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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Watchmen

Film #18 for me in '09 was Watchmen.

My NetFlix rating: 3.75 stars
Jamie says: I waited far too long and was far too excited that this was coming out to be a fair judge. I do think that the movie did a reasonable job of adapting the book, but the book is still way better :-)
RIYL: Comics, The Dark Knight


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shakespeare Was A Big George Jones Fan

Film #17 for me in '09 was Shakespeare Was A Big George Jones Fan.

My NetFlix rating: 3.75 stars
Jamie says: Like watching your Grandparents old home videos...if your Grandparents were June and Johnny Cash.
RIYL: Real country, Cowboy Jack Clement, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Dolly Parton...


Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Oblivion

Book #7 on my reading list this year was the short-story collection Oblivion by David Foster Wallace.

Very good throughout and sometimes spectacular. "The Soul Is Not a Smithy", "Oblivion", "Incarnations of Burned Children" and "Good Old Neon" stood out to me as the best of the bunch. The first story is both long and my least favorite, so if you're stymied by that one keep chugging.

Why I Read This One?
After thoroughly enjoying Consider The Lobster, I've resolved to work my way through all of DFW's catalog.

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And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

Book #6 on my reading list this year was And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, the so-called 'lost novel' from Jack Kerouac & William S. Burroughs.

The back-story on this one is unfortunately more interesting than the book itself. Kerouac and Burroughs alternate chapters, taking a thinly fictionalized spin on Lucien Carr's stabbing of David Kammerer. A very early work for both authors, the writing is definitely not matured to the styles they would later become known for. I actually found Burroughs chapters to be pretty painful reading, not that Kerouac's were much better. This one is really only for hard-core Beat fans. Gotta dig that title though.

Why I Read This One?
Do you really need to ask?

Excerpt

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The Best American Non-Required Reading 2008

Book #5 on my reading list was The Best American Non-Required Reading 2008.

Last year's BANRR was a big hit for me, so I came into this year with pretty high expectations. Unfortunately I didn't find this one nearly as compelling as last year. There are still some winners sprinkled throughout, but the overall quality just isn't what I was hoping for. I guess all those non-required authors had a down year last year. The big winner for me by far was George Saunders' excellent, excellent, excellent "Bill Clinton, Public Citizen". Laura van den Berg's "Where We Must Be" also stood out.

Why I Read This One
I'm a big fan of the series so picking this one up was a no-brainer.

George Saunders interviews Bill Clinton

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Pimp

I have fallen woefully behind on my book blogging again. Will attempt to remedy that with some quickfire reviews of what I've been reading.

Book #4 on my reading list this year was Iceberg Slim's Pimp: The Story of My Life. This is not surprisingly the "true" story of Iceberg's life as a pimp. Interesting factoid: did you know that Iceberg Slim has sold more books than any other African-American author except Alex Haley? Look it up.

Why I Read This One
Clearly because I'm big pimpin' spendin' G's. Actually picked this one up because it's often referenced as one of the classics of underground-lit.

Iceberg on Wikipedia

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Shotgun Stories

Film #16 for me in '09 was Shotgun Stories.

My NetFlix rating: 4 stars
Jamie says: Shakespearean tragedy meets Faulkner
RIYL: Southern Gothic, Deliverance, George Washington, Lucero


Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Slam

Film #15 for me in '09 was Slam.

My NetFlix rating: 3.75 stars
Jamie says: Saul Williams could just read his poems for the whole film and it'd still be awesome, but we get Saul and Sonja Sohn too?!
RIYL: Amethyst Rock Star



Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Notorious Bettie Page

Film #14 for me in '09 was The Notorious Bettie Page.

My NetFlix rating: 1.5 stars
Jamie says: Gouge your eyes out boring. The casting & acting save it from being a total wreck.
RIYL: The Notorious P-A-Ge.


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Choke

Film #13 for me in '09 was Choke.

My NetFlix rating: 3 stars
Jamie says: Really had a hard time not comparing this one to the book. Read it instead.
RIYL: Fight Club


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Man on Wire

Film #12 for me in '09 was Man on Wire.

My NetFlix rating: 4 stars
Jamie says: Excellent (now Academy Award winning) documentary of an amazing story
RIYL: Heist films, magic


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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