Friday, August 13, 2010

Read and Seen

I hate lists, but they're irresistible. So, without further ado, here is a list of books I read this summer and movies I watched:
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell - It's stark, it's bleak, it's like Antigone with a less dire ending. I can't honestly say that I enjoyed the book, but it stuck with me, and the story is so powerful you can hardly believe it's being told.

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich - I've read Erdrich from the get-go with 'Love Medicine'. Nobody weaves a story bolstered on rich character studies quite the way that she does. In that manner 'Shadow Tag' shares a commonality with her entire oeuvre. But, then 'ST' departs from that familiar ground and forges on like a tenderfoot through an impenetrable woods. The husband and wife are at the center of the novel, like twin suns blotting out the shadows of their three children orbiting around them in a constant, contentious glare. Things do not end well.

Monkeewrench by PJ Tracy - This book had been on my shelf FOREVER, so I picked it up and read it. I have nothing kind to say about it. Not only was every single character a cliche, but they were the same cliche. It was ridiculous, and not in a fun, wild ride sort of way. More like a morass of tedium heaped on a tar pit of idiocy. Usually I won't even bother to finish a book that I despise as much as this one, but I wanted to hone my anger at the book. Read at your own peril!

Dead Snow - Nazi zombies reanimated in the hinterlands of Norway! Gory and gruesome, but not without a typical zombie movie sense of humor. I really enjoyed this.

Toy Story 3 - I'd read the reviews, so I was expecting something a little darker than the previous movies in the trilogy, but was still surprised and a little delighted by the character of Big Baby. Big Baby could be given her/his own movie, which would be something, I imagine, completely inappropriate for children, but fun for adults!
All of that aside, there's plenty of fun in the film, especially at Barbie and Ken's expense. And the ending is wonderful!

The Kids Are All Right - Possibly one of the most authentic films I've ever seen. At no time does the script, director, or actors shrink away from honestly portraying the complications of love, life and family. It's so genuine that it's a shock to the system, and to some lesbians in the blogosphere, a shock to the sensibilities. I'm not in that camp. If you take the movie as a whole, and examine closely the outcome from all of their actions, you see that the core family remains intact, with the children turning back to their Moms, and the Moms turning back to each other. None of this is ever done in a contrived way, but feels like a natural progression, completely organic. Movie making, and script writing, doesn't get any more pure than this. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves movies!

I would love to know what everyone else has read and seen this summer, if you care to share!

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