Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Random Things That Are Not Book Reviews

For that four of you out there who read this blog on a regular basis, you must be getting exceedingly tired of my endless book reviews. I'm not going to STOP with the books, mind you, but I thought at least today I could talk about something different. Besides, I also watch MOVIES!

1. Cannonball Fail #1: Before I get into movies, I have to make mention of my first Cannonball Fail. I tried to read Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility, but after about 100 pages, I just had to throw it against the wall and give up. I couldn't stand any of the characters--I wanted to take every single person in that story out behind the barn and beat him/her unconscious with a rock. They were all so snooty and archaic. Anyway, I very very rarely give up on a book--sometimes I take...very long breaks, but I nearly always come back and finish--but I couldn't do it. I don't really understand my problem, either. I know several bright, interesting people who truly enjoy Jane Austen's work. And I enjoyed the film based on this book (though I felt that Emma Thompson would have made a much better couple with Alan Rickman than with that stuttering ninny Hugh Grant.) Oh well. Can't win them all, I guess.

2. I am really disappointed by this whole "Congressman Weiner Sends Photos of His Junk to Young Women" scandal. It's a shame that someone who could have been such a beneficial force for the democratic party turned out to be a slave to his penis. Seriously, dude. Have you learned nothing from...every celebrity who has been caught in one of these stupid scandals since the internet began? Don't you know that the girls are GOING TO SELL THE PICTURES? They may weep about how intrusive everyone is and how their lives will never be the same and oh woe is me, Gloria Allred, why has this happened to me? Why won't the media leave meeeeeee alooooone? What they will NOT do is delete the damn pictures and then be like "What pictures?" Do not ever think they will delete the pictures and keep their mouths shut. There is no money or trashy tabloid fame in that. "Ohhh, I just had to tell my story!" Why? How exactly are you enriching the national discourse? ARGH! I am so annoyed by the whole situation. Just once I'd like a politician I like to turn out NOT to be a pervy hobbit-fancier*.

3. The Boston Bruins are in the Stanley Cup finals. I would like to believe it is possible for them to win, but in my (admittedly limited) experience with them, they are really just trying to find the most frustrating and heart-crushing way possible to lose. I have to say I do love when one of the local teams is in championship contention, because the whole city gets excited about it. Total strangers are talking to one another in bus stations, and wearing their related gear with great city pride. I've been pretty lucky since I moved here--the local teams have been having a rather impressive streak of successful seasons. Even someone who was totally anti-sports (like yours truly) can't help but be swept up in it all.

4. The other night, Netflix finally had a copy of  Death Race 2000 to send me (the darn film has had been listed as "Long Wait" for about a year). Turns out it is one of the cheesiest films I've ever had the good fortune to be exposed to. For those who are unfamiliar, this is NOT the Jason Statham version but rather the original, where the Death Racers are out on the open roads, trying to both cross the country first AND kill the most pedestrians. David Carradine stars as the masked driver Frankenstein, and he can strip down to his wee speedos all he likes, Jason Statham is going to beat him every time in that competition. Also, he doesn't really measure up in growly witticisms or intense glaring. The whole movie was a cheese fest, and the cars were like something out of Wacky Races. The second best part of the whole thing was that a movie made in 1975 could predict (to an almost eerie degree) our current world of reality TV and government-by-media-based-terror. The best part was that Sylvester Stallone was in it, back before he had the clout to demand that he not appear short in movies. Plus, he spends most of the movie dressed as a gangster (except a notable scene wearing only a towel) and smears cake on people's faces. Good show.

5. On a related note, after finishing up Death Race 2000, I felt the need to continue into a "Sylvester Stallone Marathon." Here's another embarrassing fact about me: I love Sylvester Stallone. I love him almost as much as I love Nic Cage, and for many of the same reasons. First off, they both started out hotter than all hell. Come on, you can't tell me that early 80s Stallone was not attractive! Hell, even in the early 90s he was still doing all right. Okay, yeah, then he stuffed his face full of botox or plastic or wombat glands or whatever and had his eyelids sewed to his forehead and did every steroid in the universe and now he's kind of scary like a Michael Myers Halloween mask. But still! I'm not a fan of the Rocky movies, and I found Rambo rather upsetting to be honest ("That man needs to be in a hospital being treated for his PTSD! It's not right that he's been left to wander the roads alone without any psychiatric treatment!"). Where it's at is definitely Stallone's comedies. I adore Demolition Man and Tango & Cash. I like Judge Dredd a lot. I even giggle at Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! Something about his whole "muscle-bound--but still intelligent!--jerkface in an upside down world" scenarios tickles my funny bone. And his voice just makes it that much better. The Boyfriend does not get the appeal, but I think that's because he is totally immune to the draw of camp. I keep hoping that one day, Stallone and Cage will share the screen somehow. Should that happen, I might just explode with joy.

6. Another thing I've been enjoying recently is the BBC show Sherlock. The first season is currently available via Netflix OnDemand, and so far (two episodes in) I've been very impressed. The relationship between Holmes and Watson is just as I always pictured it to be--less combative, as in the recent film version--and more of a symbiotic and occasionally truly affectionate friendship. Benedict Cumberbatch (is that not the most British name you could possibly imagine? I think the only one I can make up that even comes close is Second Leftenant Percy Q. Hufflefufshire, which, BTW, is what I am going to name my dog, should I ever get one) makes a great Holmes--you can often see the wheels in his head actively turning. Martin Freeman (whom I really enjoyed in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and look forward to as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit) is also quite good as Dr. Watson. He's a slightly more complex character than Watson was originally written in the stories, and he does a great job showing both the frustration and the awe that dealing with Holmes on a daily basis inspires. If you have the technology, I highly recommend watching these. There's only 4 episodes in series one I think, so it's not a giant commitment.

So yeah. Apparently I had a lot to say and didn't even get to half the movies I intended to mention, as well as my obsession with NBC's The Voice and the reasons I hate watching Rafael Nadal play tennis. Guess I will have to save those for another entry.

*"Pervy hobbit-fancier" is the invention of the hilarious Cassandra Clare in The Very Secret Diaries. If you have time, and enjoy Lord of the Rings, you should read them. I laugh until I snort every single time.

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CBR11 #4:Pretending to Care - The Pretenders (Cemetery Girl #1) by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

I wanted to like this, but...I just didn't. I don't know if it was too short, or whether it would have more appeal for a YA audience...