A while back, we talked about “favorite movies” and how mine was The Fisher King. Well, during that period, I also had a *SECOND* favorite movie and that movie was Fearless. (Note: This is not the movie of the same name starring Jet Li, which is also awesome. This is the movie starring Jeff Bridges and Rosie Perez.)

Yet another movie I saw at juuuust the right moment in time, I couldn’t believe how “I’m 19, and this is deep” it was.

A movie with a brilliant conceit, a guy survives a plane crash and he goes crazy. There’s another person who survived the plane crash who lost her between-infant-and-toddler son in the crash… and she is wracked with grief.

Together they fight crime.

Wait, no, that’s a different film. Together they work through what happened to them.

There’s a magnificent piece of dialog between the doctor in charge of helping the survivors work through what happened and the husband of Rosie Perez’s character:

Dr. Bill Perlman: He and your wife are the only survivors I can’t reach. She won’t talk and he won’t admit the crash was bad.

Manny Rodrigo: Is that right? He says it was good?

Dr. Bill Perlman: Says it was the best thing that ever happened to him.

From the opening scene where we see Jeff Bridges walk through the cornfield to the scene where they walk through the mall buying belated gifts to the car crash to the scene with the strawberries at the end, I was absolutely mesmerized. Holy cow… this movie is amazing… I know! I’ll read the book!

And I get the book and read it and I’m 20 pages in and I hate it already. Ugh! I think. This is awful! These characters are horrid! This story is preposterous! And it kept getting worse and the characters kept getting more horrid! And the story kept getting more preposterous!

I watched the movie again and it was still good so the book didn’t ruin the movie for me, but, man.

What’s weird is that the screenplay was written by the same guy who wrote the book. (Rafael Yglesias, you may recognize that last name from one of the bloggers you read periodically.) These two works by the same guy who was so intimately familiar with everything about the story, start to finish… and I adored the movie and I hated the book.

Seriously: see the movie. It’s so good that it’ll make you want to read the book.

But, if you ask me, you can probably skip that second part.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?

(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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30 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. TV is in a lull, so I’ve caught up on a few movies.

    It Follows – disappointing, though I liked the score and shot compositions and the “dislocation” (it’s set in an indeterminate time, and you eventually realize that it’s Detroit, but for a while it could be almost anywhere in America). But I found the monster silly, and inconsistent or unclear in its “rules”. Just read Charles Burns’ Black Hole instead, it makes the same point much better.

    Blue Ruin – been meaning to catch this for a while, and it did NOT disappoint. Reminds one of Reservoir/Straw Dogs, and like Green Room, it’s a nastily-effective thing.

    Ex-Machina – I thought this was great. Tight little film. Surprised at some of the online commentary and analysis, which seemingly felt the need to take hard lines on things that to me clearly were meant to be left ambiguous.

    I need to figure out where I can catch Her.


  2. Reading pulp fantasy novel because brain candy.

    Watched Eddie the Eagle, which was quite good, as long as you remember that it’s based on a true story, and not meant to be a literal depiction of events. Most surprising was seeing Taron Edgerton moving far awsy from his role in Kingsmen.


    • Eddie the Eagle is quite a good movie, but the only part that is based on actual events is that there was (is, he’s not dead) really a chap called Ed, and he competed in some Winter Olympics.

      Most of the rest, including all of Hugh Jackman, is fiction. Which bugs me a lot.

      I wish the whole thing was completely made up, Carl the Condor has a good ring to it. But I hate that they take people that have lived I nteresting lives, worth telling, and then they ignore these people’s real lives and replace them with a completely made up thing.

      That is what made “Elizabeth” Into one of my most hated movies, and one of the very few I’ve walked out From the theatre mid screening (the Sixth Sense been another one, though for different reasons)


      • I remember Eddie the Eagle. He really was called that, and he got into the 1988 Winter Olympics as a ski-jumper even though he wasn’t really world class. He finished dead last in a coup events, but was so charming about it that the TV coverage fell n love with him.


        • I know. The real Eddie the Eagle even had for many years a minor TV career.

          But almost nothing in the movie reflects the real story of the guy, which is a good story on its own, which didn’t need adding Hugh Jackman and all the other made up stuff.


      • But I hate that they take people that have lived I nteresting lives, worth telling, and then they ignore these people’s real lives and replace them with a completely made up thing.

        This kind of thing annoys me as well. I take it as reflection of the memoir having somewhat displaced the novel, which also annoys me. If you’re going to write fiction, just write fiction. The whole “based on true events” tag adds nothing but a kind of phony empiricism.

        Granted, I am likely swimming against the tide on this one. This is a particularly solipsistic moment in history.


      • Mine is Operation Arcana, a short story anthology of tales of magic & war (like applying magic to actual warfare, rather than just some adventures stumbling around).

        Some are pretty standard pulp, but a few are quite good. One, The Graphology of Hemmorage, had an interesting magic system, as well as a significant cost for usage.


  3. A bit more than a month ago I subscribed to the Short Circuit newsletter after reading it on Eugene Volokh’s blog (he posts the digest weekly). I’ve since found that federal judges are some of the funniest writers around. Just today, I was reading a case that had this marvelous little grammar spat:

    Middle District of Pennsylvania:
    …there is a two prong test for Second Amendment challenges…

    3rd Circuit (on appeal of, among others, that case):
    The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania applied “a two[-]prong test for Second Amendment challenges”…


  4. I’ve never, ever read a book that was worse than the movie. We’ve all seen movies that were worse than the book. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to watch the movie version of The Legend of Bagger Vance, one of my favorite books of all time. To say I was disappointed would do injustice to the word.

    I just finished rereading Earth Abides, an interesting mid-20th take on the fall of American civilization.

    Welcome back, .


      • Jaws and The Godfather, certainly (Benchley can’t write; Coppola is a genius). The Hunger Games. The Mission. Empire of the Sun. Bridges of Madison County (the book was unreadable…). Sophie’s Choice (didn’t see that one coming, eh?). Lots of em.


    • Maurice, the movie, is much better than Maurice, the book.

      Probably because when E.M. Forster wrote it, even him, a homosexual, couldn’t really describe a homosexual relationship. The self doubt and the feeling that “this is bad, good people aren’t like this” oozes everywhere.

      By the time Merchant Ivory filmed Maurice, we already had developed a language to talk about homosexuality. The characters are closeted because ithe closet was a must then. But they acknowledge what they are to themselves.

      Perhaps (possibly) the film is anachronistic, and the book reflects the reality of a gay man in the 1920s. But it is too far removed (fortunately) from our current experience, even for a dude in his fifties.

      Anna Karenina has a similar anachronism problem. I’m completely unable to empathize with the feelings the divorce bring forth. Intellectually I know that is an accurate portrayal. Emotionally, I find the character of Anna totally stupid (I like War and Peace very much – have read it a couple of times from start to finish)


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