09 September 2012

Stuff I've Been Consuming 8

  • Popular Crime, Bill James
  • Brave, Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman
  • Total Recall, Len Wiseman
  • Safety Not Guaranteed, Colin Trevorrow
  • Ruby Sparks, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
  • Bright Star, Jane Campion
  • Bourne Legacy, Tony Gilroy
  • Celeste and Jesse Forever, Lee Toland Krieger
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin
  • Expendables 2, Simon West
  • Make Believe, J. Clay Tweel

Well, the wheels completely came off the wagon this month. One book read. Just one. That is pathetic. I'll accept laughter and berations (not a word) via email or any social network. Even in person you can make fun of me. How can I expect to hit fifty books if I only got through one in August?

I was doing so well too, maintaining a minimum of at least four books a month. Now I'm gonna fall behind. Note that four books a month would not get me to fifty either, so I should really be trying to read about five books a month.

In my defense, there was a lot of fantasy football I was getting into this past month. August is a huge month for fantasy football geeks. You gotta buy the magazines, listen to the podcasts, look online for the ranking and projections. It's a ton of work preparing for multiple drafts. I know I know, that's hardly an excuse. But that's the one I'm going with.

Hey at least the one book I read was a good one. Bill James is more widely known for his advanced baseball stats, think Moneyball, but it turns out he also has had a lifelong obsession with crime books. In Popular Crime, he shows that he's an authority on the topic and presents us with a combination history, review, and appreciation of crime books. If you like reading about serial murderers and unsolved crimes, Popular Crime is the book for you.

With only one book read, maybe I compensated by watching a ton of movies. During one week I think I went to the theater five times. I think it was midnight Total Recall, followed by Safety Not Guaranteed the next day, then Ruby Sparks, which naturally led to Celeste and Jessie Forever. All of that was bookended by another midnight showing, Bourne Legacy. Overall I dropped in ten movies in August, pushing me way past fifty for the year. I'd feel better about this if I was closer on books. Oh well.

I loved everything about Ruby Sparks. I feel like it was written just for me. The premise is that Paul Danno is a writer who suddenly materializes his dream girl. It's Mannequin plus Stranger Than Fiction. While I'm no fan of Danno -- for inexplicable reasons -- he was great here. And Zoe Kazan. Oh let's talk about Zoe Kazan. I'm in love with her, it's impossible not to be after watching Ruby Sparks, which she wrote as well as co-starred in.

And of course her grandfather is Elia Kazan, director of A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront. Zoe Kazan is wonderful, and while Ruby Sparks plays to every Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope out there, it's fantastic and worth a watch. And I've been putting on the soundtrack while writing, which is like life imitating art imitating life imitating productivity. Or something.

Someone in Hollywood must have decided the end of summer is a good time to dump counter programming for all the explosion and action movies. How else to explain the release of so many faux indie romantic comedies? I watched them all of course. Because it's my calling. That and dance movies. If anyone ever successfully combines the two genres, it would be freaking over. I'd go buy that collectable special edition director's cut DVD right now. Twice over.

Who else is dead frightened/excited about a sequel to Before Sunrise/Sunset? It's set in Greece and titled Before Midnight. I'm so scared.