Sunday, May 29, 2005

Book report...and Star Wars. Yeah, I finally saw it.

Well, yesterday I finished A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It was divine. I loved every second of it (well okay, maybe not every second: there were about 50 pages around the 3/4 mark through which I was amused, but not entranced). The ending was perfect (that 7-page-long final sentence about frisbee’ing and life, oh yes). In Dave Eggers’ words:
“The brotherly love/weird symbiosis factor…was as a matter of fact supposed to be the surprise conclusion reached at the end of the book, the big pay-off, as it were, that, while the author searches for love…and his prother searches for, you know, whatever little kids search for (gum and pennies?) and together they try to be normal and happy, they actually will probably always be unsuccessful in any and every extracurricular relationship, given that the only people who they truly admire and love and find perfect are each other.”
I sort of paraphrased that idea for my mom, prefacing it with, “This is going to sound really cheesy, but…” My mom got sort of teary afterwards and said, “Oh, that’s not cheesy, that counts for a lot…for a lot more than it seems. That’s something big, to realize.”

As you can probably infer, I highly recommend AHWOSG. This morning I read Proof—a play that a friend suggested to me—and I enjoyed it immensely as well. It had the best dry wit and I even laughed aloud at a couple parts, and it was very slight but sweet and thought-provoking. Oh I sound silly now. But eh. (The joke about the mathematicians’ band’s song i reminded me of the kind of joke this friend-who-suggested would tell.)

And now here I am. I went to Border’s today and picked up Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. I have a feeling I’m either going to love it or hate it—we’ll see, I’ll give it a couple hundred pages. I have to admit that the reason I’m reading it is not because of its political agenda or allegorical plot, but rather because of something I read a while ago when I was browsing through some dusty, very old New York Times book reviews:
“I first read The Fountainhead when I was 18 years old. I loved it…And I spent the next year hoping I would meet a gaunt, orange-haired architect who would rape me. Or failing that, an architect who would rape me. Or failing that, an architect.”
Why would a comment like that entice me to buy a tangental, 750-page book of cramped type and libertarian propaganda, I can’t say. But boy I can’t wait to read it.


On a very different note, last night I finally went to see Star Wars with some friends. My expectations weren’t too high, but I was looking forward to it and I was prepared to enjoy it, to not be overly critical, and what-have-you.

It was ludicrously bad.

I was bored in some of the battle scenes (and those are supposed to be the exciting bits!). I couldn’t make myself really care about any of the characters (and let me tell you, I’m one of those people whose emotions are quite easily manipulated by old film tricks—I’ve been known to get teary at trailers)—even Anakin, especially Anakin, I felt indifferent about. There was a tug when I really hoped he wouldn’t turn to the dark side, but frankly, I couldn’t wait for him to get into his black Vader costume. He didn’t seem conflicted and powerful, he seemed bratty.

Even worse was the flimsy dialogue between Anakin and Padme—of course, even the beautiful old Star Wars films weren’t known for their dialogue or acting prowess, but still—who didn’t talk to each other like lovers but like junior high school kids asks to pretend to be husband and wife. Or something. Why would he betray his friends for her life? She doesn’t seem too great. Does she even do anything other than just mope around their skyscraper all day? Why is she sleeping in that ridiculous dress?

And oh, I tried to like it, I really did. I mean, I went in with a good attitude, and I wanted to respect what George Lucas was trying to do. But I have to say I couldn’t suppress myself from bursting into silent laughter at two points. One was when Padme was giving birth and, because this was after all taking place in Lucas’ sterile world, that big structured tent thing was over her…if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. That was fucking ridiculous. I was shaking with laughter. The other thing that really broke me up was a certain dialogue exchange:
“How do you know Anakin killed the younglings?”
“I caught it on the security hologram!”
Oh George Lucas. Oh George. Oh. I’m shaking my head in wonderment. (Side note about the “younglings”: that was the only part of the movie that actually did get the intended emotional response out of me. He—he wouldn’t! He won’t!—hand over mouth, eyes wide, aghast—Jesus Christ. He did.)

Whew, sorry for that rant. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I advise against it. Waste of time and money, if vaguely amusing for mocking purposes at least. I want to go watch The Empire Strikes Back to remind me what these movies really are about. Maybe I will. Goodnight.

P.S. Y'know how there's Lord Sidious, like the word insidious? (Don't even get me started on those names.) If you add that same in- to Lord Vader, you have invader...Clearly I can't stop thinking about etymology, even when I'm in the movie theater. What a dork.


Anonymous oki said...

I love that book!

10:34 PM  
Blogger Whisky Priest said...

You didn't have an issue with Eggers making himself the hero of his own book? (And congrats on the 2400.)

12:20 AM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Oki: The Fountainhead or Proof or AHWOSG? By the way, didn't you adore Kavalier and Clay? Ah, books.

WP: Thank you, and I actually loved that Eggers made himself the hero. Hey, that's what I would have done! Nice to meet you, by the way.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous oki said...


I haven't read Fountainhead yet,
but I have started White Teeth...
which is terrific so far

3:16 PM  
Anonymous oki said...

and the Amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay were indeed amazing and just so good to read..
I think its cool that Eggers writes about his experiences in the way that he does...I don't even know of I could do that, but its great to read.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous oki said...

also, congrats on the score!
awesome stuff

3:19 PM  
Blogger Whisky Priest said...

I mean, a lot of authors infuse ideally-conceived versions of themselves into their books. This one was just so blatant and unremorseful -- and I think the semi-sarcasm of the title reflexively pokes fun at his doing this -- that I ad-hoc-ly refused to read it even upon my friends' recomendation. I mean, sure, if you are gonna do it, why not all out? But it still just rubs me the wrong way. (All this from someone who hasn't actually read the book... 'I guess that I just don't know')

Nice to meet you too.

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