literature


“Kay could see how Michael stood to receive their homage.  He reminded her of statues in Rome, statues of those Roman emperors of antiquity, who, by divine right, held the power of life and death over their fellow men.  One hand was on his hip, the profile of his face showed a cold proud power, his body was carelessly, arrogantly at ease, weight resting on one foot slightly behind the other.  The caporegimes stood before him.  In that moment Kay knew that everything Connie had accused Michael of was true.” (p 419)

My Top 10

  1. The Godfather
  2. Sleuth
  3. Play It Again Sam
  4. Cabaret
  5. Deliverance
  6. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex
  7. The Heartbreak Kid
  8. Fat City
  9. Travels with My Aunt
  10. Avanti

Note:  My full list is fourteen films long but three of the of the other four are reviewed below because of award nominations (The Emigrants, Sounder, Frenzy) leaving just one for the list down at the bottom. (more…)

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I have been diving deep down into the well of Marvel Comics lately because fnord has ended his magnificent work on his site of putting all his Marvel Comics in order online and before too long he’ll stop paying for the site and it will all be gone from the web.

I also recently finally got a copy of Son of Origins, which I have known about for decades (I remember reading my Uncle Dave’s copy at his and my Aunt Melinda’s apartment the morning of their wedding which was in 1981) which reprints The X-Men #1 (also sometimes known as Uncanny X-Men #1 because the title was changed with issue #142 to Uncanny X-Men and because a new X-Men title was launched in 1991 and it distinguishes it from that one).  While reading it, I was amazed at how many things presented in that first issue have been changed or altered or ret-conned away or into something different.  It was cover-dated September 1963, so for it’s 55th anniversary, I thought I would look at some of those things.  (Note:  For those unfamiliar with the term, ret-con is short for “retroactive continuity change”, changing something that is established and saying it was always the case.  There will be several examples below.)

The X-Men have always been one of my favorite comics with many of my favorite characters.  And obviously, while their films don’t compare to the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore, it’s important to remember that Marvel made many failed attempts at getting their characters onto the big screen before the first X-Men film was a massive financial success, leading to a franchise that has eleven films with two more coming out next year and that X-Men #1 from 1991 is still the biggest selling comic book in history with over five million copies sold.

So let’s look at the issue, starting with the beginning.

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A nice ensemble pic from M*A*S*H that doesn’t really have a corresponding scene in the book.

My Top 10:

  1. M*A*S*H
  2. The Twelve Chairs
  3. Women in Love
  4. Lovers and Other Strangers
  5. Patton
  6. Floating Weeds
  7. The Joke
  8. Mississippi Mermaid
  9. Where’s Poppa?
  10. Catch-22

Note:  Not a strong Top 10, although at least it has 10.  The 2-5 are the weakest as a whole since 1965 and there won’t be a weaker group until 1976.  They look even weaker because they are between two very strong years.  Patton would have been #9 in 1969. (more…)

FALSTAFF: We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Robert Shallow. (Henry IV Part 2, III. ii. 220)

My Top 10:

  1. Chimes at Midnight
  2. Z
  3. Stolen Kisses
  4. Oh! What a Lovely War
  5. Midnight Cowboy
  6. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  7. Boudu Saved from Drowning
  8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  9. Goodbye Columbus
  10. Cactus Flower

Note:  This year’s post is a bit ugly with a number of source materials I was unable to get.  There is also even a film that I am unable to really review because while I have seen it, it was years ago (well over a decade ago) and it is extremely difficult to get hold of and I wasn’t able to do so. (more…)

RICHARD: You’re getting old. One day you’ll have me once too often.
HENRY: When? I’m fifty now. My God, boy, I’m the oldest man I know. I’ve got a decade on the Pope. (p 48-49)

My Top 10:

  1. The Lion in Winter
  2. Rosemary’s Baby
  3. Belle de Jour
  4. Closely Watched Trains
  5. The Odd Couple
  6. Hunger
  7. Rachel Rachel
  8. Pretty Poison
  9. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  10. War and Peace

Note:  My list is 14 long this year.  My #13 (The Fixer) and #14 (Oliver) are reviewed below because of award nominations.  The other two are listed down at the bottom.  You could make the case that 2001: A Space Odyssey should be listed but the Oscars treated it as original and I do the same.  You can find plenty of places on-line that explained the complicated history of its script. (more…)

The Tripods Trilogy:

  1. The White Mountains
  2. The City of Gold and Lead
  3. The Pool of Fire
  • Author:  John Christopher  (1922-2012)
  • Published:  1967 / 1968 / 1969
  • Publisher:  Hamish Hamilton
  • Pages:  650
  • First Line:  “Apart from the one in the church tower, there were five clocks in the village that kept reasonable time, and my father owned one of them.”
  • Last Lines:  “The air was cold but exhilarating.  A gust of wind scattered powdery snow from the face of the Jungfrau.  ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I’ll leave my seas and islands.'”
  • Film:  television version  (1984)
  • First Read:  1987  (as a book)

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” ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ he said, turning around, ‘you are trying to seduce me.’ She frowned at him. ‘Aren’t you.’ She seated herself again on the couch. ‘Aren’t you?’ ” (p 22)

My Top 10:

  1. The Graduate
  2. In the Heat of the Night
  3. In Cold Blood
  4. Cool Hand Luke
  5. Point Blank
  6. The Comedians
  7. The Deadly Affair
  8. Wait Until Dark
  9. Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne
  10. A Fistful of Dollars

Note:  I not only have a Top 10 again but several films beyond the Top 10 which are down below.  Barefoot in the Park (#11) is the only film on my list I review down below as a WGA nominee. (more…)

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