Monday, April 9, 2012

2 Books and a Movie

11/22/63 by Stephen King (6/25 books)
For the first time enact a rule that apparently exists in the real "50/50" challenge, in that book over 500 pages actually counts as two books. Well, here you go, and I admit that if I didn't write that then no one would be the wiser. Anyhow, the book: I go back and forth on the whole Stephen King "thing", I guess like anything else: when he is on he is really on and when he is off he is really off. That being said, I haven't paid too much attention to him lately until this book and Under The Dome started to get all sorts of attention and thus grabbed my attention again. This book, I feel like, is way more entertaining than it has any right to be I think, ostensibly about time travel, it also contains a tragic love story and as with most time travel, a lot of ideas about how the choices we make, big and small, effect the world and people around us. King sets up the rules of the time travel device early on, and later sort of, but not really explains why there exists these bubbles that take people to a certain time and/or place. Here the protagonist has to live 5 years in the past so that he can prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it's about that mission, of course, but also the people he meets along the way. It sounds dumb, but it is a page turner of the highest order, with a really nice  emotional center. There might be a little too much talk about harmonizing and how the past can be "obdurate", but the more I think about it, I wonder of the repeat mention of these things goes along with the idea of patterns in time and history that King was trying to bring up.

One side note, I didn't realize until I read this AV Club "Gateways To Geekery" article on Stephen King that I realized that in his latter day books he tries to link all of his books as happening in the same universe. This isn't giving away too much, I guess, but the main character goes back in time, and spends time in Derry, NH, where he has some other business before the "big business", and it is the same Derry, NH as the one in "It" with the about a year or two removed from the child disappearances. I found it more odd than anything to have that sort of thing linked, but, in a way I found it kind of fun. That sort of detail right there may or may not tell you whether you would be into this book. But, in a way, it sort of makes sense that, sure, portals to another time would just appear in the stockroom of a Diner in NH, it's Stephen King's universe. Which, in a way, is a lazy way of getting out of giving a real explanation. But when the book's this entertaining and engaging, in a way, it doesn't really matter.

Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven (7/25 books)

Someone with more in depth knowledge of comic books can tell me whether I am off base or not here but Mark Millar seems to be one of the kings of taking comic book characters and giving some sort of alternate history. I had to look this up but he had also done Red Son, which was a Superman story where they took Superman and instead of having his spaceship land in Kansas, it landed on a collective in the Soviet Union, and how that changed the world that they existed in. It was really well done. Now,Old Man Logan, is a bit different. The story takes place fifty years after all the Marvel villains teamed up and sneak attacked the Marvel heroes, destroyed most of them, and then proceeded to divvy up the United States into four quarters. Basically, the Logan of this story is like Clint Eastwood's character in Unforgiven, because of something that happened on that night he hid his identity and turned to pacifism, until pushed too far of course. It's really interesting a combination of Western mythos, Mad Max, and the heroes' journey, and of course, some sci fi. I mostly liked it but it ended with what seemed like the setup for a sequel which would be great but I am not sure if it is forthcoming. (Looking around it looks like Millar wanted to do a sequel, but who knows what happened to it. This is one of the few times I would welcome it)

Semi-Pro (23/50 movies)

I'll admit that I love Will Ferrell. I think he's really funny (duh). But at the time Semi-Pro came out I felt he was going to the well one too many times on a couple things :Will Ferrell in the 70's and Will Ferrell in sports-specific comedy. (I think it came out around or after the time of Blades Of Glory-another movie that has it's moments, as well as it's cool co-stars) Now, I happened to catch this on Comedy Central, and it would probably be better to watch the uncensored version for a variety of reasons, but this did indeed, have it's moments, and was a fun trifle, and I definitely laughed, but overall it wasn't the best. I mean, sure, it might be unfair to compare it to his classic, Anchorman, because it doesn't reach those height, but even on it's own merits, it had some fun and funny stuff, but I am not quote sure it worked overall. But it's not a terrible waste of a couple hours either. What was pretty amazing though is the cast of costars he assembled for this thing: Will Arnett, Andy Daly, Woody Harrelson, Andre 3000, David Koechner, Rob Corddry, Kristen Wiig, Maura Tierney, Andy Richter, Matt Walsh etc. The list goes on and on.


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