Like the rest of the world, my fragile psyche was shaken to its core by that damn Game of Thrones episode Sunday. I had to go back and watch it again. How’d we all miss it – foreshadowing was EVERYWHERE. Best reaction on the twitterverse was by novelist Erin Morgenstern who went with a Princess Bride reference for the win:
Only just watched last night’s Game of Thrones. All I can think is “Jesus, Grandpa, what did you read me this thing for?”
With my Olympic addiction flaring up, the summer posts continue to take a hit. But, hey, have you seen the trailer for the big screen adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas? Holy smokes! That book has been on my to read stack for years. Time to bump it up top.
So says the femme fatale in the opener of the new season of Sherlock. If you’re not watching this fantastic modern-day interpretation of the Sherlock Holmes stories, you are missing out on some of the best TV going. This imagining is so much better than the Robert Downey, Jr/Jude Law vision. It’s original, hilarious, and very well written. From episode one of the second season:
Sherlock Holmes: Punch me in the face!
Dr. John Watson: Punch you?
Sherlock Holmes: Yes, punch me in the face! Didn’t you hear me?
Dr. John Watson: I always hear “Punch me in the face” when you’re speaking but it’s usually subtext.
Episode 1 is available to stream on Netflix if you need to get caught up.
Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, was on Fresh Air last night. The book has been adapted into a movie called Being Lynn. Nick Flynn and director Paul Weitz are interviewed by Not Terry Gross. Sadly. It’s a fantastic interview. (Maybe Weitz calls DeNiro “Bob” too much, but still…)
The short animated film The Fanatstic Flying Books of Mr Leonard Lessmore won an Academy Award. It sounded like the king of thing I should check out. As it turns out, last night the movie was available for FREE from the iTunes store (no longer the case). The price was right. (It turns out the movie is available in its entirety – at least for now – for free on YouTube.) It is an amazing little film that book lovers will love. The story is by children’s author William Joyce, and it is also available as an “enhanced e-book iPad app. Check it out already.
I’ll admit that I haven’t been keeping up with The Simpsons as much as I once had. I made a point to tune in Last Sunday night to see author Neil Gaiman and laughed non-stop. It was easily one of the best episodes. Ever. The episode hilariously spoofs Ocean’s 11 and blows the lid off the kid lit scene. It is comedy gold. Blow off your Cyber Monday shopping plans and watch the whole episode now:
The episode has lots of great visual gags. There is a blink-and-you-miss-it salute to a Far Side Cartoon (The Real Reason Dinosaurs Went Extinct) and plenty of great gags at the Springfield Book festival. I also had to pause and rewind the show to be sure to catch the titles of Homer’s sister-in-law’s fantasy-laden bookshelf, which includes both Lev Grossman’s The Magician King and Maile Meloy’s The Apothecary.
In case you missed it, the first trailer for The Hunger Games movie was released yesterday morning.
I recently read the trilogy to see what the hub-bub was all about. I’ll have a review sooner or later, but the short version is – I thought the series was excellent. Unlike some, my world would not have ended if the movie didn’t get it exactly right. Based on what’s shown here, it looks like the filmmakers nailed it. This is good news. I’ll be seeing this on the big screen with a few million teenagers.
Salman Rushdie announced last week that he is creating a reality-based sci-fi drama series for US cable Showtime, because he believes that “quality TV drama has taken over from film and the novel as the best way of widely communicating ideas and stories.” It is interesting to see someone of Rushdie’s stature take this position. The idea might seem blasphemous if so many critics hadn’t already been floating the idea of the “HBO drama” (whatever channel it’s on) as literature.
A quick review of TV drama of recent vintage, suggests we may be in the midst of a golden age of televised story telling.The Wire has been compared to Dickens; The Sopranos were compared to Shakespeare. David Simon’sTreme is celebrated “for showing how artists make art, and what it actually means to make a living from creative work.” Mad Men, Six Feet Under – the list goes on.
A recent surprise for me has been the dramatization of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel series A Song of Ice Fire, Game of Thrones. I have not read any of the novels in the series and have had my viewer’s expectations upended week after week. Last week’s episode, Baelor, took such a dramatic turn that it prompted a discussion between my wife and I titled What Happens when Every Accepted Fantasy Story-Telling Trope is Thrown out the Window. This piece in Grantland nicely sums it up:
Because that’s what a generation of underbaked trilogies had taught us fantasy was all about, right? The good guys winning?…When [giant spoiler] in the final moments of last night’s shocking episode, a lot of our television preconceptions dropped with it.
But back to Rushdie. Does his involvement in television signal yet another round of “death of the novel” conversations/blog posts? Probably. Story telling seems to be doing just fine though.
Over the weekend someone brought their video camera to the movies to film the new trailer for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (the Hollywood version). Holy smokes. The music in the trailer is Academy Award-winning Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Karen O (The Yeah Yeah Yeahs) covering Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song.
If our site stats are to be believed, that question (rhymes with salt) has lead several folks to our blog via their favorite search engine over the last few weeks or so. I guess the question has been creeping up in frequency to coincide with the new movie, Atlas Shrugged Part 1. (In Atlas Shrugged Part 2: Electric Boogaloo, John Galt denies strips the funding for the local community center, and local children must resort to a break dancing competition to defeat him.) I’m not sure why searching for John G*** leads readers here. Maybe it’s because we mock Ayn Rand and her poorly written, morally bankrupt world view at every opportunity. Even then, BGB doesn’t show up in the first 20 pages of Google results for that term, so I have no idea how long you have to click through to find us. Persistence. Whatever the reason, here’s a spoiler alert: John G*** is a douche. And a fictional one at that.
This is all a roundabout excuse to link to this article by Maureen Dowd on Ayn Rand.
I watched the new movie Howl over the weekend. (On Demand for current movies is the greatest thing to ever happen to parents with small children. I saw a new movie that was not rated G and didn’t have to pay a babysitter!) I thought James Franco was magnificent in channeling Allen Ginsberg. Check out this scene recreating the fabled San Francisco first reading of the poem:
As a reader who is against censorship, I thought the judge’s ruling at the end was especially moving. The movie distills it down to its best bits, but the Internet is always open if you want to read the entire decision.