Monday, January 02, 2006

catching up

Monday, January 02, 2006
I've been a bit slow on the review side and I'm not sure I'll get to the reviews I'm behind on, so as a quick refresher here's what I finished recently.

One Pulitzer Prize Winning Novels
1. His Family - Ernest Poole

I have a goal on 43 Things to read all the Pulitzer Prize Winning novels. Here's my start (though I've already read a few in my day). His Family was the first novel ever to win the award for fiction and it is decent enough. My big problem, and this may be a recurring theme, is I don't like rich people. In general, fiction about the "cultural and societal elites" bugs the hell out of me. I'm not interested in their struggles and their lives. That said, this one engaged me about half the time. Thus far I'm about 30 pages into Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and I'm trying hard to lower my hate quotient.

I've also finished The Regime by Jerry Jenkins, Tributes I & II by Dave Meltzer and Tyrant's Test by Michael Kube McDowell.

The Regime suffers from being written by Jerry Jenkins (let's forget about Tim LaHaye, he just provides the Biblical stuff and doesn't actually write the book. I think of him as the glorified researcher who was lucky enough to get his name on the cover of the book). Honestly, I've read every Left Behind book and at this point I'm questioning why. The Regime is the second of the three "prequel" novels that bring the reader up to speed as to what the main characters of the LB series were doing before God started messing with the world and taking his people. But...it never was necessary to tell this story. I get that the books sold a butt load of copies and maybe moved people to Christ, but it's just not necessary. Who cried out for a novel about Nicolae before the Rapture? Who cares about Rayford before the Rapture? I don't. Yet I keep reading. I'm confused as to why. The writing stinks (would you believe there is a writing class offered at the back of the book?) and the power of the LB series was in seeing God move in the world and how impactful this could be and the pace of the story. But here we're dragging to the beginning and while The Regime is better than The Rising, this isn't really complimentary.

And I'll still probably read the last damn book in the series. I've already read 14, why stop now?

The two Tributes books features columns by wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer on professional wrestlers who have passed away. So, there are stories on Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Andre the Giant, Freddie Blassie, Curt Hennig, Hawk, Brian Pillman, Rick Rude, and others. Big John Studd. Miss Elizabeth. Guys (and gal) who I grew up watching, and also those who passed away before my time and who weren't wrestling when I was watching in the 80's and early 90's. It's nostalgia and interesting for the wrestling fan. Some of these guys still had a career ahead of them, others were too injured to compete, others died naturally at an old age, and others used too many drugs and steroids in their day that time caught up with them.

Tyrant's Test is the third book of the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy in the Star Wars universe. Decent enough, I enjoyed the trilogy more than I expected. I'm finally getting close to being able to start the New Jedi Order Trilogy and finishing up the adult Star Wars novels. Then I can just read the new ones published and not have this big huge list of unreads (and so I can work even more towards my big huge list of other unreads).

Movies.
Finished the following:
Open Water
It Happened One Night
Broadway Melody
Seven Up
Seven Plus 7
School of Rock
Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior

Seven Up and Seven Plus 7 are two parts of the Up Series, which is a series of British documentaries following the same group of 14 children from age 7 and revisiting them every 7 years to see how their lives have changed. It started in 1964. Honestly, I love the premise, but I had a hard time understanding everything that was said (subtitles would have worked wonders) and also I had a difficult time figuring out who the kids were and what made them different from each other. So it's just a bunch of kids talking. But I'll have to reserve 21 Up, which should be interesting because now the little ankle biters are becoming adults.

Broadway Melody and It Happened One Night are two early Oscar Winners for Best Picture (as I seek to watch all those, too). Broadway Melody did very little for me and was nothing special. It Happened One Night was quite a bit better with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, both of whom were quite good. It was a comedy, too, which is interesting since now only big epics and dramas win Best Picture. Good stuff with the Gable pic.

Open Water was good, not terribly scary (though I'm sure watchiing it in a dark room would change things). The ending was incredibly effective, though, and haunting.

Didn't care for School of Rock. Joan Cusack needs to punch Jack Black and then Sarah Silverman can do her nasty comedy routine complete with singing body parts. I'd be pissed if I were the parents paying all that money for an expensive school and the kids not learning anything for a month or more? Nope, not going to do it. It's a sign I'm getting old, that this sort of thing bugs me.

What did I love? Ong Bak. The movie is utterly dumb and action filled and I loved it. Quick story: the head of a small village's buddha statue is robbed. There is a drought. They send this young man who is honorable and martially talented. He goes, tries to find the buddha head, gets into a bunch of fights, into a fight club, whups on everybody with amazing fighting skill and no wire fu, and wins the day. But it is just a lot of fun and amazing to watch. Mindless entertainment, great stuff.

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