't care much this time around the dance floor. I liked the source comic books because I'm a horrible nerd, and I hoped that it would do well, but it did not. It was a massive failure. Comic books can sustain themselves with sales under 100,000 because they are cheap to make and comic book creators have manageable standards for their own lives. A film costs a great deal of money to make when it has a lot of weird special effects and a fruitless over-marketing campaign. Consequently, it is good business practice to scale down special effects or to get people to watch your movie. When your movie is a hipster romantic comedy set in Canada, you can lose the urban demographic, and when it makes references to the fairy fountain music from Legend of Zelda, you can lose the adult demographic.

I generally wish that romantic comedies had more martial arts scenes. I guess that having been given that and not being satisfied, the problem in my life may be something else. 1999's cult hit Fight Club also had a lot of special effects piled on top of a faithfully adapted screenplay, but Fight Club was awesome and squeaked its way into profitability and a moribund nation's hearts.

If you are (and you should be) more interested in my performance in online go than in boring movies, I have more dismaying news: I suck.

Friday, April 1, 2011

2001-2002 Book Club Books

Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen are both great books to read, if you are looking for a novel. Middlesex is more sprawling and strange (and enjoyable), but The Corrections is top-notch as well.