what i’ve been reading (and watching): broken television edition

dexter-in-the-dark

Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

Kind of a disappointment. There was all this metaphysical hoakum that felt really out of place, the end was full of holes, and Deb was a totally one-dimensional character who didn’t do anything but snarl and swear. Apparently Dexter’s Dark Passenger isn’t just another part of his own mind, but the offspring of some primordial force of evil. Yeah, that’s some George Lucas-grade “Jedis derive their abilities from a parasite in their blood called Midichlorians, which we never bothered to mention until the 4th movie” bullshit right there. The only parts I really enjoyed were Dexter trying to instill the Code of Harry into Cody and Astor, who are adorable little sociopaths.

into_the_wildInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I loved Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, and I enjoyed this as well. Krakauer is a great writer, and I like the way his journalistic style is never totally free of personal angles. There was rather more of that in this book, as he uses his own experiences of solo mountain climbing to discuss why he related to Chris McCandless.

Man, people are really divided over McCandless, aren’t they? They either see him as a saint or a fool. I don’t feel real strongly about him either way. Yes, he was selfish; and yes, he must have hurt his family terribly. But everyone has a right to live their own life in whatever way makes them happy, so long as that happiness doesn’t involve like, molesting sheep. Plus, McCandless was very young. I think that, had he not succumbed in Alaska, he would have eventually purged his demons and managed to live his ideals in a more conventional manner.

Or you know, maybe he wouldn’t have. Either way, he’s not the biggest possibly mentally ill idiot to die in Alaska. Timothy Treadwell definately swept the stakes in that lottery.

By a funny coincidence, this movie is next in my Netflix queue and should arrive tomorrow.

waterhsip-down

Watership Down by Richard Adams

This was a re-read, obviously. I doubt you could find someone of my generation and background who hasn’t already read it.

There’s one thing that annoys me about this book: The total absence of females in any position of importance. You know, rabbit warens are organized by matriarchal social groups. But I suppose Adams needed it as a device to set up the clash with Efrafra. I don’t think he did it out of any purposeful misogyny; the rabbits needed a really compelling reason to infiltrate and fight the other warren. And since these aren’t Wind in the Willows-type anthromorphized rabbits, drinking tea in drawing rooms that have portaits of Queen Victoria on the wall, I don’t think he could have made their need for more elegant smoking jackets the reason.

Anyway, I love The Odyssey, and that’s a similar bunch of dudes doing dudely things. Also, feminists that complain that the does are reduced to “breeding stock” are just looking for something to gripe about. They’re rabbits. They aren’t going to say they need does because they’re looking for a life partner.

My brother David recommended this to me, so I made sure to add it when I signed up for Netflix. I love scary movies, but I don’t necessarily equate “chainsaws and buckets of gore” with quality horror, so most horror films are a disappointment. This movie is really good if you’re scared more by totally fucked up locations (a decrepit mental hospital) and a mounting tense atmosphere than you are by guys in masks disembowling naked bimbos. Be sure to watch the deleted scenes, the movie makes a lot more sense if you do.

Also: Jim Brass and Horatio Caine in the same movie! (Guilfoyle does a great Massachusetts accent too, he properly pronounces Danvers, “Dan-vizz”.)

I’d love to talk about how amazing this movie is, but since I can’t even think about it without bursting into tears, I’ll just link to Roger Ebert’s write-up from his “Great Movies” feature. Seriously, it’s an amazing film, but do NOT rent it if you’re feeling in the slightest bit depressed already.

Also, Sakuma Fruit Drops are still sold in the same tin (as they have been since the Meiji Period) and I’ve had tons of them over the years, so it was kind of startling to see them in this movie as such an important recurring motif.

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